Dogwaffle’s PD Pro Digital Painter 3.1

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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.

  • Dogwaffle’s PD Pro Digital Painter 3.1
    Full Version: $97.00
    Platform: PC Only

  • Try Before You Buy Version: Evaluation Demo

    For additional information,
    We invite you to visit the following sites:
  • PD Pro Digital Painter 3.1

  • The official Dogwaffle website.

    For information about TGA and other image file formats, please refer to:
    Renderosity’s Graphic Dictionary

    All supporting images within this article are copyright, and cannot be
    reprinted, copied, or reproduced in any manner without written permission from the artist

    "Lets Talk" with Dee-Marie
    is a monthly featured column
    by Dee-Marie:
    Senior Staff Writer, and
    Managing Editor of
    Renderosity's Front Page News

    June 6, 2005

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    Member Opinions:
    By: nickcharles on 6/8/05
    Thanks Dee! Great review. I was curious about this program. I think the 'paint-mixing' over the color picker sounds great! I'll HAVE to give it a try, now.

    By: KarenJ on 6/8/05
    Great review, Dee-Marie! I definitely have to check out the demo :-)

    By: dburdick on 6/8/05
    While Dogwaffle can do some interesting things (e.g. particle brushes) it is extremely difficult to use. I've been dabbling with it for about a year for postwork stuff and it has several major shortcomings. First, Dogwaffle has awful layer support. You cannot adjust the opacity of layers and have to play with various buffers to approxmate the use of layers found in standard graphics programs such as PS, PSP and Painter. Second, the gradient editor is a complete mystery as to how it works. You have to fiddle with mixing RGB colors individually to get a final gradient. Third, there is no eraser brush - you have to paint the background image over the layer to to erase. Fourth, the user interface is not intuitive at all. It does not follow any standard Windows or Mac style guide commonly found on mainstream graphics programs which makes learning the program extremely difficult. Finally, there is no help included with the program. You have to hunt around the website for video tutorials or gleen info from the Dogwaffle user group on Yahoo. I only use dogwaffle for its amazing particle driven brushes If you're used to PS or PSP you will find this program extremely difficult to master.

    By: deemarie on 6/8/05
    Hi dburdick
    Thanks for your feed-back :]

    Actually PD Pro does have an outstanding, very well written and easy to follow manual, that can be downloaded from the following PD Pro Manual or from the Dogwaffle website [see link at the end of the article].

    To understand the different functions of the layers and how to work with the program's interface, I would highly recommend viewing the PD Pro video tutorials.

    Again, I have worked with Photoshop, Painter, and Paint Shop Pro, for over ten years, and "after" reading the PD Pro manual and viewing the video tuts, I found PD Pro very easy to use and more importantly FUN to use.

    I agree that PD Pro is not a replacement for Photoshop, but it does provide amazing painterly features that are not available on many of the other paint programs.

    Thank you again for your input, it is greatly appreciated.

    We Look forward to hearing back from other users as well... Maybe we can even get Dan Ritchie in here to help answer some of your questions pertaining to the program.


    By: Dan_Ritchie on 6/8/05
    >>You have to fiddle with mixing RGB colors individually to get a final gradient

    You can drag and drop colors to create gradients.

    you should have a link directly to the online (web based) manual from the help menu. You can also download it. Links are given in the help menu.

    By: Sixaxis on 6/8/05
    Great review Dee-
    I use the "I'm too poor to buy the advanced version" version of DW, and it still amazes me that so few people are aware of it. It is my #1 "pre-production" tool for textures. I imagine the full version is 200% more useful.
    One of these days I will have a job that allows these things as a business expense, out!

    By: starmage on 6/9/05
    Interesting, maybe I will give the demo a go one day but I was wondering what made you read the manual?

    The reason I ask is that you said you hated reading manuals but you say ""after" reading the PD Pro manual and viewing the video tuts". I assume something was different in this case? And if you haven't read the manual for Photoshop etc then aren't you being somewhat subjective in your view of feeling comfortable with PD Pro?

    By: deemarie on 6/10/05
    Hi starmage,

    Excellent questions.

    As stated above, I hate reading manuals, I did not say that I never read them, just that I hate reading them. Especially before I get a “feel” for the program, by “playing” with it for a few days before diving into the “usually dry and often hard to follow” instruction books.

    Once I have an idea of how a program functions, I feel that a well-written manual is very important to fine-tune your knowledge base.

    Two reasons that I delved into the PD Pro’s tutorial “before” opening the program; a series of AVI tutorials were packaged with the software download [thus, I viewed the tutorials as part of the review], and, due to the time constraints required in writing reviews, “ exploration-playtime” is limited.

    As to Photoshop; over the past ten years, I have compiled a library of manuals and learning tapes on each upgrade, plus I have taken several Photoshop courses [also, I work with Photoshop each day]. So, comparing Photoshop to similar programs is just second nature.

    Photoshop is an amazing program and I could not function without it, however, it is an expensive program, and not within the budget of many CG artists. Although, PD Pro does not have “all” the functions of a Photoshop [or Painter], it is still an outstanding “paint” program. It is both user-friendly and cost effective, and “fun” to use!


    By: Paula Sanders on 6/10/05
    Excellent review. Sounds like a really easy to use program and one that makes sense.

    By: starmage on 6/10/05
    Thanks for the clarification Dee Marie :)
    I can sympathise as most of my manuals are scattered around the house as door stops :) . From what I've heard I'm not the only one....... lol

    Yes unfortunately photoshop is beyond the reach of most people on a financial level. I've stuck with Paint Shop Pro for a long time which has slowly been creeping towards what PS can offer. The difference gap is becoming ever more narrow while the price on PSP has remained relatively attainable to the average person.

    Anyway ta for the review. I may give this a look one day but for the moment I will stick with PSP. God knows I don't need any more programs!!!!

    By: deemarie on 6/11/05
    Hi starmage,

    PSP is another outstanding program, and, as you stated it is reasonably priced.

    If you are new to CG art, or if you have a background in traditional art, I would recommend getting a "feel" for Project Dogwaffle by first downloading Project Dogwaffle 1.11b ... It's a free version.

    As to not needing additional programs {{{insert gentle smile here}}} ... like the old saying, with a new twist, goes ... "You can never be too healthy, too rich, or have too many CG programs" :)

    Thanks so much for reading the Front Page News, your comments are greatly appreciated!


    By: sweetasman01 on 6/12/05
    1.11b is the OLD free version, 1.2 is better and free.

    I am a pdpro user, i am not an artist. I just play with the program for fun. I was so impressed with 1.2 i actually bought version 3. (It was the first software i ever paid for)

    I have Psp, i got copy when they were giving away free copies and found it to be fun, but not as fun a dog waffle.

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