One of the things ive watched in several videos and even some books is coming up with concept designs quickly using existing images. For instance you sketch out some quick thumbnails to get a decent silhouette. Then begin to sketch out the concept image like a mech for instance. Then instead of rendering everything out in photoshop they cut images from existing machinery like shocks and control panels from inside of planes to achieve a quick result rather than rendering everything by hand. Ive read that this is used tons by artists and I was wondering how far this resulting image is taken into the pipeline. Because your taking random bits and pieces of a real image to create the image how does copyright remain ok. or are the images to stretched and butchered to have any copyright left. or is it a matter of only used as a preliminary sketch and it goes no further.
I have heard this cut and paste details phase is used often but when I look at most concept art on the web it does not look like a copy and paste job. most of it seems fully rendered in photoshop.