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i am drawing in photoshow cs4 in windows7.

i am using some image references from google but i have to switch windows to look at them and then back to photoshop. is there a way to put some image references above all windows? or maybe there are some other ways to draw with references.

of course the best way would be a second monitor but i don't have one =)

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I usually place the reference images at the top or the side of the main document and its "drawing area" ( Not really that specified, just an area that I feel comfortable working with. ) and put them in their own group.

I would put images in with different size's and possibly cut out some parts If there's like some specific part I'm interested in. ( just with Rectangular Marquee Tool and click Layer Mask icon. Nothing fancy. )

This of course requires a bit bigger document size, but it works well. One thing to consider is the placement of reference images. If you need to make the document bigger for your drawing, you might not want to start moving the reference images around.

Basically what you can do is just select bunch of images from a folder and drag and drop into the open photoshop document.

Oh and of course you can copy image from the internets and just paste it into photoshop as well.

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You could print it out, this is much cheaper than a second monitor ...

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  1. When you have the document window you are working on in Photoshop CS4 maximized the floating windows for other documents (like your reference images) should keep floating on top of your main document.

  2. You could install Irfan View, open your reference images with it and select "options -> always on top" from the menu.

  3. If you want to get really techy you can dig into autohotkey and write a custom script to switch the "always on top" status of a certain window.

  4. On Win XP ther was an option in the nVidia drivers to activate a special control menu for each window that gave the always on top option, but I think that has been removed. At least I can't find it anymore. But if you have an ATI card it might be worth to look for such an option.

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I'd vote for second monitor. Seriously… if it's just for reference purposes, you don't even need hi-profile top-notch pro monitor – some el cheapo will do. Sometimes it's even possible to get some older monitors for free (equipment rotation in companies, schools etc.). If you don't have too-little-space problem I'd go for that solution. I worked with two monitor setup for some time and – believe me – it's so comfortable it's painful to switch back to single monitor.

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