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How to Find Image Sources (for most Artwork)

Last posted Apr 03, 2013 at 02:30PM EDT. Added May 29, 2011 at 01:03AM EDT
29 posts from 16 users

A couple days ago, DrPepperfan (I think) asked me how I’m able to find image sources so quickly.
How, you ask? To be honest, DPF, usually with absurd ease. To quote one of my past posts, “search engines are credit to team!”  
Another part of it, though, probably comes from my years of experience with art websites like deviantArt and FurAffinity. This part I will now share, for the convenience of all persons who wish to find image sources, the original artist(s), and/or other pictures by the same artist(s). (This info applies mainly to meme-related artwork, especially those images posted on the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Furries pages.)

Each art website (deviantArt, FurAffinity, etc.) and general image posting site (Ponibooru, E621, etc.) has its own file naming scheme. If you’re lucky, the posted image will retain its original filename, making the original source (mostly) easy to find.

Art websites:
Filename: [title of art piece; all non-alphanumeric chars replaced with underscores]by_[artist name, same deal with the underscores]-d[base-36 code].[jpg/gif/png/whatever]
Art page: http://[artist name][title of art piece, with hyphens instead of underscores]-[the base-36 code converted to base-10] OR http://[artist name][base-36 code]
Filename: [10-digit number, usually starts with 1].[artist name]
[misc. words relating to pic].[jpg/gif/png/whatever]
Art page:[“full” or “view”]/[upload number]

Example: “Young Rainbow Dash” by AtomicGreymon on deviantArt


Example:Kihu commission” by AJ-TheCanaanFox on FurAffinity


[Continuing tomorrow, need sleep plz kthxbai]

May 29, 2011 at 01:03AM EDT

(I know you are going to finish this tomorrow, but…)
If filenames or other obvious things don’t work out:

Jeffrey’s Exif Viewer – Breaks down image information.
TinEye – Searches for website pages that have hosted the same image.
SauceNAO – Pixiv, Magazine image, anime, and others search.
GazoPa – Tries to be like TinEye, but mostly sucks.
iqdb – Imageboard search.
二次元画像詳細検索 – Searches for 2D images.

You can even mix the websites up, getting a high quality picture from saucenao, and then running it through TinEye for origin searching.

May 29, 2011 at 09:23AM EDT

O_O Holy crap. I thought that reverse image searching was still under beta! Now you’ve given us not one, not two, but THREE fully operational reverse-image search engines?!?

Olivia’s right. You win. Forever.


@Olivia & Don:
You guys are talking about Ogreenworld’s post, right? After being so epically upstaged, I’m feeling a little disinclined to continue…

EDIT -- Might as well add something I forgot about FA: The artist listed in an image filename can be found at[username]. In the example above, 1241669148.aj-thecanaanfox_hiku_comission_4.jpg is from AJ-TheCanaanFox’s FA page at

Last edited May 29, 2011 at 10:40PM EDT
May 29, 2011 at 10:32PM EDT


Sorry! I didn’t mean to “upstage” you :(

Please continue, we need all the information we can get >_<;

May 29, 2011 at 10:37PM EDT

@PHR16384: Please continue! This post is great :)

Jun 01, 2011 at 01:13PM EDT

Reverse image search definitely helps, especially when it is an image that’s been iterated into different languages. Google Images also has a feature that allows users to see “similar images” or “more sizes” that will help isolating the original instance.

If you’ve already identified the keywords and appx. time period associated with the image, you can also narrow down the Google search results by using “Custom Range” (ex: 1/1/2009 – 12/31/2009) on the sidebar.

Great thread is great.

Jun 01, 2011 at 01:20PM EDT

Thanks for the great post PHR16384! :D

Last edited Jun 01, 2011 at 02:04PM EDT
Jun 01, 2011 at 02:04PM EDT

Featured on the front page??  

Sorry for not continuing yet everybody, busy with RL stuff. I’ll definitely have free time tomorrow, if I don’t get this finished later today.

