Where do you get reference images?

Hello, 

I'm looking for suggestions for image databases for reference photos for creature effects. I have done a lot of google image searching, and I have also done some searching for picture reference books at bookstores - I have Jacque Cousteau's "The Ocean World" which has a lot of good pictures. I also like using instagram to explore artists and I like to save images in collections based on categories - I love the work of Zdislaw Beksinski, artist Fecal Matter, @hannahorca, @sloppjockeyart, @animvs, @pitchcanker, @nathanreidt, to name a few and I also really like the makeup fx work that Mike Marino posts. Does anybody have good online image databases that they like to use for creature reference/inspiration? Here are some categories I tend to be interested in:
- wildlife (bugs, big cats, ocean life)
- fantasy art
- horror art
- anatomy - i can find diagrams easily on google but would be interested in finding "what i'm not looking for"
- wounds / trauma
Thank you for any tips! 

-BenG

Comments

  • Chris EllerbyChris Ellerby Los Angeles Admin
    When it comes to reference images I mostly search google images and pintrest.  Sometimes ArtStation if I'm looking to be inspired by amazing artists.

    The most helpful thing in finding reference is defining a list of search terms and research those first to get alternative terms and related terms that can help you narrow or expand your search.

    I do a lot of reference searches for my projects, and the biggest thing I can offer here is something I found that has forever changed how I store and view my references.  It's a program called PureRef and it is absolutely amazing (https://www.pureref.com/). It's pay what you want, so you have the option to get it for free if you like.  Personally, I plan on getting it again just so I can give money this time because it's been such a massive help for me. 

    Here's how it works.  You create a new document and paste all your images into it.  It lets you move them around and sort them in clusters if you like, or you can use keyboard shortcuts to auto arrange the images into a tightly packed wall.  You can double click an image to make it zoom in and fill the window, rotate/scale/crop images, add text notes, view them as a slideshow, browse between zoomed-in images with left and right arrow keys, and all kinds of other functionality.   You can even add text notes to the images if needed.

    When I'm 3D modeling it's helpful because the window is borderless and you can size it down to fit a small space on your screen, zoom in on a specific reference image, and then make the window "always on top" so it stays put while you work.

    It seems simple and not that special, but honestly, this program has been life changing for me.  I used to store all my reference images in directories in my DropBox or inside Evernote documents for my projects, but this is so much easier.

    /Chris
  • Thank you for the tips, Chris! I have also found that learning/getting the right search terms is a big part of making google images work for me. I will try out PureRef, it sounds awesome!
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