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- Mass Effect Andromeda
Andrea Reed has always had a passion for art and designs. A few years after graduating high school in 2009, she combined makeup and art to give herself a more challenging canvas: her own lips. Fast forward to 2017, and a pixelated lip design Reed created last year called “Defragmentation” was featured in Mass Effect: Andromeda, one of the year’s biggest and most anticipated video games.
But this was news to her. In fact, Reed only found out about her lip art being featured in Andromeda because she was contacted by GameRevolution. Reed said she received no contact whatsoever from EA or Bioware, and, despite a tertiary knowledge of the Mass Effect games, she had no idea that Mass Effect: Andromeda even existed.
“It’s been a really popular design,” she said, referring to her creation of Defragmentation. “I know my designs are all over Pinterest too, and that’s a big place people look for inspiration.”
Defragmentation, while not identical, is remarkably similar to the “lipstick style 3.00” option in Andromeda‘s custom character creation, as you can see below.
Not only are they remarkably similar, but Reed’s particular design is highly visible online. In addition to her more than 300,000 followers on Instagram, you can simply Google image search the words “pixel lips” and see her Defragmentation design on the first page. More generally, the design will also show up on the front page of Google simply by searching “cool lip designs.” Not only that, but you won’t find any similar designs from anyone else besides Reed, who designs under the banner “girlgreybeauty.”
But would artists at BioWare really resort to Google image searching for inspiration? It’s not unheard of. In fact, Overwatch game director Jeff Kaplan recently revealed that the map Dorado was designed after an image they found by Googling “colorful mexican town.”
Reed, who also models and photographs her designs, has yet to monetize her art in any way, although she has been wanting to sell prints of her designs, since her followers often ask for them. Reed has mixed feelings about seeing her designs were used in Andromeda. Despite saying it’s an awesome feeling to be the inspiration for such prominent work, it bothers her that she received no credit for it.
“My first response was a little ticked,” Reed said. “But really, I know how inspiration works. Sometimes [artists] get inspired without even noting what inspired us.
“That said, companies should work harder on crediting artists. I want to be positive about this, but I don’t want to just brush it off, because artists get taken advantage of all the time.”
GameRevolution has reached out to BioWare for comment, and we will update this story once we get a response.
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