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Contest Announcement

Journal Entry: Fri Sep 2, 2011, 5:23 AM

The details have been released on the new fractal contest here at DA. SuicideBySafetyPin announced a few weeks ago that a big contest was in the works and today, FantasyStock posted the official announcement. Back To Fractal Class is a contest for fractalists. (Or anyone who wishes to give fractaling a try)  Click on the link to check out the details and all the amazing prizes! Good luck to everyone!

  • Listening to: Fans blowing hot air
  • Reading: Not at the moment
  • Watching: Buffy get her arse kicked
  • Playing: with MB3D
  • Eating: Gum
  • Drinking: Diet Coke

Mandelbulb 3D ~ Navigating Tip

Journal Entry: Fri Aug 5, 2011, 11:39 AM
Can't Get There From Here

I thought that title was good as sometimes it's difficult to navigate MB3D pieces. It may only be me who has difficulty, I don't know. I Don't use the 3D navigator exclusively like many do. So it occurred to me that some of the pieces that I've posted parameters for may be difficult to tweak if you use the navigator exclusively. If you don't have any problems with the navigator, just disregard this journal, otherwise, read on.

My way or the highway...

Of course not. Everyone has their own techniques and favorite ways to explore. To think there is only one way to explore in MB3D is ridiculous. And I'm certainly not saying there is a best way either. What ever works for each of us should not be shoved off on others as the best or easiest way to go about things. What I'm discussing here will be how I go about it and how that might present problems to others if I happen to post parameters on a piece. Or perhaps you suddenly find that after adding a formula to your piece or changing some values in the formulas you are using, the navigator suddenly becomes uncooperative.

The way I tweak...

This is the way I work. I usually load up one of my existing parameters. I keep everything. I may post a piece that I had saved 5 or 10 different versions of before I was satisfied with it, so I have a ton of parameters to choose from. I do my main tweaking in the main window. Why? Simply because the view is much clearer and bigger. That's nothing against the navigator, it's just a simple fact. Minor changes of the values in formulas may not show up at all in the navigator. (I'm sure that is common knowledge) So because I see the details and formula changes better in the main window, I use it more for rotating and zooming as well.

But why, the navigator is so easy to use!

Yes it is. But it may be just as likely that suddenly after a few formula changes and tweaks, it quits working. I didn't use the navigator at all a while back because of this. A lot of people were stunned by that. Over time, I forced myself to use it and finally found most of the little tricks to get results with it. I know I've done a lot of really nice pieces but I still don't consider myself an expert with MB3D. I just don't know the technical stuff and may never learn it. So as I tweak away, I may rotate my view in the main window as well as using the move tool and zooming. All of these tweaks may mess with the navigator functions. I'm sure many of you have found at one point or other that this happens. You may just undo changes until you get the navigator to function again, or you may know other ways to fix the problems you have. The following is just one way to fix a particular problem that crops up.

The, "My back is against a wall" scenario...

That may be better known as the "I'm having a nightmare and the monster is coming after me and my feet are glued to the floor and I can't move" scenario. So you've tweaked away and go to the navigator and try to look around and a): either everything disappears, or b): you cant move. The "everything disappears" thing is easy to fix and I think almost everyone knows the solution. You just adjust the far plane setting (to a higher value) in the navigator. The "I can't move" thing, while a little time consuming, can be fixed as well. I only know of one way to fix this, some of you may know of other ways. If you know of other ways, please tell all in a comment in as clear and non technical way as possible!

So Mr. Genius, why the super glue?

Teleportation my friend! Somehow you have teleported inside your piece. You can't backup, (zoom out) walk forward, (zoom in) and often can't look side to side either. In other words, there is some structure behind you and you bump into it while trying to move, or you are actually right inside a structure that is holding on to you. For a long time I simply abandoned the navigator when this happened. So how do you fix this? One way is to cut your way out. (There may be other ways, but I only know this one way) It's kind of like opening a door behind you so you can back up. The neat thing is if you open that door behind you, it also allows you to move forward and side to side as well so you basically restore the full functionality of the navigator.

Trial and error, the story of my life...

Trial and error is not such a bad way to learn. It's time consuming but often the lesson sticks with you better. So let's cut away! So you are glued down in the navigator and can't move. The first thing you have to determine is what plane you are facing. I did a tutorial a while back that covers the basics of cutting (Mandelbulb3D Tutorial 3) so I'll not go over cutting in too great a detail here. So assuming no cutting plane is selected, click on the cutting tab and select the x,y or z plane. I start at the top or the x plane. You select the plane by clicking in the empty box and a check mark appears. The x plane is now cut at 0.0 (zero). Click calculate 3d and then RELOAD your parameters in the nav window. See if you can navigate. If no, then change the cut value in the x plane up or down. Go for a large value to shorten this trial by error solution. So lets use 4 as a value. Click calculate 3D and RELOAD parameters into the nav window. See if you can navigate, if not, repeat above changing the value to -4. Reload parameters and try navigating again. Usually if 4, 0.0 or -4 doesn't fix the navigating problem, then we are working on the wrong plane and we would move on to the y plane and go through the same trial and error.

Hey bud, you fuxored my piece!

Sorry about that! So yeah, by the trial and error described above we found the plane we wanted but our piece is totally destroyed because we cut it to ribbons. Well that's because we're not done yet! Let's assume we found that we are looking at the y plane and it is now cut at a value of 4.0. It looks totally different because we cut too deep. We can navigate now but we went way past the nice area we wanted to explore. All we have to do now is fine tune the y cut value. Assuming we are at 4, lets lower the value to 3, then 2 and so on (clicking calculate 3d between each change) until we get back to the view we had before cutting. Let's say we have to go all the way down to a -1 value on the y plane cut. Now our view is the same as before we started, but wait! Navigating is broke again! So we went a little to far. Try -0.8 or -0.6. You have to fine tune to make this work and keep the same view. You may end up with a y plane cut value of -0.17 or anything. It takes time but once you do it a few times it's fairly quick and easy.

Why bother, you're wasting my time...

Well sure, it's just something I do to get the most out of a piece. If you abandon some parameters you can no longer navigate, you might be missing a real beauty. By the way, if you can't navigate a piece that is already cut, then you just have to adjust the existing cut value to fix it. The bad news is that this cutting trick sometimes doesn't work very well, particularly if you are looking at a plane at an extreme angle. You can still fix the nav problem but you will not be able to quite get back to the view you started with. So I'll be happy if this helps even one person, and if not, it at least gave me something to do on a rainy Friday afternoon...

PS: Also made a new journal skin!

  • Listening to: Fans blowing hot air
  • Reading: Not at the moment
  • Watching: Buffy get her arse kicked
  • Playing: with MB3D
  • Eating: Gum
  • Drinking: Diet Coke

Art Exhibit

Journal Entry: Sun Jul 10, 2011, 7:15 PM
The Digital Palette


Hi all! This feels kind of funny because it's like tooting your own horn, but I wanted to share it anyway. Back in late March I received an email through Facebook inviting me to participate in an art exhibition called "The Digital Palette" sponsored by an organization called Paper New England. It was to be held at THE ARTSPACE GALLERY in Hartford, CT. Here's a  www.papernewengland.org/events… to the announcement for the event on the PNE site.

Paul Selwyn was the curator of the show and the person responsible for inviting artists and an exhibitor in the show as well. The show ran for three weeks in May and was quite a success he says. Here's a quote describing the show: "...a selection of prints created by artists who utilize digital technology in their creative process. This exhibit includes artists from a digital art community that is worldwide, yet connected with only a few keystrokes."

