Colors! 3D and our thoughts on tracing
The eagerly awaited Colors! 3D update is still in submission with Nintendo. This is the part of the process where we have no control over the timing, so we sadly can’t give you any accurate information on when it will be released. It will probably somewhere between a 2-4 weeks, but that is just our guess. We were hoping that it would be out now, but Nintendo rejected our first submission as it had a number of small problems. On the plus-side, this makes the update a little bit better, so I hope you can still be patient a tiny bit longer.
I’ve mentioned tracing in a few of my previous development post, but I’ve never really gone into details on it. Tracing is probably the single most controversial issue in Colors! 3D. Half the gallery hates traced paintings, since they get so many likes and therefore drown out a lot of original works. On the other hand, the other half very much enjoys watching 3Difed copies of popular images.
Since we don’t want to tell people what to like and what not to like, our goal is to find ways to allow both types in the gallery without making people frustrated one way of the other. But first, let’s talk about the legality of traced paintings.
Someone sent me this link on how deviantArt handles tracing. I was happy to see that this matches our own policy for how to deal with paintings that somehow use someone else’s work. To sum things up:
We can only deal with copyright takedown request if they are sent by the original artist or copyright holder. While we don’t think it’s ok to use someone else’s work without their permission (and especially not without giving credit), we can’t otherwise know if the original artist mind his/her work being used like that.
And of course, if you ever see your work being used in a way you don’t appreciate you should report it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will deal with it as soon as possible.
Now, let’s get back on track and talk about the good stuff. How can we make it less frustration the users who feel that tracing is bad for the gallery? Our first stab at this problem is to:
1. Make it easy for the users to see if a painting used the reference photo feature or not
2. Allow users to filter paintings that did or did not use the reference photo feature
We use the word “reference photo feature” here instead of “traced” because the only thing we can really tell if the camera/import feature was used or not. We know that some people sometimes takes a photo of something that they painted on paper and used that as a reference, but this will still have to fall under the “used reference” category as we can’t really say exactly how the feature was used. For that small group, I suspect they will mention their process in the painting description.
On the left screenshot here, you can see the small camera icon among the tools used for this painting. In this case, the icon is grayed out and you can’t tell if the reference photo feature was used or not (it was not). This is because the painting was uploaded from Colors! 3D 1.0, where it doesn’t registered this. For any painting uploaded from the new version of Colors! 3D, this icon will either be fully black, or not there at all. Hopefully that will reduce the amount of speculation if someone traced a painting or not, that we sometimes see in the comments.
The screenshot on the right might be even more interesting. This shows the new filter/sort functionality in Colors! 3D. Tapping the small button in the top right corner of the screen will bring this menu up. By default, all types of paintings will be shown, but if you want you can use this feature to view only the paintings that uses the reference feature or vice versa. This way, people who are not interested in paintings using the reference feature can easily just browse paintings that were made without using that feature.
Initially the “original” version of this list will be very empty, as we will filter any painting uploaded from Colors! 3D 1.0 into the “used reference” version of the list. Initially both the “original” and “using reference” version of this list will be empty, as it wouldn’t be fair to put paintings from Colors! 3D 1.0 in either of those categories. By the way, the same “filter” option will be used to sort paintings on “date” or on “likes” for a few other painting lists (like an artist’s gallery). I know some of you have been asking for that feature as well, so that worked out nicely.
We can’t really know if this solves the frustration around tracing in the gallery or not, but we believe this is a huge step forward. I guess we will see in a couple of weeks!
The Colors! 3D update for Nintendo 3DS will be a free update that you will be able to download from the eShop. There is no set release-date, but our best guess at this point is 2-4 weeks from now.