Happy penguin loves to waffle and howl

This is issue #132 of the Dogwaffler of the Moment, a sporadic, artsy newsletter for and about users of Project Dogwaffle.

  Introducing PD Howler 11: Axehead is here!

Hello again,

here is another update from the "Dogwaffler of the Moment", our sporadic newsletter about digital painting and animation as well as visual effects and exploring 3D creativity with Project Dogwaffle. If you want to catch up on recent or prior issues of our newsletters and announcements, start here:

This specific newsletter issue is here:

In this issue:


Yes, you saw right: Puppy Ray now renders a water plane, adding lakes or oceans. Wave can be seen reflecting the sky and mountains, and even the visible Sun, which is new too. The water can be transparent/refractive too. So you can see the murky landscape under the water. There are additional bump maps available too, which adds a lot of extra realism to the hills and mountains.

Welcome to PD Howler 11 - this is Axehead

We are happy to announce that we have released Project Dogwaffle version 11, Howler edtion. We call it "Axehead".

What's in a name? Why Axehead?

Axehead is in the adage of sharpening your axe, an essential tool to help speed up your work, and make your workflow more efficient. And more enjoyable too. Who wants to chop wood with a dull tool? It's cold out there. Let's get that wood chopped, let's light it up in the chimney. Let's be done already.

If you remember back in the days of v9.5, we introduced a great set of tools in 3D Designer, to create erosion and sediment-filled valleys in landscapes, starting from an elevation map. You can still use this, and keep the resulting heightmap and texture map to use elsewhere. For example: in Puppy Ray, still inside of PD Howler.

So, what is Puppy Ray. Is it a ray tracer? There is a CPU version, and a GPU version. We are focusing on using the GPU, so that's where most of the improvements are found now. Get it done fast! That's Axehead.

What is Puppy Ray GPU?

Puppy ray could be considered a path tracer, but we prefer to call it a global illumination raystepper.  It has most of the qualities of a path tracer, except we also use dot-product lights.  When doing water, it acts more like a path tracer.

The waves on the water plane are done by modifying the surface normal.  It's a flat plane, a perfect mirror if you don't disturb it. By adding waves, it comes to life. Ripples of noise add more scattering of the reflection. All in all, it's not technically a normal map.  Really 'just' a bump map in the traditional sense.

The GPU version should utilize all available shader cores on your GPU.
If you have an Nvidia GTX 1060, 1060, 1070 or even a 1080 or similar, first of all: bless your heart, we're very jealous! Hundreds, or even thousands of cores, working in the spirit of Axehead - getting the job done faster! It also works with AMD/ATI GPU of course, and others. As long as the capabilities identified are sufficient for our use. Basically DirectX 11 needs to run well. PD Howler checks if the GPU has what it needs. You can see it enabled or disabled accordingly in View > Settings > Threading and GPU

The thing with GPUs is that they work best when all of the cores are doing the same thing.  This is difficult with path tracing, because the threads diverge quickly, so some may finish up before others.  Some renderers, such as Disney's Hyperion renderer (https://www.disneyanimation.com/technology/innovations/hyperion) solve the problem by sorting threads into more similar workloads. We solve the problem by splitting the image into tiles (probably what bucket rendering does)

Ok, enough techno jambo mambo. What's new in Howler 11?

Here is a just brief summary of some essentials. There is more coming, more insights, tutorials and examples. It's a lifelong work in progress.

