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HIMView -- History Image Viewer


2004/09/29: Version 0.4: Minor improvements
  • Support loading of multiple images in image loading dialog.
  • History size now tunable on per-window basis using '+' and '-'.
2004/09/29: Initial release: Version 0.3
Initial public release of HIMView.


HIMView is the history image viewer written by me as an aid while designing POVRay scenes. The idea behind it is easily explained:

HIMView is an image viewer which displays some image rendered by povray, e.g. scene.png. Once you re-render your scene, the file scene.png gets replaced by a new version which may be loaded and displayed by pressing a button in HIMView. HIMView will then keep the old version of the image in memory (and will accumulate these for subsequent re-loads until some limit is reached) and allows you to go forward and backward in history, i.e. view your previous versions by simply pressing 'p' (previous) or 'n' (next) or alternatively page up/down. (Since the window contents get replaced on screen, it is easy to see the differences.) If you wish that some image needs to be displayed separately, press 'c' (copy) and a new window will be opened. In case you need to save a special image for later reference, press 's' (save) and conserve it. There are some more comments, see below for the complete reference.


  • Each display window has an own image history which can be used to keep several old versions (default: 10, tunable via '+' and '-' as of version 0.4) of the image in memory for review.
  • Will not bother you with commitment dialogues (ala "do you really want to...").
  • Can display different or same files in any number of windows.
  • Supports PNG and JPEG format.

The window caption (title) displays the most important information: Image file name and 3 numbers in the format [AA/BB/CC] which are: Index of currently displayed image (0 being newest, older images have higher numbers), current number of images in the history and the history size, i.e. how many old images will be conserved.

Download and Build

HIMView is only available as source code; you need to compile it yourself. This should be fairly easy as it only depends on the Qt toolkit. I'm compiling it with GCC on my Linux box but other platforms where Qt runs should not make major problems when compiling.

Source: himview-0.4.tar.gz   [7kb gzipped source tarball]
Version:0.4   (2005-04-06)
Author:Wolfgang Wieser   (report bugs here)
License:GNU GPL (Version 2)

Unpack the archive, edit the Makefile so that the include and library specifications fit your system and run make.
When make completes successfully, the program called himview can be used. To install copy it manually into some bin directory like /usr/local/bin or similar.

HIMView should be a reliable program and has been tested extensively. In case you experience any bugs, do not hesitate to report that to me.

HIMView Manual

Maybe I will add a more detailed description on HIMView's command line arguments here. For now, use option --help for a quick reference:

bash# ./himview --help
USAGE: himview [options] [file...]
   --help  print this
   -h=NUM  set history size (default: 10)
Standard Qt options (-display, -fn, ... accepted)

file...: list of PNG/JPEG files to open; use a single '-' to
         have following images opened in a new window

Try 'h' in a window for help on interactive commands.

HIMView -- HIstory IMage VIEWer, version 0.4
           Copyright (c) 2004--2005 by Wolfgang Wieser

Much more important than the command line args are the interactive command keys understood by any open HIMView window. You may press 'h' to get an online help in an (unfortunately modal) message box.

  • 'q': Close the window; exit after closing the last window.
  • 'Q': Quit immediately.
  • 'p', 'n': Switch to previous/next image in history. This will change the active (i.e. currently displayed) image.
  • 'a': (append) Load the currently displayed file, jump to the recent end of the history and display the just loaded image there. This is what I normally press after re-rendering an image.
    Hence, no matter where you currently are in the history, the just re-read file will be put at the (most recent) end of the history.
  • 'A': Like 'a', i.e. append current version of the currently displayed image at the recent end of history but do not switch the view, i.e. the currently displayed image will stay displayed (unless it is getting removed to keep the history down to allowed size).
  • 'r': (reload) Load the currently displayed image and insert the newly loaded version immediately after the currently displayed image in the history.
  • 'R': (replace) Replace currently displayed image with the content in the file, i.e. revert to data on the disk.
  • 'd': (delete) Undisplay current image.
  • 'D': (delete all) Undisplay all images; you will see a plain black background.
  • 'o': Open an file open selection dialog to open a file.
  • 's': Open a file selection dialog and save the currently displayed image under the specified name.
  • 'c': (copy) Open a new window and put the currently displayed image there.
  • '+',-': Increase and decrease history size. For current history size, see the window caption.

Note also that there is a context menu accessible via the right mouse but it is far more convenient and faster to use the keyboard.
And remember: HIMView will not ask for confirmation: This is a feature, not a bug.

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Last modified: 2005-04-10 17:05:13