A lot has changed in the photomanipulation community and genre since I created my first manipulation - and not necessarily in a very positive way.
Lately, there's been a tendency which makes it harder and harder for non-professional artists to create high-quality artworks because... 1. You are no longer allowed to use sxc.hu
as they recently released an official statement saying that artists like photomanipulators aren't allowed to take images from sxc.hu and alter them UNLESS they have the original photographer's permission to do so, but even that is tricky because you very often aren't allowed to display the final result on websites like dA.
Now since sxc.hu was one of the leading sources for us photomanipulators to get high quality images, and above all a huge selection of photos to choose from, it's very hard to find something similar. 2. High quality stock images are expensive
. If you want your photomanip to be unique, creative and individual (and I'm sure that you want that), you'll have to pay for stock images because like I said previously, high quality stock is rarely freely accessible nowadays, and you have to go to places like istock, dreamstime or depositphotos and purchase your stock photos. This is costly, expecially if you are a non-professional artist and/or produce artworks frequently! 3. Stock images on dA are often subject to too many restrictions.
There are lots of very good stock images on dA, and it'll probably be the most reliable source for photomanipulators in the future, but unfortunately, stock artists very often have too many and sometimes very odd rules for the use of their photographs, and you just get tired of following them all. 4. Art theft
. Although this topic is a little worn thin and personally, I'm really tired of discussing it, it is indeed a big problem and it's really sad and annoying to see artists having to cover their artworks in watermarks (and thus, very often ruin them) to avoid their artworks being stolen.
I think there's no doubt that it's getting harder and harder for manipulators to create free high quality artworks that are both creative and individual (you know these stock images that are used over and over again in different manips, don't you?), and if you aren't a decent photographer yourself and can fall back on a bunch of friends who are willing to model for you, it won't get easier for you.
I'm not sure where this is going, but personally, I'm slowly turning my back on photomanipulation, even the community because there are too many rules, restrictions and discussions on those rules and restrictions.