18 January 2008

Free sources for cover art

Whether publishing music on the web or via CD, it's always nice to have a bit of a visual imagery accompany a song. That goes for remixes as well as for fully original work. Just like recorded music, more and more good stock photography is becoming available for free. This can be a nice resource, unless of course you are a visual artist yourself. Here are a some sites, which host free stock photography:

MorgueFile doesn't even require you to log in to download images.
SXC.hu is one of the largest and best quality sources for stock photography on the web.
PixelPerfectDigital has over 5000 free images.
Flickr's Library of Congress image collection has some great historical images. (HINT: follow the persistent URL at the bottom of the description of a particular image for high resolution versions of the images)

Some music makers have used pictures as inspiration for their music. And some others have sort of remixed that. :-)

Note: Pictures with individually identifiable people on them can be a bit of a tricky issue. To be on the safe side, a "model release" may be a good thing to have when publishing a picture of a person.

A great simple to use free Photo manipulation image editing program for Windows users is paint.net. Almost as easy as MS Paint, but way more features. Mac users have been spoilt for years with iPhoto which ships with iLife as part of a standard Mac OS/X system.

And for the really ambitious, who have the appetite, but not the budget for Photoshop, GIMP is an amazingly feature rich image manipulation program to be run on one's desktop.

Mashable.com has a great compilation of more than 90 Online Photography Tools and Resources including many online tools for image manipulation.

This is an update of an entry originally posted in July 2007.

4 comments - add your comment:

Dork said...

Yeah, I love the GIMP. Very easy to use once you get the hang of it.

I'd also like to point out that there are programs that convert images to and from sound. Artists such as Aphex Twin and Nine Inch Nails have used this process to incorporate hidden images into their songs.

There are also a huge number of images available at the wikimedia commons. This is where I got the source file for the Sunset Bleeds Distortion cover.

--Rkod

spinmeister said...

very cool links - thanks Rkod!

Gary said...

you can also browse Deviant art, and if anything takes your fancy, get in contact with the artist and ask for permission to use it. Just provide a link back to them.

spinmeister said...

There are indeed numerous sources for potentially free art. My post was more to highlight sites, where one didn't have to specifically ask for permission.

That being said Deviant Art is a great place indeed.