Kuadro - Free Reference View Tool

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lkruel polycounter lvl 2
Hey Everyone,

I've just released an update to my reference viewer tool, Kuadro, and thought I would share it here.

Kuadro is a tool that lets you open multiple windows across multiple monitors, resize, rotate, crop, zoom, and organize them the way you want it on your desktop, and then save that preset for later!

The tool is portable, so all you need is the executable, no installation and it can live in your dropbox or gdrive. It's designed to stay out of your way and be as minimal as possible.

I've been adding a bunch of enhancements based on your feedback and would love to hear more.

Here's a video of Mike Pavlovich running through some of the features.

[ame]

The tool is free to download, and you can get it at
http://kruelgames.com/tools/kuadro/

Thanks!

kuadro_screenshot.png

Replies

  • c.buliarca
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    c.buliarca polycounter lvl 3
    Hi Luiz,

    Kuadro is great, thank you for this tool, now following the discution in the other forum I think maintaining the layout would be for me main concern when going throw the images, I'm thinking that if I need to make the window match the image I can do that after with your already implemented . Great work man once again and thank you that you are open to sugestions.
  • lkruel
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    lkruel polycounter lvl 2
    Hey Christian,

    Just released version .4! This has both of the features you mentioned.

    Let me know if those work well for you and help spread the word!

    Thanks for the great suggestions!

    http://kruelgames.com/tools/kuadro/
  • c.buliarca
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    c.buliarca polycounter lvl 3
    Hi Luiz,

    That was fast, thank you, I will let you know as soon as I will get to my computer.

    Thank you.
  • c.buliarca
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    c.buliarca polycounter lvl 3
    Hi Luiz,

    version 0.4 works great, one thing I've noticed is when I have a preset opened and I am trying to open another image by double clicking on it's icon, it will actually open another instance of Kuadro with the image, do you think that it is possible to open it like adding the image to the already opened instance of Kuadro?
  • Gheromo
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    Gheromo polycounter lvl 5
    Been using that tool for a while now! I like it more than any other ones so far!
  • Sage
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    Sage polycounter lvl 12
    Looks amazing. Thanks for sharing.
  • Spatz
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    Spatz polycounter lvl 7
  • Octo
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    Octo polycounter lvl 11
    Looks like a great tool...personally I have a few thousand images in my reference folders and finding them in explorer is a pain...maybe you could support drag and drop from your regular image viewer (xnview etc)?
    Just dragging an image to the Kuadro icon in the lower right to open it would be nice.
    A small "bug"..if you left click the icon the menu shows up but won't disappear if you click somewhere else. Easily fixable by right clicking it again, but it's something.
  • JasonHeckmen
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    JasonHeckmen polycounter lvl 3
    Any hope for an OSX version?
  • throttlekitty
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    throttlekitty Polycount Sponsor
    I was recently annoyed with opening the same series of images, so this comes at a good time for me! Thanks for sharing it!
  • lkruel
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    lkruel polycounter lvl 2
    Octo: Drag and Drop is something I'm looking into. Unfortunately the library I'm using doesn't recognize dropping on the icon, but I could do something that you can drop onto an already open image. Would that still be useful?

    JasonHeckmen: I'm working on it. The tool is written in python, so in theory it's super easy. I have the source working on my mac, but whenever I package it into a .app it has some issues running on other people's computers. Definitely something I'm actively trying to figure out.

    Everyone else: Thanks for trying it out!
  • haiddasalami
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    haiddasalami polycounter lvl 7
    Hey Ikruel,

    This is awesome. Passed it on to some people at work too. Found a bug though where if you left click on the icon, the toolstrip menu doesnt disappear when it has lost context/focus. The only way is to right click. Awesome, any chance mentioning what libraries you are using to make it a system tray tool? Just something for food for thought later.
  • haiddasalami
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    haiddasalami polycounter lvl 7
    --Weird dup post
  • lkruel
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    lkruel polycounter lvl 2
    hey haidddasalami,

    I'll check it out, thanks for reporting it!

    I'm using PySide for the system tray and UI for it, works pretty well for the most part. Also using py2exe to package it up as a single executable.
  • tynew
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    tynew polycounter lvl 3
    I've just started using this program. I think it's fantastic and it is a lot better then the other reference viewers out there. I like Kuadro because it has borderless images and its very minimalistic to use.

