I want to draw a very low resolution image and need to use a very high resolution image as reference layer. However, Photoshop does not allow to use different resolution images in different layers. And if I lower the resolution of the reference image, all the details get lost.

Is there a software that I can use to open the reference image and that will remain on top of every window, and will be unclickable, so I can go over on it and draw my image following the reference image?

  • show us what you mean
    – voices
    Nov 24, 2019 at 23:56

3 Answers 3


Aseprite is a very nice application for pixelart and animation.

It has the possibility to add a high resolution Reference Layer to your low resolution file.


A low resolution image implies a small image size when considered at the same scale as the higher resolution image. For example, a low-res file could be 640 x 480 pixels, while a high resolution image might be 3200 x 2400, not uncommon in many digital devices. If you resize the low resolution image to 3200 x 2400 and do not apply any filters that would blend or otherwise "improve" the low-res image, it would now fit the requirements that layers have the same resolution, but not change the reference you seek. Once the edits have been completed, you can resize the modified image as required.


I found an software called PureRef. It is pretty cool and free.

  • Looks interesting, but how do you draw your low res image on top?
    – Wolff
    Nov 24, 2019 at 10:54
  • Pureref can be half-transparent and be on top of all applications: maybe that's how. However it won't pan with a drawing layer... Nov 24, 2019 at 11:46

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