Quick Review: Oxidizer 0.3

by Scott Chitwood • Monday February 19th, 2007
Posted in More Than Words

My quest for a native Mac OS X fractal flame editor has uncovered an application that seems to be relatively unknown in the Macintosh creative community — Oxidizer. Released in February 2006 this powerful little gem isn’t listed at any of the major software tracking sites; MacUpdate, VersionTracker, or Apple’s Mac OS X Downloads archive.

Oxidizer shares a common code base with the Electric Sheep screensaver. Both programs use the flam3 libraries to render the flames. This also means Oxidizer can read and write the flam3 file format used by Electric Sheep.

Here’s a nice example rendered on an iMac Core Duo.

Oxidizer

I’m still experimenting with the render options to try and eliminate edge chattering that can seen in this 1680×1050 image. Once an optimal setting is developed, desktop wallpapers will follow shortly thereafter :^)

While I’m excited to be using Oxidizer it has also been an exercise in frustration — mostly due to unexpected crashes on both Intel and PPC systems. I’ve been able to minimize those by saving frequently and then restarting before making additional parameter changes or rendering to an image file. The only other oddity that could use some attention is the previews save high res info which can slow down the process of tweaking flames. I would guess that these drawbacks will be addressed with further development.

On the plus side, Oxidizer is simple enough for beginners to mess around with, plus it offers plenty of tweakable settings to satisfy users who have a grasp on the mathematics of working with fractals. The Gene Pool has sixteen image wells that fill on the click of a button, after which it allows one to select two or more flames for breeding. Hit another button to export a flame to the Editor and you’re ready to start playing with image size, render options and color.

Oxidizer is open source, and licensed under the GPL.

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7 Comments

  1. David Burnett
         February 22, 2007

    I’d glad you like Oxidizer.

    Sudden exit’s are usually due to bad settings which the flam3 code, which of course I should not be letting users enter in the first place. I though I’d got all the major ones, so If you spot any pattern let me know though my blog

    Dave

  2. John Murphy
         February 23, 2007

    Dave, I downloaded both r_0_2 and r_0_3 and like the program to a point but there are way to many bugs on my Intel mac, no tutorials and no help menu.

    The worst of all is that when you have the breeder open and make changes,more often than not either the editor freezez you out completely of else the mutation you send there wipes out all the other types you saved earlier.

    I guess it’s like you say its down to the flame3 code which is all the more annoying. I just bought quadriium 2 which good program as it is annoys me for a number of reasons – namely that there are better programs on window that are freeware. Then when I looked at flame3 they wanted even more for that.

    Sigh! I hate windows but it looks like I will need to be going there for apo if I’m ever going to generate flames with any success and without further damage to my wallet!

  3. john murphy
         February 23, 2007

    sorry a few typos…. No tutes (tutorials)

  4. Rampant1
         February 24, 2007

    Thanks for dropping by David :^)

    My enthusiam for Oxidizer is growing and I’m happy to say that all my renders in the past week or so have been crash free. The flames are awesome and outshine the quality of other apps I’ve been messing with by a long shot. I’ve just about narrowed down the render settings for where I want to be with high res images for desktop wallpapers and am looking forward to taking my toying around with fractal flames to the next level. Oxidizer will help me get there in a big way!

    It’s weird but I never would have found Oxidizer except for an odd Google search term in my stats. Following that led me to a couple of mentions on some other pages, and from there a few solid links to your site.

    Cheers!

  5. Rampant1
         February 24, 2007

    Hi John. Be sure to let David know of your experiences at his blog page, that’s the best way to give him good feedback.

    My advice on the the crashes is to do frequent saves on your flam3 files and keep it simple as you go along. Do some breeding directly within the Gene Pool, then send a few of them to the Editor and save them before you start tweaking. Up to this point I’ve found that rendering at a quality setting of 100 is just as good as a quality setting of 800. Once I narrow things down a bit better I’ll be sure to share my methods in a tutorial style post.

    It’s a bummer that you dropped big dollars on Quadriuum and have found it less than what you’d like. My trips into Apophysis on Windows have been somewhat successful but from what I’ve seen so far Oxidizer’s flames are of a better quality.

  6. John Murphy
         February 28, 2007

    Hi – Thanks for the reply. I did indeed find david’s blog and c&p’d the message there. Sadly I have since done away with Oxidizer (at least until something stable comes along). UsingQ-Flames is a nightmare – way too complicated and no demblance of anything like the geometric layout Apo has. As gandreas says I can (and have) import Apo flames into Flame and there are ways to find the coordinates etc (fine but I really cannot sdee why he does not use a geometric layout and has enough options there to skin a cat. Maybe fine if your an Astro-Physicist or Nuclear Scientist!)

    Bottom line is no matter how I try and configure Flame for Julians the render is nowhere near as clean as with apo and far more trouble to jiggle all the settings and come somewhere even close.

    I have heard on the grapevine that one of the Apo whizz team are working with the source code with a view to porting it to Mac. Now wouldn’t that be amazing. I’dfeel a little better if and when that does happen but for now I guess I’m stuck with Flame. better than nothing in that you can get some nice renders (depending on the flame) but it is not what I thought I was buying by a long shot. Renders are also very dark as you need to reduce the gamma and contrast so much to get rid of the ‘noise’ (more like pixellation in the Julian Spheres)

  7. David Burnett
         March 6, 2007

    A port of Apo, that would be interesting.
    If I remember correctly Apo is coded in Pascal, well Delphi, so I guess they would be either porting it to something else or using Free Pascal.

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