New feature highlight - available since Dogwaffle v1.6
Animated Brushes

One of the major new features of Dogwaffle 1.6 are called Animbrush -  animated brushes.  So what an AnimBrush? How does it work?

Brush Up on Basics

 A brush is a combination of an image and attributes which control how the image is applied to the drawing buffers when stomped onto it.

There are many parameters to choose from, and there are of course many saved settings, i.e. brush presets.

Furthermore, the image which is used in the brush can be selected easily from several brushsets.

You can also make use of various pixel ops methods (replace, additive, multiplicative,...) and built-in PostFX like shadow drops right from the brush, Bleed through and Dryout to mimick effects like translucent watercolors, loaded oils and more.

Be sure to read the reviews by artists who have used popular image editing software and rave about Dogwaffle as a paint tool companion.

Custom Brushes
custom brush selector
One of the key features of Dogwaffle is the ability to let you define your own custom brushes very easily. In the third row of tools of the Tools palette, you will find the custom brush selector. Use it to select a rectangular area from the current buffer  and make that part of the brush.

Another option is from the row above, where the alpha selection tools are found (lasso, rectangle, oval and magic wand). You can make a selection and then use Ctrl-c to load the image contained in that selection into the brush.

brush menu

The Brush menu reveals many more interesting features, such as importing the image for a brush from the Clipboard, or loading it from a file.

Animated Brushes

The next step is of course, the Animbrush.  Instead of  using just a single image as part of the brush, let's use several images, e.g. from a image file sequence, or from an animation made right in Dogwaffle.
animbrush menu
Imagine you have a small image made in optipustics showing grass or bushes growing one way, then another image growing another way, or with slightly different colors, and a third one yet again slightly different.

You can load the image sequence through the Animbrush menu. At that point, if you draw something using this brush, Dogwaffle will cycle through the images and apply them in sequence. Thus, rather than seing the same brush image applied , you'll see an alternating effect which creates a cumulative collection of various brushes. This is great for wild savannah grass, pebbles of  different rocks at the beach,...

Here are some examples of things you can do with that.

In the following example, several basic images from optipustics presets like Dogwillow, Broccoli Trail and others were used to make a few images. Once they were loaded into the Animbrush, a single stroke roughly along a circle drew all this:

In Matte mode, changing parameters like opacity or color, or both, can create thick brush effects with lots of different orientations of the branches. In fact there are only a few images needed in the Animbrush.


An Example: Making a Custom AnimBrush

Let's go into more details. For example, let's start with a new, square 320x320 buffer. Then create a new animation from the Animation/Create... menu and make it a 4 frames animation. Open the Optipustics panel from the Windows menu, enable it, and select the Dogwillow preset. Then draw a short bit of Dogwillow into frame 1 of the animation. Advance the counter to the next frame, and draw another piece of Dogwillow into it. Advance to the next frame,etc until you have all 4 frames painted with different dogwillow images. You could also change colors or contrast or apply other filters to each frame to further vary their appearance.

Perhaps you'll have a sequence of images like these:

While these images are still in the animation, do the following to transfer the images into the Animbrush:

