Combi-fractals

Thanks to guagapunyaimel, using whole flames as fillers for frameworks is now public knowledge! My interpretation of the general method:

1. Reset the original flame weights but compensate using xaos.
2. Make all transforms invisible.
3. ‘Take up’ the flame again by adding a linear transform – if it doesn’t look as it did, it’s not suitable for this technique.
4. Link a container transform exclusively from the linear.
5. Feed the framework transform(s) from the container/each other but let them only feed back to the linear/each other.

It’s not the simplest of techniques and can’t be accomplished using the built-in link method alone. The following is what I dub the ‘xaos flow diagram’ – note particularly the one/two-way arrows.

I have at least managed to script it for a spherical-eyefish framework. Once that’s in place, it’s relatively simple to change the container and the framework

Not all base styles/frameworks work equally well, but I’ve had a few interesting results:

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Glynnia revisited

After finally unlocking some of glynnia’s secrets last month, I find myself revisiting that esteemed plugin with fresh enthusiasm and finding some absorbing new leads.

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Texturing with bwraps7

There are a good few variations in Apophysis that lend themselves to texturing, but bubblewrap (bwraps7) is one that I’ve found particularly rewarding. Taking as a starter flame a perfectly conventional splits-based fractal (built on the same principles as guagapunyaimel‘s splits-crop combo, but using spherical/post-crop as the base:

I added some pre-boarders to the base (filling) transform then linked this to a bwraps7 transform. Three completely different results changing only colour/gradient and the bwraps7 variables:

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Ortho-JuliaN

A big heads-up to guagapunyaimel on deviantART for pointing out this combo. Whilst initially appearing similar to rings2, there are plenty of new avenues to explore.

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Rendering with Chaotica

Now that the new issue of 7X, version 15, offers integrated rendering support for Chaotica, I expect more artists will want to give it a whirl. Do so – in most cases, you won’t be disappointed! As there’s no dialogue comparable to those of the internal renderer and flam3, I feel a quick guide might be helpful to those who haven’t yet figured out a workflow.

Initially, I’ll highlight some important differences:

  • There is no ‘Density/Quality’ setting – Chaotica keeps rendering until you stop it.

  • Render dimensions are set within the Image size tab on the Adjustment dialogue.

  • Filter radius is redundant.

  • Oversample works in the traditional manner in that both RAM and render time are multiplied by the value.

  • Chaotica automatically uses all cores.

  • Dimensions limited to 1920 px on the long side.

The following gives step-by-step instructions from obtaining the software to rendering:

  • Download and install Apophysis 7X.15.

  • Download chaotica_0.3_win_x86.zip and unzip the contents to your preferred location – it creates a subfolder chaotica_0.3_win_x86.

  • In the Environment tab within the Apo settings, locate the field labelled ‘Chaotica’ and use the corresponding folder icon to open a dialogue for navigating to your chaotica.exe file.

  • Load your flame within Apo as usual.

  • Check its variation use against Chaotica’s supported list (both in the readme.txt and the variation_compatibility.xml files) and copy any plugin .dll files not listed into Chaotica’s plugins subfolder.

  • Alternatively, duplicate your Apo plugins in Chaotica’s plugins folder, removing any for which native support is provided. When the program launches, an initialisation procedure takes place: any plugins failing to load are reported in the command (DOS-style) window and in the plugin_log.txt file. These should be removed.

  • Back in Apo, on the Image size tab on the Adjustment dialogue, set desired dimensions (checking ‘Maintain aspect ratio’ may be useful), ensure that ‘Resize main window’ is un-checked then click ‘Apply’.

  • From the menu, File, Export to Chaotica…

  • Note that the ellipsis is misleading. Normally, it signifies a dialogue, but here we just go straight in.

  • As stated, Chaotica automatically uses all cores. It also helpfully defaults the process priority to ‘BelowNormal’. However, personal preference suggests a process priority of ‘Low’ to be optimal if other acitivities are to occur simultaneously. Set this via the Task Manager, on the Processes tab.

  • Check render progress periodically, using the ‘Update image’ button. When satisfied, ‘Save image’ then quit.

General notes

  • Chaotica launches 2 windows: a command (DOS-style) window; and the main program window.

  • Plugin initialisation errors may cause immediate termination, or may show in the command window.

  • Doesn’t yet handle direct colouring.

  • Expect some flames to render completely differently from how they look in Apo.

  • Oversample is not currently exported from Apo – see section below.

  • Due to the way in which it handles oversample, Chaotica may not be the best choice for some particularly jagged flames. Experience will tell here. My own preference: if it needs oversample > 1, either render large and step-reduce or use the internal renderer or flam3 (if possible).

Using oversample

  • If you really wish to render using oversample >1, create an empty .flame file in your Chaotica folder (call it, say, render.flame).

  • Open the file with a text editor.

  • Set up your flame in Apo as described above, but don’t export it.

  • Copy and paste into your render.flame.

  • Locate the oversample attribute in the tag – it should say oversample=”1″.

  • Change the value as desired and save.

  • Now just drag-and-drop render.flame onto chaotica.exe and the rendering begins.

Links

7X.15
Chaotica

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First play with nBlur

I could see that this would be a very versatile variation, but hadn’t given it a try until today. Jumping in with default values, I saw that a Koch triangle was begging to be created – just add a linear, scale down to 1/3 and place using polar coordinates and triangle rotation. The origin r came, admittedly, through trial-and-error. Then switch to World Pivot, duplicate and rotate through 120 then repeat. A few extra transforms added for interest and we have:

Playing with variables gets interesting – first, set nb_ratioHole to 1:

Now set nb_circumCircle to 1:

Then set nb_numStripes to 1:

Much more to come, I think.

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