Oxidizer Quick Start Guide

by Lennart Ostman • Sunday 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.

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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.

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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!


  1. David Burnett
         June 16, 2011

    Hi Lennart,
    thanks for the Guide, hopefully it’ll knock Scott’s old Oxidizer 0.3 tutorial off the top of the Google searches :-)

  2. Lennart Östman
         June 21, 2011

    Thanks David.
    You’ve made a great app that leave plenty of room for continual learning. Right now I’m learning how to make great fractals on non-black backgrounds, which is not as easy as one might think!

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