Raw Materials: Free Stock Photos & Textures

The Internet is full of places for finding those stock photos of overly happy women working customer support and businessmen striking a deal for serious business. However, maybe you need an image or texture for your blog, reference, design work, or art work.

Fortunately there are plenty of places online for free stock images and textures. Always make sure to check licensing as perhaps an image is free but might require permission or may not be available for commercial use.

One of the oldest resources for free stock images. Relatively recently acquired by Getty Images many budding would be stock photographers cut their camera and illustration chops here.

A growing gallery of images some with restrictions and some without. Many of the images are out of focus or require some Photoshop tuning, but the range is stunning.

A great collection of images for reference, remixing, or backgrounds. The images tend to be less people based than stock.xchng and focused towards artists and designers.

Mayang’s Textures
I’ve used this site for years for creating 3D textures, backgrounds, and textures. The images are high resolution so are ideal for creating seamless tiles. The limit is 20 images per day, per IP address. You can buy a DVD for a mere $40 USD containing all the images if you hit the limit often.

CG Textures
Like Mayang’s, this site is designed and organized primarily for use as textures. The images are primarily of flat textures such as rust, steel, and organic fauna.

It’s no secret that Flickr has many, many images– but many of them are vacation shots or drooling babies. Those vacations shots can be useful sometimes– like this quite elaborate use of a vacation shot in the film Iron Man. Just make sure its okay to use the image according to the creator’s wishes.

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