The Perforce image diff tool enables you to compare two image files, either side-by-side or overlaid. Image diffing is a feature of P4Merge, which also diffs and merges text files. You can diff images from P4V or by running P4Merge as a standalone application. You can diff JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PNG and several other common image file types.

Here, we are dropping in on Alex, an artist on a game development team. All the team members including the other artists, coders, and story writers are versioning their work in Perforce. Alex wants to compare the most recent depot version of his spaceship graphic with the one in his workspace which he just edited. In P4V, he drags the thumbnail of the latest depot version onto the newly edited file in his local workspace. P4Merge displays the differences in a two-pane view and Alex sees a portion of both versions of the image. The scale of his current view appears in the bottom left of the info pane, along with other details about the images.

Alex moves the viewer window to the engine intake, to display the color changes he recently made.

To display all the differences between the two versions, he clicks “Fit image to window.” To verify that he changed the color of the pilot’s helmet in the new version, he unlinks the files and zooms the right image to verify that it is now orange.

While several of the changes are obvious in the two-pane view, others are not as easy to detect so he selects overlay mode, which stacks one image on top of the other. Now he can view the differences by moving the blending slider to select the amount of each image that is displayed. To display only the original, he moves the slider to the top. To display his edited version he moves the slider to the bottom. To blend the two, he moves the slider toward the middle.

Alex wants to see every difference, including the ones that may be barely visible, so he clicks “Highlight differences.” The viewer and navigation panes now highlight identical areas in gray, and differences in yellow. The slider enables Alex to adjust the comparison tolerance to reduce the amount of deviation visible and focus on major changes. To see every pixel that has changed, he can select the maximum setting.

The image diff tool is configurable. Alex can detach the panel by selecting the minimize box or double-clicking on the top bar. He can resize it and dock it on the right if he likes.

The top pane of the two-pane view includes selectable file paths in upper window, and tooltips are always available for each button.

The image diff tool, combined with the thumbnail image viewer and the P4GT plug-in, enables artists to version their files and work collaboratively in the same codelines that developers use.

This concludes our overview of the Image diff tool. You will find additional detail in the P4V online help and the documentation section of the Perforce website. If you have any technical questions, please contact [email protected]

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