I had been in a lot of community art shows in the past showing my pottery but nothing like a professional show. I was quite the newbie and Paul helped me through the process with encouragement and advice and I wanted to thank him for that. You can see some of his digital art at this paulselwyn.com/2/Artist.asp?Ar…

I sent five pieces to the exhibit and was fortunate enough to sell two prints. I sold a 36x36 print of "Time Machine" (which I deleted from DA accidentally) and a 12x18 print of "Menger Madness". haltenny.deviantart.com/art/Me…

I wanted to thank everyone here at DA as well for all the encouragement and support that our tight knit community offers on a regular basis. And also to offer encouragement to others to continue their hard work with their art in hopes that a small measure of success and happiness can find us all sooner or later.  :)

Hal Tenny

  • Listening to: Cats in heat (No, it's not a band!)
  • Reading: 3 books
  • Watching: Fringe
  • Playing: with MB3D
  • Eating: candy
  • Drinking: Cold coffee

A little rant...

Journal Entry: Tue Jun 7, 2011, 8:48 AM
  I used to do online gaming...

I played Team Fortress, a sort of Quake spin off. I was 'thehal'! Fun stuff. So as I became more involved, I got connected with a TF news site (with 'spaceman spiff') and helped report on the game and also had a feature called "Hal's Rant-o-matic". So just consider this a little rant-o-matic, 'thehal' style...

Mandelbulb 3D

MB3D has become a fairly popular fractal program. I had a hard time learning it as the interface was so different than Apophysis, the first fractal program I learned. But once I began to learn MB3D, I shared my somewhat limited knowledge by writing a few tutorials, and that (in part) had something to do with the explosion of MB3D users. I never found a single tutorial to help in that learning process. (Not saying there wasn't one, but I never found one.) The folks at Fractal Forums were more than happy to answer questions on MB3D though. And I did learn a lot through visiting there and playing with the parameters that were posted by the members.

In fact, that's what really opened up MB3D for me. I saw a piece posted by mario837 (here at DA) where he gave credit to parameters posted by Lenord at Fractal Forums called Spudsville. This is all pretty common knowledge by now, and pretty much the subject of this rant-o-matic.

Mandelbulb 3D and Apophysis  

While these are two entirely different fractal programs, there are many similarities in the popularity of them. Tutorials are written, parameters are posted, the users and their communities benefit. Many times when a new tutorial is written, there's new interest generated and quite often a flood of pieces based on those tutorials. You can often look through peoples galleries and you'll see where they experimented with a new tutorial. Sometimes those experiments look like everyone else's, sometimes they don't. That's the whole idea of tutorials, to enhance the learning process. Sometimes, no matter how much you play with a style, it will always be recognized as a certain style such as the two piece below...

Splashy Bright by HalTenny    Cob Webby Splitz by HalTenny

And then other times you're able to take the style and knowledge you gained from playing with it beyond what is easily recognized, such as the next examples...

Breast Plate by HalTenny    The Circle is Broken by HalTenny    Aging Amulet by HalTenny

Some of you may recognize that the above are all splits. But the three directly above pose little resemblance to the first two.

So who's to say...  


So who's to say you aren't doing enough or you really need to move on? I'm just wondering. Because I think as long as you are still experimenting and having fun and in the process still learning and coming up with different things in the 'same style', then go for it. If you want to move on then fine. If you feel like you have to use a different combination of formulas and invent something new that's great. I've seen some comments on DA and also off site that indicate a weariness of certain styles and I'm a bit peeved about it. Who are you to say I need to move on? Why do I have to invent a new style? If you are tired of, or sick of, or just plain don't like a style, that's just fine. I happen to like what I'm doing, and while most of my recent pieces are all the same style, that doesn't mean I'm not experimenting every day. I'm not going to say I'm sorry if it all looks the same to you. I'll say I'm sorry if you can't see the wide variety and sometimes subtle differences and changes in a style. I doubt there is a single artist out there who expects everyone else to like every piece they post. I certainly don't.

In conclusion, I'm not saying people shouldn't have their own opinion, likes and dislikes and preferences. I'm simply saying I'm happy where I'm at and with what I'm doing. I'll decide when I think it's time to move on. Below are a few more pieces showing where I started with Lenord's style and how far I've gone...

Carbon Capture Storage Pump by HalTenny    Probably Broken by HalTenny    Sensory Overload by HalTenny

High Voltage by HalTenny    Momma Spider Tending Egg by HalTenny    Deep Connections by HalTenny

Beyond Comprehension by HalTenny    The Gate by HalTenny    Alien In Your Face by HalTenny

That's pretty much all I wanted to say.

  • Listening to: Cats in heat (No, it's not a band!)
  • Reading: 3 books
  • Watching: Fringe
  • Playing: with MB3D
  • Eating: candy
  • Drinking: Cold coffee

Big Thanks - Parameters and Tips For Beginners

Journal Entry: Thu Feb 17, 2011, 9:46 AM
A Big Thanks


I was pleasantly surprised to receive my second DD yesterday! The piece was Could Be Trouble. Many, many thanks to DragonWinter for choosing it and the kind words she used to describe it! And of course thanks to all those who took the time to comment and fave the piece!

Are we looking hard enough?


This is more for the beginner who may be discouraged. I was just wanting to offer some input on a few things. In the past few months or so (actually the past year) I've had a bunch of time off from work because the construction industry is so slow. Because of that I have had an extraordinary amount of time to play with fractals. And it is partially due to those circumstances that I have been able to create a lot of nice pieces and also learn MB3D. I'm only saying this because I wanted people to know that while I have an eye for 'finding' interesting things, it has much to do with the time I spend looking. And once I find something, it is a constant rabid attack on the variable settings to tweak the piece that produces the end results. After constant tweaking, you do get a feel for what changes are made to your piece by playing with the formula settings. But it takes time.

The first few times I opened MB3D, I messed with it for a while and was sorely disappointed that I didn't come up with anything worth posting. I saw a lot of great pieces floating around and just couldn't seem to get anywhere near the beauty, complexity and composition I was seeing. So I gave up for a while. Then I tried again and gave up again. And then I didn't give up! I stuck with it and it paid off. All I'm trying to say is you have to invest the time if you expect to get results.

And the real point I want to make is that you may have something staring you right in the face and you simply don't see it, or aren't looking hard enough. I hope this doesn't put anyone off because it's not meant to. I found I'm guilty of the same thing at times. While I save a ton of parameters, I often abandon them if I don't get results right away. For every one piece I post on Diviant Art, I have five or six or more rendered that I don't post because they aren't where I want them to be, or I've overlooked something. But by saving the parameters I'm able to revisit them and explore them more at a later date.

Onward My Wayfaring Friend!


