A few years back, I bought a quite expensive set of Clip art CDs that came with a nicely printed book showing all the images categorized into sections and with their filenames.
Unfortunately, actually finding those files proved to be a nightmare because the catalogue was badly organised and in many instances, just plain wrong.
We all need to use a clip art item at some time or another but finding them is the problem – even when it's there on the desk beside you.
Hemera sell a number of clip art and photograph solutions. The one that is particularly impressive is 'Photo-Objects'. This is a collection of 50,000 royalty-free images split across 80 categories and delivered on 8 CDs and is available for Mac and Windows.
What makes this product stand out from similar offerings from other companies is the bundled application, which serves as both a searchable image database and an image processor. Let me explain.
When you type 'plain-English' keywords into the search box, thumbnails of appropriate images appear. As soon as you have typed 'f' for instances, all images having keywords beginning with 'f' appear, adding an 'r' narrows down the search to keywords starting with 'fr' and so on. Finally, you are left with a choice of image thumbnails matching your keyword. Clicking on a thumbnail prompts you to insert the appropriate CD and the image appears in the 'Export Image' window.
Each high quality 24-bit image is already 'cut-out' and sitting on a transparent background and you are asked to select where the image is going to end up. Choices are:- word processor, spreadsheet or any application into which you can paste an image. Web authoring program. Graphics application. Image file.
Next, you are asked about the size and resolution of the intended usage with options for 300 dpi print output down to 72 dpi Web graphics. You can either enter a size or simply drag the selection to the size you want.
If you are producing a Web image, the file format is most likely to be a JPEG and you can choose to put it onto a plain colored background or on top of a previously saved image. The same goes for images being pasted into word processors and such.
If you want to use the image in Photoshop or other image editor that supports transparent layers, you can send the image straight to the application with its transparent background.
Images can also be exported to image files in a variety of popular formats including, TIFF, JPEG, PICT and BMP.
The quality of the images is outstanding, the range of subjects excellent but it is the ease of use that's exemplary.
Currently there are two 50,000 image volumes in the Hemera 'Premium Image' range costing just under $100 and several other bundles with fewer images at lower prices. I would very much like to see the images offered on one DVD as an option to 8 CDs and would gladly pay a little extra for the convenience.
Hemera - http://www.hemera.com/