So about that sneak preview…

by David Burnett • Saturday April 5th, 2008
Posted in Oxidizer Blog, Oxidizer Community

I’ve just uploaded it to the Oxidizer website.

EDIT: 26/04/2008 I’ve now uploaded another new version.

It has the Transformation Editor and a new Gradient Editor and now gives an ETA for the render. Like all ETA’s it starts off a little dodgy but unlike Microsoft ETA’s it actually gets more accurate as it goes on.

Now remember it’s a early release, I’ve not tried to run it under Tiger or on PPC at all. Expect bugs and crashes, remember to save anything you like :-)

Any polite criticisms and suggestions are welcome.



  1. David Burnett
         April 6, 2008

    Alright so I boo booed….for some reason the version I released built differently to the development version so it would not work on anyones Mac but mine :-)

    The good news is I’ve just released take two. Same link as before. Have at at…

  2. David Burnett
         April 7, 2008

    Okay…so this will be take three :-(

    Hopefully this time I’ve changed all the install name paths in the new flam3 executables.

    While I’m at it I’ve made a couple of changes in the gradient editor. The colour swatches in the table view now update when you edit the colours directly rather than drag and drop, and you can drag from the colour panel and drop between the table view row to insert a new colour as suggested by ralf.

  3. Scott Chitwood
         April 7, 2008

    New and improved awesomeness! The world is a good place — now I just need some time to play :^)

  4. TBob
         April 8, 2008

    A little note: Don’t select multiple items in the gradient editor, it kinda crashes it. (Leopard on Core2)

  5. ralf
         April 8, 2008

    TBob: I’m experiencing a lot of unpredictable instabilities, I’ve been forwarding my crash reports to Dave – if you do the same that might help him iron out the bugs. Try to see if your crashes are repeatable, and then let him know the steps to reproduce them.

  6. ralf
         April 8, 2008

    Btw, folks, here’s something for when your fractal inspiration (or motivation) is running low, take a look at this awesome anthology: Most Beautiful Fractals.

  7. ralf
         April 10, 2008

    I smell an update :) I just tried the latest CVS version, and in this one the Gradient editor now appears to be completely stable, at least on my system – all the crashes I had before don’t happen anymore. So if you can’t wait for a new binary to be released, go grab the source in CVS.

  8. David Burnett
         April 12, 2008

    Oh go on then, have an update. Same link as before.

  9. ralf
         April 13, 2008

    Yum – thanks Dave!

    I had a question on this: is there a way to add new palettes via Lua by appending color maps to the flam3-palettes.xml file? I wrote some very simple scripts (linked from my web page) for saving and loading color maps as text files, but it would be much better if they could be converted to palettes and added to the common list, but I didn’t get this to work yet. Is flam3-palettes.xml read by Oxidizer, or only sourced during compilation?

  10. David Burnett
         April 14, 2008

    Hi Ralf,

    I’ve be mulling the whole ‘saving Colour Maps’ issue over the last couple of days, but I’ll answer your questions before I get to that.

    The pallet xml file is read by Oxidizer, but only once at start-up. Lua does not have any specific XML functions by default, however you could easy just use string manipulation.

    Now I should get on to why it’s a bad idea :-)

    I take it you want to save the gradient (a few colours), rather than the colour map (all 256 colours) so it can be loaded back into the Gradient Editor and sticking palettes with missing items in flam3_pallete.xml could break the flam3 softwareBoth Oxidizer and the flam3 software handles palettes and colour maps separately, and I’d have to maintain code to do something like, if the palette is less than number 700 then treat as a palette else treat it like a colour map, and keep it in line it the number of palette ever differ.I want to extend a few things, like use other algorithms to extrapolate the gradient colours into the full colour map that do not fit in the palette xml

    What I probably need to do is maintain a separate colour xml file.

  11. ralf
         April 14, 2008

    I agree with everything you say, keeping sparse color maps sparse would be the best option. The palettes have this nifty graphical preview which makes browsing easy, while the sparse gradient maps are easier to edit – best of both worlds would be nice: color maps stored on the sparse format with a graphical preview.

