Stock art goes online and consumer

Looking for just the right photo to use as a background on your home page? Want your e-mail to make the same worldly impression as postcards from a renowned art gallery?

Unless you scan them from a book (which is illegal), such images -- known as stock art in the graphic design business -- cost a bundle. With fees running at about $500 to $1000 or more per image, only professionals preparing commercial publications can afford to use them.

But stock-art vendors are beginning to release consumer-friendly versions of their image databases. You can retrieve digital versions of stock photos and paintings over the Net. The files are small enough to work with, and often the price is right.

Giant image-database vendor Corbis, for one, just went public with a consumer version of its online sales site. You can choose from more than 350,000 images and pay a mere $US3 each for unlimited non-commercial use. You're free to slap these images on your Web site, send them as Corbis e-cards, use them as screen savers, or print them out poster-size and tack them up on a wall. Images come as 640x480 JPEG files, and include a Digimarc digital watermark to trace unauthorised use.

Finding the image you want may take some work. You can drill down through topical categories and sub-categories ranging from Animals and Nature to War and Military, or search by keyword. But beware: keywords are assigned to images by unpredictable human judgement, so they may not turn up what you expect.

The Corbis collection includes colour and black-and-white photos, as well as paintings and other visual materials. The Corbis site provides some free samples, though access to them requires filling out a nosy survey.

By the way, in case you weren't aware, your Corbis purchases fill the pockets of Bill Gates. He founded Corbis 10 years ago when he started buying digital rights to famous artwork. The collection includes images from some of the world's finest museums, among them the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, the Bettmann Collection and the Library of Congress.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Dan Littman

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?