[[quoteright:300:[[Webcomic/JaydenAndCrusader http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gis_syndrome.jpg]]]]

->''"I retire to my heavily processed photograph of Andrew Carnegie's study, painstakingly retrieved from a Google image search."''
-->-- '''Creator/AndrewHussie''' [[AuthorAvatar (the character)]], ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''

A common shortcut that creators use is to collect pictures from [[http://images.google.com/ Google Image Search]] and use them as a background. These images are usually run through a filter (almost always some type of blur) on Photoshop, either to lessen focus or to make the image more congruent with the art style. This is often utilized for complex designs (book and video game covers are common examples), but can be seen as a sign of laziness if the artist comes to depend on it.

In some cases, the artist is lazy enough that he picks the first fitting image from the first results page, thus allowing bored fans to guess their search query and find the original images easily. Laziness and ignorance can also get authors in much more serious trouble -- for some reason, people tend to think that anything found via GIS is fair game, when of course it's still all covered by copyright law.

[[JustForFun/IThoughtItMeant No relation to]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geographic_information_system Geographic Information Systems,]] which aren't used by artists nearly as much.

Not to be confused with a PhotoComic, which uses photographs as the art instead of an embellishment. See also PhotographicBackground.

!! Examples:


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The ''[[VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters King of Fighters: Kyo]]'' manga by Masato Natsumoto makes heavy use of this, even in scenes like Kyo and Iori coming across each other in the street.

* Some [[http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/09/george-bushs-paintings-bear-uncanny-resemblance-to-google-images art critics have pointed out]] that UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush's series of amateur portraits of world leaders, on display at his presidential library, bear a striking resemblance to pictures that appear on the first page of Google Images results for their names.

* The Free Comic Book Day issue of ''ComicBook/ScottPilgrim'' contains a lampshaded example of this.
-->"Okay, this background looks really hard to draw and I don't think I'm getting paid for this comic, so enjoy this stock photo."
* Some earlier ''ComicStrip/{{Nodwick}}'' strips did this.

[[folder: FanWorks]]
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': Grummancat is perfectly capable of drawing backgrounds, so this mostly crops up for large-scale backgrounds like the desert and city scenes.

* Indie authors publishing via Amazon Kindle or Smashwords often end up with covers that are made from a bunch of stock assets from vendors like Getty Images, Photoshopped together into something [[CoversAlwaysLie that might or might not resemble the contents of the book]], simply because [[NoBudget anything fancier is too expensive.]]

* Political cartoonist Gordon Campbell uses this CONSTANTLY.
* ''Working Daze'' has been starting to use photo backgrounds to depict areas outside the office along with other art experimentation. The writer and artist team encourage readers to guess where the photo came from.
* The Montreal Gazette's cartoonist, Aislin, has done this.
* ''ComicStrip/BetweenTheLines'' has been a horrible offender in the 2014 strips.

