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The Dogwaffler of the Moment - a sporadic newsletter focused on digital art in the spirit of Project Dogwaffle

(#110) 2 Years Back, 2 Months Forward



Hello again,

here is another update from the "Dogwaffler of the Moment", our sporadic newsletter newsletter.

See and learn more in prior recent online editions, with images and links to related videos, and lots more. Start here to see all past newsletters:

To read this particular Newsletter online, look here:

We're getting closer to v10, our next major release currently under development. The release looks to be about 2+ months away, hoping for end of the year, perhaps mid January. Sudden events can put a damper on plans, slow things down. We've been hit by the flu, twice(!). No doubt about it, that virus knows how to mutate. You'd think you've got your defenses up after first exposure.... wrong.

Nonetheless, we continue to make good progress on v10 development. And so we also reflect upon the last 2 years, the recent past. Version 9 came about 2 years ago, followed by a few updates, some free, some paid.

So here we are, looking "up" to the future, going up to our first double-digit major release ever. Yay! Only a few more months. Are you ready? Do you already waffle and howl in version 9.6? Here's something you can already do in that release:

looking up to v10.... but still using and enjoying v9.6

But wait, there's more :-)

2 Years already, and 2 more months

It's been 2 years since our last 'big' release...v9.0 (Fly in the Ontment). Now seems like a good opportunity to talk about how far we've come in that time.
(V10 is still a ways off)

From the beginning, it was our desire to make a unique paint and animation program based on a burn-and-go workflow. This means that we don't have a process where a user adjusts a number of parameters in a project, and at some time clicks 'render' and sees the final result. Instead, that means we are rendering as the user progresses, or in other words, a user's actions become pixels at the soonest possible point.

It was also our goal for the program to be system friendly so it can be used on a wide assortment of hardware, and not just high end workstations, but we wanted it to have that level of performance no matter what kind of hardware it was running on, including some rather low end laptops.

To do this, we have had to make a number of engineering trade-offs. Howler has a unique workflow, not just to be different, but because it does different things. It does things that the other programs simply don't do.

That's not to say we are non-standard. We actually use a number of standards, not necessarily associated with some other popular image processing programs. We use anim-painting, which has been around since the 90's and continues to exist in professional and mainstream animation applications such as TV-Paint, and pixel pushers such as Pro-Motion. We use workflows and shortcuts that are enjoyed by users of a wide assortment of other programs such as 3-D renderers and high-end Node editors.
As the content creation industry continues to grow and change, we have had the opportunity over the last 2 years to reflect on our position it it, and to examine and re-invent the way Howler operates.

We recently released Particle 9, our entry level painting program. The project was originally slated to be a 2 week re-furbish of our Particles v1 line, however we saw it an opportunity to explore new ways for users to interact with our software, and the project quickly became a 5 month endeavor. In that time, we examined every element in our UI, and found new ways to solve problems and present features to users in ways that are simpler and less cumbersome. We believe Particle 9 was hugely successful in the terms of UI design, and now we are moving many of those ideas into Howler 10.

Now, let's talk about our progress from version 9 to version 10. It has been a long progression of minor versions. Let's look at each version and see what our motivations were and how we dealt with various issues.

v9.1 - Not a Carrott
This version introduced GPU accelerated ray-tracing, speed improvements, new vector tools, new crop tool, free transform tools, and a new fill panel.

v9.2 - the World's Cutest T-Rex
It was focused on making the GUI more friendly and standard, and making the install process more professional. The biggest change in this versions was the addition of 95 more filters that now support animation options.

v9.5 - Purely Ballistic (in plain English:  oh WOW!)
We greatly improved foliage rendering. Howler includes unique tools for drawing realistic or painterly foliage and other particle based effects.

We also improved our 3-D technology in 3D Designer, with a floating point pipeline, raytraced(!) shadows, ambient occlusion, texturing, sediment and erosion, obj export, as well as volumetric 3-D clouds and other wispy formations that can be animated. 9.5 also received advancements to the light-table, including more layers and a red-shift filter that makes it easier to distinguish previous and future frames.

v9.6 - Keep it Cute - now also on Steam!
In this one, we added numerous special effects related tools. Our history is full of innovations, many of them based on the FX industry, because that is where our interests lie. We also added a textured 2-d/3-d textured polygon primitive which will stand as the basis for some plans we have in the future. We integrated it into a new version of our greatly outdated 'rubber sheet' plugin. We also worked on navigation and addressed several issues for larger monitors, and found new uses for our motion prediction technology that helped repair video that was badly transcoded.

If you never saw the teaser/trailer we put together for the launch on Steam, watch it again here:

PD Howler 9.6 on Steam

Now soon with version 10, we are again working on foundation issues, architecture, and future-proofing.
With 4k and higher resolutions bearing down on us, we need to be faster and more efficient than ever before. For starters, we are addressing this by adding a compression API, and the first part of the program to use it is the undo system. Not only this, but the entire undo system has been re-written. Undos are now objects that are more self-aware. They are not only simpler to program, but they can contain much more information than before and exist in memory or on disc. There are new options to control the number of undos that the user desire, allowing the balance of memory efficiency and usability, and also a new undo browser. There's a lot to say about undos, but I'll save that for later. Just know that Howler 10 is more memory efficient and system friendly than ever before. That means you can do even more with art and animation on the most modest hardware, but if you're on the latest, blazing fast system, expect to be that much more blown away. In the ;past, our policy was for Howler to act like a high end painter with dedicated hardware. Lately our policy has shifted and we want it to seem more like playing a blazing, immersive video game.