- New gradient tools

- Numeric entry throughout the program

- Improved image scaling sampling

- Improved crop tool

- Callouts and vector objects

- New greatly enhanced features in Puppy Ray for GPU
    Rewritten for higher quality rendering
    Visible Sun
    Water plane with reflections and waves
    Improved sampling for better quality far and near
    Improved global illumination
    Bounce light, like indirect lighting, bright walls contribute additional lighting to dark shady areas.
    Hardware textures.
    Bump maps for more realistic surface textures
    Refraction on water plane

- Media browser
    Save particle media directly from the media browser
    Delete directly from the media browser

- Color Pickers
    A new floating & resizeable color picker, as seen in PD Particle 9
    Pickers remember settings between instances

- Improved curve and rotoscope tools
    Transformation handles
    Free transform on currently selected control points.
    Shift-select points
    Onscreen keyframes

- New Filters, awesome effects
    Julia set rendering
    Water drops
    Shape bombing
    Bilateral filter
    Make a normal map
    Worley noise
    Water caustics
    Water ripples

- Timeline
    Larger preview
    Water drop filter

    Improved responsiveness
    Font panel arrow key and mouse wheel navigation

- Settings
    GUI color pen settings
    System look option

- All new "Ground up" object oriented API
It took a while to develop this new basis. Now we can produce better dogwaffles faster. And we are sharing some of what we've learned. f you are a game developer or programmer alike, you might find these video tutorials on the new API of interest.

If you are a software developer, look for the Playlist of 40+ videos here:

- Last but not least:

New Drawing Mode in Post-FX: RGB + Alpha
This is for game developers and content creators who want to create assets with transparent background.

Have a look at the many illustrated details, examples, tutorials and sample images and videos here:

Learn more about Axehead here, see what's new.


The above image brought to you by Project Dogwaffle callouts. No pine trees were harmed in making this picture.

Ordering PD Howler 11

PD Howler 11 is ready for ordering here on our main Sales page:  www.thebest3d.com/sales

Or, to jump straight to the BMTmicro online store - order here:


You will also find it directly at the author's website, have a look to see if there are additional promotions there, for PD Howler, or also PD Music, royalty-fre music for your multimedia projects and games:   www.squirreldome.com

If you are interested in running PD Howler 11 on Steam, hang on a little longer, we're working on it.

If you want it from another site, such as Daz3d, YURdigital or Renderosity, or others, please let us know which site, so we can prioritize our efforts.

We have a sale through the month of March15% off the regular price.

As you may recall, we recently reduced the base price for PD Howler. It is now only $49. We are chopping off an extra 15% just for this launch of version 11.

This promotion is good through Friday March 31st. No coupon is needed, the discount is automatic.

However, if you already have version 10, 9.6 or any earlier version and wish to upgrade, you qualify for an even bigger discount. Upgrade from v10 at 50% off the regular price! Contact Philip at http://www.thebest3d.com/dogwaffle/about if you want to request your discount coupon. Let him know which version you have, and where you bought it. If you can show a receipt, order confirmation number or screenshot of it running that shows the menu Help > About Howler or similar, that will help speed it up.  Ideally we can find you in our records from purchases on the bmtmicro store, but we'll do our best to treat you with the same discount no matter where you got yours.

If you ordered your prior version on Steam we can offer you the upgrade for use outside of Steam. We can't offer Steam keys at this time, sorry.




Tutorials, Videos and Resources

Here are some extra resources you might find interesting to use with PD Howler:

For Info about Callouts

More Skies for Puppy Ray

have a few new tutorials. And videos to wet your appetite.

puppy renders - animations - preview renders


Here we fly over landscapes in Puppy Ray, looking at refracting water, waves, reflections, bumps on terrain etc...

DetailTexture - adding color and bumps for extra realism in Puppy Ray


Here's a slideshow of renderings that have various bump maps on the terrains. It adds great realism. Sometimes it can also be used for surreal effects.

Howler 11- a new resizeable color picker


If you started with PD Particles 9 before upgrading to PD Artist or PD Howler, you'll probably recognize this color picker. It remembers your locked colors so you can keep working with them, more efficiently, when you get back to it the next day. This too is Axehead!

