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Finding Aquaman: An exercise in image paleontology

Yesterday, I saw a tweet from Fes of The Webcast Beacon, asking for help in tracking down an artist. I’m guessing he wanted to use an image in the show notes of an upcoming podcast and wanted to credit the creator. Since I had nothing better to do (other than feed the kids and stuff), I decided to accept the challenge (and order pizza).

Here’s the tweet.

And the image.

I plugged the image into Google image search and got a bunch of results. Pro tip: If you go to Google image search and click on the camera thingy, you can submit an image for it to search on.

A lot of the results were blogs and discussion threads, none of which credited the artist.

I was shocked! SHOCKED!

But among the “visually similar” results was one without the motivational poster border. No, I don’t know why Bender’s in there either.

I plugged the borderless image back into image search and got more results. Again, bunch of blogs and stuff. No credit.

Next step? Start restricting the time range. Since I was looking for the oldest reference, I set the To date and left the From blank. I kept stepping backward until I got to 4/1/09 and I saw this.

DeviantART? Yes! I clicked through and found the image, posted under MK01. It was only at that point that I noticed that the original image was signed. When the image was slapped into a motivational border, it was cropped, conveniently removing the artist’s signature. Nice.

So what’s the take-away from all this? Artists don’t get nearly the credit they deserve. Go give one a hug. And if you can’t do that, at least give them a link-back.

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Steve D

Steve D

Steve consists of approximately 60% water and 40% organic molecules, arranged in a configuration that is, among over things, capable of describing itself in this manner.

6 Comments

  1. December 27, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Hell Yes Steve!!!
    Shades of “Books: That Is Exactly How They Work”.

    Also? That forum thread, “Cthulhu vs. Ulmo vs. Aquaman”, is so gloriously geeky that my day has been made.

    Credit your artists people! Otherwise we will take away all of the art!

  2. December 27, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    It should also be worth mentioning tineye.com, which attempts to automatically do much of what you just described. It succeeds about half the time (in my experience), presumably because they don’t have the machine resources that Google has. In this particular case, tineye.com failed to find the original, but it did quickly locate the full-sized non-demotivational version.

  3. December 27, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Yeah, I’ve had some luck in the past with tineye. Found that Google has more recent activity, though.

  4. December 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    I think this is a great follow-up to Cloe’s post from yesterday. If artists are going to share their work for free, we need to remember to do the only decent thing and give them credit.

    Thanks for the tips on finding proper attribution!

  5. December 27, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Steve D: Yeah, and since Google has continued to improve their native tools, tineye is probably doomed to wither away at some point in the near future.

  6. December 27, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Someone needs to tell Dr. Koorthapalli about this. I really just really don’t ever want to see him in a Wonder Woman costume.

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