Howler 9.1 was just released at DAZ 3D at only $62.27… Such a steal!!!
What IS Howler?
Follow the above link, and check out the “What’s Included & Features” tab
This whole thread is about Howler, the Pro version of Project Dogwaffle. And it doesn’t even begin to illustrate how incredible this tool suite has become!
Howler 9.1 has really come a long way. 9.0 brought to us Puppy Ray, a Dogwaffling Ray Trace Render engine for use with height maps, sky backgrounds, and textures right within Dogwaffle. Sort of like the 3D Designer, which is still included, but this bad-boy has global illumination, more power of setting up the colors and appearances, and… it now has a fully GPU version that renders as you adjust according to your settings! There are now two PuppyRay to choose from: CPU and GPU, depending upon your needs.
Project Dogwaffle is a digital painting tool, transforming your mouse or tablet into art tools that you may be used to in the hands-on art world. Like a thick oil paint on a wide brush, or a 5H pencil, for a very small example - as Dogwaffle is most unlimited in how you can paint. Being a brush-centric application, the brush, itself, holds the key to many ways of working within your art. It can shoot particles, using 3d space to help you manipulate what ends up on the canvas! Particles are entirely limitless all by themselves, but like nearly everything in Dogwaffle, you get a large selection of presets to choose from. The particles brush is also quite expansive. So to make it easier, Dan has included several tabs of presets which use similar aspects of the use of particles. For example, “Orbicles” is where you go for particle brushes that mostly work with the image you have loaded. Rather than ‘adding new’ color, the particles quickly grab and absorb a pixel which gets released back onto the canvas on its return trip, where it grabs a new one as it paints down what it had picked up. Of course, you don’t even need to know any of that… you just grab the brush and paint with it. You can also use these to add color, too. The way Dogwaffle uses brush settings is really quite a handy way of manipulating what happens when you dab or stroke.
Many, many types of brush already available and yet you can always save your favorites as well. And the above short doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.
You may open an image from your computer, any image, as a brush and paint with it. Knowing that, you can easily use and create an unlimited supply of custom brushes. “Store and Manage” under the brush menu will give you a new control panel on your screen specifically for the current brush at that time. So now you can switch to something else and then simply click on the panel you’ve just made to grab that brush again - which is really handy. You may also load more than one image into the same brush making what is called an animated brush. An animated brush can work in several ways. By default, as you stroke along with your brush, the images contained within will cycles according to the steps smoothness of your brush.
Foliage Brushes are another type of particles brush that can ‘grow’ foliage from a single stroke. Some of the presets will follow the direction of your stroke, others only use the first dab and just grow on their own. Anything like that can be changed in the panel for new, custom settings. It’s amazing how many presets are included.
Far beyond brushes, Howler includes many effects and features towards optimizing animations and video!
Motion prediction module helps big time when video footage is needed for a composite - and you’d like to add your own special effects before or after doing so. Howler works well with avi as well as sequenced images animations. This sort of thing is fantastic for working with Carrara animation footage. But you also have hand-drawn cartoon-style animation power as well, to work with. Howler has the ability to create and use sprite sheets. You can create an animation from a sprite sheet and vice versa.
Effects like motion blur, adding snow or rain, mystic vision (one of many ways to add very specific god rays), color grading optimizations, focus control, pretty much anything you need to apply to a clip you can add with Howler. And it does it really fast.
Rotoscoping works like a charm. The curve tool, as if it isn’t handy enough just being what it is, includes a rotoscoping menu. Can we say… “Rock On!”
Here is a short list of what’s new in 9.1:
GPU accelerated ray tracing: Puppy Ray GPU
New free transform tool
New options for alpha channel selections
New line, rectangle, and circle options
New crop tool
New interactive font picker
New icon set, color schemes, and light on dark color schemes
More options available on the context strip for quicker access
New fill panel
New options for plasma nois, including seamless mode and more
GUI improvements and bug fixes
Also, Dan has done some impressive new work on the interface appearance and functionality.
All in all, Howler is exactly the sort of app I would expect from a broadcast special effects artist, like Dan Ritchie, but a whole lot more as well. This baby has quickly become one of my favorite reasons to turn on my computer.
Of course for me, I always have to have the latest and greatest. As a matter of fact, I watch diligently for it! However, like Carrara, older versions are incredibly powerful, great tools. And, if you’re ‘on-the-fence’ about trying it, buying previous versions are an even less expensive way to get Howling!
Wow! $62.27… For Howler 9.1… is a beautiful thing.