So now that I've gotten my boring, self indulging lecture out of the way I'll give a few practical examples. All of the following images are located in my scraps and obviously you can click on the thumbnail to get the enlarged view.
Feb Seventeen Parameters by HalTenny
The above image is a very good example of how you can easily overlook something. I'll post the parameters at the end of this journal. The image is off centered because I wanted you to be able to zoom right in so you could see what I mean about missing things. The zoom is currently at 0.5. Default zoom is usually 0.18 or something like that, so I zoomed in a little to show some detail. If you glanced at this and didn't properly explore it you might think it is nothing but junk. So load the parameters and click calculate 3D. Now change the zoom to 12 and click calculate 3D again. You should have something like the following...
Feb Seventeen example one by HalTenny Example one
That would be easy to miss if you were impatient, in a hurry or not paying attention. Below are two more examples found in these parameters with only a little moving, rotating and zooming...
Feb Seventeen example two by HalTennyExample two   Feb Seventeen example three by HalTennyExample three
So that's three we've found with no tweaking to speak of. And again the point is you have to look around, then look some more! So those three are decent pieces and could be posted. But you still need to see if you can improve them! If you can't, then fine. But through the process of tweaking you may come up with 2 or 3 more versions, or five that are so different that they could be posted as well. Here's where the time factor comes in. If you aren't prepared to spend the time trying for something that might be better, well then you can forget about improving your skills. (Pretty harsh eh?) So here's some tweaks of example two to show you what I mean.
Tweaked by HalTenny
Above I changed the Min R in amazingbox from .2 to .5. I changed zoom from 8 to 10. I added the _rotate formula from the adds tab in the formula window and switched the order of the formulas so that _rotate is the third formula, and folding int pow is the forth. I set the _rotate values to X= -5  Y= 5 and Z= 0. This could go on for hours. But that is how you tweak and if you're wondering how I make my pieces, that's how. I constantly switch, add or subtract formulas. I constantly change formula values. I constantly reset the view and start over. I sometimes start with the 3D Navigator, sometimes I don't. And I often look in every nook and cranny I see and with a sharp eye for detail, I'll spot something I can work with.

So that's it for this little mini info session! I hope it encourages the beginners out there! Let me know if you have questions. :dance: :boogie:

Parameters


Mandelbulb3Dv16{
M.....h...EZ/...61.........S5iEUrTb2.9CK2trk/c4E3sT03cWxmyvho4/e5fM/.nqvhha1V6/k
........................................Uz1........Y./..................Y.2.....
................/M.//....6k8/...C/....E0.....2NKEvc97VrD/..........c./...w1.BnAH
z.EnAncD..../2......................OaNaNaNaB.A.......................sD...../..
.w1...6EPMUVmUpwWvXLiH.Qm1slySrHP6MU65lDOtNHtuD4Bvv8C146ijS2zWn5icIVDDgjFv24bzal
Fw1/VBZG2GXmyGe6MBBOqAij......o5......................sD..kz0...................
.............................UJRa4.upNO.sNbd/UkRa4.arNO.cUbd/U9Sa4..............
................Yzzzz1.....U..6.L....o0...UA....21...E0...U0....J....621..EiJF12
...U.ydelyjeYFnzTeOgzf8No.6.1c..zzzz.MQizccZWGyD7EdGkxmWcz1...........k.8.kXWF1.
QvM93P58iz9GMmnWK2zwz0..........V2V0.6oKp/U.0PJWp1PyzEmYEkti4xvD..........E.Gc..
mcV0.MxuvBTuCfujKjySnbiney9..........2l28oTITs/...........Um3yuedc8tz42Ra9hwxv.k
/6V0z5FAZ............oklrlkCx9yjW9wTJHz2Vz1...6E..EHVM/.XMlzwa5.cxo7..6Evqxz.g5P
D/UYZt6Ul/kF.V1.Fcrz9T7.B3W3.gZTUSH7.oI6K.Uly/uBZ.EHVM/.Nw5crI0.B3W3.QsTUSH7.oI6
K.kZz/uBZ.EHVM/....crI0.zzFoTu2.yzngi84.xzZX.45.................................
E....A....E/....2....A....EEh3aSdtqNU6oPs/UQ..........................k/9.......
.....................dNaNaNaNawD........kz1.....................................
................................................................................
.....................2.....3..../....wpIkVKNmJaFjl4NdtqNl.......................
6....MU/4MU/4................./E........kz9.....................................
................................................................................
................................m....M....k.....4x4PYZaPb/GGiF56ExqR............
..........U0.U............................2........7.rAnAnAnAP.E........kz1.....
................................................................................
............................................}

  • Listening to: Cats in heat (No, it's not a band!)
  • Reading: 3 books
  • Watching: Fringe
  • Playing: with MB3D
  • Eating: candy
  • Drinking: Cold coffee

Mandelbulb 3D News, Tips, And Feature

Journal Entry: Tue Feb 8, 2011, 7:09 AM
A little MB3D News

Just wanted to mention (In case you didn't know) that version 1691 of MB3D came out Friday. You can grab it at Fractal Forums and here's the link to it! Mandelbulb3Dv1691

Also of note is that some new formulas for MB3D are now available. DarkBeam at Fractal Forums has released a package of 12 and here's that link. New Formulas (The zip file is under this post! It's called final.zip). And Jessie who created MB3D also put up a couple of new formulas as well, along with a couple of sample parameters. Here's that link! Jessie's new formulas. And here's a link to that thread... www.fractalforums.com/mandelbu…

If you have questions about MB3D, The Fractal Forums section for MB3D would be a good place to head off to. Search the forums first to see if your question has been answered! Here's a link to the MB3D section. MB3D Forums

Some Rendering Tips

The most asked question seems to be concerning smooth renders. One of the main things is to make sure you are rendering on high setting! I select the high setting where it says preview, video, mid and high... This has a default render size of 3072x width by whatever height. The reason being that when you size it down for posting or viewing, you are basically showing more resolution in a smaller image. Think of it this way. If you take a 50x50 avatar and enlarge it to 1000x1000, it will look like crap, just a bunch of boxes. The reverse is true when you take a large image, say 3000x3000 and reduce it to 600x600. It will help make it look very clear! So always select the high setting.

The setting I usually use on high are as follows: (I'm not saying these are the best settings, they are simply what I use.)

DE stop: 2
Raystep multiplier: 0.05
Stepwidth limiter: 1 - (New setting in version 1691 I leave at default)
Step count for binary search: 12
Smooth normals: 7 (I've read that anything above 2 or 3 doesn't help much but I use 7 anyway :))
Any boxes that are checked by default, I leave checked.

Here are a few more tips from Fractal Forums:

From Jessie: "... if you decreased the 'Raystep multiplier' to 0.1 and there are still noisy surfaces, you can decrease the 'Stepwidth limiter' in the new version 1.6.9 also down to 0.1 or below to get rid of it."

From Lenord: "Low Raystep, higher max iterations will smooth surfaces and alleviate most artifacts, for Noise use the  Normals on DE and/or First step Random...works for me anyway. Edges being "Stepped" (jagged) is an Anti-aliasing function, solution=Render very large and save at 1:2 for 2xAA or 1:3 for 3xAA or as I do save at 1:1 and do Anti-aliasing in Post work."

And A Small Feature

These are a few of the MB3D pieces I have favored. No special order and I've mixed in a few of my own because I'm a ham!

Poppin' by AureliusCat   Cosmos out of chaos by FractalDesire   Menger spheres by Theli-at    

Single Malt Spirit Still by mario837   Momma Spider Tending Egg by HalTenny   Auricular by kr0mat1k    

:thumb191884971:   Strange World 6 by TomWilcox   MB11 Fractal Fantasy 37 by Xantipa2  

Pebbles by bib993   High Voltage by HalTenny   Dark Spiral Tree by bib993  

MB11 Robot detail by Xantipa2   Light Curls by SuicideBySafetyPin   Octopus Dragon's Lair by MANDELWERK

Making Connections by DsyneGrafix   Probably Broken by HalTenny   Altarian Badlands by dainbramage1

Edit: Dark Spiral Tree by Bib993 was made with Mandelbulber, not Mandelbulb 3D, :) My bad!

And Finally...


Just for reference, here are links to my tutorials and etc...

Mandelbulb3Dv1691
Mandelbulb3Dv168
Mandelbulb3D Tutorial 3        
Mandelbulb 3D Tutorial 2
Mandelbulb 3D Tutorial 1
New Formulas by DarkBeam
Jessie's new formulas

  • Listening to: Cats in heat (No, it's not a band!)
  • Reading: 3 books
  • Watching: Fringe
  • Playing: with MB3D
  • Eating: candy
  • Drinking: Cold coffee

New Tutorial and Big Thanks!

Journal Entry: Fri Jan 7, 2011, 8:38 AM
wOOt!
I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who has recently faved my newer pieces that were based on lenord's piece called Spudsville that he posted on the Fractal Forums site! The parameters made for some fascinating play time in Mandelbulb 3D!

New Tutorial
For those who haven't seen it yet, I made a new Mandelbulb 3D Tutorial to help others with their play time in Mandelbulb 3D, also based on the Spudsville parameters!

A Gift For You!! This is Yours!!
(Those words are from Diablo II!) I know a lot of people are short on time and sometimes don't read all the journals they receive. (I'm guilty too!) So for those of you who happen to click on this journal entry and actually read it, I'm going to post some starting parameters for one of my M3D pieces! Have fun playing! :wave::boogie::w00t::dance::bounce:

Parameters for a zoom out of my Carbon Capture Storage Pump!


Mandelbulb3Dv16{
J.....h...EZ/...61........UOW7Mlvp17.X1NLFkmuR/EFXIU7iNbnzfSOWnseEi1.lLW7Mlvp1.k
........................................kz1........Y./..................kz1.....
................/M.0/....6kH/...C/....E......2NKEvc97VqD/..........c./...w1.BnAH
z.EnAnYD..../2UaNaNaNaNmz.........yj........6.2.................................
........sloCXx6afzvnjJaWIA1szENQrfIZZZrjT1F37oRs/zPhUyBfzBDnzKkegxNBNvyDPUHJlR97
Tz1RYX.pj3euzwRb4HUS02xD......27.........................2kz0...................
.............................UTRY4.WqFO.MQ5d/UuRY4.CsFO.6X5d/UJSY4..............
................0..........U..6.f....E0....B....o/...E/...EH....c....s31..EnQF1.
...U.ydelyjeYFnzTeOgzf8No.6.1c..zzzz.MQizccZWGyD7EdGkxmWcz1...........k.8.kXWF1.
QvM93P58iz9GMmnWK2zwz0..........V2V0.6oKp/U.0PJWp1PyzEmYEkti4xvD..........E.Gc..
mcV0.MxuvBTuCfujKjySnbiney9..........2l28oTITs/...........Um3yuedc8tz42Ra9hwxv.k
/6V0z5FAZ............oklrlkCx9yjW9wTJHz2Vz1...uBZ.EHVM/.sNGoTu2.cxo7.oPHnueM.g5P
D/k.pt6Ul/kF.V1.fx5crI0.B3W3.MtTUSH7.oI6K.Uaz/uBZ.EHVM/..z5crI0.B3W3.oxTUSH7.oI6
K.ktz/uBZ.EHVM/....crI0.zzFoTu2.yzngi84.xzZX.45.................................
E....6....E/....2....A....EEh3aSdtqNU6oPs/UQ..........................k/9.......
.....................fNaNaNaNawD..........2.....................................
................................................................................
.....................61...U/....1....MoPgFKOiR467t4RU.pPr/......................
8..0...........................E........k.A........2./........zD................
................................................................................
................................}

  • Listening to: Daughters alarm going off
  • Reading: King's new book (The Dome)
  • Watching: Egg sandwitch getting cold
  • Playing: Grandkids remote controll trucks
  • Eating: Cold egg sandwitch
  • Drinking: Cold coffee

Apo 7.14 and dc_linear: A few tips!

Journal Entry: Mon Aug 23, 2010, 9:07 AM
Apo 7.14 Tips:
Wow! I haven't done a new journal since I got fooled on April Fools day! So seeing as I have worked with dc_linear and dc_triangle a little, I thought I might share some fun.

dc_linear:
Xyrus-02's Apophysis 7.14 allows for the use of direct color. I'm a mental midget on a lot of this stuff so while there are certainly explanations on or about direct color out there, they seem to be more to the technical side rather than the practical use. This is no criticism of those explanations, (such as IDeviant's blog at Apophysis on direct color), but rather a more hands on, non technical approach. Think of it like this: I know gas explodes, and if you put it in your gas tank, the car makes the gas explode in a controlled way such that it makes your car go! To most people, this is all you have to know. It's all I need to know. My point? You can use direct color without the technical understanding behind it. This is a good thing for all of us who are technically challenged, like me!

Disclaimer!!! I've said this time and time again, I make no claims as to being an expert with Apo. I simply have fun with it and have managed to use it without a need to understand anything more than the basics. So this is meant to be a simple basic guide on how I have been using dc_linear and dc_triangle and not necessarily a guide on how to use it properly or how it was intended to be used.

First off, you obviously need a working version of Xyrus-02's Apophysis 7X.14 installed and working. The exe creates a new apo folder called Apophysis 7x! Included in this version you will find dc_linear, dc_carpet, and dc_bubble among the other plugins. (the dc_ obviously means it is a direct color enabled plugin) I downloaded Xyrus-02's dc_triangle plugin separately. A word of caution here: You can add your own favorite plugins to the new plugin folder in the Apophysis 7X directory, but I as well as others have had a few problems. If you run Apo 7x and find that a lot of the randomly generated flames are not showing up in your editor and adjustment windows, then it appears to be a plugin issue. Try opening the options tab and deselecting all variations and then selecting just a few at a time for generating random flames. Onward!

Sample 1

Having no idea on how to use dc_linear myself, I did what I believe any of us might do. I opened Apo 7.14, went in my options tab and deselected everything! I then selected a few variations, (plugins) to experiment with. For starters I chose dc_linear, linear, julian and splits. While in the options tab I also set the number of transforms, (triangles) to 4, and the number of flames to be generated to 25. I closed the options tab and hit control B to generate a new batch of flames. The first sample below is a simple example of what dc_linear did. I didn't tweak any of the variables for dc_linear in this one. Eventually, I deleted one of the transforms and added a final with spherical in it. The dc_linear is what created the colored bands. It used the same colors in the same order that are shown in your gradient. If your gradient has smoothed transition (blurred) between the colors, then no color edges between the colors will show. If edges do show between the colors, you can blur the gradient to help eliminate them, though it will obviously change the looks of the flame. I chose not to blur the gradient on this one and if you look closely you can see the transition of the colors...
It's Old by HalTenny

Sample 2
This particular sample uses dc_linear, spherical (for the holes), linear and splits. The first image is with the default variable settings on the dc_linear. Once again on the first image you can see the gradient changes clearly. (If you take the time to view the full image!)

dc_linear_scraps1 by HalTenny

On the second image we have fixed that problem by blurring the gradient. For those who don't know how to do that, in your adjustment window, select the gradient tab. Just off to the right of the slider you will see where it says Rotate. Click that and then choose blur from the list that appears. Now you just have to blur the gradient (move the slider by clicking on the right side button) until the colors blend almost seamlessly. Depending on the gradient, it shouldn't take much. I think it only took 5 or 6 clicks for this one. Open both of these images in tabs in your browser and click between the two and you can more readily see the difference the blur makes... Don't confuse this with blurring with the a blur variation! We are not blurring the entire flame or individual xform, but rather we are only blurring the gradient to take the edges off the color changes...

