Here’s the short version: I’ve made a Creative Commons licensed version of the Galaxy Brain meme images. I’m releasing these images under the CC-0 license, which means you can use them in just about anything, including commercial works. I’ve made versions with both a masculine and feminine figure. More notes below!
If you just want a template you can make memes with, use one of these!
If you want high-resolution PNGs (1920 by 1080, PNG) of each of the images, download this zip!
These images are licensed under CC-0. They contain material from the following sources; if you’re using them in your own works, you’ll need to acknowledge the CC-BY elements:
- “Brain”, by mahesh (CC-BY): blendswap.com/blend/13180
- “Stellar nursery in the arms of NGC 1672” by ESA/Hubble (CC-BY) esahubble.org/images/heic0706a/
- “Generic Male Basemesh (rigged)” by lsmft (CC-0) blendswap.com/blend/8395
- “Silhouette Photography Of Person Under Starry Sky” by egil sjøholt (Pexels License) pexels.com/photo/silhouette-photography-of-person-under-starry-sky-1906658/
- “Starry Night Sky” by Felix Mittermeier (Pexels License) pexels.com/photo/starry-night-sky-1205301/
- “Photography of Stars and Galaxy” by Free Nature Stock (CC-0) pexels.com/photo/photography-of-stars-and-galaxy-1376766/
- “Realistic Human Basemesh – Male and Female – Free Sample Preview Free low-poly 3D model” by Ozne000 (CGTrader Royalty Free License) cgtrader.com/free-3d-models/character/anatomy/realistic-human-basemesh-male-and-female-free-sample-preview
We made these because we’re in the middle of writing Head First Swift, to be published by O’Reilly Media. The Head First series of books is intended to be a lighthearted and fun way to teach technical content, and my co-author, Paris, asked if we could add a galaxy brain meme in the book. Unfortunately, the nature of memes means that not only do we not have permission to publish the material in a book, it’s next to impossible to try and track down the rights-holders for those images. So, I made my own.
While I was making them, I made a couple of changes to the commonly-used formula. The initial image in most galaxy brain sequences shows an x-ray image with a picture of a scaled-down brain; I’ve always found this to be pretty ableist, especially since the meme is frequently deployed to make fun of people with bad opinions. Bad opinions are rarely the result of brain physiology. So, I opted to make the first image simply a non-glowing brain.
After posting the images on Twitter, I received several requests for a version of the images that didn’t just use the standard masculine model. Hot takes aren’t the exclusive domain of men, so I put together an additional set. (When I made these, I was glad that I didn’t make the first image use a small brain, because that would have made that image much more likely to be used in isolation as a sexist trope.)
Thanks for reading this far, and I hope these pictures bring you joy!