refBoard! Nifty little reference viewer.



  • alecchalmers
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    alecchalmers polycounter lvl 5
    This looks awesome, thank you very much for sharing it. I've been thinking someone should create something like this, I get fed up with all the clutter that using reference creates whilst working.

    I will let you know how I get on with it once I've used it enough.
  • Zephiris
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    Zephiris polygon
    Very very nice, thanks a lot for making & sharing it!

    I do have a small suggestion; it would be awesome if the context menu from clicking on an image would include an option to open the image(in ps or whatever the system is configured to open it with) or to open an explorer window that points to the file location.

    Would make it even more awesome for doing matte paintings or texturing work.

    Thanks again for this sweet little tool :)
  • SuperFranky
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    SuperFranky polycounter lvl 4
  • BlvdNights
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    BlvdNights polycounter lvl 8
    Fantastic! Anyone, even non-artists, should pick this up
  • Jaidek
    Very nice! Thanks for the useful tool! One thing I'd like to see is comments added to the windows. That way at a glance we can see what it is (in case we come back to the board later).
  • MrOneTwo
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    MrOneTwo polycounter lvl 7
    Yeah I totally agree. Can't zoom with tablet. Everything else is great.

    This space bar thingy to be able to zoom out temporarly seems good too.
  • The Lone Penguin
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    The Lone Penguin polycounter lvl 8
    Nice work man! Using it right now and it's pretty handy. However, would it be possible to get an option to let the images scale as you resize their window? Also it would be awesome if there was a button in each image window to have them display at their full resolution.
  • Dudestein
    Really liking this tool so far. I'm currently using it for head references when sculpting likenesses. Multiple angles of the same person's head. Images are from random sources, found on Google.

    Some suggestions:
    • The ability to save boards into a file.
    • Some image organization options: autogrid, mozaic, snap frame edges, etc
    • An effect that turns all images greyscale and auto levels them would be amazing. This is so you can focus on the forms without being distracted by color. Ideally it wouldn't effect the source images, and can be turned on/off at will.

  • ZFerguson
    Really loving this tool man, thanks for this!
  • bounchfx
    awesome update, and quick too! Thanks so much !!
  • vonRobit
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    vonRobit polycounter lvl 3
    Wow definitely would like to donate to the project when you get that setup. This is great!
  • gartht3d
    Hi. Great app, looks very promising. Love the infinite space on the board.

    The consensus at work from my colleagues is that a 'frame all' function would make this app complete. And a zoom to selected image also.

    Also, some way to control the transparency of the board would be awesome.

    And one more, a minimize function would be good, so that it doesn't have to 'always' be on top.

    Thanks for the app, looking forward to using it daily:P
  • FishMan
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    FishMan polycounter lvl 5
    First of all, thanks for such amazing tool! It's so awesome!
    Secondly, do you need a feedback?
    Because I have one: It will be really nice if there was an "undo" function, for undo "close" operations or (not necessary) maybe undo the image changes...
  • Assassinaded

    Possibly add something like what I doodled above. I think that could push it even further.
  • Equanim
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    Equanim polycounter lvl 6
    Thanks very much guys! :)

    For minimizing, double-clicking the top bar will collapse the application window. I'd like to overhaul that bar however, so I'll make it a point to add a minimize button when I do.

    Honestly, the best way you guys can help at this point is to keep giving me feedback. It's like having my own little focus group! Even if someone's already mentioned something you want added, seconding it tells me there's more desire for it, so it moves up on the priority list.

    I can't tell you guys how happy I am that the community is finding this so useful and that literally everyone's offering constructive feedback, keep it up!
  • alecchalmers
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    alecchalmers polycounter lvl 5
    It's certainly useful so far, my problem is that I don't always want the reference board floating on top. I know that you can minimise it by double clicking the window at the top, but what would really work would be to have a button in one of the corners that toggles the always float on top function.

    Apart from that I think the simplicity works in it's favour, and you would risk hindering the app in the long run by adding too many functions. For example, something like gird snapping and organisational tools should be hidden in a menu and turned off by default if you do add them.
  • battlecow
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    battlecow polycounter lvl 7
    This is so good, Thank you very much. I have been looking for ages for something like this.
  • ogar555
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    ogar555 polycounter lvl 3
    Holy crap! This is awesome! I've been using other kinds of apps to try and solve the problem of having references while working. They haven't been nearly as sleek and smooth as your app. It will definitely be something I use everyday when working with 3D-assets or art. :)

    I agree with some of the feedback you've received!

    -Zoom in and out for the whole board

    -Some way of automatically organizing refs in say, grids with various settings would be perfect for setting up a large board when beginning a new project

    -As well as having the ability to start multiple instances of the app, incase two or more boards are required at the same time.

