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Searching for images

Discussion in 'Writing Resources' started by skip.knox, Aug 7, 2019.

  1. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    We all know to do a Google (or Bing, or Duck Duck Go!) search on a place then switch to the Images tab for some visual imagery as inspiration. But here are a couple of tips, especially for those looking to get as pre-modern as they can. I've been prowling my way across northern Italy today, so let's take Mantua for the example.

    If it's another country, use that country's language.
    In addition to English, of course. But it's worth finding out a few key terms in that other language. For example, just searching on Mantua gets one set of images. But search on Mantova and you'll get more pictures taken by Italians because that's the word for the city in their language. Not a huge shift, but noticeable.

    Search just on Mantua (Mantova) and you get the city. What if you want the surrounding region? The correct Italian word here is "campagna" and a search on "Mantova campagna" will return an entirely different set of images.

    Then there's age. Try switching the color type to black and white rather than all colors.
    Set the minimum size to Large at least. This will filter out icons and in general images too small to be of much use.
    Another one to try: search on Mantua postcards, but here again language matters. Mantova cartolina will return more.

    Does anyone else have tips for image searches?
     
    Night Gardener likes this.
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    Not really a tip, for me it's more riffing on a theme.
    If I'm looking for an image of a castle wall, I'll add Wooden or Stone and see what comes up. then try fortification, bastions, barbican, citadel, medieval, saxon, byzantine etc.
    Just because YOU think you are looking for a 7C Saxon fort, it doesn't mean that you or the person posting the pictures has got it right.
    I try to avoid using a term as broad/vague as Civil War [something] as that will give me responses from half a dozen European conflict and the American civil war.
    Ethical, moral as well as legal issues aside if you are looking for weapons and armour adding the words Osprey can bring up very interesting leads to other resources...
    And a BIG YES to setting the image size to Large [or bigger]. for me there is nothing worse in seeing what looks like the perfect picture to find out that it is only available at thumbnail sizes.
     
  3. Not sure if this would come up with similar results to all of your fine examples skip but, as you suggested, I tend to search for the country, city, region name in the proper language and then I'll add the word for historic or history to it as well. So for italian, historic has a feminine and masculine form: storica (f) and storico (m) and history is storia. I'd search for variations of Mantova storica as Mantova (and perhaps all towns/cities in Italian) is feminine.
     
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Good tip. I really do think there's room for an article specifically for fantasy writers on research tips. Two, really. Research basics, and then the tips.
     
  5. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Sage

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    I'll add: Don't forget basic search shortcut commands in image searches. You'd be surprised at the variety of search results are after using them, before asking for any other factors.

    I'm currently needing some visual inspiration for a witch in the woods.

    A Google Search for [ witch in the woods ] is going to result in:

    witch in the woods - Google Search


    Using one or more plus signs: [ witch+woods ]

    witch+woods - Google Search

    Using quotations with or without spaces
    [ "witchinthewoods" ]
    Google"witchinthewoods"&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwj1p4_Bu6LkAhVRZawKHYBWD60Q2-cCegQIABAB&oq="witchinthewoods"&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-img.12..35i302i39.18711.23767..28213...0.0..0.510.723.0j2j5-1......0....1.........0i13j0i7i30j0i13i30j0i13i5i30j0i8i13i30.rK-THMyY7hE&ei=O9NkXbWeE9HKsQWArb3oCg

    And, using the - minus sign in front of keywords to eliminate or specify results, with or without quotes.
    [ witch in the woods -movie-film-cinema ]

    Google"witch+in+the+woods+-movie-film-cinema"&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEwjBtbfIvaLkAhUNSawKHYRWA8kQ2-cCegQIABAB&oq="witch+in+the+woods+-movie-film-cinema"&gs_l=mobile-gws-wiz-img.12...56862.60300..61174...0.0..0.157.660.5j2......0....1.nbG6lhR08aw&ei=Y9VkXYH4H42SsQWErY3IDA

    Also, asking for royalty or copyright free images in the filter can result in both free so-so printables and vector art, OR link you to really old images now in public domain. The fun part about public domain is, you can sometimes find stuff published by land grant universities and other major institutions.

    If you type in "witch+smithsonian" or "witch+BostonUniversity", you might get a crack at seeing really unique images. Usually, adding "pdf" at the end gets you linked to online internal libraries scans of source and academic research material... You'll have to "visit page" and sit through pdf's opening, but your patience could be rewarded.

    And, of course, search returns after incorporating a countless list of adjectives and other key filtering words helps tremendously.
     
  6. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Night Gardener likes this.
  7. Night Gardener

    Night Gardener Sage

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  8. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    In my top ten shows I wish was on Netflix: the TV series Kung Fu. Yeah, I know they basically stole it from Bruce Lee, but I still have fond memories of seeing that show back in the 70s, and it's been remarkably hard to find since.
     
  9. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    Huh, apparently it's streaming in the US on Amazon Prime video.
     
  10. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    I mis-spoke. When I said Netflix what I really meant was "free." :)
    Amazon does here where it has been doing with increasing frequency--giving the first season or two for free on Prime, but charging for later. Or, sometimes, charging from the first episode onward. But thanks for the reference!
     
    TheKillerBs likes this.
  11. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Sage

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    I have found DeviantArt and Pinterest to be more reliable for image search results than Google, Bing or Yahoo or the other multitude of rubbish search engines operating out of Silicon Valley. They at least tend to stick vaguely with the subject matter you're looking up instead of peddling irrelevant rubbish to boost their revenues. The only pitfall with Pinterest is that you'll be pestered with email about searches they've found which it thinks you'll like until you stop opening said emails and consigning them to the bin.
     
    Night Gardener likes this.
  12. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Pinterest also insists that I join. I'll pass.

    I've been quite happy with the reliability of image searches with Google. I searched today for early maps of Circassia and Trebizond and got exactly what I needed. I searched for images of the Lambro River and not only got what I wanted but got some pictures of the river in flood.

    I guess results vary.
     
  13. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Sage

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    I agree about the Pinterest habit of pestering people.

    If you're looking for maps or images of a particular location such as a river Google images will deliver accurate results because even their algorithms can't screw that up but that is about all it's good for. Beyond that their results are too unreliable for my liking.
     
  14. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Now you have me curious. Can you give an example of unreliable results? I promise I won't argue. :)
     
  15. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Sage

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    Just my luck... it suddenly starts co-operating and providing reliable results the one time I rely upon it not to do so. (Facepalm)

    Then again, to be fair, I stopped using Google image search a few months ago and wiped clean my search, browsing and cache history as well as changing my default browser which appears to have inadvertently improved my Google image search results.

    One example that comes to mind for bad search results was that when I was looking for images of the East German youth organisation Free German Youth I often got images of the Hitler Youth.
     
  16. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

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    Ah, that's clearer. Thx. Have you tried Duck-Duck-Go?
     
  17. Miles Lacey

    Miles Lacey Sage

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    I have used it a few times but not for a few years now. It might be worth checking it out to see what's changed with them.
     
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