How to find out what a transform does

7 min read

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tatasz's avatar
Not really a tutorial this time, just some exploration ideas.

There is no extensive guide to all transforms and plugins. So how do people figure what they do? The way is to experiment, and there are some techniques that work quite well for me.

As examples, i will use spherical and loonie.

A short note

For all the mathods below, make sure you try the following:
  • Change all the variables and try different combos of them
  • Move the pre affine of the transform around
  • Scale and rotate the pre affine

Add it as post transform to squares or circles

Start (from blank) with square or sineblur, and add the variation you want to try out as post transform.

Lets start with square:

default square                            spherical post_transform            loonie post_transform
1sq by tatasz 1sph by tatasz 1loon by tatasz

And now, sineblur:

default square                            spherical post_transform            loonie post_transform
2sine by tatasz 2sph by tatasz 2loonie by tatasz

Well, we actually can already guess what spherical does at this point =)

Add it as camera transform to something

Add the transform you are investigating as camera (final) transform to something. This way, it will not mix with other transforms and you will be able to see its effect.

You can use an existing artwork, a random fractal or create test patterns.

How to create the tiled squares pattern: start from blank, and add 5 iterators:
  1. 0.5 square (or 1 square, scaled down using post_affine)
  2. linear, offset 0.5, 0.5
  3. linear, offset -0.5, 0.5
  4. linear, offset -0.5, -0.5
  5. linear, offset 0.5, -0.5

default square                            spherical post_transform            loonie post_transform
3a by tatasz 3sph by tatasz 3loo by tatasz

How to create the tiled lines pattern: start from blank, and add 3 iterators:
  1. 0.1 cylinder and pre_blur in pre_transform
  2. linear, offset 0.4, 0
  3. linear, offset -0.4, 0

default square                            spherical post_transform            loonie post_transform
4a by tatasz 4sph by tatasz 4loo by tatasz

Try adding it to something you already know

Take transforms you are already familiar with and try mixing the new transform in.

For example, i will replace the square in the tiled pattern from previous example.

3a by tatasz 5sph by tatasz 5loo by tatasz

Look for similar transforms

Sometimes, there are transforms that you already know that work in a similar way.

For example, compare loonie and lazysusan below:

loonie                                            lazysusan
3loo by tatasz Lazy by tatasz

While the inside of the circle looks different, both still seem to share a similar principle: they just affect a circle with unit ray around the origin. So, if you have some parameters that work great with lazysusan, you can try replace it with loonie, and the other way around.

For example, replace a lazysusan in a lazysusan + julian design with loonie:

lazysusan                                                            loonie
Xx by tatasz Xy by tatasz

Explore and have fun :hug:

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mfeemster's avatar
This feature is now included in Fractorium under the "File | Create reference file" menu item.

Great concept, thank you for sharing! I hope my implementation of it helps users explore the many variations more easily.