Using Google Images can be really useful if you are an illustrator. Before the ‘Google Times’ illustrators would flock to libraries to gather images. They would go to different locations, take photos and have endless subscriptions to magazines with lots of photos and keep them as reference. Buying magazines and books is still a great habit to have and if you know of a source, it is also a good idea to go and experience, but being able to use Google Images is becoming more and more part of the ‘average’ illustrator’s skill set.
In a previous blog post about How to use Google for Illustrators I covered on how to optimise your search phrases and terms. Now I am going to expand that and tell you a little more the Advance Search Tool option in Google Images.
Once you have navigated to Google Images, you will see a Search Tool icon. If you click on it, it will expand and you will see some new options such as Size, Color, Type, Time, Usage Rights and More Tools.
Let’s tackle the first one – Size. The options for Size are Icon, Medium, Large and ‘Larger than…’ and then ‘Exactly.’ This can be really useful if you would like to find a high resolution for an image. Say you are wanting to actually use the image as part of a collage for a photoshop illustration. So using the tips I have last time, you would search for ‘wood texture.’ This brings up some great results and Google even suggests adding another keyword like ‘light,’ ‘dark,’ or ‘floor,’ to filter it further. But now I would like a high-resolution, as the Publisher wants to print in 300dpi (dots per inch). I click on Size and select Large. Now I have a selection of large images that I can use. If I hover my cursor over an image, it tells me the size.
Perhaps I have a story about a donkey, cos who wouldn’t right? But maybe it is a specific colour of donkey I am looking for. I need a brown donkey. Here is where I can use ‘colour’ or ‘color’, which is next to the ‘Size’ drop-down. I select ‘Color’ and then pick brown. Now my search results only show me brown donkeys.
Maybe I change my mind and I actually want gray donkeys. I go back to ‘Color’ and change it to gray. Now I have lots of gray donkeys.
In Type you get to select what the file is, for example a Face, a Photo, Clip Art, Line Drawing of Animated. Let’s look at some Winnie the Pooh images. But we only want drawings of Winnie the Pooh, so we select ‘Line Drawing.’ This will show us only outlined images of Winnie the Pooh with no colour.
Time allows you to select images that have only be uploaded on the internet in a certain bracket. This might be useful if you are looking for something that was maybe redone recently.
If you would like to use something directly from the internet, then Usage Rights is where you need to be. Here you can see which images have been labelled to be used, used with modification, and for commercial or noncommercial use. As an illustrator, you should be using images for reference purposes only, so I won’t go too much into details about it. But if you are interested there is lots of information online about this.
You will see in More Tools an option to Show Sizes. This will reload your page, with every single image’s size listed on it.
Search by Image
Now I want to show you something that is really cool. This is something fairly new to Google which is searching by image. If you go to Google Images search page you should see a little icon in the search field, of a camera. If you click on it, it will ask you to upload an image, or paste image URL if you have. I upload an image of something you might be interested in. I’ve uploaded a picture of a daisy.
Google then recognises this and tells me what it is. This is great if you’ve been somewhere, taking photos, and you don’t know what it is. For example, say you are doing a character of a fish. You went to to the aquarium, got some great photos but now you would like more of that particular type of fish. You can upload a photo and Google will tell you what that fish is.
From here you can find other images that are visually similar to yours.
Of course, we can’t end this post without one of the many fun Google Suggestions….
Let me know if you have any other tips, or a question!