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Illustrator - UI & Web Design using Adobe Illustrator

Free vs Royalty Free images

Daniel Walter Scott || VIDEO: 1 of 45

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Hi there, in this video we're going to look at where we get free images from, and what royalty free images are. We'll start with the free images.

Good places to go, the best place is probably this one called There are lots of stuff in here. You just need to log in, and you can use them commercially, which is quite cool. If I need a picture of a rose-- What you need to do is you need to ignore these premium ones over here, this is how I guess the site makes its money. It shows you some stuff that's half decent, and then goes, what are these ones? So these are the ones that you're going to end up paying for, and there's no problem with that, but if you're looking for free, my big tip for using any of the free sites is, on the site here they say relevancy, most of them will start with that, you want to go to the one that says 'Most downloaded'. I find that will bring the cream of the crop to the top, they're ones that's been most downloaded.

You can see, they're all varying sizes, some of them are really big, and some of them are quite small, like this one here is quite nice, it's already been cut out on white, and yes, Now, another cool site to go to is-- this is actually just like a directory for lots of the smaller free images. I know this is a big long link up the top here, but if you Google only the link in the description somewhere, but if you just Google 'Spotify 22 Awesome websites with stunning free stock images’, you'll end up here. What's really cool about it is they're quite niche, some of the sites only have-- they'll put up one free image a day, but some of them are really beautiful, like I've been looking at this site here, Gratisography. This guy, he's a photographer, Ryan McGuire, he does real cool stuff, and he allows them to be used commercially. Well done, Ryan.

You can go through. It's more kind of commercial stuff in here, with models, where, say often is, it's just kind of like, real kind of standardized stock library, so have a look through that list, and there's lots of different stuff in here, but freeimages is the main place. In terms of the royalty free-- royalty free doesn't mean free, it just means that you pay for it once and you get to use it over and over, and they'll range between US $20-$40 to buy, and then you get to reuse them.

There are three main players. iStock, Shutterstock, and this one here called Adobe Stock. They all have a very similar sort of library doing similar sort of thing. I'm using Adobe Stock mainly lately because it ties in so well with the Creative Cloud, and that is probably its biggest perk over the others. They all have slightly kind of different awesome interfaces and so, use the one you like the most.

I'm using Adobe Stock, say for our site I want to put in some designer images, so I've just typed in 'designer', actually let's put in 'graphic designer', and so it comes up. Very similar. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to grab inspirational looking designer things, and what I'm going to do is-- remember, earlier on in this tutorial I've made this library called-- Dan's Portfolio is what I called it. So I've saved a preview to Dan's Portfolio, so if I jump into Illustrator right now - I forgot to open Illustrator - and I hit this little 'Update' button, there he is there. The best thing about it is that I haven't paid for it yet, you can see it's got the watermark, but it's a nice big copy and I can start presenting this to my client, and say, these are the images, this is what I'm thinking about, and give them a kind of a cost for those images as well. 

What's really nice is, if I start designing this, and I start adjusting it, and cropping it, and changing the colors, what I can do is, in here I can right click and just hit 'License Image', and if I've got a subscription to Adobe Stock, and I think you get 10 images a month for something like US $20, something around that. It will just license it and update this thing, I don't have to re-link it or re-import it, or any of that sort of jazz, so it's pretty cool.

What I'm going to do, for this, I'm going through and grab some designer images, I'm going to type in 'UX' - my favorite word - and I'm going to say, yes, I want that one to be a part of it, and you can see, there's a 'Buy one', but there's also just a 'Save Preview'. I'm going to save that preview, and I'm going to save that preview, I'm going to save that one, I'm going to save you, and I'll save you. I'm  pretending this is like my portfolio, I've totally not made these things, I'm just downloading them, and, you'll see in here, hopefully we should get a bunch of our little images that we can start working with. Awesome.

Alright, so we're using Adobe Stock, there'll be a link on the screen here to go to Adobe Stock. If you've never used it before and want to sign up, use my little link. Why? Because I get a cut from Adobe, it doesn't cost you anything else, but they give me a bit of a cut of your subscription, so it's a win-win, win for me mainly. Try Adobe Stock, or iStock is really good, and Shutterstock is another one, maybe go and compare those ones and see which one you want to use.

Alright, so free images, go to, and if you want to get royalty free ones that you can buy and use over and over again for lots of different projects, go to