Mandelbulb 3D ~ Navigating Tip

9 min read

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HalTenny's avatar
By HalTenny
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!

© 2011 - 2021 HalTenny
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flameout82's avatar
Fantastic. I have been put off exploring many interesting places by these problems. Nice to know I can slice my way out of trouble! Thank you Hal
Shocktowerarts's avatar
Hi I just started using Mandlebulb and I have trouble using the navigator.
When I click on the 3d Navigator, the window's title is no 'Navigator' but instead a title of a Parameter on use.
(So when I open 'Chrystal' parameter and then click 3d Navigator, the title says 'Chrsytal' instead of 'Navigator').

Also when I open another parameter then click the 3D navigator, the previous parameter is still there. It doesn't change to the current parameter so I no matter what I do in the Navigation is pointless since I'm touching a different parameter.
Also, It seems the Navigator option seemed to limited, I can't zoom in too much on some parameter.

I don't know how to fix this problem, please help me.
HalTenny's avatar
The 3d navigator window will usually display the parameter name or some form of it and not "Navigator". When you open a different set of parameters, you have to click the 'Parameter' button in the navigator window to load and display the newly opened parameters. You have to do that every time you load new parameters in the main window. To zoom better, you sometimes have to switch between having 'Fixed zoom and steps" checked, and un-checked. That setting is in the expanded settings in the navigator. At the bottom right of the navi window are two arrows, one pointing up or down and one to the right or left. Just click those until both the side and bottom of the navi window are expanded showing the extra controls. When expanded, the Fixed Zoom and Steps box is at the bottom right. Just check and un-check as needed to zoom. If the fractal disappears as you zoom, raise the far plane setting (located bottom left of navi window) to 500-10000 or something.
Shocktowerarts's avatar
Hi Haltenny thank you very much for your help! 
HalTenny's avatar
No problem, glad to help.
MickHogan's avatar
Thanks Hal. Informative, as always. Maybe now, I'll give the navigator another chance! :)
HalTenny's avatar
You're welcome, I hope it helps!
JuanCarlosDeLaVega's avatar
Very useful ! Thanks Hal :-)
HalTenny's avatar
You're welcome~!
bib993's avatar
When I am stuck inside the object I don't even try to cut or manually modify parameters, I simply reset zoom and position and use the navi again to come back where I was. I might be missing things sometimes, but that's quite comfortable.
HalTenny's avatar
At times I've done that as well. More often I do that when I can't find anything good and just want a fresh start! Thanks Bib. :)
MalDudemaker's avatar
Thats a very helpful tip about getting stuck & unable to move, thankyou. Awesome skin too :thumbsup: :)
HalTenny's avatar
Thanks very much! Some people just don't like to cut but I don't have a problem with it.
MalDudemaker's avatar
No problem :) I don`t mind cutting, just never occurred to me to cut my way out before; sometimes it`s the simplest things...
DsyneGrafix's avatar
Hal, here are a couple of notes I would like to share!

1. Very Nice Journal design with nice colors and a Great background that does not interfere with the text!

2. I use navigator pretty regular, and although I can't say I have never had issues with it, I feel it is a very valuable tool. There are time that I abandon it for more detailed control however.

3. What a Great Journal! Very helpful and clear instructions! I have no doubt that it will be invaluable to many MB3D enthusiasts.


HalTenny's avatar
Thanks much Rick!
fractalinda's avatar
Since I'm only beginning to explore this awesome program, I very much appreciate these tips, as well as your tutorials. Thanks very much, Hal.
HalTenny's avatar
You're welcome, glad to have been some help. :)
SjerZ's avatar
Great Tut! I gotta admit that I do no use that Navigator at all! Had a hard time understanding it. Still have, maybe this will help :bow: Or, then again, maybe not, I go my own way........ =D But still...... I had fun reading this!
HalTenny's avatar
Good deal. It took me quite a while to get used to it. Thanks!
kc267267's avatar
Thanks Hal. When I want to move in the navigator, I turn fixed zoom OFF. Now I can slide, walk, look and roll to my heart's content. And I use the keyboard letters instead of the buttons. Makes moving go much quicker. If you press the letter down and keep it down, you can explore every inch of the fractal. T o get an accurate representation in the navigator I adjust lighting and color and tweak the calculation settings almost to what they are when I render. Also, when I get an empty navigator I just turn ON fixed zoom and zoom out a couple clicks and voila there's my image. Now how to zoom from here without going into the wild blue? One word: walk. I have walked through many fractals using the walk button to zoom in when I could no longer use fixed zoom. I hope this helps those who are having problems. And thanks for explaining why sometimes I get a different image in the nav window than what's in the main window. Duh, you sure are smart.
HalTenny's avatar
Thanks! Some good techniques there.
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