dc_linear_scraps2 by HalTenny

Now let's see what some of the dc_linear variables do! This sample was generated randomly. I moved the transforms about a little, re sized them a little and just played with it in general. (I'll post parameters at the end!) Xform one has splits, xform 2 has linear and dc_ linear and xform 3 has linear, dc_linear and spherical. It also has a final xform as I was experimenting with some stuff but it only has linear in it now. It could be deleted and just spun around a bit with the rotate function. First image is with the default variables for dc_linear on xforms 2 and 3. The three variables to play with are offset, angle and scale. In the second image I have changed the default scale setting from 1 to .3 in both xforms 2 and 3. As you can see it increases the number of 'ripples' by making them smaller. Increasing the scale above 1 reduces the number of ripples by making them bigger. In the third image we have changed the angle of the dc_linear in xform 2 from the default of 0 to .5. This does exactly what you might think in that it spins the 'rippled' effect, in this case clock wise. A negative number will spin it counter clock wise. And finally in the fourth image, we have adjusted the offset of dc_linear on xform 2 from the default of 0 to .905. (Compare image 1 to image 4 and you can see the difference.) Offset basically slides the coloring effect of the 'ripples' across the influence of the xform you are adjusting in your flame.

dc_linear_scraps2 by HalTenny dc_linear_scraps3 by HalTenny dc_linear_scraps4 by HalTenny dc_linear_scraps5 by HalTenny

And that's pretty much all I know! I think it's enough where you can play with it a little. You can try adding a little dc_linear in some of your old flames to see how it affects them too. I find that piggy backing dc_linear with other variations works well for me. I also experimented with dc_triangle but left the variation variables on default for the most part with that one. Following are some examples with dc_linear. dc_triangle and crop...

Light Waves by HalTenny Scatter Matter by HalTenny Wouldn't Want To Live There by HalTenny Beyond Forever by HalTenny

And here's the parameters of one of the examples!


<flame name="dc_linear_scraps3" version="Apophysis 7x Version 14" size="720 450" center="0.667828457301105 0.166079495640604" scale="198.3" oversample="1" filter="0.5" quality="50" background="0 0 0" brightness="8.73913043478261" gamma="4" estimator_radius="9" estimator_minimum="0" estimator_curve="0.4" enable_de="0">
   <xform weight="0.25" color="0" splits="1" coefs="0 -0.674092 0.674092 0 1.055621 0.780576" splits_x="-0.119" splits_y="0" opacity="1" />
   <xform weight="0.25" color="0.333333333333333" linear="0.290391133632511" dc_linear="0.709608866367489" coefs="-0.129792 0.690176 0.690176 0.129792 0.307489 0.681712" dc_linear_offset="0" dc_linear_angle="0" dc_linear_scale="0.3" opacity="1" />
   <xform weight="0.25" color="1" linear="0.895785" spherical="0.005" dc_linear="0.061215" coefs="0.167102 -0.429792 0.429792 0.167102 0.106338 0.266782" dc_linear_offset="0" dc_linear_angle="0" dc_linear_scale="0.3" opacity="1" />
   <finalxform color="0" symmetry="1" linear="1" coefs="1.240655 0.370248 -0.370248 1.240655 -0.487142 -0.768186" />
   <palette count="256" format="RGB">
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   </palette>
</flame>

Have fun!

  • Listening to: Daughters alarm going off
  • Reading: King's new book (The Dome)
  • Watching: Egg sandwitch getting cold
  • Playing: Grandkids remote controll trucks
  • Eating: Cold egg sandwitch
  • Drinking: Cold coffee

Hacked avatar...

Journal Entry: Thu Apr 1, 2010, 2:01 AM
Someone hacked my avatar. Don't know if this is happening to others. I don't have time to deal with it this morning. I'll inform DA when I get home from work and see if I can fix it.

  • Listening to: Daughters alarm going off
  • Reading: King's new book (The Dome)
  • Watching: Egg sandwitch getting cold
  • Playing: Grandkids remote controll trucks
  • Eating: Cold egg sandwitch
  • Drinking: Cold coffee

What's In The Box

Journal Entry: Sat Jan 16, 2010, 5:53 AM
Horse Power:
I thought it might be interesting to see what kind of hardware people are running their favorite fractal software on. And operating system as well. Kind of like a survey I guess. With the economy the way it's been the past 18 months or so, I for one haven't been able to upgrade squat. I'm still running an old Pentium D Celeron 1.66... heh... Just kidding!

Actually I'm lucky enough to have two machines. I render on my machine in the basement (by way of remote desktop connection) where I have my mini recording studio, and while that machine is rendering, I work on new stuff on my second machine out here in the shop. (I have a woodworking shop in the attached garage. I practically live out there!) Also while stuff is rendering in the basement, I answer comments and give thanks for the faves I'm lucky enough to get!

I remember back in the day when I used to do online gaming a lot, I just had to get those hot new video cards as soon as they came out. Remember the Voodoo III and Matrox Millennium? The Matrox wasn't as good for gaming (as the Voodoo) but it was for everything else at the time. Anyway, those days are over for me, now I buy yesterdays video technology at cut rate prices that seem to plummet almost on a daily basis.

I also build all my own stuff. It's not that hard. It's a bit nerve wracking when you first power up, but I haven't had any major problems yet! So right now I'm running parts that were dropping drastically in price a year or more ago when I built my stuff. Which is to say it was getting old then! But at least we don't have to pay $300 bucks for a 500 meg hard drive now days. Or $150 for 4 megs of ram! Hard to believe isn't it?

Box #1 In the hole:
In the basement I have an Intel 4700 (2.66 GHz) dual core with 4 gigs of ram. (Windoze only sees 3.5 gigs) Video card is GForce 7300 GS. One 160 gig hard drive and the case is a Raidmax Dirk Tooth with 500 watt power supply. I have an old, old 19" View Sonic ctr hooked up and use a Logitech MouseMan Marble.

Box #2 in the shop:
This is my main computer. I have a nice desk out here, my guitars and effect boxes, (V-Amp 2 and M-Audio Black Box Reloaded), Yamaha keyboard and Altec speakers. All that has absolutely nothing to do with fractaling but it's here for when I get rambunctious! I call this machine 'Woody' for two reasons. One is it's in my wood shop! The second being that when I built it I was going to build a nice wood case for it. I almost had it finished when I found another Raid Max Dirk Tooth case on sale though so I bought it instead. It has an AMD Athlon X2 6000+ 3.1 GHz dual core with 3 megs of ram, 400 meg hard drive and an ATI Radeon HD 2400 XT video card. Also a 19" View Sonic wide screen LCD monitor. I have two Logitec mice on 'Woody', one wireless for when I sit back and recline and watch movies or surf, (I put the wireless mouse on my big belly!), and another wired Logitech MouseMan Marble for when I sit up like a normal human being. I almost forgot to mention, I'm running Winders XP Pro on both machines.

So if you want to share your specs just for the heck of it, comment!

Apo Tips:
Well I don't have any tips today other than just keep experimenting! Keep doing tutorials so you learn! You can play with flame packs, (I do) but if you do you should deconstruct them! Delete xforms so you can see what effect they are having. Delete or tweak variations and their variables. Don't just move xforms around, change variations, weights and variables. Duplicate xforms and move them around, add a final xform if the flame doesn't already have one. Play with post transforms and Xaos weights! But most of all, just have fun! Don't pull your hair out trying to be better than someone else, just pull your hair out trying to be better or as good as you can. It'll all come around to you if you expend the effort.