More Tutorials


Here are a few recent new tutorials:

Keep looking, we have a few new ones for PD Particles and beyond.

Always good to explore symmerical vs mirrored painting tricks:

Symmetry mode: Mirrored Drawing with the Curve Tool

Another look at animating the Sky in the ray tracer:

Coming in V10: Animated Skies in Puppy Ray, a peek ahead

For beginning animators, especially frame by frame traditional animation where you paint or draw each image:

Animation 101, part13 bouncing ball recap

And how to simulate a Ken Burns Effect:

How to pan and zoom through a single image to make a movie clip

The long road to V10... Build 63, 64, 65, 66, 67...


There are a lot more new features coming with v10. Start using v9.6 today, become familiar with its basic interface, and discover improvement and new features to further enhance your workflow and user experience.

We're going to enjoy this new feature: the Undo Browser.

It's basically as simple as it looks.  Browse old undos, and restore or store them.

It lets you browse old undos and restore them, or store a copy.  This way, we can restore images that have been re-sized.  Undos are no longer initialized when changing the image size or creating a new image, so we can browse undos even if they are a different size.

To access it, the undo browser will be in the top right area among a number of other new icons for shortcuts to commonly used tools: right next to the 'interactive undo' button and near the image Swap toggle.

Next: Foliage Preview Files

Do you recognize this? Can you guess where this is heading? yes, the Foliage preview browser

Not only are there a bunch of new presets coming for the foliage brushes.... they're soon going to be presented in a visual thumbnail way.

As of this writing, we have it implemented in the original Particle brushes (Optipustics) and also the Foliage brushes.

Watch this short video for an intro:

Coming soon with Dogwaffle 10 - Visual browser of Particle brush presets

The Evolution of Puppy Ray - walking upright!

Puppy Ray is our raytracer (more precisely: path tracer) that was first introduced with Version 9.0. See here for details about Howler 9.0

One of the issues we found was that the Y axis was inversed, i.e. the coordinate axis was not matching that of 3D Designer or the "up" direction in the 2D View. As a consequence of this, you might not have noticed when doing general landscapes without recognizeable detailed features, but if there was text or if you had some special painted features on the colored texture map, or even on the heightmap, you'd notice. You'd see that the text was unreadable because it was flipped vertically. This was not a total show stopper, since it is possible to flip the image vertically before getting it into Puppy Ray. In that case the graphic detail and text would regain their ability to be seen and read normally, not upside down.

In order to make this feature easier to use and more atractive to novices who don't know or recognize the easy workaround, we have flipped the coordinate system in Puppy Ray (GPU verison for now). It therefore is now more consistent with the way the shapes and colors appear in 3D Designer, 3D Perspective, and other tools where the image or Swap image is used with details that you want to keep recognizeable and/or readable.

Here is a brief video that shows the new behaviour:
Consistent coordinate system - Puppy Ray now displays text without vertical inversion

Howling Hallowing Sale

Only a few days left. We're in the last week or so of October, and even without Halloween to crown it on the last day of it, it's scary enough to think that you might miss this chance to get a good discount now and another later to upgrade to v10.

So consider this:

Buy PD Howler now through October 31st
and save 31% off the regular price!

Go here to place your order:

No discount coupon needed. But if you already have an earlier version - any version - contact us. We'll sweeten this deal.

PD Artist: Aelin Namarie likes to waffle

Hi, I am Aelin Namarie. I'm a hobbyist artist, living in France.

I had discovered the world of creation in 2011, with PhotoFiltre (2D program), but quickly I discovered too Daz Studio (3D program) and I oriented my work more in this way.

I love fantasy world (Elves, fairies, knights...), mythologies and Nature. I use these worlds to create and a few times I plunge in short stories. And living in a town, it's an opportunity to escape sometimes.

I continue to work with different programs, following my feels and ideas: Daz, Poser, Bryce, Photoshop, Howler, Artist... PD Artist is the last new in date.

I discovered Howler at the end of 2014, and also that it allowed my favorite landscapes: mountains. I work more with PD Artist now for this, but keep an eye on both.

Even if i use always more the 3D programs, often complete scenes need to have a postwork and it's the occasion to try new things.

Always learning in the creation's world, I'm a member of the Fantasy Attic Forum:

Here I followed partially the series of tutorials "painting on landscapes".

At the start of part 3 of tutorial, I used the "blotcher" brush with a light green/grey to prepare the place of plants in the first plane.

I decided that plants are not far away - who has never dream to be near of the precipice? ;)

After, I started to add few trees but to create with them sort of big different weeds (in the particles=> foliages); then alternate with simple particles (changing some gradients in Sweep editor) and foliage.

Branches are to give more tall size at the landscape around us. They were add after a little lens flare effect for the sun.

And yeah, many many weeds on this wild area.

To end, I present you the "Tumbirai valley", where Elves like to ride when they have time.

Final words from Dan Ritchie, the author/creator/programmer/developer/spirit of Project Dogwaffle:

Art doesn't have to be complicated.



  And that's it for now. Thanks for waffling and howling!

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