My deck and some questions about photos


I've started to make a deck using Photoshop like the medium to make a collage with some photographs.
The photos are images i've picked up from the net. I guess this is ok if I only use it for personal purposes since those pics are not mine. Anyway i dont think the pics are recognizable at all. Does this matter or its the same if I only want to share them on my site?
My other question is... do you know about any website were i can find photos free from copyright?

I want to show to you two of the cards. Have done seven but on the others I've used pics from famous people so I dont know if its ok to post them. Bah!! Im confused about all this whole thing on copyrights and or.. well. I only want to show them to you. Its kind of frustating to do something and keep it only for myself.

Here is the Star ----------
And here the tower -----------


Inana,I don't really know enough about copyright law to give you a good answer...but I do know there is something called fair use...and also that someone once told me that changing an image or design by a certain percent is enough to make it a new design which is then your creation! (although I don't know what percentage that is...I think you have altered the originals enough!)

I just wanted to say...your cards are really wonderful! I love your collage style!
Where can we see more?


Another possibility....

since you live in Spain, is to photograph works of the old masters such as El Greco, Goya and Velasquez yourself, and also statues, etc. They are in the public domain, and therefore any photos that you take of them are your property, and not subject to copyright.


p.s. The cards you've shown already are lovely! Please keep going, and don't get discouraged!


The cards are lovely - well done. Le_Corsair suggested I might be able to give some help on the copyright issue. I think there are two main things I would say:

1. If you got these images from the web it is unlikely they would be good enough quality to print. You need much higher resolution for print. I know this may be disappointing, but far better to think about this now than do many cards and find they print badly. What looks absolutely fine on screen can simply look terrible in print if the resolution isn't high enough So - be careful about this (maybe talk to someone locally who knows a lot about print and ask them to advise - or people here can give help also).

2. Copyright. Well, be careful and respectful of other people's ownership is all I can say. If you look at Sarah Ovenall's site she gives the "correct" information on this. I say "correct" in this way because some artists I have shown this site to say that she is being over-cautious (there is a whole movement that feels that copyright laws have become ridiculous and too restrictive, but that's a whole other story). However, maybe caution is always good, and whatever way you look at it, if you read her pages you will see that just saying that you have changed the picture is NOT enough. Also, the notion of "fair use" is very vague when it comes to collage.

Basically, in our deck we photographed everything ourselves (okay, this involved thousands of photographs, but at least we own them). In a very, very small number of cases (about three) we redrew pictures in OLD OUT-OF-COPYRIGHT books when we couldn't photograph what we needed. We always paid for a photography permit by the way - we did not use "covert" photographs. Where photography was not permitted (most tragically at Troya Palace, which we would have loved to include) we had to do without.

Now - there are other collage decks where people clearly haven't taken all their own photos. I honestly don't know if they got clearance or if they are just assuming that as tarot is not a mass-market, no-one will mind. It would be good to hear from others on this.

Please don't be put off, but try to find a way to get the images you need without infringing copyright. Also - remember that your own photos will be high resolution so will give you much better-looking printed cards - it will be worth it!

Best of luck.

Major Tom

I like your cards, they're very good interpretations. :) Keep up the good work.

My friend Baba-Prague gives some very good advice regarding copyright. As far as sites offering copyright free pictures a quick Google search will display many. The main problem with these is as my friend says - the resolution.

My deck is photo collage and I take the photos for it as well. Print resolution is an important consideration, even if like me, you only ever plan to use the deck for yourself.


Major Tom said:
The main problem with these is as my friend says - the resolution.

What kind of resolution are you talking about?


WolfyJames said:
What kind of resolution are you talking about?
The resolution needed to print a card clearly. This is normally a minimum of 300 dots per inch, so your standard Tarot graphic would be about 850 pixels wide by 1300 high. (A BIG file.) Lower resolutions tend to produce jagged edges and lines which make the final cards a bit glitchy. You can enlarge a graphic in Photoshop, of course, but usually at the cost of blurring the fine details.


That is indeed big! That means that my screen resolution of 768X1024, and my 17 inches monitor, aren't big enough?

I don't have Photoshop, I use PaintShopPro.


Resolution and file size

Without getting too technical. A computer monitor displays images at approximately 72 or 75 pixels per inch. Baba Prague was correct in saying that images intended for printing however should be much higher, in fact 300 dots per inch for quality printing, i.e. almost four times as much. So your tarot card image would appear to be four times as big on screen as it's real physical size......if the document your working on is being seen at 100%. So your right in assuming that it would be bigger than your monitor. The solution is to work at less than 100%, i.e. zoom out, so that Photoshop or whatever is displaying the image at say 50%. However be prepared for big files, and lots of hard disk space for storage. The Gilded Tarot deck I've recently finished represented over 6 gigabytes of disk space. Approximately 80 megabytes per card when the image is still layered.