And thank you:
I wanted to thank FarDareisMai (Our new fractal GM!) for featuring Radar Meltdown in her Hot Off The Press Triple Featue and also for featuring Hall-Of-Records in Hot Off The Press XXV! I'm humbled to be included with all the wonderful fractalists she has featured. Also thanking Felka-wolf for featuring Toxic Spill in her journal and I don't believe I ever mentioned I was lucky enough to come out on top in f--l--A--r--k's Apo challenge #8 with Swirling Tiled Spiral!

Stampage:  
I'm finally getting around to adding some stamps. I'm in a few clubs so those stamps are here. I'll add some more as I see fit...




  • Listening to: Daughters alarm going off
  • Reading: King's new book (The Dome)
  • Watching: Egg sandwitch getting cold
  • Playing: Grandkids remote controll trucks
  • Eating: Cold egg sandwitch
  • Drinking: Cold coffee

Fun With Variations

Journal Entry: Sun Dec 27, 2009, 7:10 AM
Plug It In: The past few days I've been experimenting a lot with different variations. You know what I'm talking about, kind of like a plugin palooza! I often find myself (as I'm sure many of us do) going through the entire list of plugins until I find a group that agrees to a sort of uneasy alliance between themselves! They play well with each other and give birth to a unique image. And each image is unlike any that a previous combination of variations birthed.

I've mentioned before that I tend to be a somewhat lazy fractalist to a certain extent. On the one hand, I'll spend almost no time at all on tweaking gradients. This is not always the case, but I often find that in the process of creating a nice flame, if you tweak the gradient to late in the game, it could very well make your 'little precious' or 'little darling' as a writer might say, disappear. Dress up a  golden goose with a different gradient and you may end up with a black swan or ugly duckling. Conversely, there is always the chance that a gradient change could be for the better! I'm not knocking it, I just spend less time on gradients than other things... 'p

Usually I'll spend the most time on tweaking xforms and variations. On the past 6 fractals I've done, I used the same gradient. That is kind of lazy if you ask me. However, I was having to much fun tweaking the other things... As a matter of fact, the past five flames were all made with nearly identical xform positioning, sizing and rotation. This was an experiment to see how different combination's of variations could be used to breed more, 'thoroughbreds' if you will...

The Skinny: (--skin·ny n. Slang. Inside information; the real facts. --skin“ni·ness n.) I'm not known for creating from scratch. I frequently use flame packs and scripts. (Did I mention that I'm lazy at times? 'P ) For once though I did manage to start from scratch... sort of! I set up some transforms by combining two tutorials. The tiling tutorial is a chat log by Platinus. The Flipped Disc  Tutorial is by Joel Faber. So basically I used the 4 tiling xforms  and one flipped disc type transform in the center. (Which is to say I only used one transform in the center instead of two like in flipped disc, and I didn't use the disc variation either.) But I did use the post transform 'flip' trick.

So get to the point Tenny! Yes yes yes, don't rush me! I just though it was noteworthy that we are able to achieve such a variance of flames with little or no tweaking of xforms. :)
Epispiral Special by HalTenny Epispiral Special: This is the only one where I moved one of the tiling xforms. I flipped the bottom right xform horizontally, moved it in .5 and added a bunch of variations.

Winds Of Time by HalTenny Winds Of Time: Added a final xform and moved it a little, added/changed variations in xform 1 and final.

Prelude To Winds Of Time by HalTenny Prelude To Winds Of Time: Same as above but didn't move the final xform! Added/changed variations in xform 1 and final.

The Fleet by HalTenny The Fleet: On this one I re-sized downward the top left tiling xform, added/changed variations in xform 1 and final.

Portal To Forgotten Land by HalTenny Portal To Forgotten Land: Added/changed variations in xform 1 and final.

So. And? So... I don't know, I just thought it was a refreshing challenge to do minimal xform tweaks and still manage some variety! Here's some parameters for you to play with if you're interested...

<flame name="tiling1_shared" version="Apophysis 7X Final" size="600 600" center="-0.0167289068481861 -0.00703951298186278" scale="148.44" oversample="1" filter="0.2" quality="5" background="0 0 0" brightness="6.30869565217391" gamma="1.08" gamma_threshold="0.06" >
   <xform weight="1" color="0.208" linear="-0.049" pre_blur="0.727" rectangles="0.006" mirrors="0.029" spherical2="0.783" coefs="1 0 0 1 0 0" post="0.666667 0 0 -0.666667 0 0" rectangles_x="1" rectangles_y="1" />
   <xform weight="0.247267945528369" color="0.5" linear="1" coefs="1.000001 0 0 1 -1 -1" />
   <xform weight="0.423494501932612" color="0.766" linear="1" coefs="1 0 0 1 1 -1" />
   <xform weight="0.247267945528369" color="0.59" symmetry="-1" linear="1" coefs="1.000001 0 0 1 -1 1" />
   <xform weight="0.423494501932612" color="1" linear="1" coefs="1 0 0 1 1 1" />
   <finalxform color="0" symmetry="1" linear="1" swirl="0.27" coefs="1 0 0 1 0 0" />
   <palette count="256" format="RGB">
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</flame>

See what you come up with with minimal xform resizing or movement.

Stampage:  I'm finally getting around to adding some stamps. I'm in a few clubs so those stamps are here. I'll add some more as I see fit...




  • Listening to: Grand kids playing
  • Reading: King's new book
  • Watching: Snow melt
  • Playing: Phone tag
  • Eating: Candy
  • Drinking: Cold coffee

Just Some Thank You's

Journal Entry: Sun Dec 20, 2009, 9:32 AM
An eventful week! Mostly, I just wanted to spend a few minutes thanking some friends. It's easy to fave a piece if you like it. It helps drive an artists creativity and lets them know you appreciate their work. And when someone takes the extra time and effort to comment, it can't help but create that warm and fuzzy feeling of being accepted and making all your hard work worth while. A person has to like their own work, but when others express their acceptance, well it can only be described as truly gratifying! So thanks to everyone who has favored and commented and watched! And to a few in particular:

Felka-Wolf: She has faved almost every single piece I have done since she started watching me! And gave me my first mini feature!

Dragonfly113: Brigitte is a tireless supporter of Deviant artists. I was honored to receive my first full blown journal feature from her this week. Not content with just having her own page here at DA, she also runs the FracMan club for fractal manipulations.

=Fiery-Fire: She made her fantastic Spherical Tutorial available to help us all try to create our own stunning spherical fractals. We just can't thank those who create tutorials enough in the help they provide. She also featured one of my sphericals along with many others in her journal.

=FarDareisMai: She featured one of my fractal manips in her Hot Off The PressXX news piece.
  
*wolfepaw: I've been tweaked! I had to say that. Peggi tweaked some parameters I posted into a marvelous looking flame! Melted All Day Sucker 2. She makes the most colorful pieces on the planet!

f--l--A--r--k : He takes the time to run an Apophysis Challenge every week where you can go head to head with other fractalists creating pieces using his choice of plugins and sometimes a limited number of xforms. Check out this weeks apo challenge if you're up for a little friendly competish!


Enough Already! Ok, not enough. It's impossible to thank everyone personally in one shot! However, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Apophysis group of course. And Also hallv5 who always, always takes the time to give a kind word in comments!

No Apo Tips: Nothing new to give this week other than just keep plugging along and trying different things. Like 50 on a julian? Hey, you never know!

Stampage:  I'm finally getting around to adding some stamps. I'm in a few clubs so those stamps are here. I'll add some more as I see fit...




