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How the ColorFX
The lighting tool in action:
It's so fast,... it's howling fast!
We already had a multithreading architecture since version 4. However at that time we concentrated on overall system speed.
In this version, we just went all-out and multithreaded everything, but that's not all.
We've recompiled our dlls with the latest compiler. There were a number of improvements including changes that radically improve data-type casts. This improves memory throughput significantly in a number of cases.
Also floating point operations now use SSE2 registers. That also relieves register pressure somewhat.
We've also optimized for better cache usage whenever possible. We've rewritten a number of functions until we felt they were as fast as they could go.
In some cases, we're using algorithms that are less precise, but much faster. We do that particularly for faster previews, and then the higher quality algorithm will finish up for the final results. And in a lot of cases, we just did some old fashioned optimising by reducing the number of op-codes the processor has to execute. All in all, Howler shouldn't feel so much like a software update, as getting a new computer. It howls!
There are a number of functions that are just plain re-implemented. You'll see them throughout the program as you play and (re)discover. Something that you might have avoided in the past now seems instantaneous and, well, enjoyable.
Some of the stand-outs? The spherize filter would be one that gained a host of new features. on the other end of the spectrum? Nobody cares about a posterize filter, but guess what, that's been rewritten too. Many filters have been re-implemented with better algorithms and new options. The Mystic Vision filter is a great example.
There are an awful lot of "little" things that add up to a faster experience. Reimplementation of buttons, media browser opening faster, quicker thumbnail image generation, it all adds up. It's like those flat spokes and exotic materials they use on racing bike rims. It doesn't make a huge difference until it all adds up and help you win that race.
And in some other cases, we just have some more modern algorithms. This was a back to school process.
We've also toyed with 3D. A new 3D API was added, so that developers can experiment with additional features. There's also a few new filters that add a sense of 3D to it all, such as the 3D Perspective transform, or the Lighting tool (see below).
GUI Improvements: Layout
The floating tool panel can be over 2 columns as it's always been, which works great when you're on a Netbook with limited screen reolution such as just 800 pixels high. But we now also have an option to switch it to a single column.
GUI Improvements: Quick Zoom
There's also a fast zoom widget (visible in the upper right corner as long as your screen resolution can accomodate it).
The new Lighting tool in the Stylize filter category is responsible for many of the new effects and textures we've been able to create,... as well as many sleepless nights. Be warned, this is slightly addictive!
Improved & Fabulous Bristle Brushes
We have some new bristle brush shapes such as filbet, fan and wedge, that react to tablet devices in some fascinating ways, along with improved speed and quality. Bristle brushes simulate real brushes by storing information for every single bristle. [more...]
New Kaleidoscope mode
We've improved our symmetry tool with a new kaleidoscope mode, more real-time feedback, and the ability to set the center of the effect. [more...]
Symmetry vs. Mirror modes(!)
When enabling Mirror mode(s), you get perfectly symmetrical image-halves or quadrants. When using Symmetry mode(s) for painting, instead, you don't get perfectly identical symmetries. This is a great feature for artists who want to take advantage of the symmetry helper but don't like the look of robotic perfection. This gives you the best of both worlds. [more...]
We've got a new filter that helps you change the color tone of an image in an interesting way. The new filter is named Color FX (in the Adjust category): It can radically alter the overall tone of an image while keeping the basic color scheme intact. [more...]
New Layer Modes
A bunch of new layer modes: we thought these will come in handy for uses other than stacking opaque items on top of each other. A variety of blending modes offer new ideas to explore. [more...]
We've added a filter which renders Mandelbrot fractals, and lets you add more in various layers, with varying color map gradients, iteration depths and more. [more...]
Loading an AVI file / BMP Image Sequence / Array (Sprite sheet) straight to Animated Brush
When you have an image sequence, or an animation as AVI file, or even a set of sprites in a spritesheet as often used in video arcade game designs, you can now load these directly into the animated brush to paint without having to first load as animation to then capture to brush. This is equally useful when working with 3D rendered walk sequences, for example.
...and so much more...
oh, wait, that last one is soo cool, let's promote it to its own bullet:
Undo buffer to Animation
More information coming soon. For now, just know that whatever you drew over the last few minutes can be converted into an animation as a sequence of frames showing the progression.
And yet some more:
and last but not least:
Stuff for Programmers: API changes/3D additions and more...
And here are a few more :
Keyboard shortcuts: CTRL-X is now an optional keyboard shortcut for clearing the canvas.
Right-clicking on the oval or rectangle tool now brings up the fill settings panel instead of the gradient panel (that was a holdover from way back when the gradient and fill settings panels were combined in a single panel)
Dreadhull was updated so you don't have to "ok" the panel to see the results.
The Audio Recorder will now show you the waveform after recording it. It can be used together with the Exposure sheet (aka the Mouth plugin) to produce the spoken soundtrack against which you want to draw your lipsynching in a cartoon or comics animation.
The new Lighting tool:
Quickly zoom in/out...
watch the english gentleman:
the new audio recorder
the new media player