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Image Tool ("it") is a robust framebuffer/render view window, offering complete floating point support and a powerful and flexible catalog, as well as a fast and powerful imaging tool that is capable of production-qualilty image manipulation and compositing usually found only in high-end standalone products.

User Interface



The "it" window can be customized by selecting options in the first two sections on the "Window" menu These optional windows and toolbars can be shown or hidden from the menu, or toggled on or off with their associated hot key as displayed in the menu. They can also be docked into the main window or left as floating windows. Double-clicking on the title bar of one of these sub-windows will toggle it from docked to undocked. Toolbars, such as the "Pixel Readout" toolbar, don't have a title area since they are so small and instead have a grab handle at the end or top that is used to place them. The grab handle can also be double-clicked to toggle the docking.


This window shows all the images and renders that are stored in the current "it" session. Multiple catalogs can be used, each storing their own images. To create a new catalog, go to File->New Catalog.


This window shows the current image or render selected from the catalog.


This window shows information related to the selected image or render. The large text area is the Notes field. This allows you to add any meta data to the image. The Custom View option is explained later in the Views section, under Special "it" Features section.


The tools section gives you access to the most commonly used tools in "it". From left-to-right, they are:

  • Pan Tool

    Click and holding down the left mouse button on the framebuffer will allow you to pan around the image. (Default hotkey: 1)
  • Zoom Tool
    Click and holding down the left mouse button on the framebuffer will allow you to zoom in and out of the image. (Default hotkey: 2)
  • Crop Tool
    Allows you to draw a crop window over your image. This allow you to re-render a portion of your image. To remove the crop window, left click within the crop window and click on the X in the top right corner. (Default hotkey: 3)
  • Scrub Tool
    Allows you to quickly scrub through all your images in your catalog. Click and holding down the left mouse button while moving the mouse to the left will scrub backwards in the catalog; moving right will scrub forward. (Default hotkey: 5)
  • Select Object Tool
    Will select the object in your content creation application (may not work in all bridge products). (Default hotkey: 6)
  • Select Surface Tool
    Will select the shader for the object in your content creation application (may not work in all bridge products). (Default hotkey: 7)
  • Reset Zoom
    Resets any zoom applied while using the Zoom Tool. (Default hotkey: X)
  • Wipe Tool
    Allows you to wipe between two images in your catalog. (Default hotkey: 4) To use, select the first image in the catalog, then go to Image->Toggle Background. Then, select the second image in the catalog, and with the Wipe Tool turned on, left mouse button click and drag in the framebuffer window.

Sequence Controls

The sequence controls sections gives you access to controls on image sequence playback. From the left-to-right, they are:

  • Step Back Frame

    Step back one frame in the sequence. (Default hotkey: Left)
  • Play Sequence

    Play/pause playback of the sequence. (Default hotkey: Space)
  • Step Forward Frame

    Step forward one frame in the sequence. (Default hotkey: Right)
  • Loop Mode

    Toggle on or off playback looping of the sequence.

For further explanation of Sequences, see the Special "it" Features section.

Monitor Controls

The monitor controls gives you access to settings such as Gamma and Exposure. The right-most button resets the Gamma and Exposure controls to their defaults. There are also some useful monitor control hotkeys, including:

  • Exposure Up 1 F-Stop (Default hotkey: Ctrl/Cmd + ] )
  • Exposure Down 1 F-Stop (Default hotkey: Ctrl/Cmd + [ )
  • Gamma Up 0.1 (Default hotkey: Ctrl/Cmd + } )
  • Gamma Down 0.1 (Default hotkey: Ctrl/Cmd + { )

Pixel Readout

The Pixel Readout window gives you control of the channels displayed, pixel remapping, as well as information regarding the current pixel that is under the mouse cursor, including pixel coordinates and pixel values. You can lock the current pixel readout by going to View->Lock Pixel Readout (Default hotkey: M).



Right-clicking in the image area of the window also provides access to the menus. Other windows that are accessible on the "Window" menu such as the "Console", which provides python scripting access to "it" are not dockable and appear as top level windows.


Special "it" Features



Views in "it" are a combination of zooms, pans, pixel aspect ratio and view mappings. By default all images in a catalog share a view. This is convenient when you want to step through a shot that you've rendered to "it" (hot key PageUp/PageDown). When you zoom in and step to the next frame in the shot the zoom and pan remain the same. However, sometimes you'd like to be zoomed way in on one image to look at some feature and then flip between that and a zoomed out image. "it" accommodates this with Custom View. When you turn on Custom View for an image, that image then has its own zoom and pan, independent of the other images in a Catalog. Custom Views are saved if/when the Session (or Catalog) is saved.