    One thing I would have liked is if all the images were on a single instance of the program. I don't stack taskbar buttons for accessibility so having 6 or so Kuadro buttons filling up the taskbar is not so great.

    Other then that great program dude.
  • airbrush
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    airbrush polycounter lvl 9
    I agree with making it all on one instance.
    I like keeping everything set to always on top, but sometimes I need to minimize to get to other things and just clicking one icon on the taskbar to minimize would be helpful...
  • dzibarik
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    dzibarik polycounter lvl 4
    I don't know if it is possible but if I could freeze a reference image BUT not make it active it would be extremely helpful in some painting apps. I could lower opacity and paint right on top of the image.
  • tynew
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    tynew polycounter lvl 3
    dzibarik wrote: »
    I don't know if it is possible but if I could freeze a reference image BUT not make it active it would be extremely helpful in some painting apps. I could lower opacity and paint right on top of the image.

    I don't understand why you would do this when you can just put that image into the canvas and lower the opacity? It's exactly the same thing.
  • Funky Bunnies
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    Funky Bunnies polycounter lvl 11
    thanks for releasing this, I'm really lovin Kuadro! It's just about everything I've wanted in a ref viewer :D

    the only major request I'd have where I still might use irfanview over this is to rotate images arbitrarily - sometimes the photo or concept is created at a weird angle and I want straighten it out without going into photoshop. I'm not sure how you're doing all this though, so it could be there's a very good reason you haven't added it yet :)
  • m4dcow
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    m4dcow polycounter lvl 7
    lkruel wrote: »
    Octo: Drag and Drop is something I'm looking into. Unfortunately the library I'm using doesn't recognize dropping on the icon, but I could do something that you can drop onto an already open image. Would that still be useful?

    +1 for this, maybe even start with a "blank" window when the program starts, so the user can just drag stuff onto that window instead of having to add an image through the taskbar dialog.
  • haiddasalami
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    haiddasalami polycounter lvl 7
    thanks for releasing this, I'm really lovin Kuadro! It's just about everything I've wanted in a ref viewer :D

    the only major request I'd have where I still might use irfanview over this is to rotate images arbitrarily - sometimes the photo or concept is created at a weird angle and I want straighten it out without going into photoshop. I'm not sure how you're doing all this though, so it could be there's a very good reason you haven't added it yet :)

    Not sure if you know but Shift + R+ Left mouse button can rotate in increments though theres no way to change it that I have seen unless you want to edit the preset in notepad. A nice addition might be a quick way to save preset if you opened a preset.
  • Axi5
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    Axi5 polycounter lvl 4
    Heya,

    I've been using this tool for a short while now, it's really nice.

    For some feedback:

    I agree with m4dcow, a window would be nice. Preferably with the option to use it to contain a collage of your images maybe in a masonry style view. I'm not really a big fan of the images floating around but it's not so bad.

    It would be nice if Fit Window to Image was shift+F rather than I. It saves moving around the keyboard too much when quickly setting up.

    Not sure if this is a bug too, but after I've closed some images and then use the tray icon & click Always On Top it brings back the ones I've closed.
  • dzibarik
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    dzibarik polycounter lvl 4
    tynew wrote: »
    I don't understand why you would do this when you can just put that image into the canvas and lower the opacity? It's exactly the same thing.

    I admit that this is specifically for 3d Painting (and not every app) - for Substance Designer/Painter for example
  • c.buliarca
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    c.buliarca polycounter lvl 3
    Hi Luiz,

