Have you ever wished there was a comfortable way to keep your reference images floating and organized while you are making art? I know I did, and a while ago I stumbled on PureRef while watching a YouTube video in which a digital artist was mentioning it.
PureRef is a great little program to view and organize your reference images. It's sexy, simple and lets you do exactly what you would want to do with reference images. There are tons of simple but very useful functions that you need to work easily.
For starters, you drag and drop images from your desktop or browser directly into the PureRef window. You can add as many images as you want, arranging them manually or automatically, then save your arrangement as a .pur file so you can open it later. This also includes the possibility to embed the actual images inside the PureRef file, in case you want to move the file across computers, instead of linking to the local images in your current computer.
You can edit your images in the following ways:
- Select one or more
- Focus on one or more (doubleclick/space)
- Rotate (freely or with snapping using shift)
- Change opacity
- Save images
The canvas in your scene can also be used in several ways. Features include:
- Optimize the canvas around your images
- Pack your images
- Toggle always on top-function
- Toggle transparent to mouse-function
- Lock the canvas for editing
- Clear canvas
- Reset camera
- Save/load your scenes
- Export scenes
You can customize your shortcuts, colors and opacity for the UI, and also save the color themes.
It's good when you are using just one reference image to paint digitally, and even if you're using your monitor to view the reference while you're painting or drawing traditionally. It's fantastic if you're developing a design, like concept artists do, to have all the images that you will draw inspiration from together. The fact that you can crop an image is useful if you only want to show a particular part of an image, and the ability to use notes helps remind you of stuff that you don't want to forget.
Another great use for this program is making mood boards, which is great for graphic design, interior design or fashion design, and if you want to collect some images by theme in your computer, like some inspiration for your next DIY home renovation.
PureRef is available for Windows 7+, MacOS X 10.9+ and Linux in the Name Your Price model, in which you pay whatever you deem appropriate for it, including 0. Yes, you can get it for free, although contributing at least a bit never hurts and keeps developers developing!
Barbara Din is a visual artist, graphic designer, painter, interior designer, crafter, musician and writer living in Argentina. Learn more about Barbara and her work at the following links: