46 and 2, are just ahead of me
23rd September 2004
Its time for another tutorial, brought to you by me.
This time i'm going to cover what I believe to be the crucial part of fractal development - gradients, as in the colors of your fractal.
While making the fractal is important, as is the rendering, the colors of your fractal could make or break a fantastic flame, and also turn a basic fractal into a masterpiece.
This time i'll be using JoelFaber's edition of Apophysis 2.04 (I actually use 4 different versions of the current 2.04 program). However, its not necessary to have his version, not even to have 2.04, but I recommend it.
Step 1: Open Apophysis.
Step 2: Go ahead and create your fractal, use whatever means you wish, and if you are having trouble, send me a note.
Step 3: Now that you have your fractal, maybe you want to toy with the gradient, and I recommend you do even if you like it as-is.
Now, I did intend this tutorial to be of usage for everyone - even beginners, so i'll explain the functions of the gradient window.
Inside the white box we have:
[COLOR="Blue"]Blue[/color] = This represents the "rotate gradient" function. This is very, very important. Clicking on the little slider and dragging it left or right will "cycle" how each of the colors in your gradient are distributed through your fractal.
[color=red]Red[/color] = This is the "preset" function. While the gradient of the image is different than the one shown in that box, it has not been used, and is thus on a default gradient. What you want to do is to click on the little arrow and it will bring up a list of all the standard gradients. In 2.02, this list is much smaller, but as of 2.02z, the developers included alot of the community's own custom gradients. Scroll through that list, checking to see what you can do with that huge list, and possibly using the rotate gradient function to tweak it even more.
[color=green]Green[/color] = This is the "gradient browser" function. From here you can open up your windows explorer and go through your hard drive for a gradient file (.ugr). Usually, they should be in your apophysis folder, under the gradients sub-folder. Select one of those and it will be the colors of your fractal.
[color=orange]Orange[/color] = This is the "smooth palette" function. What this does is basically taking an image from your HD and making it into a gradient for use with apophysis.
Now if this is confusing, don't worry, I will explain the processes later.
One thing I want to point out is the preview image in your adjust window: This will show the changes of what you change with the gradient, so you don't have to wait for the big image to re-render with the changes.
Step 4: Let's change the gradient using the [color=green]gradient browser[/color] function. Click on the button just right of the preset box in the gradient window and it will open a new box on the right. In this image, it remembered the last custom gradient I used. Click on the little folder icon and it will open your windows explorer. Go to your gradient sub-folder on your HD (or wherever you store your gradients), select one, and press okay. Now, double click on the gradient in the box on your left. It should change the gradient on your fractal.
Step 5: Now let's change the gradient using the [color=orange]smooth palette[/color] function.
Open up your gradient window and click on the little brown icon in the bottom-right hand corner. This will bring up your windows explorer. Go through the various files on your computer, pick an image, and press okay.
Step 6: Let's try adjusting our gradient a little bit more using the editor window.
Take a look at the display there. The "transform color" is the color given to your triangle on the left there. This is determined by your gradient and can be changed manually if you wish, just click on the colored box and pick a new color. Additionally, you can use the slider below it to cycle through the color distribution on transform number one, and thus, your fractal.
As you can see, i pushed the slider all the way to the right, and made the entire image a solid color. I will explain later why this may not be the best option for the colors of your flame.
Now, you can also do these changes on each different of your triangles, or "transforms."
As you can see here, I went to transform 2 and adjusted the slider. This changed the color of my fractal significantly, even though it is using the same gradient. As you can see, this may be a useful tool, especially if you like your colors in your gradient, but you just can't get the color distribution spot-on.
Step 7: Changing the colors of your flame by not changing the colors of your flame.
Intriguing title, huh? Well, it is possible with apophysis. In this step, we're going to change the background color, which can sometimes change your fractal for the best - or worse. While I don't use this feature alot, there are many fractal artists who vary the background colors of their fractals alot.
As you can see, this is a very boring, dark, and lacking color. A quick look at the gradient will tell you there is a lot of black in the gradient. With a black background, the fractal barely shows up.
Now, here's what I did:
I opened up the adjust window (little icon on the top with two sliders) and changed the color of the background to a white (little colored box in the rendering tab of the adjust window, it will open a box with not only pre-selected colors, but also the entire color spectrum if you want to choose your own).
From there I also adjusted the gamma and brightness settings so that it not only eliminates some of the grain, but also defines the shape a bit more.
Here I used the preview quality function to bump the quality from 5 to 100 and take a look at the fractal now:
Not bad, huh? Its definetly a different style, but that's what Apophysis is all about, finding your niche in the fractal world.
This covers all of the different ways to change the gradient of your fractal in Apophysis, so I hope this helped.
Next i'll show you some of my personal opinions about different gradients.
Example one: This is the flame that I chose to illustrate the good, the bad, and the ugly of gradient selection. With this gradient, you can clearly see 3 different parts of the fractal: the "outer shell sections," "the flowers," and "the squares." I would label this as a "good" gradient.
Example two: The bad. Here you can see, this gradient only shows the sqaures well, all of the other parts are too dark, and difficult to see. I wouldn't recommend using this gradient.
Example three: The okay gradient. It may seem bright but it can be stylish for some people. Personally I think it is way too bright and doesn't have enough colors. I would not recommend using this gradient.
Example four: The bad, for now. This one has potential, but just isn't good enough. It shows the sqaures very well, but the rest just isn't visible enough. Right now, I would not recommend using this gradient, but if you go into your adjustment window, and adjust the brightness, it would look a whole lot better.
Example five: The good. This one shows all three parts fairly well and the color spread is pretty good. I would recommend using this gradient.
Example six: The ugly. While this may look okay, maybe good for some people, it just doesn't cut it for me. It shows 2 parts well, but the colors are boring, and there aren't enough! Try choosing one with different colors throughout the gradient. I would not recommend using this gradient.
Example seven: The good. This one shows off all three parts well and also manages to show some of the inner design. While the white is bright, the red, and black additions help offset the potentially blinding white color, and give it a modern artistic flair. I would recommend this gradient.
Example eight: The good. This gradient shows the majority of the image pretty well. The colors occupy specific regions that correspnd with my three. Having this kind of "regional dominance" is a nice look for me, because it shows that it didn't just have a gradient overlain, it was placed via parts of the fractal math.
(Had to take out the image tags to get under the 20 image limit, sorry.)
And that concludes my "the good, the bad, and the ugly." Hope you enjoyed it all.
Hope you all enjoyed this tutorial, I hope it will help the community on what I view as the most crucial part of making the perfect flame.
As always, if you have any questions, be sure to message me, or post it here.
I didn't make it!
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