    I've switch to Kuadro as my main image viewer for a few days now, and it's great. I really like the fact that the windows are floating and they are not in a window, also the saving of presets with the position it's magical it can be used as a great reference image for the 3d programs.
    Features that I personally would like to be inside Kuadro:
    -a shortcut key to overlay the image infos, like width/height
    -a shortcut or a setting where you can input a program to open the current image (like photoshop) so it can be easily edited
    -about the zoom: right now it zooms in steps when using the mouse wheel, it would be cool to have this steps smaller, to make the zoom smooth, also I am using the graphic pen a lot so I'm bound to the tablet wheel, but I would like to not use that with a shortcut or something.
    - the zoom right now works only if you have the mouse on the image, if the mouse it's outside the image in the gray zone it doesn't
    -also it would be cool to be able to chose my own shortcuts
    -the transparency it's great, but if it's possible when the image it's locked, transparent and always on top, I would like to be able to manipulate the programs behind it, I don't know if that's possible, something like not making the window active for the mouse
    -when doubleclick on an image in windows I would like to add it to the already opened instance of kuadro or to the last instance, not to open another instance with the image
    -when closing the last image in one instance of Kuadro, it should also close kuadro as well
    -maybe when pressing Alt+Tab it will be cool to see only the instance of kuadro group, and not each image, so I can select the kuadro and put the focus the images from that instance in front.
    -also following the point above maybe a shortcut to go through each image in that instance, like CTrl+Tab in Photoshop
    -one other cool thing it will be if you can drag a line and rotate the image horizontal or vertical by referencing that line.(if for example I have an image of a portrait with the head a bit tilted I would draw a line from one eye to the other eye and the image would rotate by the angle of that line)
    -also the SHIFT+A it's great, but it would be greater if it will be used as a global hotkey, don't know if that's possible, to be more specific, I would like to use it like the global shortcuts from Winamp for example, no matter what program I'm working in I would like to toggle Kuadro's Always an top by pressing that global shortcut, without the need to go and select some image from Kuadro.
    - if that's possible when pressing save if there is an already preset opened just save over it and not open the browser to chose the name of the preset, if pressing Shift+S open the browser window.

    That's it for now.

    Thank you for making this and sharing it.

    Cristian.
  • lkruel
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    lkruel polycounter lvl 2
    Hey everyone,

    Thanks so much for all the responses!

    I'll rattle off as much as I can remember and hopefully it addresses some of your feedback

    I already have a couple of new features under way:
    - The ability to hide the taskbar icons so you only have the tray
    - The ability to paint through Kuadro with the image locked and transparent

    I'm hoping to release these over the weekend or early next week. Drag and Drop is next.

    Funky Bunnies: You should be able to rotate arbitrarily by holding Shift like haiddsalami mentioned

    haiddasalami: I've thought about going to the more usual Ctrl-S to save over, and Ctrl Shift S to save As. Would that do it?

    Axi5: Great idea on the Shift F, makes more sense and I ran into this myself. I'll take a look at the always on top bug after closing. Thanks for reporting it

    c.buliarca:

    - what would you do with width/height info? I feel it's a bit of clutter. But if there's a good reason, I'm not one to rule it out
    - Yes, an open with option has been brought up before. I'll add it to my list
    - I can reduce the steps for the zoom, done. I'll look into passing the event if you're in the gray area.
    - Choosing your own shortcuts would be quite a bit of work, but maybe in future versions
    - Painting through will be in the next feature
    - Not opening new instances of Kuadro is also on my todo-list. The paint through thing was trickier than I expected.
    - Keeping Kuadro open is by design, that way you can always have it running in your tray.
    - I'll check the Alt Tab, this will go along with the grouping of the instance feature
    - Space brings all of the images back up, how would being able to skip around the images help you?
    - Line to figure out the rotation wouldn't be too bad, but I almost feel that rotating is more intuitive. I'm open on this too
    - I'll look into global hotkeys, although it might be more of a windows feature. And I'm hesitant in hijacking other softwares hotkeys.
    - Someone else mentioned the save thing too, I'll make sure it's in the next version.

    Thanks everyone for the feedback, and I'll try to stay on top of it.

    Also thanks for downloading it and sharing it, it's awesome to get emails and requests from people all over the industry.

    If you feel like Kuadro is really helping you out, please consider making a donation. I know a few of you already have and I truly appreciate it. Helps justify spending time on it versus other projects.

    Keep the feedback coming!

    -Luiz
  • c.buliarca
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    c.buliarca polycounter lvl 3
    Hi Luiz,

    That's great I'm waiting forward for your next release.

    To respond to your questions:

    "what would you do with width/height info? I feel it's a bit of clutter. But if there's a good reason, I'm not one to rule it out "

    usually when in Maya I have to create a 3d plane for references and the width/height it's an important information to create it without distortion.

    "- Space brings all of the images back up, how would being able to skip around the images help you? "

    Yes you are right, but now I can skip around images with Alt + Tab, if I have one image over the other, but when you will use one group in the Alt+Tab window, I was thinking that you will have to do something like Ctrl + Tab for navigating
  • lkruel
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    lkruel polycounter lvl 2
    Christian,

    On the image info: for those reasons I'd rather have a script that makes a 3d plane for you in Maya that reads the image dimensions while creating the plane. You would say Make Plane, and a browser would popup, then it would do the rest after you selected the image.

