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The Photoshop Blog offers the latest Photoshop news and software updates, Photoshop tips and tutorials, and random thoughts from graphic artist and Photoshop expert Jennifer Apple.
JULY 07 2005
Yotophoto - Interview With Mark Thompson
Yotophoto is a search engine for free-use stock photographs that is growing in popularity. Recently I interviewed founder Mark Thompson to find out more about the site.
How long has Yotophoto been online?
Less than two months.
What made you come up with this idea? What was the inspiration behind it?
The idea was to somehow unify the disjointed collections of free images on the web. There are so many of these excellent resources on the internet but they can be difficult to find, and to search. I think these resources were being underused not only because of the complexities involved in searching but also because of the licensing issues.
We haven't done much of this yet, but one of our goals is to help people understand these licenses and further their understanding of copyright in general.
As for my inspiration, I'd say that the philosophy and ideals behind the Creative Commons movement have been a real eye opener for me. I think it's going to have an enormously positive impact on creativity both on and off the web.
Do you ever hear from owners of the images, as far as the rights go?
We have contacted all the sites we index, and all the feedback has all been very positive. As far as individual image owners, we have heard from a handful. Most thanked us for helping expose their works to a wider audience.
How long did it take you to get to indexing over 100,000 images, and what kind of numbers can we expect in the near future?
We launched with 50,000 images and have since doubled that. The index will grow substantially but our goal will probably always be quality over quantity. I'd say we'll likely double our index again in the next several months.
How many "agencies" are you indexing and do people submit their sites to you, or are you always on the lookout for new sources?
There are currently about 20 sites in the index, and we are adding more regularly. Right now, we are trying to balance our time between updating the index and working on improving site functionality. It's a bit of a challenge.
We hand pick all the sites based on a couple of factors. The major considerations being the overall image quality, the number of images on the site and how well the images are captioned or "keyworded". If there's a good image site out there we'll usually find it on our own, but we'll soon have a message board where people can make suggestions.
What's your favorite free stock photo website?
Well, obviously Stock Exchange for its quality and sheer quantity of images. Morguefile, ImageAfter and Openphoto.net have really great things going as well. Even the smaller sites are great... It's just so inspiring that people have gone and 'shared' their work for the good of the internet community.
Do you have any other similar projects planned?
Well we've got tons more plans for Yotophoto, what you see now is only the beginning. I don't want to get too specific but we've got some great ideas that, for example will help enable bloggers to use more imagery in their blogs. Text only blogs can be so dull. Another thing we are looking at is indexing foreign language image sites, and allowing for on-the-fly translations during the search. For example you could search images on the German wikipedia, in English.
We've got other plans as well, unfortunately they are classified ;-)
Do you have any power search tips people should use when at your site?
We just released the advanced search feature last week, so I would recommend that people try that out. Also recommended is the Yotophoto Firefox search plugin.
Another good tip that is relatively unknown is that you don't need to use the advanced search feature for negative keyword matching. You can enter them in the basic search box by using a minus sign(-). For example, searching for "tree -palm" will show all trees that aren't palm trees.
One last question how did you come up with the name Yotophoto and what is its significance?
I wish I had something clever to say but the fact is the word is meaningless. We just thought it was catchy.
Thanks Mark. I wish you continued success and lots of good luck!
• Photoshop Tip: Reset The Preferences As You Launch
You've probably heard that the best way to fix many common problems in Photoshop is to delete the Preferences. Rather than struggling to find the preference file and delete it, try quitting Photoshop, then re-launch it while holding down CommandOptionShift (PC: ControlAltShift). You'll be asked if you want to "delete the Adobe Photoshop Settings file." Click OK and all your settings will revert back to the original, "out of the box" defaults.
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