Review – Pure Ref is Possibly The Best Image Reference Viewer and Organizer for Artists

Review – Pure Ref is Possibly The Best Image Reference Viewer and Organizer for Artists

Rating and Conclusion

9.5/10 – I use Pure Ref for almost every drawing I do and It’s an integral part of my process.


What is Pure Ref?

Pure Ref is a Mac/PC image organizer aimed at artists who would like to make better use of their image reference collection in an minimally frictionless way.

Why is it Needed?

I often require multiple image references to be easily available, and before PureRef, I would assemble images for a new project in an image reference folder, then opening and viewing individual images. This method of searching the image folder, opening the file and resizing it so it has a place on my desktop adds just enough friction to the creative process to be an unwanted distraction.

With PureRef, all of my image reference is in one easy to navigate infinite canvas. This makes viewing image reference as frictionless as possible by scrolling the canvas in any direction fo find an image, and zooming into an image once you found the image you’re looking for.

Table of Contents



Here’s some of PureRef’s Features That I use the most.

Importing Images

Drag and Drop new images to add them to a PureRef image collection.

Reorganize Images

Move, resize and zoom into any image.

Rotate and Flip Images

Often it’s useful to be able to rotate and flip images.

Each PureRef Image collection is stored withing a single, self contained file.

This may be an overlooked “feature”, but I find it very useful to be able to collect my image reference for each project in a single PureRef image file. This makes it easy to keep my project specific image reference with all of the other project files.

Final Thoughts

While there is a little bit of a learning curve to discover how to efficiently use Pure Ref, I found it to be worth the effort.

Ultimately, Pure Ref will be in my illustration workflow until something better shows up…and since an image reference tool is a pretty narrow niche, It is unlikely a competitor to Pure Ref will show up any time soon.

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