    And the one group thing will be an option, off by default. So you can keep working as you have been.

    Hope that makes sense,
    Luiz
  • c.buliarca
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    c.buliarca polycounter lvl 3
    Yes your right about the reference plane, I should better do that script it's faster anyway:)
  • CreativeSheep
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    CreativeSheep polycounter lvl 2
    Looks promising, I will give it a try, up to this point I've been using a file manager and or another program for previewing my images, sometimes it's been a pain in the fudgesicle.
  • lkruel
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    lkruel polycounter lvl 2
    Version .5 is out !

    Tons of new features on this one, but the biggest 2 are the ability to paint through Kuadro and to hide the taskbar icons!

    Download for free, and send me your feedback!
    http://kruelgames.com/tools/kuadro/

    Thanks for the suggestions, downloads and donations everyone! You're the best
  • CreativeSheep
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    CreativeSheep polycounter lvl 2
    lkruel wrote: »
    Version .5 is out !

    Tons of new features on this one, but the biggest 2 are the ability to paint through Kuadro and to hide the taskbar icons!

    Download for free, and send me your feedback!
    http://kruelgames.com/tools/kuadro/

    Thanks for the suggestions, downloads and donations everyone! You're the best

    Paint through Kaudro, hrm if I think I know what you mean, this ability may be helpful to some !
  • lkruel
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    lkruel polycounter lvl 2
    Paint through Kaudro, hrm if I think I know what you mean, this ability may be helpful to some !

    Yeah, it's what people requested here. You can already make the window half transparent, and always on top. And you could lock the images in place so the mouse doesn't grab it, I added the ability for the window to be completely ignored by the mouse. So you have a transparent overlay sitting on top of Photoshop, Zbrush or whatever you use and you can paint underneath it.

    It doesn't project the image through to the other software, but it lets you have the reference sitting above while you draw in the other software. You could even use this in a 3d package as a image plane. Pretty neat little feature.
  • c.buliarca
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    c.buliarca polycounter lvl 3
    Hi Luiz,

    I've just tested kuadro 0.5.1, thank you for it, it's great with the paint trough.
    One tink I don't understand, should the hide taskbar icons hide all the icons? I thought that it will leave one icon, to be able to select that instance of kuadro from the taskbar.

    Also I see that it's not beeing able anymore to open the images by double clicking on them from windows.

    Thank you.
    Cristian.
  • lkruel
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    lkruel polycounter lvl 2
    Hey Christian,

    The hide taskbar icons was meant to hide all the icons. If people would like one to be left behind it's easy enough to just leave the first window open.

    I understood it as people not wanting it at all and just accessing it through the tray icon.
    But it's a super easy fix.

    And the not being able to open by double clicking might be that you need to re associate the images with the latest version of the .exe in windows. Did you delete the older kuadro?
  • c.buliarca
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    c.buliarca polycounter lvl 3
    Hi Luiz,

    I didn't deleted the last .exe, but I've re associated the images with the 0.5.1 version, it appear for a moment some window then it's closing and there is no kuadro open in the tray bar as well.
  • lkruel
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    lkruel polycounter lvl 2
    You're right, I introduced a bug in the last version. Fixed it in .5.2 which is now live.

    And as a bonus I've added the ability to only have one instance running. So if you do Open With with Kuadro already open, it'll open the image on the running instance.

    I also changed Hide Taskbar Icons to Consolidate Taskbar Icons and leave one window on the taskbar.

    Let me know if that works better for you,
    Luiz
  • c.buliarca
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    c.buliarca polycounter lvl 3
    Hi Luiz,

    wow that's great, it works perfectly, thank you that you took that in consideration, but just one thing, I think that would be great if actually you can have more than one instances of kuadro opened, so it can be possible to open more than one preset in the same time, and when opening images from the disk to be added to the last opened instance. I hope you understand what I mean.

    Thank you.

    Cristian
  • airbrush
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    airbrush polycounter lvl 9
    Nice updates,

    consolidate icons is great...having set to always on top I would still like to be able to minimize all instances by clicking on the taskbar icon or having a hotkey.
    For this reason alone i still use refboard... :(
  • haiddasalami
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    haiddasalami polycounter lvl 7
    Hey sorry Ikruel didnt check back but Ctrl S (save current) and Ctrl Shift S (save as) would be awesome. If it is in then ignore me and thanks :)
  • WarrenM
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    WarrenM Polycount Sponsor
    I wish this could take images from the clipboard. I store a lot of reference in Evernote and being able to copy/paste them into Kuadro while working with them would be helpful. Having to save them to the hard drive is kind of tedious ...

