Saturday, July 12, 2008

New toys

I downloaded the evaluation version of Ultra Fractal 5 a couple of days ago. Man, I really wanted to not like it. I was all set to look at the latest upgrades and improvements, and say "Bah, I don't need any of these flashy new bells and whistles! I tried importing images a couple of times and could never get them to look properly integrated with the rest of the fractal." I was suspicious of the changes to how the coloring algorithms worked. I've been quite happy with UF4, and I could have just kept using it, but of course I was curious, so I thought I'd give the new version a couple of days of testing, to see how bad the learning curve would be.

And then, to my combined dismay and delight, it rocked.

The new separation of, say, general Orbit Traps method and actual trap shape makes the whole thing much more flexible. I love that you can copy and paste just parts of the coloring, to transfer them from one layer to another. I especially love that you can copy and paste attributes to multiple layers at a time; I used to do a lot of exploring where I'd get a number of layers in a good combination, and then decide I wanted to see what that combination looked like on a different Julia set, and have to copy and paste the Julia seed (or even a whole different formula) one layer at a time. It was slow and tedious, and now it's a simple couple of clicks.

I'm still kind of meh about the whole image importing business. The way it works now is really slick, and so I imagine I might spend more time in the future dropping in different images, to see if any of them worked better than my past experiments, but I suspect it's just not my style. My favorite bit of tinkering so far is very silly indeed: I was thinking about the question of importing an image with sufficient resolution to do a large print render, and it occurred to me that extreme low-resolution might be an interesting option instead.

Navigating the Internet

This uses, er, some Barnsley formula or other, with the new and improved orbit traps. The anti-aliasing is generally lousy, because this is a crummy resized screenshot instead of a proper render. I get to agonize now about whether I can manage to afford to register the wretched program and be able to do renders again, or if I should just go back to UF4 for now. Grr, stupid moving expenses. Stupid unexpected car repairs. Maybe next month; I should be a little less broke by then.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's a bit exciting - I've dug through a few old cds you've given to me, looking for your fractal portrait of me. And while I like the fractal very much, the considerably low-res grain of the photo destroys the effect.