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Penny Paint - the User Guide

Yes, it's that simple and easy to use

Project Dogwaffle:

PD Pro - Artist edition - just
                                    paint!   PD Pro, Howler edition - paint
                                    and animate!

Digital painting and Animation

Tools for Visual Artists, with 3D and video!

tutorials on our youtube channel Tweet woof howl waffle!
  Overview - User's Guide - Gallery - Tutorials - Download  - other brushes

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Penny User Guide - a work in progress

Getting started with Digital
Painting on a slim budget:

PD Artist
Draw, Sketch & Paint
powered by Project Dogwaffle

How to Start Penny

How you start Penny depends on which version of Project Dogwaffle you use.

For example, the early versions of PD Artist and Dogwaffle 2.1 will let you launch it from the Plugins panel which you can start from the Window menu. You might still find it there too, in addition to other places such as the Window menu.

Note that it is not necessarily included de facto with your installation: you may need to download the plugin as a free add-on. This applies to PD Particles and the original, first release of PD Artist 1, for instance.

Launching Penny From the Window menu:

In most versions, like PD Howler, you can launch Penny directly from its Window menu:

      menu:     Window > Penny Paint...

                to launch Penny paint from Howler 9

When Penny starts, the first thing it does is to get a copy of your current main image buffer's content and create a new image buffer of the same size. A copy of the image is then placed into that new buffer. You can then start painting into it. The main image buffer from Dogwaffle is still there, hiding behind the Penny image buffer. You can actually still paint into it too. And you can use some of Dogwaffle's tools like Paper and Filters, but they will not immediately ffect what happens inside of Penny's paint engine unless you use some specific commands to transfer images between Penny and Dogwaffle or vice-versa.

Clearing the Image

If you don't want to start from a pre-existing image that was imported from Dogwaffle's Main image buffer, or if at any time you wish to clear the image and start from scratch again, use the Clear tool. It's the big X in the lower-right of the tool icons.

This will erase to the secondary color in the Penny tools panel. You can not change this color at this time (though that may change in future releases).


Loading an Image from Dogwaffle

You can re-import an image from Dogwaffle's main buffer. That allows you for instance to load a blank image of another color.

The icon in the lower left is the tool to get the image from dogwaffle.

Undo most recent operation

If you have drawn a few brush strokes on the initially blank image, you can also just undo a few times until you reach the original blank.

Keyboard Shortcut :  'u'  for undo

Levels of Undo:
Penny supports different numbers of Undo depending on which version of Project Dogwaffle you use. If you use Penny 1.1 for PD Particles or PD Artist, you have 256 levels of undo. If you use Penny 1.1 for PD Pro 3 or 4 or higher you get 1024 levels of undo. With any earlier version, including the freeware version 1.2, you get 64 levels of undo.

Sending the image back to Dogwaffle

 Click the icon on the bottom row, second from left, to send your current image from Penny to Dogwaffle's Main buffer.

The image is also sent back to Dogwaffle if you terminate Penny.

Exercise:  Start with a blank grey image in Dogwaffle, load it into Penny, draw something, send it back to Dogwaffle, apply a filter with some effects such as blurring, load the image back into Penny for more painting on top. Repeat this a few times, applying additional blurring each time or other filters for more sophisticated effects. Change brush parameters, use different Penny brushes, with or without paper texture, etc...

View control: Autofit to the Window

There are several tools in Penny's tools panel which are the same as found in the main Dogwaffle tools panel, for viewing controls. Expanding the view will show you as large an image view as possible while maintaining the aspect ratio. If you make the window larger by resizing it, the view will grow. If you resize the window smaller (by grabbing and dragging one of its conners) and then expand the view, the whole image is still visible, but of course at smaller size.

For example, if you had resized the Penny window to a square shape, but the image in it is landscape rectangular, you might see something like this. The image containing the happy face  is completely visible but there's also a little bit of grey border region on top and bottom of it.
If the image was a portrait shape, i.e. more tall than wide, some grey would show left and right of it. Either way, the full image is showing as it's been fit into the window borders.

View control: show 100%, As Is

The icon next to the Autofit tool can be used to reset the view to original viewing, 100% size as is. If the image does fit on screen it will show in its entirety, otherwise you'll only se a center portion of it. This operation may and typically will resize the window if you changed it before. It's a good way to reset the view especially if followed by the Autofit if it is too big to show the whole image onscreen at its original, real size.

View control:  Dynamic Zooming

The icon with nested boxed is for dynamic zooming. It's fast and efficient to use: don't just click it, and then go somewhere else to start zooming, that would be a waste of time. Instead, just click-and-drag right from the tool's icon: press the icon and hold the mouse button in a down position, and start moving the mouse left or right. Going left will zoom out, making the zoom factor and hence the image smaller. Dragging to the right will zoom in, up to 600% of the original zoom.

Drag the zoom tool to the left to zoom out:

Keyboard shortcut: Control-Shift-right-drag

You can also avoid the roundtrip to and from the tools panel, in order to focus on your drawing: press and hold the Control and Shift keys both at the same time, then use the right mouse button directly on your drawing and drag sideways. This will temporarily stop drawing and change the zoom factor instead. When you let go of the Control and Shift keys it goes back to drawing mode.

The minimum zoom is 20%, the maximum is 600%

View control: dynamic Panning

Similar to the zoom tool, you can click and drag the Hand icon to start panning.

Keyboard shortcut: Control-Shift + Left mouse button drag

Using the keyboard shortcut helps in keeping your eye on the drawing without distrations to the interface just for zooming or panning. Use both hands if you can, it will make drawing and painting with Penny all that more enjoyable.


The top row of icons offeres 4 basic brushes for cartoonists, comic artists and anime line artists:

  • a Pen
  • a Water brush
  • some Ink
  • and a fancy Gel brush
Here's a quick look at what they look like:


Water brush



Size control

changing the size of your
The Size slider let's you adjust the upper limit of your brush image's size. It is still of course under the influence of the pressure you apply when using a tablet. The initial brush size is very fine, you might want to make it a little larger.

click to enlarge >

Step distance

In raster imaging and painting, a brush contains an image which is stamped down (depoited) into the drawing area whenever the mouse has travelled far enough. That distance is defined as the Step distance. You can change the step value by its slider.

When the step value is small, the brush images get stamped down very often, close to eachother. Only a small movement is needed with the mouse of tablet pen to trigger another one coming down and join your brush stroke in progress.


click the images for larger views

When the step value is high, the stamped images are sparse, farther apart from eachother. With large values of Step distance, you can even see the individual images from the brush (small circular shapes in many ases). That's what you'll expect with the regular Dogwaffle painting engine. With Penny however, there's still some interpolation and thus additional stamping down of the brush images. It's possible but difficult to see the individual images as they barely separate at all. But, there's some side effects which may be useful. The ink or gel levels get less intense, less opaque.

The side-by-side images above illustrate brush strokes with the 4 different brushes, left with small Step distance, right with high step value.

Color Picker from current Image

You can select a color from the color picker widget below the tools, but that may not allow you to pick a color which is already in the painted image buffer.

Instead, you may want to press and hold a key just in order to temporarily switch to an interactive color picker which will let you switch to using the current image buffer as a color palette: you can drag the cursor in the image to select the desired color from amongst the ones which are already in the image.

Simply press and hold the komma key:  [ , ]

The cursor will change from a small cross to an arrow pointer as long as you keep the komma key pressed in the down position. When you let go of the key, the operation of the program returns back from color picking to painting with the current brush.