Oxidizer 0.4.2: Scale and Zoom Settings

by Scott ChitwoodFriday December 28th, 2007
Posted in Tips and Tricks, Using Oxidizer

Reading through my tutorial for Oxidizer 0.3 there is a note that states…

It will be necessary to adjust the ‘Zoom’ setting in order to fill the working canvas once the image size has been altered so dramatically from the 128×128 default. Zooming somewhere between 3.4 – 4.2 has worked very well for my renders, but don’t let that limit your explorations of how much or how little zoom to use.

With the release of Oxidizer 0.4.2 it is time to adjust that idea, and with good reason.

Using the idea of ‘Zoom’ in 0.4.2 as described above requires a tremendous amount of processing power, enough to adversely effect the operating system and other apps to the point of just barely crawling along. The flame may eventually render, or it might bring Oxidizer to its knees. Crash and burn kids, and that isn’t fun no matter how you dice it. The other reason you’ll want to avoid this method is extremely long render times; I have personal experience with renders that have taken several days only to find my design effort was less than what I had envisioned.

One might ask why I chose ‘Zoom’ over ‘Scale’ for that earlier tutorial and personal work method. I’m guessing that it just happened to be the setting I tried first and then stuck with as a good default.

So what are the differences between ‘Zoom’ and ‘Scale’? Good question. I’m not sure if I can answer it properly from the point of the math concepts/coding but I can answer it from a visual perspective.

Used independently from one another it’s easy to see that ‘Zoom’ is the clear winner for capturing a more detailed render. ‘Scale’ certainly helps one find desired cropping and position of the flame in preview mode but it has the appearance of a low resolution image; grainy, lacking detail and out of focus. Bleh.

Obviously we need to use both ‘Zoom’ and ‘Scale’ together to find the proper balance of image detail and flam3 settings that won’t adversely effect your operating system. For me, this starts with linking ‘Scale’ to image height. Here’s a look at my current workflow methods.

I’ve recently adopted a widescreen image ratio for all of my still renders, the size is 3360×2100 pixels. Before changing the image ratio I make sure to check the ‘Lock to Height’ option next to the ‘Scale’ setting.

Now it’s time to make adjustments to both ‘Scale’ and ‘Zoom’. Deselect the ‘Lock to Height’ checkbox. Change ‘Zoom’ setting to ‘1.5’ and change ‘Scale’ setting to half of value displayed.

Switch over to the ‘Render’ settings and change ‘Quality’ to ‘800.00’ from default of ‘50.00’.

The end result should be an image that has a good amount of detail that will render without overloading your processing power. Images below show the quality sequence of a flame as it was pushed through the details noted above.

Scale or Zoom Tutorial

Tutorial: Oxidizer 0.3 Fractal Flames

by Scott ChitwoodMonday March 19th, 2007
Posted in More Than Words, Tips and Tricks, Using Oxidizer

While this article is helpful it was written with an ancient release of Oxidizer and things have changed dramatically over time.  With that in mind we’re keeping the article online for historical purposes; please take a detour over to our Introduction to Oxidizer tutorial over in the wiki — you’ll find up to date info on using Oxidizer in it’s present state.

Back in mid February of 2007 I took a brief look at Oxidizer as a Quick Review to share my excitement for what appeared to be a relatively unknown native Mac OS X application for rendering fractal flames. Now, several weeks later, and with a good number of nice flames rendered, the time is right for a follow up report. The primary idea for this tutorial is to pass on what I’ve learned, which admittedly, just covers some basic procedures. This article does not document the full range of Oxidizer’s capabilities; it does however, give one a good point from which to start exploring.

Before you get started.

Oxidizer Fractal FlameThe most important piece of information you need to know up front is Oxidizer requires a two part file save process; flame and image. The end result is a beautifully rendered fractal flame saved as a Photoshop file. But that’s putting the horse ahead of the cart. Just as critical, and even more so, is saving the native flame file before the image is rendered; the extension is .flam3. So, save as flam3, then save (render) the flame to one of the available image formats. Don’t skip saving the flam3 file — two solid days of program crashes taught me that lesson very well. Once I started saving, crashes have been almost non-existent.

Another thing one needs to be prepared for is lengthy render times. Depending on image size, complexity and quality settings a fractal flame can take several hours or several days to completely write. Patience Grasshopper; let Oxidizer run in the background while you mess around in Photoshop.

If you’d like to learn about the math concepts behind flam3 files be sure to check out the documentation links at Flam3.com.
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Safari Makeover

by Scott ChitwoodThursday January 4th, 2007
Posted in More Than Words, Tips and Tricks

Get Unified and grow those Toolbar icons!

Ready to have a little fun and get away from Safari’s brushed metal interface at the same time? A few quick hacks to the Browser.nib file with Interface Builder is all it takes to replace Safari’s heavy metal with a nice dose of Aqua Unified.

Want to go a step further? Make a few alterations to the icon containers located in the ToolbarItems.nib — a nifty hack which will enable larger icons of 32×32 pixels. That’s a nice jump up from the default size of 28×25 pixels.

Here’s a quick look of the mod. Screenshots always help one visualize the possibilities :^)

Before and After

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