What Is It

PosePic is a Blender Addon that allows artists to find the reference images they’re looking for, not by using keywords and written descriptions, but by posing an armature! The addon will search a database of images and show you the images that most closely match the pose of the armature!


Getting relevant and quality reference images on the internet when you need it right now can be annoying and time consuming. Furthermore, artists need to be able to understand the human body in three dimensions and can benefit from seeing a pose from multiple angles. The obvious solution is some kind of 3D software that uses laser scanned models posing in different ways, and there are some programs in the works from companies out there doing this. The problem with this method however is that laser scanning models is a slow and expensive process.
As artists we don’t always have the luxury of affording these kinds of niche software packages, and it was this desire to seek an alternative that prompted us to make this addon. PosePic is libre software.


Download the addon below and unzip the files. Open up PosePic.blend and open up your User Preferences via File > User Preferences… or by pressing Ctrl-Alt-U on windows. Then click to the Add-ons tab on top if you are not already there.

At the bottom of this screen is a button titled “Install from File…”, click on this button”.

Search for “ref_posepic.py” where you unzipped your files and click “Install from File…” on the top right of the screen.

Go back to the addons screen and click on the “Reference” category if you don’t see PosePic on your screen.

Click on the checkmark box to enable the plugin and close the User Preferences window.

You are now ready to use PosePic in all its currently buggy glory! You can download an example database below as well to test out some Pose <-> Image combinations, Just click on Open Database to open up the file selector.

How it works

PosePic uses database files with the extension “.poseurl”. You can open this file in your favorite text editor to view its contents. This database file contains some information about the plugin version that created it, the armature used, the URL a pose is associated with, the pose data itself, and attribution information for the image.
When you open a database PosePic loads it entirely into memory. By clicking on “Search Database” you initiate a search on that data using the selected search engine.

Alpha Note: The current search engine in this alpha version is not reliable and will be superseded by a “Default” search engine that is more accurate as the plugin is updated, expect some modifications to the pose data in .poseurl databases.

The search works by taking the pose of the armature on the right of the screen and checking it against the poses found in the database. When the best result is found it opens the image by connecting to the URL of the pose and downloading the image to a “tmp” directory. If the image already exists in your local “tmp” directory it will load it from the harddrive instead.

Alpha Note: Local loading currently only works on URLs that include the filename and extension, otherwise the only way for the plugin to know the name of the image is by connecting to the url and getting that information.

Once the image is open you can use it as a reference image for your art. You can also click on “Image to Armature” to apply the image’s pose data to your armature.

Alpha Note: Saving Attribution data is working currently however loading it in the UI is not yet implemented. You need to open the .poseurl database file in a text editor to view that information in this version.
Once a search is completed you can scroll through the results by using the “Next” and “Previous” buttons that show up.

Bugs and Problems

The plugin is in a very early stage, originally we were only going to use it internally once the improved search engine got implemented but we thought some artists out there could benefit from this plugin.
Current Version: 0.4 (ALPHA)

  • There are many bugs and missing features in this alpha release, if you see any please report them to us in an email.
  • The code is not up to “standards”, this is our first foray into programming python. It could be much cleaner and more efficient.
  • Attribution is not loaded into the UI.
  • The plugin occasionally stops working due to some kind of context issues and requires a reload of the .blend file. If you can reliably cause this error please report it to us in an email.
  • We haven’t done too many tests on what kinds of Images we can load, if you find a URL to an image that should work but doesn’t please report it to us in an email.
  • The current search method is very finicky, it will be replaced with a more effective version later. We’re still thinking about the best way to go about doing that but we have some ideas.
  • The default armature is female, we’re thinking about whether to modify it to be an in-between genderless setup or use 2 gendered armatures.
  • The limits placed on the armature’s bones can be restrictive for certain flexible poses, except for the legs which have no limits, this needs to be fixed.
  • We really wanted to use IK-Rigging on the legs but blender doesn’t seem to expose useful rotational data on bones rotated by an IK algorithm.
  • There are probably ways to crash blender if you get too creative with what you click on, if you find something that causes a crash please report it to us in an email.


To Do List

  • Create newer and more accurate search engine
  • Improve standardization of workflow
  • Fix any reported bugs
  • Clean up code


Potential Features

  • OpenKinect integration to speed up database creation workflow by figuring out the pose of an image for you, saving you a couple of minutes per image.
  • ExifTool integraton to save .poseurl entries into the images themselves for potential online use. (Searching images online using pose data)




PosePic Version 0.4: PosePic 0.4.zip
An example database: Example_Database.zip