Category: Mountains

Further exploring Howler’s capabilities I rendered the very same landscape in Puppy Ray GPU as was shown in the last post, having been rendered in 3D Designer. Oh my! Taiga forest, I lived there.

Click on the image for a full-size view.

Here’s a de Havilland DHC-3 Otter (which you have seen before), operated by mythical Flying Moose Aviation of Talkeetna, Alaska, flying over a snow-covered mountain range. While Dogwaffle began as a 2D, raster-based paint program, Howler can model landscapes with multiple ray tracing utilities. This image, of stunning, almost photo-realistic quality, was rendered up in the 3D Designer utility. 3D Designer also has the ability to insert localized cloud formations of several types into your image. In this example you can see the leading edge of an approaching snowstorm just beyond the mountains.

outrunning an approaching blizzard

Running Ahead Of The Storm

Dogwaffle has an amazing array features – 2D, 3D, particles. There is also a large and growing number of video tutorials to help you figure out how to use them. Look here for more examples in the future including landscapes rendered with the Puppy Ray ray tracing utility.

A New Toy

Like most artists working with digital media I use several software applications. Sometimes I may use as many as six or seven programs to produce a single finished image; especially if it involves 3D modeling – whatever works to get the job done. One program I have used for quite a few years now is Project Dogwaffle. I began with the freeware version and was very impressed; it was also a lot of fun. There have been many updates over the years and I upgrade every so often. A few days ago I upgraded to the latest version, known as Howler. No single application does everything, but Howler is a very sophisticated, though generally easy to use program. In addition to the standard painting functions that you would expect you can also make animations. Special settings for “painting” foliage are also included and some time ago the ability to generate 3D terrains was incorporated.

I have been tinkering with my new toy and thought I you might interested in the results. There will be more examples and explanations of how I use Dogwaffle in conjunction with other software posted here in the coming weeks. I am always experimenting and trying to push the envelope of what can be done. My friend Philip Staiger who helped develop various versions of Dogwaffle will also probably be posting some of it and additional material at his website, He has also made some very good video tutorials. My thanks to him for his recent assistance.

As I said 3D terrain modeling has been a feature for some time and, like the other capabilities, it gets better with every new version. The ability to work both 2D and 3D in the same software makes some things much quicker and easier.

Here is the first image I worked up in Howler. I probably should not have put my copyright mark on it as I, more or less, slavishly followed the steps outlined in a video tutorial by Dan Ritchie who developed Dogwaffle. I really like how Howler handles fog.

Desert Sunset

Desert Sunset

To generate a 3D terrain you need a black and white image where the lighter the shade the higher the elevation; I call this a bump map. Here is a bump map for mountainous terrain. A simple, black and white, overhead image – think topographic map where the lightest shades are the mountain tops and the dark shades are lowlands. These are very easy to make by rendering plasma clouds.

black and white elevation map

Black And White Elevation Map

Here is a screenshot of the same bump map inside Howler’s 3D designer filter. Notice the terrain is a light neutral color. On the right you can see a panel with some of the many settings you can adjust.

screenshot of project dogwaffle howler 3d designer

Draft Terrain Render In Howler 3D Designer

The next step is to apply an image map, a texture, to the terrain. This is a simple image map made by again rendering plasma clouds, adjusting the color and adding a rock pattern to make it more interesting and realistic. As with rendering plasma clouds this is quick and easy to do. For the sake of brevity I left out a couple of steps required to add the snow.

terrain image map

Terrain Image Map With Snow

The same image map applied to the terrain bump map in 3D designer.

image map applies to the bump/terrain map

Image Map Applied To The Terrain

By adjusting a multitude of settings – elevation amplitude, illumination, point of view, etc., etc., etc.,  anyone can make a nice scenic view.

Here is another doodle I made. Except for the Northern Lights, which I made with other software, everything in this image was done with the Howler version of Dogwaffle on the same manner as outlined above. You can also make some very nice Northern Lights in Dogwaffle.

example 3d terrain render in project dogwaffle howler

Aurora Borealis Over Snow-Covered Mountains

One other thing you might find to be interesting.

Here’s a fractal image I made some time ago.

fractal magen david/star of david

Fractal Star Of David

After running it though the same process as above – I was curious what would happen – this is the resulting image with the illumination set to make the relief more visible.

fractal image rendered as terrain

Fractal Image Rendered As Terrain

I definitely recommend Dogwaffle to anyone, from beginners in digital arts, to professionals with many years of experience.

Thin Air


When making images I may use something I draw/paint from scratch, objects and landscape modeled and rendered with 3D software, or photographs I have taken – sometimes I make use of all three in one image – whatever works. I do a lot of experimentation. In this doodle of stark, high mountains I am trying to “automate” the irregular presence of snow rendered in 3D; so that the snow line is not just that, a line. I haven’t perfected the process, but I think I am on the right track.