    Currently oxidizer (apparently?) converts sparse gradient maps to full color maps when you load a flam3 genome from file, even if it was saved with a sparse gradient definition – maybe this is a mistake? I noticed that this happened, and wasn’t sure if it was a feature or a bug. The scripts I wrote are based on reading oxidizer_genomes.colors from Lua, which apparently holds the full 256-color interpolated map even if a sparse definition is given in Oxidizer, so there didn’t seem to be any (simple) way for me to keep the color maps sparse when saving to file.

    Also, for the reason of not overwriting them every time a new version of Oxidizer is installed, keeping custom color maps separate from flam3-palettes.xml is probably a good idea.

    Just my 2c :)

  12. David Burnett
         April 15, 2008


    As far as I can tell flam3 does not have a sparse colour map option, hence the full colour map in the flam3 files, leading to a 256 colour gradient when loaded back into Oxidzer. I really don’t want to Oxidizer have its own file format unless I really have too. I need to see how well the flam3 stuff handles extended XML to see if I can get away with adding my own tags.

    The Lua interface colour maps go though the extrapolation function used before because the Lua tables were designed to reflect the flam3 XML. It could be changed with a bit of work I suppose

    BTW the CVS Oxidzier version has a ‘new’ button on the gradient editor now.

  13. David Burnett
         April 19, 2008

    Another Weekend, another update. This is mostly bug fixes and changes suggested by Ralf….

    Rotate – and + button now rotate in different directions
    Centre spinners now allow negative numbers.
    Change rotate spinner to -180 – 180
    “New Gradient” Button on the editor.

    Fix the frequent save bug where Saves would release the stored filename causing crashes on saves.
    Flam3 no longer allows the weight element for final xforms, adjusted XML creation to cater for this. This should get rid of the “Final xforms should not have weight specified” errors.

    Available now from the link in the original post.

  14. David Burnett
         April 26, 2008

    Another Weekend, another update….oh…

    Not to many changes this time.

    Better ETA / progress indicator for big renders. Basically if you render a really big render, flam3 splits this up into smaller chunks but gave a separate count down for each chunk. I’ve worked around it now.

    Cancel…yep, Ralf reminded me I actually could cancel renders now if I added the code to do it. So I did.

    Available now from the link in the original post.

    @Pharmagician, are you still have crashes when you save ?
    I haven’t done anything about it yet as I can’t reproduce it problem.


  15. ralf
         April 26, 2008

    There appears to be a file missing in CVS, the TaskProgressNibController.m hasn’t been checked in, looks like I need it to build?

  16. Anonymous
         April 27, 2008

    TaskProgressNibController.m isn’t required so you can just get rid off it from the XCode project, I’ll update CVS.

    Thanks’s Ralf.

  17. Pharmagician
         April 28, 2008

    @ Dave: to tell the truth, I haven’t got around to trying 0.5 again yet. I’ve been on a bit of a roll and didn’t want to risk losing anything, so I’ve been using 0.4.3 still.

    @ Ralf: can you see a way of easily translating Apophysis scripts from Delphi (is it?) to Lua? There are whole families of flames that I am interested in experimenting with but can’t currently do that in Oxidizer. I guess there is also the plugin/flam3 question to consider too…

  18. ralf
         April 28, 2008

    Heh??? :-)
    No, sorry, I would have no idea what to do with Apophysis Delphi scripts. Do you have some sample scripts I could look at?

    I imagine Dave would have coded up his own Oxidizer-Lua interface for passing flam3 variables, so probably not something that would be directly compatible with the way Apophysis does it, but I don’t know.

    What kind of scripts are they, that you can’t do it with Oxidizer?

  19. Pharmagician
         April 29, 2008

    I think they’re similar to your batch generator script, but they do it with different parameters and variations – I need to study one of them against yours and see whether I can’t make sense of it first – will be a good learning exercise for me!

  20. ralf
         April 29, 2008

    Oh ok – funny you should mention, because I was just tinkering around with the randomizer script. I have generalized it to include the multi-parameter variations, and you can choose how many you want and if they should be fixed or randomized, etc. I can upload a version of it to my site later tonight (probably “randomizer2.lua,” unless I come up with a better name…)

  21. Pharmagician
         April 29, 2008

    Aha! This may be precisely what I’m looking for! Will print out and study… Thanks VERY much!

