You may also want to check out the Chaotica Editor Basics tutorial.
To open the animation editor, go to the Window menu and select the Animation editor option. The editor looks like this:
Lets take a look at the animation settings first.
Total length is the length of your animation in seconds. On the picture above, it is 0, indicating the parameters are not animated.
FPS are frames per second. 30 FPS means that there will be 30 frames for every second of your animation. So, for example, a 3 minutes (180 seconds) animation at 30 fps will have 180*30=5400 frames that you will need to render later on.
Preview FPS is the number of frames rendered per second when displaying a real time preview of your animation.
Exposure time controls the amount of motion blur. Exposure time 0 means there will be no motion blur at all. Also, keep in mind that amount and direction of the motion blur are defined by the parameters changed. A still part of the fractal will not be blurred, basically.
Take a look at how the exposure time affects the amount of blur on a frame. The only thing blurred are the particles, since they are the only animated element:
Exposure shape defines the shape of the motion blur:
The first element of the timeline is the Play button. Click on it to play and then pause a real time preview of your animation.
Next one is Time. It displays the time of the current frame. For example, at 30 FPS, frame 10 happens at 10/30 = 1/3 = 0.333333333 sec.
Frame is the current frame. A value of 123 means you are viewing the 123th frame of your animation.
Finally, on the right, the timeline. Drag the slider around to move along the timeline and view and edit different frames.