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 :-)


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!

Oxidizer Quick Tip: Multi-Stage Rendering

by Scott ChitwoodMonday September 21st, 2009
Posted in Oxidizer Blog, Using Oxidizer

Not sure if anyone else has seen/reported this handy little feature.

All of my renders are produced on a MacBook Pro these days and there have been occasions, during mid-render, that an errant family member closes it up on me.  A little annoying at first, but then it became apparent that the render resumes when the screen is popped open again.  Sweet!

What I don’t know is if this may work the same for users of desktop systems during sleep mode.  Another unknown factor is how many times a render can be interrupted and successfully resumed.  And with anything weird like this, your mileage may vary.

Living without zoom…

by David BurnettWednesday March 19th, 2008
Posted in Oxidizer Blog, Using Oxidizer

This is going to cover ground similar to Scott’s blog on Scale and Zoom
but it’s going to come at it from a different angle.

Scale and Zoom do very similar things, they both zoom in on the flame, however there is one very big difference. Zoom increases the quality to ‘make up ‘ for the zooming in, which increases render time, exponentially.

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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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