  • Listening to: The snow filled gutters leak
  • Reading: Apo tutorials
  • Watching: Fractals mutate
  • Playing: With my mouse
  • Eating: Cigarette's
  • Drinking: Water

Fractal Frenzy, Rendering and Apo Tip

Journal Entry: Sat Dec 12, 2009, 4:32 AM
Fractal Frenzy:  I felt deprived. Work has been real slow this year. Without going into a lot of detail, if I do work on any given day, I only have a few hours after I get home to eat dinner, shower and fractal before heading off to la la land. I was lucky to get three days in this week so come friday, I finally had some free time to fractal. I managed to upload 4 new ones and had actually rendered 6.

Rendering:  Seems there's a lot of debate on render settings. I usually render at a quality of 2000 to 4000, depending on the resolution of the flame I am shooting for. (Filter radius 0.4 and oversample 2) The render time estimate determines my quality setting and res. I like to keep renders around a half hour. For example, if the settings are filter radius .4, quality 4000 and resolution 1440x900, (my 19" widescreen  monitor's recommended res) renders rarely take over 30 minutes. Once I head into the higher resolutions like 1600x and up, then I may have to lower the quality setting to 2000. My renders rarely take over 40 minutes.

I have tested renders and to me it seems pointless to do 3 plus hour renders. I've rendered over night only to find that a 30 minute render is indistinguishable from a 6 hour render, (to me at least, other than file size). Of course this all changes when you want a high res render for medium to large prints. You have to do high res, high quality renders for prints. And naturally your hardware will effect the render time as well.

I also have the luxury of having two dual core machines so I can render on one while still flaming away on the other. If you have 4 cores, you can set Apo to use 2 cores and still use your box for other things at the same time. You could even have Apo 3D Hack and Apo 7X open at the same time, flaming in one and rendering in the other. You can set core 0 and 1 to use Apo 3D and core 2 and 3 to use Apo 7X. If anyone needs instructions on how to do that let me know. :)

Apo Tip:  I like the simple tips. They may or may not help but are often worth the time it takes to give them a try. Obviously the tips don't work in all circumstances. I've mentioned before, some of my tip's may be common knowledge, but on the outside chance someone else doesn't know them or hasn't found them elsewhere, I like to share my limited Apo finesse!

If you just about have a flame where you want it, but it's not quite a keeper yet, there are two things I try. These work particularly well if your flame has one xform that you are doing most of the manipulating with. For example if your flame has 3 or 4 xforms, but manipulating only one of them makes the most drastic changes, then this may work. Simply duplicate the xform that makes the most drastic changes, and start manipulating that one too. This seems to work very well if you use scripts or flame packs (like I do a lot of the time) and a certain transform has a weight of 5, 10 or even 20 like some of them I use. You can also change the weight of the transform you are working with as well. This increases the effect that xform has on the other xforms. (At least I think it does, I'm no expert! someone please correct me if I'm wrong. ;) )

The other 'trick' I try is to add a final xform. It seems if you get rid of linear and add some form of julian, you can almost always get a flower if nothing else. But try a bunch of different variations. It's amazing how subtle changes can drastically improve a flame, not to mention drastic changes. Live outside the box!

Here's three examples if you want to see them. The first is Plastic Ripples. This is with no duplicating of xforms or final xform. The second is Fuchsia Flower of the Hour. On this one I duplicated the main xform I was manipulating and added a final xform with some julian3d. And the third is Half Way to Hell. Same as above, duplicated main xform and added a final. This one had julian 3d and a tiny bit of rectangle in the final.

So there you have it, I'm done. Hopefully this will help someone. It has helped me 'find' a dozen or more fractals from otherwise unproductive searching...

Stampage:  I'm finally getting around to adding some stamps. I'm in a few clubs so those stamps are here. I'll add some more as I see fit...




  • Listening to: Coffe pot reheating water
  • Reading: Rainbow
  • Watching: The cat stare at me
  • Playing: with a tooth pick
  • Eating: Candy
  • Drinking: Coffee

Caculate Colors

Journal Entry: Sun Dec 6, 2009, 4:27 AM
Little Apo Tip:   So, I'm certainly no script guru, but I did manage to figure something out, I think. I believe this pertains to older scripts for old versions of Apophysis. Seems a lot of the older scripts give an error of 'unknown identifier' CalculateColors. If you want to try to use the script in a newer version of Apo anyway, I found if you look in the script by clicking on the edit script button, find the line that says, CalculateColors; and change it to CalculateColors:= True; then the script will usually run. I'm not saying it will run the way it was intended, but it will usually run. I am assuming this is because of the different way Apo versions are coded. You can also change it to CalculateColors:= False; ...

Also hallv5 mentioned in a comment that you could delete the CalculateColors; line from the script and that would work most of the time as well. He also suggested that if you run a script and sometimes get a blank flame, open your transform editor and look at the variations in the triangles. Find one that has the linear variation in it and change that some other variation. He says this will usually get you a flame as well! Thanks for that hallv5!

Font size:  I increased the font size in the Journal so It was a little kinder to these old eyeballs...

One small step:  I managed to surpass 100 deviations finally and 1,000 page views as well. I appreciate all the visits and fave's and very nice comments!

Stamps:  I'm finally getting around to adding some stamps. I'm in a few clubs so those stamps are here. I'll add some more as I see fit...

:iconapophysis:  :iconfracman:   M and M Stamp by Brigitte-Fredensborg  :iconfractal-resources:  :iconmetaphysis:

  • Listening to: The deafening silence
  • Reading: Misspelled words
  • Watching: The sun come up
  • Playing: with a tooth pick
  • Eating: Coffee
  • Drinking: Coffee grounds

Apo Tip

Journal Entry: Sat Nov 21, 2009, 11:43 AM
I'm no Chatty Cathy! My wife says I'm a man of few words, and even the ones I speak, I use improperly. Think she's trying to tell me something? My point being I felt like I should do a new journal entry even if I didn't have a lot to say.

Joke of the week: I got this in e-mail the other day: A Santa at the mall asked this little girl what she wanted for Christmas. She told him she didn't want anything for herself but hoped he could bring all the woman she saw on her father's computer cloths to wear...

Apo Tip: Disclaimer! I still consider myself a beginner or casual fractal artist. I rarely start a fractal from scratch. I try to achieve unusual fractals in my own simple way, forever afraid of getting bogged down in the sometimes overly complex technical aspects of creating fractal art, or any type of art for that matter. I'm a potter as well and never saw the need to learn clay and glaze formulas and yet was still able to be successful in shows I entered.

I certainly commend all those who have mastered the technical aspects of fractal art. Without all of the generous help they provide by making tutorials, scripts, templates and batch files, I (along with many others) would be lost. Over time, I'm sure I'll pick up some more of the tech stuff, as I have already. But for now I just want to enjoy fractal art without feeling like I'm back in school where you either learn or fail.

So, having said all that, and even though I have admitted I feel like a beginner, I have a simple Apo tip to share!

On many occasions I have either been in the final stages of creating a fractal, or simply been unable to decide what to try next. Now I'm sure this tips effectiveness will vary depending on the transform (triangle) you are manipulating and the variations (plugins) you are using. If you move the transform around slowly, and it has a great effect on the fractal, then the tip will be valid. If there is very little change while manipulating (rotating, resizing or skewing) your transform, then this tip won't help.

So here's the deal. I found that sometimes even teeny, teeny tiny movements of your transform can have a massive effect on your fractal. Sometimes even to the extent that a minuscule teeny tiny movement or twitch of your hand on the mouse will make a fractal disappear. Or the said movement will alter the fractal in such a way that you can't even find your way back to where you had it before manipulating. Of course that's what the undo button is for. However, if you are slowly rotating a transform with the mouse movement and stumble upon an amazing looking fractal, but go past it before your stupid hand can stop the mouse from proceeding on it's endless search for just the right 'look', then you may never find your way back to the 'Daily Deviant' you just missed. (I know, for one with so little to say, I can sure be long winded, can't I?)

