Saturday, March 27th, 2021 Posted by Jim Thacker

Project Dogwaffle team releases Howler 2021.4

Originally posted on 30 July 2020. Scroll down for news of Howler 2021.4.

The developers of hard-to-classify digital painting, animation and video processing tool Howler have released Howler 2021, the latest version of the software.

The update makes it possible to create much larger brushes, makes the user interface more tablet-friendly, and improves support for multi-monitor set-ups.

An idiosyncratic low-cost natural media paint package with a lot of unexpected features
Originally released two decades ago, Howler – originally Project Dogwaffle – is an idiosyncratic sub-$100 digital painting and content creation tool.

Its core strength is natural media painting, but it throws in a number of unexpected feature sets, ranging from terrain generation and particle sculpting to video repair and rotoscoping.

New in Howler 2021: support for larger brushes, better workflow on tablets and multi-monitor setups
Howler 2021 isn’t as radical an update, although that perhaps isn’t surprising, since it comes just two months after the previous release, developer Dan Ritchie having switched to a system of incremental releases.

The changes are primarily workflow improvements, including the option to create much larger brushes, with the size of airbrushes and the AA pen now set in relative units rather than as absolute pixel values.

Users also get new options to flip and rotate custom brushes.

The Size and Opacity sliders have been redesigned to make them “more tablet-friendly”; and multi-monitor support has been improved, with the software now automatically remembering the last montitor used.

Updated 23 September 2020: Howler 2021.1 is out. The update streamlines the interface of Puppyray, the software’s built in renderer, and adds the option to save settings and keyframes for Puppyray projects.

In addition, the eyedropper tool can now pick on-screen colours as well as those from document layers. You can find a full list of changes via the link below.

Updated 17 November 2020: Howler 2021.2 is out. The update adds new filters for rendering spark-like particle effects, shown above, and for generating Lorenz attractors.

In addition, the animation control panel has been reworked, including the option to attach sounds to specific frames of animation. Workflow improvements include the option to invert RGB channels independently.

Updated 25 January 2021: Howler 2021.3 is out. The update overhauls the software’s blur tools, reimplementing them for “better speed, quality and GPU utilisation”.

The Precise mode for the Gaussian Blur filter has been ported to the GPU and now runs in real time, as does Bokeh Blur. The settings for both now go much higher, as do those for Zoom Blur and Radial Blur.

There are also two new blur tools: Vignette Blur and Blur by Alpha, shown in the video above.

In addition, several other tools have been rewritten to improve quality or performance, including the Water Drops filter, the Value Noise filter, and the smoothing setting in the lighting tool.

Updated 26 March 2021: Howler 2021.4 is out. The release overhauls the software’s Convolve menu, reimplementing “nearly every” tool to make better use of the GPU.

Changes include the new CLAHE (Contrast Limited Adaptable Histogram Equalization) filter, shown above, which adjusts contrast locally for separate regsions of an image, helping to reduce noise.

There are also new Median, High Pass, High Pass Sharpen and Histogram Equalize filters.

In addition, the Brush Stamp tool now supports four-corner transforms, and the Bilateral filter for noise removal, blur and cartoon stylisation effects now runs on the GPU.

Pricing and availability
Howler 2021.4 is available for Windows only. It has an MSRP of $76.99, although the software is usually available at a discount.

Read a full list of new features in Howler 2021