* The "creators" of ''VideoGame/LimboOfTheLost'' have apparently used Google Image Search themselves to take various images for use as [[http://lotl.wikia.com/wiki/Items inventory items]].
* One video game had faux advertisements in it; unfortunately, the 'faux' adverts were really GIS results with some text changed or taken out. Fortunately for the game, this was noticed during testing and changed.
* The original release of ''VisualNovel/REAlistair'' had real photographs for backgrounds; subsequent releases had them replaced by drawn images.
** Many low-budget or freeware {{Visual Novel}}s use stock backgrounds, actually, probably because actually drawing one would take time and resources the artists don't have.
* ''VideoGame/CrazyBus'' features stock photos of buses for its backgrounds. They also look rather ugly, as they had to be compressed to be put on the Sega Genesis.
* The iPad adventure game ''Lechuza'' was made almost entirely with art assets found on Google Image Search, as noted in [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUYfp-8S8M8 this playthrough video]] from our friends LetsPlay/{{slowbeef}} and LetsPlay/{{Diabetus}} of ''WebVideo/{{Retsupurae}}''. In the respective Website/SomethingAwful thread, the goons managed to track down almost every single stolen art asset using Google Image Search.
* In contrast to the usual VisualNovel use of GIS for backgrounds, ''{{VisualNovel/Hatoful Boyfriend}}'' uses stock photos for all the bird characters, and for loading screens between chapters. [[ShownTheirWork Stock photo resources are cited and thanked in the credits]].
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', there were two cases of taking images and modifying them, one being [[spoiler:the post-ending epilogue image]], and the other being the photograph of [[spoiler:[[TheReveal Tali's face]].]]
* Apparently, the art of ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}} V'' had been redesigned shortly before release, forcing the developers to rely on this technique for their button graphics, which [[http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=422219 drew some ridicule from the community.]]
* Happens during an event in ''[[VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilver]]'' where you have to take [[OlympusMons Arceus]]--basically the verse's equivalent to {{God}}--to a certain room and he proceeds to recreate the universe from scratch to give you an egg containing one of the cover legendaries for [[VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl the other Gen IV games]]. [[MindScrew This process]] is illustrated [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxC1kXm_AVs starting with stock images]] of space and stars and how the Earth may have looked, up to single-celled organisms and finally civilizations by showing overhead satellite shots or skylines of big cities. As one [=YouTube=] commenter put it: "Arceus used Google Image Search!"
** Likely the cause of [[https://forums.serebii.net/threads/serebii-net-pok%C3%A9mon-omega-ruby-alpha-sapphire-discovery-thread.637946/page-9#post-17524236 a fan-made map of the world from serebii.net ending up on the wall of a house]] in ''[[VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire]]''. Hilariously, the devs tried to disguise the fact by flipping the pic horizontally.
* ''Androx Demon of Fire'', a hilariously terrible (and now cancelled) RPG mocked by WebVideo/{{Retsupurae}} in [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwJ7_NhAoxo this Kickstarter video]] series, used a hilariously out of place volcano background from Google Images in part of the lava area. It doesn't work with the top down graphics style in the slightest.
* Stock images make up many of the backgrounds in the VisualNovel style [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Creator/Charon Charon]] VideoGame/RPGMaker games.
* ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'' had an infamous example where the cover of the Wii version was pulled from a search engine. If you look carefully at the cover, you will see an IGN watermark. This was, of all things, because they had ''lost the original image file''.

* Happens just as often as in case of webcomics, whether directly in ClipArtAnimation or traced in Flash. Any time a pistol appears, it's [[http://www.terminal-2.pl/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/gun.jpg this]] picture of a CZ-75. More egregious, if a shotgun is supposed to appear, it's usually [[http://www.theuniteduniverse.nl/weblog/images/new_shotgun.jpg this]] ''airsoft'' shotgun. A bomb? [[CartoonBomb Likely]] [[http://www.h4x3d.com/feat/themes/bomb.jpg this one.]] And so on.
* ''WebAnimation/ZeroPunctuation'' consists of exactly four visual elements: A stubborn refusal to ever change the yellow background, white figures with FloatingLimbs, imps, and pictures he took off Google images. One in particular that keeps cropping up is the Thomas Ruff portrait that, according to WordOfGod, he found by searching for "expressionless man".
* Other than effects and characters, Taiwanese illustrator VOFAN's animated film [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Jx4dvabOJ8 1/60]] is composed entirely of photographs. Because the film is all about photography, it's an interesting {{deconstruction}} of this trope.