  22. Raycat
         May 19, 2008

    Hi Dave, first of all want to congratulate you with this great piece of software. I’ve been using it for a while and it’s great when you get the hang of it.
    Trying 0.5 (latest version dl’ed through your original post) resulted in 2 questions:
    -Where do I find the transform editor? (I opened all windows and couldn’t find it. I presume it has to be somewhere in teh Xform-window?
    -I still get an error when reading 0.4.5 files into 0.5:“Final xforms should not have weight specified”.
    Perhaps I should dl’ed another version? Sorry I’m not technical enough to go into CVS ;-)

  23. David Burnett
         May 20, 2008


    The transformation editor is in the Window menu, it may still be called the Rectangle Editor depending on when I finally got around to changing the name.

    The final xform / weight thing was a temporary bit of code to dodge a flam3 bug where the weight of final xforms was affecting the result when it was supposed to be ignored. I thought I’d got rid of the message ages ago…hmmm must be time for a new sneak preview. It easiest thing to do until then would be to remove the weight attribute from final xforms

  24. Raycat
         May 21, 2008

    @David Burnett
    I’ve found the transformation editor thanks for that!

    Regarding the finalxform/weight: I can’t adjust the weight of the final X-form unless I remove the “Final X-form” (unticking the radiobutton), then after setting the weight to 0 I can’t set the “Final X-form” on again (by ticking the radiobutton) because then I get the error popup again when trying to render.
    Do you have an eta on a new sneakpeek?

  25. David Burnett
         May 22, 2008

    How about…!

    A word of warning. I’d keep a copy of the old version around, I’ve made a big change to the XML parsing in this version to help keep the memory requirements down and I haven’t given it nearly enough testing.

  26. David Burnett
         May 31, 2008

    And again.

    This version gets rid of a few more bugs
    uses a fair bit less memory
    loads flam3 files with loads (100’s) of genomes a fair bit quicker than it used to.
    The automatic saving of flam3 versions of rendered genomes to ~/Library/Application Support/Oxidizer is now optional.

    I intend this to be the last sneak preview, so get those bug reports in.

    Download at Sourceforge


  27. Scott Chitwood
         June 9, 2008

    Just has a chance to download 0.5.1 David — crashed on launch for me. System is iMac 2 Ghz Core Duo with 512 MB installed memory.

  28. David Burnett
         June 9, 2008

    Strange….it does not do that here :-)

    Let me have the usual details and I’ll see if I can track it down.

  29. Scott Chitwood
         June 9, 2008

    Not sure I’ve much to give you David. Can’t even launch the app — I’ll try downloading tomorrow to see if same happens.

  30. Scott Chitwood
         June 10, 2008

    Nope — no dice on the new download either. Could it be a Tiger issue? I’m running 10.4.11.

  31. David Burnett
         June 10, 2008

    Yep, it looks like a Leopard only message sneaked in.
    I’ve updated the sneak preview to one that at least starts up, but there still appears to be an issue or two in the
    Tiger version at least on my old PPC (amazed in still started up :-) All reports of issues welcome

  32. David Burnett
         June 10, 2008

    An another quick update which fixes the main two Tiger show stoppers (Xform Editor and switching between colour map and palette being broken).

    Now I got to work out why the palette / colour map images are only one line high (well apart from the fact that they are one line high :-) they should get stretched to fill the button.

  33. David Burnett
         June 11, 2008

    And one last update to fix the palette / colour map buttons . I had a bit of a quick play around and things seems to be working now. Over to you Scott :-)

  34. Scott Chitwood
         June 12, 2008

    Launch, load, and palette/colour map buttons confirmed. Life is good :^)

  35. David Burnett
         July 5, 2008

    Right, I think I’ve done enough testing, so unless you guys drown me with bug reports in the next few days the next weekend should see the proper release of Oxidizer 0.5.

  36. Scott Chitwood
         July 6, 2008

    Got nothing to report on my end of the stick. Working with some new renders but no bugs crawling ’round here.

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