If you’re a digital artist or graphic designer, particularly if your theme is in the fantasy or horror genres, then you’ll probably be familiar with the struggle to find good quality stock images of people that fit your brief. Enter NeoStock: provider of high quality cinematic stock photography.

How is NeoStock different to other image stock sites?
The front page of the NeoStock Cinematic Images websiteLarge commercial stock sites tend to concentrate on the corporate market. This is perfect if you’re looking for images of happy office workers, families at parties and scientists pointing at charts to use with your website or ad campaign. Not so good for a fantasy book cover! NeoStock has picked up on this market need and created a stock site dedicated to cinematic, character-based images. The photos are high resolution and professional quality in JPEG format and can be edited in any application, both desktop and mobile. The use of neutral backgrounds makes it easier to extract the characters and insert them into the target scene.
A multitude of characters
A selection of characters from the NeoStock Cinematic Stock Image website Just some of the available character sets

There is a wide choice of available character genres: everything from Wild West cowboys and medieval knights to zombies and post-apocalyptic freedom fighters. Surprisingly, there are no photos of incidental characters amongst the otherwise comprehensive catalogue. The closest we come to that are a few teenagers in plain dress. A few scared or beleaguered characters alongside those of the protagonists would be a good addition to the portfolio.

Poses a plenty!
A screenshot showing a section of the available poses for a character in a NeoStock library A snapshot of the dozens of different poses available for each character set

When you do something it needs to be done well. Each character library on the site has multiple versions, some in excess of 200 separate poses in a set. These include full positional changes – viewpoints from the front, back and side facing – interaction with props and also more subtle differences such as facial expressions, changes in eye direction and more. This means that whatever your scene, you’ll be likely to find a character with exactly the right pose.

Not just people!
A selection of CG characters and scenes from the NeoStock library CG rendered scenes and creatures

Alongside the human characters there are now sections for CG (computer generated) backgrounds and monsters. Being new additions to the site there is currently only a relatively small selection but this will no doubt grow quickly.

Industry professionals

The NeoStock team knows what people want: they are professionals in the design and illustration business. NeoStock founder Dean Samed is a seasoned illustrator and has an impressive portfolio of high-profile work under his belt, including covers for horror masters Stephen King and Clive Barker. Alongside Dean are photographer Tom Parsons and Make-Up artist Suzanna Forrister-Beer, who complete the production team.

Focus group

As well as the core team there is a focus group comprising artists, designers and authors that help steer the content of the site. Using crowd-sourcing is a perfect way to ensure the latest trends and themes are picked up on and added to the ever-expanding portfolio.

Help and advice

Alongside the stock images, there is also a section of useful articles, many written by the site founder, on creating cover illustrations, marketing and other related topics. The overall directory can be found here: http://neo-stock.com/blog/article-directory.

Purchasing the images
A screenshot showing the image purchase dialog on the NeoStock website Comprehensive image licencing options

Stock images are available to be purchased singularly, or as bulk packs of 5 or 10 images from a set. There is currently no ‘all you can eat’ subscription model that many of the other stock sites offer. At the time of writing, the bulk discount process is a little convoluted. The team manually processes requests for discount packs, which can result in a delay before you’re able to download the images. Worth noting if you’re working to a tight deadline!

Each image uses the following pricing structure, linked to the company usage terms:

  • $25 STANDARD LICENCE | Print & Web | Unlimited Digital Impressions, up to 250,000 Prints
  • $150 EXTENDED LICENCE | Print, Web & Products | Unlimited Digital Impressions, up to 250,000 Prints | INCLUDING Fine Art Prints, Apparel, Calendars etc.
  • $250 MASS MARKET LICENCE | Print, Web & Products for Titles exceeding 250,000 Prints

In addition to the standard site access, a subscription to the ‘Elite’ membership tier can also be purchased. This gives unfiltered access to the entirety of the NeoStock collection, which includes many images that are not available in the public libraries. It’s worth noting, however, that the Elite subscription does not include the price of the images.

An screenshot showing the images in the free NeoStock sample pack Get six full-resolution images by signing up for the newsletter!
Sample image pack

A sample image pack is available to download for the meagre cost of subscribing to the email newsletter. For this you get a selection of six full resolution images from the theme libraries. These are for both personal and commercial use (under the Standard Licence agreement). That’s $150 worth for free!

In synopsis

NeoStock offers a great service and caters well to the needs of professional and amateur digital artists and graphic designers with high quality fantasy and horror stock images. The individual images may seem a little pricey but the usage terms are very good. There are a few small niggling problems, mainly around the purchasing model but nothing that should deter artists using the site.

  • Categories and keywords make it easy to find the correct image genre
  • Multiple poses and viewpoints
  • Photographed on neutral backgrounds for easy extraction
  • High resolution JPEG images
  • Low resolution downloads for comping drafts
  • Currently no subscription download pricing model
  • Buying discount packs is a little clunky
  • Adding non-protagonist characters could give the site more variety



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