    Cool app though, regardless! Thanks.
  • lkruel
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    lkruel polycounter lvl 2
    airbrush wrote: »
    Nice updates,

    consolidate icons is great...having set to always on top I would still like to be able to minimize all instances by clicking on the taskbar icon or having a hotkey.
    For this reason alone i still use refboard... :(

    Consider it done in the next version. I'm adding a Send to Top shortcut on the trayicon, so I can also add a minimize all and maximize all.

    WarrenM: I'm starting to look into some of that functionality, thanks for the download!
  • airbrush
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    airbrush polycounter lvl 9
    lkruel wrote: »
    Consider it done in the next version. I'm adding a Send to Top shortcut on the trayicon, so I can also add a minimize all and maximize all.

    WarrenM: I'm starting to look into some of that functionality, thanks for the download!

    :) ... great thx
  • lkruel
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    lkruel polycounter lvl 2
    New video demonstrating the new features since the first release is up!

    [ame]


    Huge thanks to Mike Pavlovich for putting this together.
  • badmouse
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    badmouse polycounter lvl 7
    I been using "Foreground Image Overlay" for a long time cuz have a couple of features that help a lot to complement my workflow. And this new version is exactly all i been using in the old "Foreground Image Overlay", thanks for share it!
  • c.buliarca
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    c.buliarca polycounter lvl 3
    Hi Luiz,

    I've found some problems with version 0.5.2
    the first one is when I will double click on an image to open, it will not bring it to the front, is it possible to bring the image to front? or the entire images already opened with kuadro?
    -when selecting with the alt tab the first image that shows when Consolidated Taskbar Icons is on, then press Space it will bring all the images to front but they will appear in the order I have opened them, now if I want to see let's say the second image from 3 images with overlapped positions, I will have to click on it or to move the third one. All I am saying is it possible to somehow change the z position of the images?
    -and also please consider to open more than one presets, or more than one instances of kuadro

    Thank you.

    Cristian
  • lkruel
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    lkruel polycounter lvl 2
    badmouse: glad you liked it!

    christian:
    - I'll double check on that, but the images should be sent to top whenever you add a new one.
    - I'll add the Ctrl Tab thing like Photoshop so you can scroll through the images on top of each other
    - What is the workflow that would need more than one preset open? Could you just add the images and make one large preset? Let me know how you're using it.

    Best,
    Luiz
  • Saf
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    Saf polycounter lvl 5
    Just started to use Kuadro, amazing stuff. Best replacement for all other similar apps. Really hope for Mac version. May be py2app does not include pySide?

    some feedback:
    - Reduce rotation steps
    - Add unlock icon which you can drag
    - Small icons (controled by dragging) in the corner for rotation, transparency, scale. Ability to hide these icons.
    - Maybe github?
  • c.buliarca
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    c.buliarca polycounter lvl 3
    Hi Luiz,

    that's great about the Ctrl+Tab, but just to make sure when you will hide for example all the images and will bring them to front with the space key, just make sure the last one selected remains on top of the others images..
    -also for the presets let's say I am working on a asset, and I have all my references opened, but from time to time I want to see the references from art style for example,this was how I used it when there was allowed more than one instances opened, each instance with each preset and they remained clean, so I could switch fast to other asset references but keep the art style references clean.
  • instg8r
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    instg8r polycounter lvl 6
    This has been a very cool tool. Actually just started using it a few days ago over another reference program and love it :) Thanks for all the awesome updates and the tutorial vids are helpful too. Keep it up!
  • lkruel
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    lkruel polycounter lvl 2
    Hi Saf,

    I think it's something with py2app running the wrong instance of Python. It basically says that the bundled version of PySide is incompatible. But it works fine when I build it locally. I tried something else last night that I'm going to test today.

    Thanks on the feedback, the rotate is a bit finicky, so I'll take a look at that
    I thought about the icons, I think it'll be an awesome polish task.
    Github is possible, maybe when I don't have the bandwidth to maintain it anymore.


    Christian,

    I've added both to my todo list. I can definitely keep track of what was the last active one and just make sure that one is on top. I'll see what I can do on the multiple instances, but thanks for clarifying the use case.

    instg8r - Glad you liked it! Thanks for posting!
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