Howler Updated for Natural Media, Animation and Video Creation

Project Dogwaffle is the work of former Hollywood special fx artist and animator Dan Ritchie. Reflecting its unusual name, it's a graphics program unlike any other with notably the ability to paint with animations over animations, such as digital video, as well as with natural media and particle brushes. "We developed this to enable artists to express free-thinking creativity in a different way," says Ritchie, "inspired by old-school traditional painting and animation techniques." The program was originally named as a reference to the first waffle out of the iron—the dog’s waffle. The application is now called PD Howler, so named in regard to code optimizations that have led to it now being "howling fast." In many cases, filters are now said to be fast enough that they can be applied on an entire image, not just preview areas, in real time.

This bitmap-based tool for natural media painting, video, animation, 3D and visual effects provides such features as animated brushes, onion skin, exposure sheets, real-time animation playback, a keyframable timeline and the ability for users to pick up any part of an image or animation and paint with it. It also includes a Lighting tool for interpreting images as elevation maps to bring them to life in 3D; Symmetry, Mirror and Kaleidoscope modes; a Stroke Player that re-uses saved brush strokes; Layer modes; and the ability to load video and spritesheets directly to animated brushes. Also notable is the use of animated filters; rotoscoping with Roto tools; image stabilization of shaky video; motion tracking; antialiasing of drawing tools; and a Color Curve tool for color adjusting.

New in version 9.6 is a duplicate frame tool (shown below), which makes it possible to manage video that has been damaged due to dropped frames or improper transcoding. Also new is a revamped green screen compositing tool, with color matrix adjustments; an enhanced camera stabilization/tracking and camera motion removal/restoration tool; a vector blur filter; a Dogmark benchmarking tool for testing the speed of different processors; tools for single point matchmoving; support for higher-resolution monitors; and an updated and animatable rubber sheet tool.

Howler 9.6 is currently available at $64, regularly $89.99. PD Artist, which drops the animation tools, is priced at just $20. More information and a trial version is available on the Squirreldome site.