Is it legal to use someone else's modeling techniques and/or art style?

Specifically I'm talking about a popular MMD modeler known as TDA, to create his characters he uses big eyelashes, colorful textures, etc, I create a model of my own using the same techniques, art style and similar proportions but I used those to create my own character, it is not an edit since I made it using blender yet I'm worried because I don't know how copyright works in this situation.

A few examples of things that look similar in my model are:

  • the eyes (I used exactly the same mesh here since the effect it creates adds more depth).
  • the highlights on the eyes (not the same mesh yet same technique of separate materials from the eyes).
  • the ears (placed proportionally exactly at the same place where the tda model ears are, meaning that the distance between the eyes and ears is exactly the same).
  • the textures on the face and body are similar but I painted them using a softer style (the shadows are proportionally in the same place).

Everything else from the face to the hair, body and animations is my original character.

I can include pictures of both the tda model I'm using as reference and my model if needed.

1 Answer 1


Legally it is not a problem as long as you create your own materials (drawing it yourself) and don't copy entires pieces of works or certain characters (for example you can't use Mickey from Disney to your creations and earn money from it without permission).

Ethically, If you do not develop your own style and focus on having exactly the same style you will be criticised. It's ok to have his techniques as a reference, as long as it's only an influence on your own style and you can contribute with something new.

In short, Having influences is something normal and you shouldn't worry.

  • 1
    To add to the ethical point of view here I want to quote Joseph Cummings Chase "If you steal from one person it’s plagiarism: if you steal from three persons it’s research." Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 12:29

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