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PureRef - freeware reference images manager


I stumbled upon PureRef, a neat tool that makes it easy to create collages of reference images. Just drag your images into it and arrange them any way you like. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

PureRef is freeware and available for Windows, OSX and Linux.

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. Rombout Versluijs on

    I got this app a couple months ago, havent tried it a couple times and its quite awesome. They are quite open for suggestions, though the update process is slower.

    Biggest issue now is lost linked textures. But other than that is super nice app.

  2. I've used this one. It is good, but I remember having an issue with it and opting to use a reference manager a coworker shared called Kuardo instead. Just so i wasn't spreading false opinions I downloaded them both again.
    After using both PureRef and Kuardo again, they are nearly identical.

    Both are free to download, i believe as freeware but not opensource.
    Pure Ref has alignment tools for images, a few more supported formats, notes and options for keybindings.
    Kuadro has no installer, and is a bit smaller and more simple.
    Kuadro defaults to a place the images over the desktop and arrange it yourself. But you can save that arrangement.
    Pure Ref defaults to a canvas with images that arrange automatically. The canvas can be toggled transparent and layouts also saved.

    In the end both are great and there is no reason not to try them to find a favorite.

    • P.S Sorry this took a while to compose. The issue i had with Pure Ref was the windowed canvas mode.
      I liked having imaged overlaid on my desktop and separate from one another. This is totally doable in Pure Ref, its just not the default and i don't remember if it was doable before. So yeah, no issues this time.

    • Rombout Versluijs on

      Downside to Kuadro is hardly any response and their OSX version crashes instantly on my system.

      I have good experience with PureRef, bu it seems Kuadro had some other options which PureRef doesnt have

  3. fluxcapacitance on

    Hi Blendernation....been a few years since I've posted...I think.

    Pureref is pretty awesome once the shortcuts are memorized. Right click menu has everything you need.

    I use it to gather references for modeling historical models, where standard 3rd projection views don't detail. Also great for concept art references.

    To me the best parts are:

    1. Drag and drop from your web browser.
    2. Print Screen-->Ctrl-V--->"C" key crops.
    3. One file per collection. Easy for collab stuff.

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