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I don't know about you but I've been collecting a library of reference images that I can turn to for inspiration.
At the moment I just sort them into folders by category. - Interiors - Lighting - Texture - Composition - ect the problem is that I have no way of finding the when/where/who of these images once they've been stored.
I was wondering what people use to keep their reference library organized? Software/Process/Habits ect
I only keep inspiration on my computer and I break them off as Environment or Characters. I never keep reference unless they're paintings, drawings, etc but I would consider those more inspiration. When it comes time to create concepts for either work or at home I just google the shit out of the topic and create temporary folders within my project folder.
I keep it very generally divided into categories (people, places, animals, inspiration - that's where other artwork goes -, textures...) and surf them every time I'm looking for reference, only sometimes with something specific in mind.
If you're so desperate to save time, name every image accurately (ie: tree branch texture) and just use the search option.
But I honestly would never remember and I like surfing through hundreds of pictures.
I also keep a stash of magazines with bookmarks in them in my library. Try not to get too much into dA, google and such, there's much to be found in books, comics, magazines
But with a file structure, I don't take notes with the images or write down the source like I used to.
I could use Aperture but that feels a little overkill. Does anyone use Bridge?
I use tags to be able to find my references.
Every time I´m on the internet and see a great picture wich could be used as reference I save it to a unsorted folder.
From there on I divide into photography and painting,drawings,etc.
Then I have subcategories like humans, environments, buildings, animals, vehicles.
These catogories also have subcatogories and those too. I´m now up to 400 subcatogories.
When this is done I use a programm to tag all those pictures.
At the moment I use Google Picasa but I had Adobe Bridge too wich isn´t much the difference as long as you have alot of reference material.
In Picasa you can press "ctrl + k" to add tags. It is very helpful to select e.g. all jungle pictures and add tags like jungle, rainforest, nature, landscape etc. for all of those. But all in all it is really time heavy especially if you have alot of material.
Also you have to think about for what you will be searching there are some things wich are really important like material, light, texture, gesture etc make sure to think about that before you start tagging.
when all your images are tagged you are able to search for the tags in nearly every program. I use windows vista, it´s very fast even with image count like 10k. If you canßt find anything helpful with the tag search you can still go in your folder structure and search for it yourself.
I hope this will help you, just don´t try to do it over night, creating a reference library takes alot of time.
Thanks Arne, I'll give Picasa a try.
Although it scares me thinking about using yet another Google product... It's non destructive and the price is right
Still if anyone else has a different approach I'd be interested in hearing it.