Animated Worley noise rendered in Puppy Ray - stormy seas


Worley noise is a fascinating universe in itself. Here we used it in animated form to generate an animated elevation map that appears like stormy ocean's water. We added some coloring in a parallel animated swap sequence. Rendered in Puppy Ray, with the visible Sun. Then there's a final lensflare

Contour Fill with Gradients - new in PD Howler 11


A great new tool to create your own gradients. There were already so many ways, but here's another one that might appeal to you especially if you like to see onscreen what's the gradient you're building. Just a few colors, clicks, and.... voilá!

Puppy renders 2 - this is Axehead


No comments - just sheer joy. Explore. Experiment.

There are more, and a lot more coming!

To see them all, visit our channel on YouTube:  www.youtube.com/pdhowler

A 'devoeted' Dogwaffler of the Moment:  Dave Devoe

Dave Devoe has been waffling for a long time. You may recall his beautiful paintings of Alaskan landscapes and wildlife.

Some of it was purely painted, other parts may be rendered in Bryce, and then had added post work, such as painted pine trees, and grass, using Dogwaffle's particle brushes. He  also created and shared a preset for particle settings that he uses to draw nearby pine trees.

Now Dave is also creating 3D models of airplanes, using the free open-source program "Art of Illusion", and combining them into 3D scenes in Bryce. PD Artist is used a lot there for painting the texture maps of aircraft and terrains and other objects.He's also been carving our elevation maps for the terrains, using 3D Designer. Now he is moving on to PD Howler, discovering new techniques to texturize the terrains with Ricks, Grass and Snow areas, following elevation and slope, and rendering it in 3D Designer as well as in the new Puppy Ray 11.

One thing that he also is exploring is a great program from Pixarra, which makes Tree Studio, amongst other tools. You will soon see more examples with different types of trees, some painted with Howler's particles and foliage brushes, others rendered in Pixarra Tree Studio and composited into PNG files that are then turned into custom brushes for Dogwaffle, even animated brushes containing a bunch of trees of different sizes and colors to quickly paint an entire forest. Stay tuned for more very eciting tutorials on this.

Follow Dave Devoe in his DOTM page:  http://www.thebest3d.com/dogwaffle/dotm/Dave


The Last Draw: How to plant a Pixarra Tree into Howler's Puppy Ray Scene

We mentioned Tree Studio above. It offers a different approach to making trees, different from Howler's technique with Foliage brushes. There are some similarities and things in common, but there are differences in either tool. So if your budget allows it, you might be interested in Tree Studio as a companion to PD Howler or PD Artist, or of course to many other 2D and 3D tools.

Tree studio is best used by rendering the tree into a PNG image with transparent background. Then you can map this image onto a rectangular polygon that you place into a 3D scene, such as with Blender, Bryce, Carrara and others. We like to call this a billboard polygon, as it carries the image like a posted on a billboard. And of course, you can also load that PNG directly into Dogwaffle's custom brush, even with PD Particles. Then you can paint that tree anywhere you want: single clicks to stamp it once or a few times in various distinct places, or freely painting it all over the scene. It can automatically change size and hue, brightness, dryout, and other parameters of a sophisticated brush, whether based on speed, or randomized, tablet pressure, or even controlled by a Z-depth image gradient in the Swap buffer which automagically changes the scale based on 'distance' in a perspective scene.

Here is a look at the interface of Tree Studio: This one is after we've created our tree, and flattened it.  The ground floor layer has the entire image ow. It can be saved as PNG with transparency and used in other places.

Below is
one of our own first experiments, where the tree was created in Tree Studio, then saved as PNG image and loaded into Howler. There we rendered a scene in Puppy Ray, and then stamped the custom brush in a few places at varying size, saturation or hue.

Trees in Tree Studio can carry a texture on the tree bark. And Dogwaffle loves bark. Woof Woof!

If you are curious about Pixarras' Tree Studio, check here for more:


Here is a link for a discount ($9.99) price on Tree Studio. That's a big saving!  The regular price is $29.


Valid now until the end of March.

And that's a wrap, for now.
Thanks for waffling and howling!  

the goddess of sadness, painted with Project Dogwaffle by nBT
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