Over the past couple years I have been using Blender I have watched many tutorials (paid and free) and have built up an extensive collection of shader materials that I have made from scratch and used techniques from those in the tutorials. When someone ask how to make a certain material in BSE I have a perfect (imho) shader for it but cant remember for the life of me where I learned that technique or how much I changed etc... I feel guilty if I show how I did a shader set up (even if it is tweaked to fit my scene) that I may have got from a paid tutorial.

What are your thoughts on this? Should I just not post anything if I cant remember where I learned that technique from? Or even if I do remember Should I not post at all to help someone if I got it from a paid service?

  • $\begingroup$ [Should I just not post anything if I cant remember where I learned that technique from?] Yes. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 4:27

2 Answers 2


If you went to college for a certain field, would that mean that you couldn't share the knowledge and techniques you learned there?

For me personally, the answer is no. I think that when you pay for college, you aren't paying for the ability to use certain techniques, but instead for the explanations that the teacher gives.

With that in mind, if you fully understand all of the concepts you learned from the tutorial, are comfortable explaining them and would use them in shaders you build from scratch, in my mind, you are in the clear.

This is of course just my personal reasoning, other might disagree. This is definitely a little bit into the gray area, as is pretty much anything related to intellectual property.


If we are talking just about your knowledge learned through tutorials, paid or free, then yes absolutely you can post.
However if this some shader you purchased, then you should think long and hard before you post that. In many cases, like everything on the blender market, you can redistribute it however you want, because of its license.

Now lets take the cycles material vault as an example. The license is about as restrictive as you'll find, yet even here I do not see anything that would prohibit you from showing part of a node tree. You can not redistribute the material, so definitely no blender file, and I would err on the safe side and say don't even post a picture of the whole node tree.

But, for example, if you say watched some tutorials on cgcookie and used that information in your shader, I would say that is ok to include that in a post.

Obligatory disclaimer about me not being a lawyer and do not take this as legal advice

  • $\begingroup$ I wonder if a node set up is even copyright-able. They might supposedly restrict it but a node setup is a technique, not a creation. I don't think it would have much legal weight if you made tutorials based on all the cycles material vault and Reynante tried to sue you. Quite honestly, it's a bad business model. I only took one term of copyright law so I'm not a lawyer either. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 13, 2017 at 5:25

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