Credits – more trouble than they’re worth?

Well, in my opinion they’re worth every bit of trouble. It shows respect to other artists and to the hard work they put in, and it’s a nice thank you and show of appreciation that someone went to quite some effort to provide a source that you can use, often for free. Not a lot to ask then, a little credit?

However, it IS trouble, unless you prepare before posting your work.

Most artists who create photo manipulations use some of their own stock and some that others kindly provided – be it textures or models – but all should be credited. This can be easy if you are organised. Being organised is easy if you know how.

Here are some of my tips. I’ve divided them into three steps:

Preparation, Working Stage, and Posting


  • Create folders on your PC/Mac:- One for textures- One for stock- One for custom brushes
  • When you download an image from the net, download it or copy it into one or the other of the two folders, depending on the image.
  • If you download more than one image from a particular source, e.g. a stock account on DeviantArt, create a sub folder for that account, e.g. Black Rose Stock DA or Blue Rose Flickr etc.
  • If there is an option to favourite the image, e.g. in DeviantArt, do so. It will automatically be added to your account into your favourites and make it easier to find it later. Otherwise, bookmark it – you can create bookmark folders the same way as you create folders on your PC/MAC.
  • Be careful when you download a single image. Sometimes the source of the image will not part of the file name. Make sure you add it yourself by changing the file name to the image name plus the source.
  • If you download form an unusual source, add a text file to the folder on your PC where you note the source.

    Sample Layer Palette

    Sample Layer Palette

Working Stage

When adding textures or stock to your image make sure you type in the name and source for each one in the layers palette. That way you won’t get confused later if you used a lot of stock and textures (see image on the right-handside).

I even name my own stock/textures so I know they’re mine and so I don’t later worry where I got them from. This is especially important if you edit the textures you download as I do – I often change the colour, change levels, blur them or mix two together which then makes it difficult to see which image I’ve used.

Posting Stage

  1. Open the image so you can see the layer palette (as above).
  2. Now that you’ve favourited and bookmarked your sources and named them in your image, adding credits to any posting will be easy.
  3. Next, find each of the sources you used in your image and open it in a separate tab in your browse
  4. Once they’re all open (that includes any custom brushes I’ve used) you can get working. If you use MyFreeCopyright, type a title and add the category and browse for the image, if you’re not using MyFreeCopyright, leave this step out and just open the site you want to upload the image to and click in the description box.
  5. I always start with the model if I used one and then list the rest by category – stock, textures, and then brushes. Click on the tab for the first source you used, copy the link.
  6. Go back to the site you’re uploading your image to and paste the link in the description box in a format something like this ‘model, name of the image, name of the source’:link.
  7. Continue doing this for all of your sources until you have a list that looks something like the list at the bottom.
  8. Now you can copy and paste this to any other site you want to upload your image to and edit the formatting as required.
  9. Post your image with credits. 🙂
  10. The final step is to let the artists know you’ve used their sources and give them a link so they can look at your fabulous art. I use Firefox and the add-on Clippings for this. Clippings will allow you to save snippets of text that you can retrieve at a click and paste into any text box on the net. Great time saver. 🙂 I saved some text that says something along the lines of “Thank you for the use of your stock, I’ve used it here: “.

    It may seem like a lot of work and lots of steps, but once you get organised it’s much easier and quicker than having to hunt around for hours to try and find that elusive image and its owner and you have the good feeling that you’ve done the right thing… and if that wasn’t enough, your credits will encourage others to credit and also will get lots of traffic back to your image. 🙂 Hope this helps…


Model, Craft11 by faestock:

Alison Ashwell for storm clouds and cracked mud:

Turn back time, Texture 4, Princess of Shadows:

Hardcore Grunge, Texture 4, Princess of Shadows: (Collection removed from DeviantArt)

Feather Brush by Silinias:

Cloud Brushes HiRes Nr.1 of 5 by leboef:


One thought on “Credits – more trouble than they’re worth?

  1. Thank you so much for this post. I struggle with using stock art because I often download things when I am on the phone or in a hurry and later on I find a piece I like but don’t use it cuz I don’t know who to give credit to. This has limited me at times because I am stuck using my own stuff when I don’t have a large variety of my own. I am determined to start being more organized so that I can expand what I work with. I am sure once it’s a habit it won’t seem like any extra time. Thanks again Sybille!!

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