What Never Was is Never Again

by Scott ChitwoodMonday October 24th, 2011
Posted in More Than Words

“Mists of dreams drip along the nascent echo…”
              Hybrid Utterance, Battlestar Galactica

How does one properly sign-off from a personal project that spans more than a decade?  In my case, with great hesitancy and months of prolonged musing over how to best say the words that need to be said.  And then — a quick jump over the edge, writing what comes to mind in this bright and clear moment, keystrokes fall, multiply, get discarded along the way.

It all comes down to this.

Creativity must not only come from the heart, it must also call out and draw us into its mighty grasp for our best works to find an audience.  I know this because I was held there for quite a long while and will always be there to some degree.  The difference is, the urgency I once felt for designing and publishing my artwork has waned somewhat over the past several months.  This is not such a bad thing from my perspective.  As an artist I’m very pleased with where this little adventure has taken me and the circle feels complete.  To try and push it further along would be disingenuous.

Then again, total retirement may not be in the cards, a desktop or two could squirm out at some unknown point in the near/distant future.  Weirder things have happened.  What will be, will be.

My personal thanks to all who’ve encouraged me along the way, to those who’ve been inspired to find their own creative spark, and to those who’ve passed kind words my way.  Cheers!

          Scotty out!

Stairways of the Mind

by Scott ChitwoodMonday September 26th, 2011
Posted in Desktop Gallery, Fractal Flames

Dedicated to Robert Cassilly, November 9th, 1949 – September 26th, 2011.

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Oxidizer 0.9.0

by David BurnettSaturday August 27th, 2011
Posted in Developer's Corner, Oxidizer Blog, Using Oxidizer

Hi folks,
here’s another release for you to try out. There’s no real changes part from it now uses the flam3 3.0 binaries which should give a nice rendering speed boost and I’ve attempted to change the build system to allow Oxidizer to work on Leopard (10.5) in 64bit mode which I broke in the last version, thanks to Ergo for pointing that out..

If this all works I’ll start adding the new flam3 3.0 features into the Official Oxidizer releases rather than that unofficial 1.5 release I knocked up ages ago.

I’ve also decided to officially unsuppport Oxidizer on Tiger, it’s probably been broken for a while anyway. That should allow me
to add a few news bits and pieces, and finally release a version 1.0 :-)


Tree of Life: Light It Up

by Scott ChitwoodMonday July 4th, 2011
Posted in Desktop Gallery, Fractal Flames

Tree of Life: Light It Up by Scott Chitwood

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Tree of Life

by Scott ChitwoodThursday June 23rd, 2011
Posted in Desktop Gallery, Fractal Flames

“Everything that has a beginning has an end.”
      The Oracle, The Matrix Revolutions

So where does this image fit in relation to that phrase?  It has the distinction of being the first in a new series of images that all derive from a common Oxidizer genome, but not the true “first” as it has been pushed a few generations down the path from whence it came to life.  Regardless, this seems like a good starting point for the TOL (Tree of Life) collection — we’ll have to see where it goes from here.  Perhaps a fitting subtitle for this image would be “The Golden Meadow”.  Or maybe not, better to let the viewer decide.

On the technical side of the equation this image is the fusion of two distinct, yet similar genomes rendered in Oxidizer 0.8.1 that were composited and post processed in Photoshop.

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Blue Green Coral by Enakajah

by enakajahMonday June 20th, 2011
Posted in Desktop Gallery, Fractal Flames

First run with Oxidizer using Ralf’s simil4 script.  I’m a beginner, so still trying my luck. Image enlarged, re-centered and then rendered, nothing else.  For the green variant, I changed hue and saturation.  Anyone who would like to use these are welcome to do so, and if you do, I doubt you could pay me a better compliment as a beginner.

Blue Coral by Enakaja

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Widescreen ( 16:9 )  :  1920×1080
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Tall Screen  :  1280×1024
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Green Coral by Enakaja

Widescreen ( 16:10 )  :  1440×900  :  1680×1050  :  1920×1200
Widescreen ( 16:9 )  :  1920×1080
Fullscreen ( 4:3 )  :  1024×768  :  1600×1200
Tall Screen  :  1280×1024
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Sunshine Supernova

by Scott ChitwoodTuesday June 14th, 2011
Posted in Desktop Gallery, Photography

Something from the front garden at the Chitwood abode, not to be confused with a Champagne Supernova.

