How to use PureRef with Blender for your reference images


Have you ever tried using a creative application like Photoshop to house all your Blender reference images? Believe us: there is a better way.

PureRef is our go-to image reference app for Blender, as well as for virtually any other creative activity. Graphic design, illustration, and any other creative endeavor can all be made so much easier and so much more convenient with the right reference app that comes with it.

PureRef is our favorite way to mix. We have a feeling you’re going to have fun too. Here’s everything you need to know about it.

What is PureRef?

Added images to PureRef from Google.

If you’ve always dreamed of an interactive and fully configurable Pinterest board that follows you everywhere, PureRef is the reference image software you need. It’s basically a giant window with no panels or controls – you just add your images and adjust the window size to your liking.

The PureRef window exists outside of everything else on your desktop and any other open windows. It’s a virtual corkboard with one purpose, and one purpose: to exist as a canvas, on which you can pin whatever you need for your Blender project.

PureRef is the go-to image reference app for many reasons apart from the official BlenderGuru recommendation. Once you have everything you want to add to the board, it’s basically an infinitely large space with room for concept art, anatomy reference, style guides, and literally anything. you will need, end to end.


PureRef is loved within the Blender community primarily as a tool for reference images, but creatives should never limit themselves to using it only with Blender. It’s really useful when creating mood boards and even mind maps, for example, both for yourself and for others.

If you’ve always been one to throw all your Legos on the ground before you start building with them, PureRef will likely become a longtime favorite.

How to Add Images to PureRef

Using PureRef with Blender.

First, you need to download PureRef from the official source. It is available for Windows, macOS and Linux. You can choose to donate, or you can add a custom $0 donation if, like us, you’re also on a budget.

When you first launch PureRef, you will probably be a little confused. Fear not, however; once you have at least one image to work with, mastering PureRef will be an extremely intuitive and enjoyable process.

To add an image to your PureRef reference chart, you can either:

  • Drag and drop an image into.
  • Paste an image from your clipboard.
  • To hit CTRL + I to import your images.
  • Right-click in the canvas and choose an option under the Charged extract.

After adding an image, you’ll find that PureRef automatically creates a new canvas, which is just a set of boundaries containing everything on your board. CTRL + O will optimize your canvas, creating a form-fitting fit once you load it all up.

Deleting an image is as easy as selecting the offending item and pressing Remove Where Going back. All your usual copy-and-paste commands are alive and well here too. To scale an image up or down, select it so that it is active and use the highlighted box to adjust its size. You can also use the left mouse button while holding Crtl and Other Do the same thing.

Other + Change while clicking the left mouse button allows you to flip an image along any axis – while holding down these three controls, drag the image of your choice in the direction you want it to she turns around. You can also rotate an image using Change + CTRL by dragging.

Click and drag an image while holding Change limits the translation to your X or Y axis. Hold both Change and Space out allows you to align images on top of each other on their perpendiculars, which can make organizing your arrangement easier.

To move the entire PureRef window, you can right-click and drag it anywhere on your screen. Alternatively, you can choose to morph it around the window you’re working in by left-clicking and dragging the sides of the window, allowing you to squeeze it anywhere without obscuring anything inside. other than you must see.

Use the middle mouse button while dragging to explore the collection currently on your canvas. A left double click instantly expands your view to fit whatever is on the board on the screen. You can then zoom to your cursor with your scroll wheel or by holding Z while dragging with the left mouse button; this combo move is especially useful when you need to find something specific and get perfect quickly.

CTRL + F Instantly takes you to full-screen mode, which is great when using PureRef to brainstorm or plan a project. Fullscreen is also very useful if you have a few monitors to work with – if you’re only using one screen, however, you’ll need to partition PureRef and your Blender session open next to it.

How to use PureRef with Blender

Added a label to our PureRef map.

Part of the magic of PureRef is having all your reference images in one easy to manage window. Once you have everything you want in front of you in PureRef, open Blender and set up both windows so you can comfortably use them both, ideally with some of your reference images loaded into Blender itself.

In PureRef, you will find two options that might give you a head start: Always on top and Always downboth of which will be found after you right-click on your canvas and hover over the Fashion extract. Which one is right for you will depend on your workflow and preferences. They’re pretty self-explanatory, two modes that keep PureRef from overrunning your Blender session or getting lost in the sauce as you work.

After deciding on the layout of your windows, you will probably have a hard time fitting them into the space allotted to your PureRef window. It’s really easy to put things away once you get to this point – select each relevant image individually or use CTRL + A and knock CTRL + P to incite the Optimal Package option.

This PureRef trick will save you a lot of clicks and you can even group images selectively by purpose or need. You can also adjust your preferences for grouping images by name or by Addition, the order in which they were added to the canvas, via your PureRef preferences. You can access the preferences menu with CTRL + you.

To label any of these groups of images or to add a note for yourself or someone else, you can use CTRL + NOT to add a new text field.

There are plenty of ways to further customize your PureRef experience, but if you’re anything like us, you’re probably more than ready to play once you get to that point. Don’t let us stop you – if your images are there and you have a project in mind, you’re already on the right track.

Every Blender Artist Should Use PureRef

Drop them. Scroll through it all. Why waste your time with fifteen preview windows? Never find yourself scrolling through the stack for that image you need again.

PureRef is free, but that’s far from the only reason it deserves a place in your Blender tool arsenal.

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