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Using Photographs or Converting to Cartoon/Manga Pictures?

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For my dating rpg I have taken a lot of photographs around town to use as backgrounds. (There are no people in the photographs.) This looks good enough for me, but I'm thinking of putting this game on the Internet to be playable online. It is a hobby game, at the moment not intended to be commercial. I wonder what to think about when using photographs in a game. I have many questions:

1. What kind of photographs are ok to use in a game?

2. Why don't people use photographs in games more often?

3. If I take a photograph in a public place, is it ok to use? (There are no people in the photographs.)

4. If a house owned by a company/shop or a company/shop logo is seen on a photograph, is it ok to use?

5. If I somehow take away/paint over the logo in the photograph, is that better?

6. Is there some free program that can be used to easily convert a photograph to look like a cartoon or manga picture? Can you recommend any? I'm thinking that this could be a way to make it harder to recognize the places and houses. Thus I could also make graphics without drawing it myself, because I'm not good at graphics.

7. Can I use the program GIMP that I have to convert the photograph somehow and can you give a tips about how to do? I'm really a newbie when it comes to using such programs.

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