So, poca2hontas asked me if I'd be interested in writing a journal for the group, and once I got over the initial shock of realising that there are people out there who think I actually know what I'm doing (ha, I fooled you all!), I thought it'd be good to explain the steps I take in tweaking a fractal.
Let's start by finding a fractal you like. There are plenty out there with params included, and I actually have a folder in my faves just for fractal params. It'd be a good idea to build a little cache of your own.
For this demo, I'll just use one I made earlier:
Here's the parameters if you want to follow along (though I would encourage you to not do EXACTLY what I do, as tweaking is all about experimentation). [Params] Just copy that and paste it directly into Apophysis.
Let's go ahead and look at what makes this thing tick.
So, we open the editor window, and as we can see we have 3 transforms, plus a final transform. It's important to know what you're working with.
Now then, make sure the 'hide unused variations' box is ticked, and have a look at each transform. On fractals with many transforms, I find that it helps to label them all with the variations used, so I don't lose track. You may want to also look at the Xaos, but I try not to touch that in case I break something.
As we can see, on transform 1 we have flatten and glynnsim2, on transform 2 we have flatten, gaussian blur and pre-blur, and on transform 3 we have ngon. Keep transform 3 in mind, as it's going to be very helpful in our tweak.
Notice I didn't mention what the final transform is. Why? Because when I do a tweak, I always start by getting rid of the final transform, and in this case, it leaves me with this:
Oo-er. Let's head on over to the adjustment window and scale it right back to about 20.
That's better, we can see what we're doing now. If we move it around a bit, look at what we find!
Now that's what I'm talking about.
At last, we can start to have a bit of fun. I like to start by using the variations we already have, and, to use the technical term, poking them.
I start with the numbers, just dragging them up and down until I find something interesting:
I'm going to save this, as I might come back to it later.
Now, I played with xform 2's numbers a bit, but nothing terribly interesting happens there, and it's just the colour fill, so for now I'm going to leave it be.
Now, on to xform 3. I'm again going to drag the value of ngon up and down until I see something I like.
There's a nice spirally sort of shape emerging there, I like it. But we're not done here! No, there's even more numbers to play with in the variables tab.
Which reminds me, I forgot to look at the variables tab for xform 1, so we'll go and do that right now. But first, save a new version!
Only small changes here. Now then, time to mess about with the triangles.
As xform 1 is the foundation of the piece, I start here. Let's see what happens when we rotate it, shall we?
We can make the spiral shapes much tighter:
Or much looser:
But I preferred how they were in the first place, so I'll undo the changes.
Now let's see what happens when we make the triangle smaller:
I like that, I'll save it.
And when the triangle is made bigger:
I don't like that as much, so I'll go back to the smaller triangle version (this is what the saves are for!).
We can fiddle with the size and play with the rotation some more if we want, now let's see what MOVING the triangle does. I must stress that at this point things can get screwed up so save, save, save.
A bit of movement and a wee bit more scaling and rotating, and here's where I'm at:
I really like this, so I'll give you three guesses as to what I'm going to do with it.
Now, let's try this same process out on xform 3:
Scaling xform 3 has more or less the same effect as changing the value of ngon, so let's not bother.
Hm. After a little bit of playing, I've found that I don't actually want to move any part of xform 3. It's important to remember that sometimes it's okay to leave things alone when tweaking.
I'll revisit this xform in a little while, but for now, let's see what we can do with a final xform, shall we?
My methodology for choosing the variation for final xform is pretty simple. I just try ALL OF THEM. I just cycle through with the scroll wheel, setting them on and then off again.
However, I do make a certain beeline for variations such as spherical, bipolar, julian, and polar, as they tend to work very well as a final xform. Sky's the limit here, just go nuts, and SAVE all the ones you like.
So, here's what I ended up with:
Now, I like the pattern, but I'm not liking the blur fill, so I'm going to mess about with that for a bit, and do a bit of final tweaking on the other transforms too. It's okay to keep going back to transforms and messing about with them some more.
So, I've moved the fx, and messed about with xform 2's post-transform, so what I now have is this:
Now, I could stop here, mess about with the colours, and start my render, BUT I want to show you another thing I might try.
Let's go back to xform 3, with the ngon.
Let's see what happens if I clear it, and pick a different variable.
Now this, this I like. Save.
So, what I've finally ended up with is this:
I like this a lot, and this is the piece I want to render. And there we have it! All that's left to do is colour it. Now you can move it over into Chaotica for colouring, or keep it right here in Apophysis, whichever you prefer. I'm staying in Apo because I am stuck in my ways. When it comes to doing the colours, I try and pick 10 possible gradients to use, and whittle down the versions until I find the one I like best.
You can also go into the colour tab of each transform and fiddle with it, but I like the colour spread already so I won't touch it.
Insert muzak while I mess about with gradients
And this is what I finally end up with:
So, it's a pretty easy process, but there's lots of fun to be had. This is relaxing fractalling, not the kind that makes you want to tear your hair out because Xaos won't play nice. I could have taken this even further by adding transforms, but I figured it'd be best to keep it simple for today.