Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024 Posted by Jim Thacker

Project Dogwaffle team releases Howler 2024.3

Originally posted on 2 May 2023. Scroll down for news of the Howler 2024.3 update.

The developers of hard-to-classify digital painting, animation and video processing tool Howler have begun the Howler 2024 release series.

The release improves performance and workflow in the software’s GUI and core toolsets, particularly the colour picking and sampling tools, the Gradient tool, and the 3D renderer.

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 also features basic 3D rendering capabilities, primarily for landscapes and foliage, and animation features including a timeline, onion skinning, frame repair, retiming, and an exposure sheet for lip sync animation.

Workflow and performance improvements to the GUI and colour sampling tools
Howler 2024 features a number of workflow and performance updates, with the software’s GUI updated to improve responsiveness and reduce startup and shutdown times.

The colour sampling tool has been updated, with the latter now supporting arbitrary sample sizes and the option to [Shift]-click to sample multiple colours, as shown in the video above.

The Gradient tool now supports dithering to reduce banding in the gradient generated.

Other changes to the 2D drawing and painting tools include better end cap handling in the Vector Line tool, a more streamlined new Fill panel, and the option to set brush rotation from the context bar.

Easier rendering of imported 3D models
Workflow in the software’s 3D toolset has been improved, with new options to load 3D models centred in the scene or placed on the ground, and default materials used on loading if no .mtl file exists.

Updated 14 August 2023: The Howler developers have released Howler 2024.2.

The release introduces a new hybrid CPU/GPU render engine – it’s an instance-based bucket rasterizer that uses the GPU for final shading – described as “up to 9x faster” than the previous renderer.

It supports PBR materials using the roughness/metalness convention, tonemapping and gamma correction.

The first use of the engine within Howler is in the tool for creating brushes from rendered 3D objects.

The update also introduces a new text tool with “full word processing capability”, including a spell checking and support for mixed formatting – including text styles, colours and font sizes – in a single passage of text.

Updated 2 January 2024: The Howler developers have released Howler 2024.3.

The release extends the new render engine, adding the option to edit the material properties of imported 3D models, as shown in the video above, and 4×4 antialiasing.

There is also a new halftone painting mode.

Pricing and availability
Howler 2024.3 is available for Windows only. It has an MSRP of $59.99, although the software is usually available at a significantly lower price.

Read a full list of new features in Howler 2024