PureRef is a Must-Use Reference Image Tool for All Creatives

April 24, 2018 - By 

PureRef is a Must-Use Reference Image Tool for All Creatives - Featured

Keep your reference images and project notes in your sight at all times with PureRef. No more tabbing between windows and programs.

Once in a while, a productivity tool comes along and changes the way I work. Now to be clear, I think of a good coffee cup as a productivity tool, so that should give a bit of insight into my obsession with honing in my toolset. When a tool can drastically improve your work or your life, I feel compelled to tell people about it. So this is me yelling from the rooftop about my latest obsession, PureRef.

PureRef is a straightforward utility app for Windows, Mac, and Linux with a very simple premise. Keep your reference images in view at all times. The app places your references in a window that stay on top of all your active programs and tools. 

PureRef is a Must-Use Reference Image Tool for All Creatives - Adjustments

All day I bounce back and forth between my DCC (digital content creation) apps to random reference bookmarks or folders on my machine. Sometimes even dragging images into the Cinema 4D picture viewer just to keep them in sight.

With PureRef, you can create a new canvas and drag as many images onto its infinite canvas as you’d like. The best part is that you can tell PureRef to stay on top of all your open applications and windows. While you’re working, you can dial in your look while having all your reference imagery sitting right next to your preview render (IPR).

PureRef is a Must-Use Reference Image Tool for All Creatives - Drag and Drop

The ability to save canvases means you can start keeping multiple PureRef projects to suit your current needs. It’s a huge time saver. I also love how you can quickly zoom, resize, and re-arrange your images anytime you’d like, saving the changes for the next time you need instant inspiration.

This tool improved the look of my work on first use. I was able to take 20 minutes assembling reference imagery, and during my look-dev process, I was able to hit the look I was after in minutes. You can even add notes to yourself within the PureRef canvas. 

PureRef is a Must-Use Reference Image Tool for All Creatives - Notes

Having reference imagery sitting an inch away from your IPR is something I will no longer be able to live without. You will see a lot of it in the future in my tutorials. So do yourself a favor, find an excellent sturdy coffee cup and go download PureRef right now.

About PureRef and Download

PureRef is a Must-Use Reference Image Tool for All Creatives - Logo

PureRef allows you to drag-and-drop files from your machine, or directly from browsers. You can also edit photos in your canvas to meet your needs, including rotation, scale, crop, opacity, and more. You can also customize the canvas and keyboard shortcuts to speed things up.

  • Compatibility
    • Windows 7+
    • Mac OS X 10.9+
    • Linux Ubuntu 14.04+
  • Supported Image Formats

PureRef is a name your own price download, and you can get it here. It’s well worth throwing them a few dollars if you can.

  • Can´t download the PureRef stuff – Lost my money I payed.
    The download didn`t start as I expected. Manually download didn`t either – no chance.

  • @GIGEZ
    PureRef is free. The donation is optional. Set the price to 0, click download, and it should start.

    • Although that is true. We recommend making a small donation to help keep the development of this awesome product alive.

  • PureRef is great, though Kuadro is much better if you’re taking screen real-estate into consideration, imo.
    PureRef puts all images onto a single canvas, which is a deal-breaker in some cases, while Kuadro keeps image windows separate and resizable.


  • Rombout Versluijs August 29, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    That Kuadro site aint loading so i cant check. But i proposed multiple canvas or artboards a while back and hope they could add such a thing. I also proposed being able to fix/relink missing images etc.

    PS Aswin your server is intense slow from the caribbean. I mean really slow. Took more than a minute perhaps more to load your site.

    I wanted have a look on that Kuadro app so i downloaded the OSX version. Instant bug splat, well thats nice…

  • Rombout Versluijs August 29, 2018 at 10:43 pm

    I dont see that option in Kuadro for seperate canvas’s?

  • Kuadro is not supported on Mac. I personally think PurRef is a bit of a beast that needs a more user-friendly interface, it’s just way too stripped-down. Learning all the keystrokes just so you can use it seamlessly is just too much.

  • Started using pureref yesterday. I wish I could use my color picker in krita and pull directly from the pureref photo. I guess this isn’t possible?

  • PureRef really is great! I made a tutorial all about the basics to help those getting started. I love it. ?


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