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Updated June 20, 2013: On using images to conduct a search, in particular  for your artwork!

Okay I spoke with my brother Steven; my tech. guru, and he explained that  giving simple instructions that will work in every situation for every user is not possible because we each may be using different browsers and platforms. What works for one person on a IBM PC will not be what works for a Mac user and IE will need to be tweaked differently than Safari but he has given a few suggestions.

By opening your browser and going to Google and then clicking on the top tab titled image, you will bring up the image search. You may have used this to type a subject to find images that would be relevant to that word, but notice the little camera in the search bar. Click on this and a new window appears that will prompt you to search on your computer for the file of an image. You can also just drag and drop an image here from your computer files also. Try it! You will find this quite amazing what is churned out. An algorithm or complicated math equation that describes images in terms of a string of numbers with each pixel in an image  being equated to a number goes into action and brings back results that may be your very own picture hijacked by some unknown to you web site. It will also bring back results of images it considers to be quite similar.

Now some how, my brother set it up that every image I view on my computer (whether in my files or on the web) automatically has this little camera unobtrusively displayed at the bottom right hand corner.  He used an addon for my Google Chrome browser to do this. So now I can easily click any time I want and see, “Where in the World Wide Web is my Artwork”.

Now I can explain how he accomplished this on my computer but because of various variables it may not work on your computer, but if it doesn’t just use Google Image Finder as described above. Okay here are the steps for Google Chrome browsers: (This addon is also made for Firefox and Internet Explorer. In Safari it is added by going through the extensions option.)

  1. Make sure the lock toolbar option is unlocked.
  2. Turn on menu bar = now the old school tool bar is back.
  3. Click the image that is to the far right of your navigation bar (where you type web addresses). It looks like 3 horizontal lines.
  4. Under tools > Extensions > This shows all goodies loaded into your tool bar.
  5. This is where you would verify if you have the Google Images Finder Extension.
  6. Turn it on and go find your art!
  7. If you do not have it loaded you can go to this link to get it https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/search-by-image-by-google/dajedkncpodkggklbegccjpmnglmnflm?hl=en-US
  8. There is also a nifty little how too video here.

What you do once you find that your work has been misappropriated is up to you and a matter for another blog. The speaker at a seminar I attended, mentioned that they would be the most likely organization in Canada to assist visual artists with this type of concern.  They can be reached at CARFAC.ca.

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As a side note to the post on “Strategic Planning for Visual Artists”: 

Many other topics were discussed at the workshop. Should this workshop be offered in the future, I highly recommend you attend whether you are a part-time painter, a full-time professional artist or someone who works with artists. Copyright and internet issues were also discussed. It was suggested that watermarking your images is a good idea. I am hoping my new copy of Photoshop can lead me through  that process.

I had also promised to blog about a bit of freeware my brother (an Electronic Systems Engineer) had recommended to me. I joke he is my personal IT department, Love you Steve! It is pretty neat. Once you download the program, you will notice a little camera icon in the corner of any image you hover your mouse over. If you click this camera an internet search takes place and you are shown all the links to images this program feels are similar to your image.

I did this and found a site that had snafued one of my best ever images “Dreams”without so much as a nod in my direction.  I have emailed the site and requested a link be added referring people to my site or or that the image be removed. I have yet to hear back from them.  I guess I may have to see what can be done next apparently this is something else CARFAC helps it’s members with.

If you would like to give this nifty tool a try here is the link to download it:

http://tineye.com/ Is another reverse image search tool.

An interesting article on the topic and watermarking http://www.techhive.com/article/181361/digital_focus.html.