First, a quick note to append to the details about deviantArt: All images uploaded directly from deviantArt should at least have the “d[base-36 code]” part in the filename.
Another example: “Pegasus Ponies” by Slugbox

This image has been resized, recompressed as a JPEG (although the file extension is mistakenly PNG), and the first part of the filename is a hexadecimal jumble. However, we can see that the base-36 code is still there: “d3hhiik
Surprisingly, you can simply type “[base-36 code]” into your browser’s URL bar to take you right to the original page:

Back soon, kthxbai!

EDIT: By the way, that oh-so-important base-36 code relates to the post order on the entire dA website. “Pegasus Ponies” is (apparently) the 210,769,148th piece of artwork uploaded to dA.
3hhiik  ==>  210769148 (
The original art page is also found here:
Surprise! There’s that base-36 code again, converted back to decimal. The same is also true for the “Young Rainbow Dash” pic above (3d1u8w  ==>  203319392), and -- I expect -- any other pics from dA.

Last edited Jun 01, 2011 at 03:56PM EDT
Jun 01, 2011 at 03:43PM EDT


Now that photo plagues the Forum. But, great post, anyway.

Jun 02, 2011 at 08:26PM EDT

Check em’.

Jun 02, 2011 at 09:52PM EDT

Damn. This past week I went through 300 pages of older MLP pictures saving any noteworthy ones I found. However, for organization sake I renamed some of the artwork because I did not know what all the numbers were for. I should have looked at the forums more.

Sigh… I guess this means I’ll have too go through all the MLP Pics again, not that that’s a bad thing. :D

Thank you so much for the heads up.

Jun 03, 2011 at 04:34PM EDT


Continuing on to general posting websites:

Filename: [post number] – [image tags].[jpg/gif/png/whatever]
Original post:[post number]

(Kind of obvious, but whatever.)

Example: “18082 – gilda pinkie_pie rainbow_dash.png”

If you’re lucky, the original source URL will also be posted with the image (in the “Source” field below the “Tags” field).

That’s it for tonight this morning, everyone.
And awaaaaaay I go!  

Jun 05, 2011 at 01:15AM EDT

Im still confused to how to post pictures in forums. Let me give it a shot

I hope that works DX

Jun 05, 2011 at 11:14AM EDT

Princess Affinity For Muffins wrote:

Im still confused to how to post pictures in forums. Let me give it a shot

I hope that works DX

OH yay 8D Now i just need to learn how to link.

Jun 05, 2011 at 11:15AM EDT

OK, need help here. This pic.

This is from dA, but it doesn’t have a base code of what sort. I could find the artist, but it seemed a bit slow, and some artists have 20 or so pages to go through which may not be quite smart…….

Any idea how? It’s not the fist I encountered…..

Last edited Jun 06, 2011 at 09:16AM EDT
Jun 06, 2011 at 09:13AM EDT

Mister J wrote:

OK, need help here. This pic.

This is from dA, but it doesn’t have a base code of what sort. I could find the artist, but it seemed a bit slow, and some artists have 20 or so pages to go through which may not be quite smart…….

Any idea how? It’s not the fist I encountered…..

Because I added this comment an hour ago I was unable to put this as an edit…..

The finel way of searching:

If you can only find the artist and file name, the search in deviantart is usually trusted. And sure enough, I found the source of this picture:

Jun 06, 2011 at 10:27AM EDT

tell me smb plz or i will kill your dog

how called this pic?

Last edited Jun 09, 2011 at 04:25AM EDT
Jun 09, 2011 at 04:22AM EDT

‘Nother quick thing to add about dA:
Images uploaded earlier than August 2010 don’t have the base-36 code in the filename; images from about 2004 and 2003 don’t have the artist’s name either. (Although, I have seen a few artist galleries where old filenames are being converted to the newer format.)
If the artist is in the filename, you can still type in [artist name]; try replacing any underscores with hyphens (just like the example Mister J provided: Click the “Gallery” tab, then click “Browse” (out of the “Featured”, “Browse”, and “Scrapbook” links near the top) to sort the art pieces by date. Happy browsing!
And thanks for reminding me, Mister J.

Jun 10, 2011 at 01:21AM EDT

Nice Post 10×.

I am using similar image search for my own photo library:Duplicate Image Finder

This tool can find similar images sometimes even better than search engines, but it works for your own photo library. Give it a try
They provide also a Free duplicate file finder.

Apr 03, 2013 at 02:30PM EDT

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