* ''[[Webcomic/EightBitTheater 8-Bit Theater]]'': Early comics used a combination of [[StylisticSuck original but very low-quality digital art]] and [[SpriteComic sprites]], but it eventually transitioned to using image-search backgrounds in almost every comic.
* ''Webcomic/{{Candi}}'' did this for a while before going back to drawn backgrounds.
* ''Webcomic/CtrlAltDel'', usually for various movie posters hanging on the walls. Game consoles also used to be this, most notably Ethan's Gamecube.
* ''Webcomic/HowIBecameYours''
* ''[[https://web.archive.org/web/20150311030415/http://www.piratejesus.com/ Pirate Jesus]]''
* ''Webcomic/MistakesOfYouth''
* ''Webcomic/IrregularWebcomic'', a Franchise/{{LEGO}} comic, uses (copyright-free or self-taken) photo backgrounds when LEGO isn't enough.
* Used by the comic ''Webcomic/JaydenAndCrusader'' [[http://www.jaydenandcrusader.com/2008/05/29/2008-05-29/ frequently]], almost always to make up for lack of artistic ability
* ''Webcomic/SpleenTea'', specifically the mugshots. Justified somewhat, as it is a review site using pictures of the product in question.
* ''Webcomic/MSPaintAdventures'' uses black-and-white (usually pixellated) photos for most background objects. It's used for comic effect since the photo detail contrasts so highly with the stickfigure-esque characters.
** Sometimes, mostly with landscape from ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' Act Four onward, pictures are recolored to match colors. In a few cases this ends up looking odd, to say the least. Also, there's a tendency for such images to be the underlay for additional background illustrations, for example the Land of Wind and Shade (which draws certain features like rivers and mushrooms on top of pictures of landscapes).
** Lampshaded in this [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/ACT6ACT6.php?s=6&p=008162 page]].
** And of course, much as you'd expect, ''Webcomic/SweetBroAndHellaJeff'' occasionally does this for StylisticSuck purposes, often picking the most severely watermarked image possible.
* ''Webcomic/EverydayHeroes'' does this occasionally. The last panel of [[http://eheroes.smackjeeves.com/comics/1990917/their-first-meeting/ this comic]] is one example.
* ''Webcomic/UGMadness'' ocasionaly did this in its early days, usually in the form of pictures on the wall.
* ''Webcomic/{{Asperchu}}'' does this for most outdoor scenes. Which still puts it ahead of its [[Webcomic/{{Sonichu}} inspiration]] by actually ''having'' backgrounds.
* The latest episode of ''Webcomic/TheFan'' started using photos for occasional outdoor backgrounds. The pictures are taken by the author himself, of more or less the actual locations where the scene is supposed to take place.
* ''Webcomic/ABeginnersGuideToTheEndOfTheUniverse'' uses this for everything but [[RPGMechanicsVerse interface elements]] and the stick figure humans.
** Same goes for its sequel, ''Webcomic/ChairmanJackEmerge''.
* ''Webcomic/PowerupComics'' spoofed this in one strip, where the background had a giant iStockphoto watermark.
* This trope is an oft occurring one within' the Website/BZPower Comics community, especially in [[Webcomic/InternationalComicContinuity Nuparurocks' Comics]] most often are these pictures blended in well due to the Sprite nature of said comics. But there are [[SpecialEffectsFailure times when it's used less successfully]].
* ''Webcomic/EvenInTheDeepestHeartOfChaosAGlimmerOfOrderCanBeFound'' is composed of nothing but a selection of random Flickr photos.
* ''Webcomic/{{Waterworks}}'' uses this occasionally, mainly for inventory items, as well as the backgrounds in [[http://mspfanventures.com/?adv=43&id=283 a particular character's flashback]].

* In a LetsPlay of ''VideoGame/DonkeyKong64'', Dazzling Addar changes day to night for the first time in the Fungi Forest level. When they look at the moon:
-->'''Vicas''': Oh, wow, they, they, like... If Google had, like, had an image search back then, they would've just Google image searched the moon and stuck it right there.
* Lampshaded on ''WebVideo/ThirdRateGamer'', where an image of a castle is labeled "Castle of Google Images".
* {{WebVideo/Googlebrains}} explicitly and proudly uses stock images of quite a few of his characters.

* Many of the 11-minute Creator/AdultSwim comedies ''blatantly'' use this, especially the "cruder" ones. Such common examples are ''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'' and ''WesternAnimation/TomGoesToTheMayor'' (although both use it for the StylisticSuck).
* Early episodes of ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' used a lot of stock photos as background elements.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'' [[MediumBlending uses photographs]] for almost all its backgrounds. The more recurring ones [[RealPlaceBackground were taken by the crew especially for the show]], but others are stock pictures taken from a couple different sources (including Shutter Stock).

* [[http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/9296664/BBC-mistake-computer-game-logo-for-United-Nations-Security-Council-symbol.html BBC News]] once used the logo of ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'''s United Nations Space Command instead of that of the United Nations Security Council, probably because searching for [[AcronymConfusion "UNSC"]] online only returns results for the former.