    I don't know how complex it would be to program, but adding various context-based tools like scaling window size for references or copying through the use of modifier-keys like SHIFT, ALT or CTRL might be an idea? That way zooming in and out of references could be done with just the mouse and a modifier-key held down. To solve the issue for stylus-users. :)

    I've got a feeling that this'll turn out to be a classic in the industry! Keep up the good work! Great stuff! :)
  • dyv
    Thank you for this awesome piece of software!!
    I'm using it only two days and I can't imagine working without it :)

    I only miss classic window resize method :)
  • A-Train
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    A-Train polycounter lvl 8
    Equanim, thanks for the swag ref viewer.
  • S2Engine
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    S2Engine polycounter lvl 10
    I keep getting this error when I try to install:

    "The application could not be installed because the installer file is damaged. Try obtaining a new installer file from the application author."

    I've updated AIR and tried re-downloading several times. Any ideas?
  • Equanim
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    Equanim polycounter lvl 6
    I'll take a look. If I can't find anything, I'll email you an installer.

    edit: Everything appears to be in order, but I've emailed you a new installer anyway. If you're on Windows, I can also package it as a .exe instead.
  • Marshkin
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    Marshkin polycounter lvl 4
    Very cool, thanks for sharing!!
  • stxtch
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    stxtch polycounter lvl 5
  • rls
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    rls polycounter lvl 3
    Very useful :)
    I'm not in dual screen at home work, and this tool is great for me.
    It's the end of the Alt-Tab shortcut \o/
  • agitori
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    agitori polycounter lvl 7
    very cool, don't eat much resources . I have a suggestion to make maybe adding a feature align for lazy people? XD
  • MLinderholm
    Oh this is really nifty. Thanks a lot!
  • SuperFranky
  • jjsuperspy
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    jjsuperspy polycounter lvl 4
    sounds like an awesome tool but it wont download for me, i keep getting an error
  • SuperFranky
  • S2Engine
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    S2Engine polycounter lvl 10
    Program works great for me on my PC, but on a Mac running Mountain Lion it never properly loads the referenced files. Anyone got it working?
  • Equanim
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    Equanim polycounter lvl 6
    Hey guys! Just checking in.

    I've moved refBoard to my server and updated all of my links to it on this thread. It should be more reliable than dropbox. You can find its new home here:

    I'm aware of the loading issue on OSX and am working to resolve it. I should have it fixed before the next update. If anyone wants to help me test, toss me an email and I'll send you new builds as I work on this.

    A lot of people have requested an organizational system be it align, snap to grid, etc. so that's definitely on my list. I'm aiming for an update next week, and every successive two weeks after that depending on my schedule.

    Thanks for the input guys and again, if you've got OSX and want to do some testing, toss me an email.
  • Malus
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    Malus polycounter lvl 12
    Been using this at work and its quite cool, nice and minimalist.

    A few features I'd love to see:

    - An option to snap to grid (with definable grid size)

    - Ability to change opacity of images (not sure how you'd deal with images sitting above or below each other, maybe mask from focused?)

    - Ability to change opacity of background (removing any dead grey space)

    - Windows-like snapping/docking and border re-sizing (I personally dislike only being able to re-size from the bottom right)

    - Zoom all images (as you have with pan)

    - Toggle greyscale/RBGA/alpha

    - If you had opacity then the ability to ignore focus on RefBoard to allow working on software behind it would be fantastic. (i.e. Sculpting in ZBrush with a semi transparent image on top for reference.)

    Awesome tool though, lots of potential. :)
  • Equanim
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    Equanim polycounter lvl 6
    Update: OSX loading issue should be fixed and the new build is on my server. This update does not affect Windows users. Special thanks to Madison a.k.a S2Engine for testing it.

    More to come soon!
  • Ben Apuna
    Great tool! Thanks for making it and sharing with the community :) I'm just getting around to trying it out now...

    Is dragging the bottom right corner of an image's window supposed to resize the window and the image it contains? If so, that's not working for me on OSX 10.7.5. If not, then that's unexpected behavior for me. I'd like the image to scale with it's window while keeping the image's aspect ratio by default.

    However I can resize the window and then zoom into the image as a workaround.
  • anfauglir
    The other day, I was wondering if my refboard version was the last one available and found the info..nowhere. Could you add the version number somewhere, I dunno maybe on the pdf of when mousing over "?" icone ?
  • FishMan
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    FishMan polycounter lvl 5
    I really want the ability to "lock" images that i placed already, so i can't accidentally move or zoom them.
  • snoops3d
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    snoops3d polycounter lvl 11
    OH man its like christmas!!! saving that's awesome thank you I love this, will be a great time saver.
  • Fingus
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    Fingus polycounter lvl 8
    Great tool! Been using it a lot lately and it's exactly what I've wanted for a long time.

    As requested before I would like an auto-layout feature. I've been using Picasa in the past, and it's mosaic feature is great for making reference boards. I would suggest taking a look at it.

    Also, a feature to zoom without a scroll wheel would be great, since I use my wacom instead of a mouse and I have my touch strips disabled. Perhaps just something like alt+middle mouse.
    And in that vein, having an image resize as you change the corner of the frame, I'd suggest using the alt key as a modifier again.
  • Neolight
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    Neolight polycounter lvl 10
    Thanks for this awesome tool!

