Find Creative Commons images that are free to use in your projects and illustrations with CCfinder

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If you’ve ever had to illustrate an idea, then you’ve likely done gone and searched Google for images that may be useful or could provide a starting point.

The problem, of course, is that those images are typically copyrighted, are NOT in the public domain and do NOT offer a Creative Commons license.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were a search engine that would just display Creative Commons images that are available for use freely or contingent only on acknowledging the source? That’s exactly what CCFinder does.

CCFinder is a free, desktop-based program that can search Flickr.com and display Creative Commons images that are either (a) free to use commercially without limitations, or (b) free to use with a reference to the author.

CCfinder screenshot1CCfinder screenshot2

Some notes on this one:

  • I love the ability to simply type in a keyword or keywords, and know that all of the resulting images can be used without permission
  • I like that you can specify, either or both: images usable without limitation, and images useable with reference to the author.
  • A handful of effects are also available: sepia, contrast, and greyscale filters.

The verdict: this is a nice little program. The images all come from Flickr and I suspect that professionals who are seek out Creative Commons images have more sources that they use, which makes this more suited to the non-professional (e.g. bloggers like myself) who have occasional needs for such images.

What this program needs is more image sources. At the time of this review all images come from Flick, and since you could browse/search Creative Commons images directly on that site, adding a handful of other image sources could increase the attractiveness of this software significantly. Additionally, some filtering would be great, especially filtering by image size (although as I understand it, some color filtering is available in a paid version, so it may be withheld on purpose).

I will also mention the nagware ‘please donate’ screen when you close the program, which almost prevented me from writing it up. I decided to post it anyway for the simple reason that I see myself keeping it on my machine and using it on occasion.

Version tested: 1.01 (Build 262. Revision 8057)

Compatibility: WinAll

Go to the program page to download (2.1 megs). You will need to register with a valid email.