PD Pro Digital Painter 3.1 is the latest upgrade from Dogwaffle creator Dan Ritchie. PD Pro is a serious paint program that also puts “the fun” back into artistic creativity. It combines many of the elements of high-end programs such as Photoshop and Painter, without the excruciating, and often times frustrating, learning curve.
I hate reading manuals, I hate following most web-based static tutorial. Like most artists, I like to just jump into a program and see what it can do. I have to admit, that with PD Pro I was pleasantly surprised when I deviated from my normal routine for a new product by actually opening the video tutorial package before attempting to delve into the program.
Dan Ritchie, personally created a package of short, AVI format, tutorials. The instructions were easy to follow, and instantly gave me a feeling of familiarity with the program. Opening PD Pro for the first time gave me the same sense of excitement that I had not experienced for over ten years, when I first discovered Photoshop. The WOW factor of PD Pro is off the scale. This little program packs a wallop of painterly features.
After an hour of viewing and practicing the 24-step tutorial package, I was working with the program like I had been using it for years. If you have ever worked with Painter, Photoshop, or even Paint Shop Pro, you will feel right at home with the familiar layout of the tools, with many interesting time saving twists. Two of my favorites, located on the floating Tool Bar, are the Clear Buffer button, which instantly allows you to erase your work area, and start with a clean canvas. Coupled with the Go Back button, with its endless “step back” feature, all within a quick mouse click.
The above screen grab courtesy of:
Renderosity's MarketPlace - © Dan Ritchie
All programs have a help link, but PD Pro’s help not only has links to the online manual and a helpful tips page, but also provides you with a pop-up keyboard shortcut reference guide.
The easy to use custom brush feature, along with a huge array of built-in brushes, is an artist’s dream-come-true, making the size and type of paintbrushes endless, and only limited to the artist’s imagination. The paper generator gives you several options of creating a variety of textured surfaces to apply a large assortment of realistic cyber-paint medias. In PD Pro, oil “feels” like oil, and watercolors flow exactly like watercolors. All that is missing is the paint-scent … but, on the fun-side, cleaning the brushes is a breeze.
Pd Pro is truly a software program designed by an artist, with the traditional artist in mind. This is most evident with the Color Mixer feature. Other paint programs allow you to color pick, but PD Pro actually allows you to mix-paint in a traditional artistic manner.
Several built-in color palettes include a variety of painters’ palettes, including; traditional artists colors [Burnt Siena, Phthalo Green, Yellow Ochre]; and one of my favorites, a CMYK paint palette, that includes a full range of colors used by professional printers.
The Color Mixer also allows the artist to create custom palettes. With a quick click, an artist can create a paint palette from the colors within an image [see example on left].
Besides being an excellent paint program, PD Pro is also a fair photo restoration program. As well as a real-time, and easy to use, animation generator with its own set of animation brushes. [a complete listing of features can be found on the PD Pro website].
What didn’t I like? Not much! Two minor irritations … first, although PD Pro supports the familiar formats [BMP, TIFF, JPG, GIF, etc.], its default format for saving (and opening) files is the not so well known Targa [TGA] Format. If you were to just plunge into the program [without reading the well-written online manual or previewing the video tutorials] opening a standard file could become very frustrating. By default only TGA files will appear in the browse window. However, clicking on the “files of type” tab, and selecting “Automatic (60+ format),” allows access to all your favorite image formats.
Secondly, the otherwise easy to follow video tutorials, are marred by being generically named [tute_01, tute_02, etc.]. This makes looking for a specific tutorial rather frustrating and time consuming, however, this can easily be fixed by renaming the tutorial files after viewing.
Like many CG artist, I started my career in art as a traditional artist, and although I have only worked with PD Pro for a short time [compared to ten years of daily Photoshop use], I am totally in-love with PD Pro Digital Painter 3.1, and would highly recommend it for any artist yearning to get back to their traditional painting roots.
Full Version: $97.00
Platform: PC Only
For additional information,
We invite you to visit the following sites:
For information about TGA and other image file formats, please refer to:
Renderosity’s Graphic Dictionary
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June 6, 2005