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Rendered in Puppy Ray:
You can now order PD Howler version 9.0 here
Howler 9 will make
you feel like a Fly in the ointment!
(once you're in, there's no turning back)
A word from Dan Ritchie, developer of PD Howler:
July 31st, 2013 -
Now seems like a good opportunity to talk about how far we've come in the last year. It seems like a whole lot of miles, now. In fact, we've come a long ways.
In the last year, we've added support for GPUs, allowing us to add features that were simply not possible before. On average, our GPU code runs 3 to 4 times faster than our most efficient multithreaded CPU code. This made possible the Bokeh Blur filter that realistically simulates the iris of an SLR camera. This simply wasn't practical before. The GPU also makes our 3D Designer render much more briskly, Mandelbrots fly around at lightning speed, motion blur and zoom takes place in realtime, and so on.
The last year saw a rewrite of our graphics tablet code to allow for a wider variety of hardware to be supported. We also gained tablet calibration as an ergonomic feature.
System support has been expanded to include Linux, using Wine as the API, and of course Windows 8, and also running without administrator privileges, as well as expanded international support.
There's a lot that can be said about running under Linux of course. Since this is our first foray into Linux, we're not expecting the world just yet. There were a number of hurdles to overcome. There were some serious bottlenecks that have now been adressed. Opening the sidebar was previously impossible, and this has solved. There are small differences deep in the COM implementation that are causing us some grief. This has caused our plugin interface to fail under Wine.
COM is an aging standard, and a legacy one at that. Our plugin interface is COM based. Plugins are exe programs that execute alongside the main program and communicate through a COM interface. It is a very powerful interface, to be sure, but over the years, changes for security and other reasons have given us various problems. Also, since they were exe files, a virus checker would getting involved every time a plugin was launched. Virus checkers are fine, but they're not part of the creative process. It was time to move forward.
In the last year, we've been systematically internalizing plugins, and using every opportunity to enhance them in any number of ways. For example, the Starry Night filter has gained a real-time preview so you can see your animation before you commit for a final render.
Animation is near and dear to our hearts, so we've been making improvements there as well. You could always load an AVI file to perform further manipulation of its frames, but now you can load in a specific section of frames from the AVI file. You can also load an animation to use as a selection.
Some of our biggest changes in the last year have revolved around 3D rendering, and landscape rendering in particular. In version 8.2, we added not only landscape rendering, but also landscape animating on the timeline. Now in version 9, we are adding a global illumination raytracer to add more realistic shading, shadows and antialiasing to our rendering repertoire.
And no paint program would be complete without actual painting. Over the last year, we've expanded our painting capabilities with more realistic watercolors, gouache, bristle brushes, gel, and etc.
The interface has undergone numerous improvements including a simpler and more professional color scheme, updated icons, more interactivity, updated ruler, and etc. To show that we're keeping up with the Jones', we also added the option to have a single or double column toolbar. We also added a flat shading option to play nice with Windows 8.
As new devices have come onto market, such as new Windows based tablets, we have done our utmost to ensure that we run the best that we can. We've optimized on low end devices powered by the C60 and Atom based processors. In fact we've been pretty progressive about taking advantage of new hardware.
And keeping with market trends, we've reduced our price in the last year. Version 9 should sell for around $89. That's about what I paid for Deluxe Paint about 20 years ago.
Thanks for reading, waffling and howling!