    The language you use in your update notes seems to infer that you are going to make the ref board able to save image information and not just layout data at some point. Is this true?
  • Equanim
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    Equanim polycounter lvl 6
    Yup! A few people have asked for the ability to paste images onto their boards, which is actually really easy, in fact it's used by drag and drop. The trick comes in when saving a board with pasted images because there's no actual image file to refer to, it's just bitmap data that lives on your system's clipboard.

    I'd also like users to be able to load the same board on multiple machines. Currently this isn't really possible since a .refb is only reference and layout information. (You can kind of hack it by making sure the file paths to all of your images are exactly the same on both machines.)

    So my options are:
    a) Write the bitmap data for each ref into the .refb file, which could result in huge file sizes depending on the images you're using.
    b) Automatically save pasted images into a folder on the user's system. (This wouldn't make the .refb's portable however.)

    I'm thinking of combining the two, where if you paste an image, refBoard will save it on your system if you save the board (with a prompt telling you what it's saving and where) AND having a third save option called "Archive", which would either generate a special .refb with dependencies. or save everything into a zip folder. I can't guarantee this will make it into the next release though.

    At the moment, I'm making the app's UI more scalable. My objective is to have refBoard in a place where I can easily add new items to the UI without worrying about cluttering the app. Some new things I can safely say are in the next update are a "Settings" menu, more discrete/tablet friendly UI, toggle greyscale on refs, and the ability to fade the board, leaving just the refs on your screen.
  • arvidburstrom
    Sweet! Another cool software I have also been using is, "PureRef", it doesnt require adobe air but does not seem to support mac, though i saw something about upcoming linux and mac versions.
    Maybe worth a checkout also!
    Thanks for the nice software anyways Equanim!
  • RidellA
    I've started using this for everything ever since I found it. I love you :thumbup:
    Norron wrote: »
    This is super cool, thanks for releasing it!

    It would be nice to be able to snap an image back to it's fullsize as well, maybe with something like "f" as a hotkey like Maya or Max's focus shortcuts.

    Going off of this suggestion, you could maybe have F resize the image to the size of the child window and again to it's previous size, for quick scaling up/down. Maybe even Alt+F to resize it to the full window, and then again to size it back down.

    Also when I try to screencap (either with Gyazo or just the print screen button) my refboard doesn't appear. Is this just something with Adobe Air or with the program?

    EDIT: You can take a screecap of your refboard with the Windows Snipping Tool, but being able to save a jpg capture of your refboard might be a cool feature to share with people who don't use the program. I would also like to suggest adding a "Open File Path" option to individual reference pictures, in case you might want to add more related reference photos.
  • Brandon.LaFrance
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    Brandon.LaFrance Polycount Sponsor
    I've been using this software for the past week or so. I've been looking for something like this for ages, and nothing I've tried has been as unobtrusive and user friendly as refBoard. So thanks, this is great.

    I'd like to second the suggestion for wheel-less zoom. That little feature will make this the perfect solution.
  • chronic
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    chronic polycounter lvl 7
    I've been loving refBoard, one feature I would really like though is a pen friendly navigation like 3d apps. I try to only use my wacom pen even on secondary monitor and it would be great to be able to zoom with alt-middle click or something similar. Save my wrist from the mouse!
  • FishMan
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    FishMan polycounter lvl 5
    I want the ability to zoom out the whole board sometimes not just individual images...
  • Yourname942
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    Yourname942 polycounter lvl 4
    yeah I'd really like to be able to zoom in/out on the main window (that houses all of the picture windows) It would be very useful to add this feature.
  • FishMan
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    FishMan polycounter lvl 5
    Btw there is a little bug there:
    After I loading the board and try to zoom any image, it first reset the image to default sizes and only then starts to zoom... that is kinda annoying me every time...
  • Xoliul
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    Xoliul polycounter lvl 9
    Hey man, I like this a lot, some thoughts:

    • Any chance for relative paths? Like relative to current refboard location. Right now my buddy cant open my refboard in our shared dropbox folder. Or some way to embed all images into a 'packed' file?
    • Having images in separate sub-windows is a bit strange to get used to, especially the scroll-to-scale mechanic is a bit strange. Would like to get something like Shift+drag to scale them too (easier for a tablet user like me).
    • It's really annoying and slow to recale and images and then have tos cale the window it sits in as well, to not have it crop. Maybe have the window scale along if you hold control or some other key?
    • Any chance for rotation of images?
    • It would be very useful to have a 'Save Board to Jpg' function, saves the whole printscreen - paste hassle.
    • I'd like the mian window's top bar to be a bit fatter; it always feels a bit tricky to click it.
    • Any way to turn off 'Always on Top' ?
  • snoops3d
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    snoops3d polycounter lvl 11
    Equanim thanks for this!!!

    I have been using this fairly heavily now and its been very helpful. Here is my comments and requests
    - I like being able to zoom in and out of images in there own frame, lets me focus on specific parts of a model im working on easily. What would be nice is a one click reset that would bring the full image back into frame.
    - reference tends to get fairly messy as Im working with RB, images stack on other images, I have a lot of reference loaded and I find my constantly resorting images trying to rearrange the images back to cleanly arranged layout. could you add an auto arrange feature, that would fit all the images cleanly within the main window?

    Great work so far :)
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