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 new in version 11:
 Water Caustics

digital painting has never been so much funPD                                  Howler also supports animation &                                  videoPD                                  Howler also supports animation &                                  video

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Here's a new feature: Creating animated water caustics

These can be used as an animated color map at the bottom of the ocean floor, for example in Puppy Ray.
Make this animation seamless and then bake it (combine it) into an animated texture map.
There are many other uses for this animated filter, some may not even involve water. For example for moving, animated sand dunes.


We started this one as a free plugin a few months back.
It didn't have all the bells and whistles, but it was a start.
You can find the old plugin version here and use it if you don't have v11 yet:

The screenshot below was from an early implementation of the plugin.

water caustics

Now it is fully integrated and has more features, with Howler 11.

If you want to use it to create an animated caustic, make sure you first create an animation placeholder (blank image), for example with the default 30 frames.

Then go to Filter > Animated > Water caustics near the bottom of the submenu.

Here is an example, and a look at the full interface to the right:

When you select a Preset, it renders the new appearance. If you change some fine details on the parameters, it may not do so right away, so use the Test Render button.

The Presets menu gives you many starting points, from which you can add your own changes.

As mentioned, it's not all for water related work. Caustics are a set of curvy dancing lights that you may see at the bottom of the swimming pool when the Sun shines from the top or side, or you might see it as an interesting reflection inside a cup of tea. But you can use the resulting map of curves in many other ways.

Here is an example of using it as a starting point to create an elevation map of sand dunes.

Here's rendering a similar map in Puppy Ray. It can be animated too, of course. Moving sand dunes!

Of course, perhaps the more natural, typical way to use an animated caustic is to bake it into the ground of a swimming pool, a lake, the ocean floor. You might export the animated caustics as AVI file or image sequence, after making it seamless in Howler, and use in your game engine or 3D rendering tools. Or we might stay in Howler to render the caustics as a mix into the colored texture map.

In the example below, we're in Puppy Ray. The caustics is a stored animation (1), and we are using it as animated Swap sequence. In the rendering through Puppy Ray (2), the animated swap is used as texture map. We thus see the dancing caustics appear on the ocean floor. We also have loaded a version of the caustics animation into the custom brush. It is animated there too, so an animbrush. If the camera of the Puppy Ray view shows part of the sky, we can see it there through the animbrush.

You may recall an older video in our YouTube channel, where we used real caustics recorded as video from a smartphone, as seen in a swimming pool.
This video shows how to work with the raw original video, to make it seamless, perhaps loopable too, and use it in a variety of ways. At the very end you also see final rendered scenes from Puppy Ray where the caustics are animated on the ocean floor.

Here it is again:

Stay tuned for more examples coming soon