Dogwaffles PD Pro Digital Painter 3.1

deemarie · June 7, 2005 11:38 am

file_252155.jpgPD 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.
file_252157.jpg The above screen grab courtesy of: Renderosity's MarketPlace - Dan Ritchie
All programs have a help link, but PD Pros 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. file_252153.jpgThe easy to use custom brush feature, along with a huge array of built-in brushes, is an artists dream-come-true, making the size and type of paintbrushes endless, and only limited to the artists 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 didnt 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.

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

av38205.jpg"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

Article Comments

nickcharles ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 08 June 2005

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.

KarenJ ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 08 June 2005

Great review, Dee-Marie! I definitely have to check out the demo :-)

dburdick ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 08 June 2005

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.

deemarie ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 08 June 2005

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. Dee-Marie

Dan_Ritchie ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 08 June 2005

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.

Sixaxis ( posted at 12:00AM Wed, 08 June 2005

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!

starmage ( posted at 12:00AM Thu, 09 June 2005

Hmmm 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?

deemarie ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 10 June 2005

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 Pros 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! Dee-Marie

Paula Sanders ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 10 June 2005

Excellent review. Sounds like a really easy to use program and one that makes sense.

starmage ( posted at 12:00AM Fri, 10 June 2005

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!!!!

deemarie ( posted at 12:00AM Sat, 11 June 2005

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! Dee-Marie

sweetasman01 ( posted at 12:00AM Sun, 12 June 2005

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.