  1. Set the slider in the animation controls to the left (first frame, number 0). Or, if you want to skip a few first frame(s) you can place it between the first and last  frame. Only the frames from the current to the last would be loaded into the animbrush in that case.custom brush selector
  2. click the custom brush selector as usual like you would for selecting a regular (static) custom brush. Remember its normal use: click-and-drag a rectangular area from the current image in the buffer. That selection gets loaded into the brush.
  3. Press down and hold the ALT key as you get ready to click-and-drag the first corner of the desired area in the current frame of the animation. This could be near the lower-left or upper right corner for example. Note: if you don't hold the ALT key down at the time when you click-and-drag, then only the current frame's image is used. This is the normal custom brush selection  mode. So be sure to have the ALT key down at the time you click-and-drag. Don't release the mouse button yet.
  4. While still dragging the mouse to set the final size of the custom selector's rectangular region, you can temporarily release the ALT key, so that you can use the LEFT/RIGHT arrow keys to cycle through the frames in the animation while still deciding where to release the selector. This will allow you to verify that all frames are contained in the selection you're about to make. Be sure to use the LEFT arrow keys to return to the first frame before you finish.
  5. If you did let go of the ALT key temporarily, press and hold the ALT key it again, then release the mouse.  If you did not let go the ALT key, it should still be pressed down and you can release the mouse now. Either way, this finishes the selection.
  6. Dogwaffle will go through each frame of the animation, starting from the first frame you started with, and grab a copy of the frame which is inside your selected rectangular region. You can tell that it's grabbing each frame because it's showing it in a visual feedback in the animation buffer.
Next, it's a good idea to do a test: paint with that animbrush into the current buffer. (You can use 'u' to undo that test drawing, if you need to reuse the animation). If it shows that the custom animbrush selection was successful and it's drawing with the intended images from the animation's frames, go to Brush/AnimBrush/Save... and save the animated brush to a .anb file.


If you find that the images in the brush are too big, you can use Brush/Resample to resize the brush, even if it's an animated brush.

store the animbrush
If you're going to use this animbrush later and want to temporarily store it, so as to have it readily available amongst other custom brushes, select the Brush/Animbrush/Store... option

You can then just click the Restore option in the floating, stored image, to make it the current brush again.

stored animbrush

This is, by-the-way, a neat feature: while a stored regular custom brush appears as a still image, you will see this one, the animated brush, cycling gently through all its images to remind you that it's an animated brush.

Chroma Keying

You'll also notice that the above brush got keyed onto the white background (default) for the transparent part.  It basically does chroma keying on a brush, making the 'key' part of the brush.  It's used to remove certain colors from a brush and leave those areas transparent. If you start from a picture taken out in the nature, you can eliminate unwanted colors, such as unwanted shades of green from the leaves and grass around a flower, or blue if the picture was taken against the sky with clouds.

Here, a brush is selected and the blue part is made transparent.  chroma keying

Adjusting the high pass helps fine tune how much of the blue is removed.

Technically, the difference of the selected color and each pixel's color is pushed through a lookup table defined by the low clip and high pass scrollers, to get the final key.

When 'use alpha if active' is selected, the alpha channel will define the  brush's key instead of a color (when the brush is picked up).

Using the Custom AnimBrush

Ok, now, that we've created an Animbrush, let's use it.

For example, as we click a few individual impressions with the brush, each image gets painted into the buffer:
individual impressions
After a few clicks the first image re-appears. You'll notice that each of the 4 frames in the animated brush are used, one-by-one. Also notice that these brushes come with full Alpha and can thus be overlapping and blended together. You can further change parameters in the Brush controls now.


Let's change the stepping factor (Step) in the Brush panel, to reduce the impressions as we freely paint with this brush, so they are not too close together and not too cluttered.

This is fun to create greeting cards. The following too just a single stroke:

In addition to the Stepping, we can change the Opacity. We can also switch from Color mode to Matte mode, change the size (resample) for parts which are farther away or closer. Perhaps we start with a very light amount, and gradually get more opaque. Then we can add a few lens flares (Radiant plugin), Novae, Light diffusion, blur filters or other effects.(all directly from Dogwaffle).

in the dark of the forest

More fun ...

Animbrushes are fun with static images, but they're even more powerful with animations. You can for example load a sequence of a bee in 3-4 different poses into an animated brush, and then paint it across a path. If you combine this with the Stroke player into an animation you can quickly create animations like the ones shown here.

For example, start  with 4 frames of the bee in various stages of flight, wings up, down, etc...
four bees

Once they're loaded into the Animbrush, you can change some parameters such as enable PostFX shadows and resample the brush for various sizes to quickly create an armada of killer bees.

shadow bees

Or, you can use the Stroke player to force the bees into the frames of an animation.
bee anim2

Stay tuned for more examples to come...