Pixel aspect ratio is useful when working on projects that generate non-square imagery. One example of this is the film format Cinemascope. In some pipelines you might decide to keep your digital files in a format where a pixel is half the size in the horizontal direction than the vertical. 'it' allows you to specify this in the view so that on your monitor images look normal. This menu is fully configurable from your it.ini file including the names on the menu and the aspect ratio of the pixels. You may also attach short cut keys to different aspect ratios even if you customize this menu.


Recent Bucket Markers

When 'it' is being used as the destination for a render it will display a rectangle around each bucket as it arrives. The indicator will fade over a few seconds. This is useful when an image in being refined as it is sometimes difficult to see what part of the image the renderer is working on. This feature can be toggled on and off and the color of the rectangle can be altered in the preference dialog.


Any one image in a Catalog can be set to be the Background image. When you then select other entries in that Catalog, the displayed image is the result of compositing the selected image over the nominated background. To toggle the current image to be a background image, use Image->Toggle Background. The icon next to the image in the Catalog will then light up.

Pixel Readout

When you bring up the Pixel Readout "it" provides a channel view, a remap menu, a pixel location and value readout. The pixel read out is self-explanatory. The remap menu allows some post-processing to be performed on the image (re-mapping) before it is displayed. This does not alter the pixel values in your images.

The channel view shows which of the image channels are currently visible and the options are RGB (normal color) Red, Green, Blue, Alpha (if present) and "Luminance".


The remap menu shows the color space that your image is in. Typically this would be linear for rendered images and sRGB for 8 bit image files. By default "it" chooses the image space of the image and when it does this the image space is preceded by a *. You can use the menu to override "it"'s choice (the * indicator will go away)

"it" supports view mapping output images to accommodate your workflow of choice using the OpenColorIO system ( Your view mapping defaults can be set for images rendered to "it" as your framebuffer (regardless of bit depth) or for imported images (with different mapping for different types, if necessary).

There are several important things to remember about remapping:

  • Remapping is applied only for viewing files. It is not burned in. There is a prefence for controlling whether the mapping is applied when images are saved. This option is controlled on a per-Catalog basis so it is important to note that when changing this preference it will only affect new Catalogs. Each Catalog can also be individually set to burn in on save or not.

  • Images rendered via RenderMan are, by default, in linear space, unless an exposure is applied to the output (which can be done in RfM via the Output Settings tab of the RenderMan controls).

    If you do apply an exposure to your output, be sure to make the proper adjustment to the default image mapping for rendered images.

  • The OpenColorIO setup can be changed via your it.ini, though, as always, we strongly recommend making the changes in a site-specific surrogate ini file, referenced via RMS_SCRIPT_PATHS. "it" will also use the environment variable OCIO if it is set to find the OpenColorIO config file.

A special entry on the remap menu is the Shadow Map option, which is useful for viewing shadow map files. These files can have huge ranges that are well beyond zero to one, so the traditional way to display these has been to rescale the min and max values to zero and about 0.9, and then invert them with (1 - val).

If you have used sho to view shadow maps, this is what you have been looking at. The actual script that performs this operation is:

element = it.GetCurrentElement()
image = element.GetImage()

offset = ice.Card([1.0/16.0])
minusone = ice.Card([-1.0])
(min,max) = ice.GetMinMax(image, returnCards=True)
result = minusone.Multiply(image.Subtract(max).Divide(max.Subtract(min))).Add(offset)



Sequences are for when you've rendered a shot or perhaps a wedge of parameters to a shader and now you would like to see them all played as a sequence. The Sequence toobar has the controls for starting and stopping playback and the frame range controls. "it" will either play the whole catelog or you can open a set of images on disks as one element (called a "sequence"). There is also a "scrub" mouse tool which when activated lets you move through a sequence by dragging with the left mouse button in a horizontal direction.

An image sequence can be created by opening multiple files on disk in a directory, use File->Open Sequence instead of File->Open Image. "it" will discern which files belong to the sequence; and the frame range will appear in the Sequence toolbar.

Sequences are low tech in that they don't provide a way to save or load movies, and the entire "movie" is held in RAM. "it" places a cap on the number of images it will hold in RAM so for smooth playback you will need to set that cap (Image Cache Size) to at least the number of frames in your sequence.