I was working on a fractal today where a tiny movement of the transform created massive changes. I kept 'going past' where I wanted to be with the manipulation. So I enlarged the editor like I mentioned in a previous Journal's Apo tip, but still had trouble. Then while rotating a transform I decided if I zoomed in on the triangle it would obviously help. Think about it. Rotating a small triangle, a small movement will alter it a lot. Rotating a large triangle, a small movement will alter it a little. I also found that while rotating the triangle, moving the cursor further away from the triangle gives you even a more refined rotation. In other words, the closer your cursor is to the 0 axis, the greater the effect of your movement. The farther away from the 0 axis, the more refined your manipulation will become. You can even slide your cursor right off the editor window (while still holding your mouse button down obviously). The further away from the 0 axis, the better for more refined movement.

But that's not even the tip. The real tip is to stop using your mouse at all. Granted, this is slower, but if you are very close to the perfect look you want, but can't quite manage the manipulation by hand, then use the Triangle tab in the Transform Editor. You can do all the same manipulations there. I was only 'rotating' a particular transform. Instead of picking a built in degrees setting such as 5, 15 or 30 degrees, I entered .05. That's 5 hundredths of a degree! I also tried .01 as well and that is teeny, teeny, teeny tiny amounts of rotation! So there you have it. If you are really close to where you want to be, but can't quite manage to get there by hand manipulation, then kill the mouse and use your keyboard!

Below are two screen shots of a fractal with only a five hundredths of a degree rotation difference. You couldn't even see the triangle move but boy what a change it made! Now you should be able to sneak up on that DD that got away!




Even if this doesn't help anyone, it was fun writing up...

  • Listening to: The coffee perk
  • Reading: Glasses
  • Watching: Time slip by. Tic... Tic... Tic
  • Playing: With Apo
  • Eating: Pizza for lunch
  • Drinking: Diet Coke

A Quick Skin

Journal Entry: Fri Nov 13, 2009, 2:46 PM
Journal Skin:  Well I did a simple Journal skin. It's pretty basic for now with one of my new fractals for the background.

New fractals:  After seeing some of the stuff hallv5 had made with Xyrus-02's templates, I snagged a few and came up with some nice simple clean frac's. Kermit, Star Hive and Jumping The Moon were all made with the SpherEye Template. Sometimes less can be a lot more effective than more...

Coming Soon:   I almost have all the new renders done for the calendar I'm doing. Just have to do a few more and get them uploaded!

Happy Boy!  Also I was pleasantly surprised to have You Spin Me About well received in the WTC at Apophysis.

Also Worth Mentioning:  I've already tweaked the new Journal skin a little. It may look different every time you visit. And then again, it may not.

  • Listening to: 6 fans in my computer
  • Reading: Ludlum and Koontz
  • Watching: Star Trek Enterprise
  • Playing: Guitar
  • Eating: Food
  • Drinking: Diet Coke

Finally

Journal Entry: Sat Nov 7, 2009, 9:33 AM
Well I finally decided to become a premium member. I plan to do a few prints and a calendar so it only made sense seeing as I will probably be the only one buying! ; ) Can you say, "Christmas presents!"

This is cool. I think I'll create my own Journal skin as soon as I find out what the process is.

  • Listening to: 6 fans in my computer
  • Reading: Ludlum and Coontz
  • Watching: Star Trek Enterprise
  • Playing: Guitar
  • Eating: Food
  • Drinking: Diet Coke
Halloween is over so back to regular fractals. Of course regular could mean any type of fractal including monsters and ghosts and ugly man things... However, as much fun as those things are, I'll try to stay away from them for a while.
Halloween is near so I'm doing up some monsters, ghosts and evil pumpkin things. An October theme if you wish. Things you probably would not want to find in your dark closet... or well lit closet for that matter...

Just talk

Journal Entry: Mon Aug 17, 2009, 4:32 PM
Saturday 9-5-09 9:16 AM Eastern

Apo tip: Here's a simple little tip. When creating a new fractal from scratch, the color is monotone, one color. I tend to be a little lazy and hate to mess with colors right off the bat. What I do is run a random batch with the number of transforms set to 3 or 4. I scroll through them until I find one with colors (gradient) that appeal to me. Then I simply reset all the transforms to their origins and change the variations to whatever style fractal I want to create. I just find it easier to get to a color combination I like when working from something already colorized. Might save you a little time and frustration...

Thursday 8-27-09 7:35 PM Eastern

Apo tip: I just want to be clear here. I don't claim extensive knowledge with the use of Apophysis. I've read quite a bit about doing things in the resources (tutorials and such) availible at Apophysis at Deviant Art but just like the fact that even a blind horse will find water eventually, I happen to find out a few things on my own. Now these things may be common basic knowledge to seasoned Apo users, and any tip I mention may very well be found elsewhere. But on the off chance that these little tips could help someone like it did me, I'd like to share.

This is a simple tip. In the past, I have always arranged all the different windows in Apo, transform editor window, mutations window, adjustments window, etc, in such a way that I could see them all at the same time on my monitor (19 inch wide screen). It made sense at the time to me. I had the real estate, I didn't need to hit any F keys to open anything, I just opened everything right from the get go.

Recently I noticed that in a lot of tutorials I've looked at, it appeared that the authors had their Transform Editor screen very large. Mine has always been sized small so I could see all the other plethora of windows I had open as well. So here I am, moving, resizing twisting and turning these little tiny transforms and trying to watch the live result (how the fractal actually changes) in the little tiny transform display window, and guess what. It just doesn't work well. So all the while the obvious has been staring me in the face every time I looked at a tutorial. Make the transform editor window big. Very big!

My monitor resolution is set to 1440x900 so I render most of my stuff (at that resolution) so it will look good on my monitor as a wallpaper. I set my main Apo window at half that res, (720x450) which is actually a quarter of my screen size. Now when I use the transform editor, I set that window to near full screen and the area that shows the fractal is actually about the same, 720x450 which is huge compared to what I was looking at before, maybe 150x150, the size of a thumbnail...

Now you can easily see the result of the smallest of adjustments to a transform or a variation value adjustment. Just simple. I hope this helps someone as much as it helped me.


Tuesday 8-25-09 10:54 PM Eastern

I found my missing dll's so I can work on old saved parameters again. Working on some things today so I should get a few new fractals up...

Monday 8-17-09 7:26 PM Eastern

I'm kind of in a fractal funk right now so I uploaded some old stuff. I found out you have to be very careful with the Apophysis DLL's. I loaded one of the 3D superpacks into the plugins3D folder and it slowed Apo down to a crawl. (I already had a few dozen in there.) So I took them all out and just placed a few at a time in the folder. Now it's fast again of course. Problem is, A lot of the parameters I had saved used some of the DLL's I had removed! So now I have to try to find out what ones I need to put back in to work on some old parameters...

So a word of caution, careful with those DLL's!

But you all probably already knew that, I'm still learning...


Wednesday 8-12-09 8:07 AM Eastern

Another day off. It's raining, internet connection is sporadic on the satellite, a good time to fractal or write something for my web site. Wavingalien I write short stories, rants, editorials etc. Also have more fractals (and a bunch of pictures of my home built water fall) posted in the Photo essay section. My brother -in-law posts cultural news, politics and sports as well.

I'm slowly building a gallery here, trying to pick through the hundreds of Apophysis fractals I've kept and posting the better ones. Going to post a few more today if my connection hangs in there...