In this case I applied a terrain image map which I made in the PD Artist version of Project Dogwaffle (which, by the way, has a very useful 3D terrain modeling filter) to mountainous terrain in Daz Bryce. I duplicated the terrain with a snow material. Repeatedly applying a variety of random variations (noise) in the geometry of the two terrains gave the effect I was looking for. A bit of post-processing produced a rather nice result.

thin air - snow on the mountains

Thin Air

An out-of-the-ordinary, simple, blue and white fractal suggesting a melt water lake and a river, or stream, in a valley between glacier-covered mountains. This image is rather odd looking, but strangely appealing, a fortuitous randomly-generated fractal. I doctored it a bit to enhance the appearance of ice and snow.

You can find this image on many items at one of my Zazzle stores. Search for “glacial lake.”


A bald eagle perched on a driftwood log washed up on the rock-strewn coast of Alaska; mountains loom in the distance.

Click on image for full-size view.

bald eagle perched on driftwood along Alaska coast

Bald Eagle

A nice rural scene here. A dilapidated, old, red truck sitting near an abandoned cabin.

Click on image for full-size view.

old truck and cabin

The Old Red Truck

Not! I manufactured the image from three photographs I took in Sandpont, ID over a period of years using free software.

Here is the original photograph of the truck. You will notice that the truck is white. Transforming it into a red truck was a bit more difficult than it would otherwise have been as the color was so close to that of the snow. Still, it only took a few minutes.

old white truck

The Old White Truck

Here is the original photo of the house. Notice that the image is horizontally reversed.

ramshackle cabin in sandpoint, id

Ramshackle Cabin

And here is the original background image, also horizontally reversed, from some years ago.


Background Image

The three photos assembled into one. As I was not trying trying to create an image to fool the Internet public I did not take much care with precision cropping of outlines; or matching hues, saturation or luminosity. Not bad though; for a quickie job.

three photos combined to make one

Three Photos Into One

Be warned You can’t trust what you see. There are many people out there trying to put one over on you.

It was a gray and cloudy mrning as we approached Bellingham on the last day of our ferry trip from Alaska. The top of volcanic Mt. Baker could be seen rising above the cloud deck.

This picture is from a photo I took of the scene.

Click on image for full-size view.

The volcano Mount Baker near Bellingham. WA.

Mount Baker

Known as Koma Kulshan (white sentinel) by one Native American tribe, Mt. Baker dominates the skyline from Bellingham, Washington, and Vancouver, British Columbia. At 10,781 ft, it is the third-highest mountain in Washington State and the fifth-highest in the Cascade Range. It is visible from much of Greater Victoria, Greater Vancouver, and, to the south, from Seattle (and on clear days Tacoma).

On cold, clear winter days, dramatic increases in the steam plume rising continuously from Sherman Crater can alarm local residents. This apparent increase in plume vigor occurs because of condensation of steam in cold, calm air.

The mountain, an isoloated stratovolcano, is the most heavily glaciated of the Cascade Range volcanoes after Mount Rainier. Mount Baker Ski Area set the world record for recorded snowfall in a single season—1,140 in.

Mt. Baker has the second-most thermally active crater in the Cascade Range after Mount Saint Helens. While volcanism has persisted here for some 1.5 million years, the current glaciated cone is likely no more than140,000 years old, and possibly no older than 80-90,000 years. Older volcanic edifices have mostly eroded away due to glaciation.

Mt. Baker has been very active over the last 10,000 years and has erupted 13 times in recorded history. Its last eruption was in 1880. A release of steam occurred at in 1975-6, but no eruption followed this event.

The first written record of the mountain is from the Spanish. Spanish explorer Gonzalo Lopez de Haro mapped it in 1790 as the Gran Montaña del Carmelo, (Great Mount Carmel). The explorer George Vancouver renamed the mountain for 3rd Lieutenant Joseph Baker of HMS Discovery, who saw it on April 30, 1792.

This is one of my early efforts with digital art. A bear wandering near low mountains; perhaps in Wyoming or Montana. If you have never been to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest I highly recommend you spend some time there.

In reality, with the amount of snow on the mountains, there would lilely be some on the ground as well, but it was just an experiments and I like the colors.

Click on image for full-size view.

Bear and Mountain

Bear and Mountain

I made this image with a graphics application by the name of Project Dogwaffle. If you want to try your hand at digital art you might give it a look. You can start with a free version which has all the basic features you will need. It is fairly intuitive to use, there are a number of tutorials available, as well as a helpful users community. I would also suggest you acquire a graphics pad/tablet. Much easier than trying to draw with a mouse.

Hours have passed; it is now dark dark and the wolverine (see previous post) has moved on. Rodents in the area are still not safe as a Boreal Owl (Aegolius funereus) sits in a dead spruce tree – death from above.

The Boreal Owl, which generally remains in the north throughout winter, is cute and would be a fine subject for a future post.

Click on image for full-size view.

A Boreal Owl sits in a dead spruce tree listening for the movement of small rodents beneath the snow,

Silent Night