Along with Clip Art to dress up your documents and publications, there are many other places on the Internet to capture images – including graphics, cartoons, photographs, drawings, lettering etc. Just follow me.
First, Google “free clip art” or “clip art.” Many sites pop up, and lots of images are free to download. However, I have never found them too compelling. Besides that, sooner or later most of these sites want your email address to advance to better images and often you will run into a subscription that costs money to access more options. So I’ve largely found the free sites to be a waste of time.
There are good clip art sites that you can “join” (for a monthly or annual fee) that are better. One is http://clipart.com/. A one-week subscription is $14.95 (if your needs are temporary). The annual rate is about $160.00. You can then both download both clip art and photos in hundreds of categories. There are many other sites to explore as well.
For photographs, the selections are also endless. A few of my favorites are http://istockphotos.com/, http://bigstockphoto.com/, and http://shutterstock.com/. They are all subscription, but you can also download just one photo for a small fee (sometimes as low as $7.00). istockphotos also gives “credits” each time you download a photo toward future photos.
Of course you can also insert your own photos from your “My Pictures” file into your documents.
But follow me to one of my very favorite resources for clip art and photos, which is usually free.
“Google” the subject you are looking for. Since it’s a patriotic season of the year, let’s say we’re looking for “American Flag.” If you click the Google search, it will bring up a list of web sites. But instead of clicking “Search,” look up toward the top of the screen and find “Images.” Then click that. You’ll see a myriad of pictures before your eyes. These are images from the web sites that you first saw when you clicked “search” and got the list of web sites.
Next, double click on the first flag image. Note that this takes you directly to the web site where this image is hosted. At the top of the screen, you’ll see the picture you selected alongside the words “See full size image.”
Double click and the image will fill the screen. Depending on the resolution, the image may be large or small. Photo resolution has to do with the number of pixels in a photo which affects the appearance (crispness and clarity) of an image when printed to the screen or in a document. The higher the resolution, the more pixels per inch, and the better clarity and crispness you will get.
For print, your image should be a minimum resolution of 300 x 300 to show up well in a document at a small size. The resolution is given in green type below each image. Large images (over 1000 x 1000) may need to be downsized in your Picture Manager or Photoshop software, or cropped. Large images take up a lot of space on your computer’s hard drive, but look great in your documents (i.e. not “fuzzy” like small ones sometimes do). To go back to the Google images page to look at more, click on the “back” arrow twice at the top left hand corner of the screen.
If you go to the bottom of the page, you’ll see that you can advance the pictures by the page and see over 13,000,000 images if you want to!
Once you have selected an image you like, BE SURE you double click to “see image full size” before you download. Once the full size image is on the screen, just right click and select “save picture as.” Your browser then lets you select where you want to save the image (default is the “My Pictures” folder on your hard drive.) See? It’s very easy. But mind these admonitions:
· Many of the images are copyrighted. If they are, you either should not use them or should email the web site for permission to use them. Give attribution to the web site or copyright holder in your document just to be sure you are not in violation.
· Many times you will see and like a photo or clip art that is from one of the subscription photo stock sites and it will have a “watermark” over the image. Obviously, you are prohibited from using these without going to the web site and purchasing the image or subscribing to the service.
· Finally, remember, when you click on one of the images, you are being taken directly to the web site. Depending upon the type of image you are looking for, this can lead to some “dicy” places on the Internet. So look at the name of the web site and be sure you really want to go there. And be sure to delete the browsing history from your computer daily (using “Tools” and “Internet Options” – see Internet Magic BLOG dated April 24, 2009 about cleaning your computer). When you are Googling to look for images, you can really clutter up your computer.
Jane Booras is Editor of the Campus Times Newsletter for Computer School for Seniors (http://www.cs4seniors.com/)