Sunshine Supermova by Scott Chitwood

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Widescreen ( 16:9 )  :  1920×1080  :  2560×1440
Fullscreen ( 4:3 )  :  1024×768  :  1600×1200
Tall Screen  :  1280×1024
Mobile  :  iPhone  :  iPhone Retina Display  :  iPad  :  Netbook

  • Model = Nikon D40
  • Exposure Time = 1/125 sec
  • F-Stop = f/5.6
  • Exposure Program = Macro
  • ISO Speed Ratings = 200
  • Focal Length = 55.0 mm
  • Date/Time = June 9th, 2011 6:09 p.m.
  • Filters = 4x and 2x Close-Up filters stacked together
  • Post Process = Photoshop CS

Oxidizer Quick Start Guide

by Lennart OstmanSunday June 12th, 2011
Posted in Oxidizer Blog, Using Oxidizer

The Oxidizer app can seem complicated at first, but there is a system to the fractal madness.  You don’t have to dive into every parameter at once.  This is a method I have found works very well.

1) If you don’t already have, download the simil4.lua and the simil3.lua scripts.  They will give you a very good starting point.  Often they will provide random genomes you can use right out of the box.  You can store the downloaded script anywhere you like.

2) Load the script by clicking on the + button and hit “Run”.

illustration 1

3) Now you’ll have a list of random genomes to use as a starting point.  If the script does not produce anything you fancy, press “new” on the File menu and click “run” again.  If you like you can click the “Random” button and get a new random seed for the genomes.  The seed can make quite a large difference, so it’s worth trying.

illustration 2

4) I usually hit the “Run” button a couple of times and collect the best genomes by dragging them over to the clipboard.  You’ll find that on the Window menu.  From there I can drag them into a fresh list and only collect the good ones.

illustration 3

5) Now, in this example I will chose to work with the heart shaped genome.  So I select it and click on “Edit” (see picture 2).  That will open the genome editor window.   I then click the “Lock to height” box and change the size to 800 x something and the Quality under the “Render” tab to 800.  After that go to the “Render” menu and chose “Render still to window”.  That will give you a fairly good image to guide you further.  It will take about a minute to render, depending on processor speed.

illustration 4

This is how the preview of my chosen genome looks like.

illustration 5

6) Pretty nice, but there are some things I like to change.  The first thing I want to change is the colours.  The orange color is pretty but I want more than one colour in my fractal.  So I first change the size back down to 200 or 400 and the quality to 25 (If you forget that you’ll spend a lot of unnecessary time waiting for rendering) then I click on the “xForms” tab and see a list of the xForms that make up the fractal.  You can say it’s the different parts of the fractal.

illustration 6

7) I click the “Edit” button and in the xForm edit page I go through all the xForms and click the quicklook “Q” button on “Colour” for each one.  That will bring up the quicklook window and give you a lot of small renderings of the genome with slightly colour variations.  This is where you are going to be waiting if you forgot to change the size and quality settings back.  When I go through the xForms like this I will learn what xForm make up what part of the genome and I will introduce more colours in the genome, just like I wanted.

illustration 7

8) I make my choice and move on.  If you want to change the form of the genome there are a lot to be done in the “Variations” list in the xForm edit window.  If you add an xForm you’ll add a new part to the genome.  If you add a variation to an xForm you’ll change that part of the genome.  If a xForm has a “Fan” variation you can make that “Fan” part of the genome blurred by adding a “gaussian blur” variation to the xForm.  By adding and changing you can model the genome into the fractal you want.

illustration 8

Don’t be afraid to try stuff and see what result it will give.  Wherever there is a “Q” you get a lot of different previews for the settings of that parameter.  As long as you don’t click on one of them, you’ll change nothing.  There are lots of things to change the genome with, but one thing to not miss is the “Symmetry” in the “Edit” tab.  That parameter alone can make a huge change.

9) So now I’m more happy with the result and it’s time for the final rendering.  I have found a way that will give you large, beautiful and detailed fractals with a minimum of rendering time.  I use the “Scale” parameter to change the size and lock it to the height when I’m pleased with the result. I don’t touch the “Zoom” parameter since that, though bringing more quality also multiply the rendering time several times.

Instead I set the rendering size to 4000×3000 px and use only the “Scale” parameter to zoom in.  I then set the “Quality” parameter to 2000.  That will give you a large fractal with enough detail that will render in about 1 hour.

The fractals rendered with Oxidizer need a bit of afterwork to give them that final shine.  I use Aperture for that myself, and bring the contrast and the brightness up a bit.  I also add definition and sharpen the image a bit.

Happy rendering!