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Posts Tagged test

Some more on fractal movies

I’ve moved the animation that I had saved to a faster computer, but it refused to render, it wasn’t rendering even the very first frame. Time to think a little why it was happening. Maybe some folder permission error, not really a software bug.

In Mandelbulb 3D, in the animation window, you have the option to send back the saved keyframes to the main window (useless feature? Not at all!), so this is what I did. Sent them back, re-rendered each and send them back to the animation timeline, and saved this animation under a new name and in a different folder just to be sure. And it worked.

It’s currently rendering right now with a couple more frames added towards the end of the previous version (but I’ve reduced the number of frames between keyframes from 50 to 25 to see what happens, therefore the movie should be shorter this time) and 150 frames out of a total of 250 are already finished in 18 minutes. Quite an improvement. I think that I can even raise the size of the animations to some sort of “semi-HD” quality. I’ll have to check first if these fractals used here are also faster than others, sometimes when adding a Julia calculation or a “Cutting” things get a bit slower. Anyway, this is much much faster than rendering it in the other computer, that has half of the memory of this one, but the processor is a Celeron while in this other one it’s a quadcore… it’s not RAM that makes the difference here, but the processor. And maybe the video card (I have a Radeon something in the faster computer), but I’m not sure as it doesn’t really help in other softwares like Ultra Fractal to have a faster video card, these cards are more useful with games and… well, 3D processing. Definitely fractals aren’t for slow computers.

One thing that I’ve noticed though even in the preview animation window is that for some reason (or maybe it’s not really happening) is that the keyframes I had already used and all the frames inbetween these are rendered a bit faster than the new added keyframes. Sometimes deeper zooms render a bit slower too, this might be what’s happening as it’s a little deeper in these new frames.

Another thing I’ve noticed that seems to happen at least in this image is that in areas that have a certain depth of field, showing parts of the “sky” (or of a background image), the render gets much slower. The more sky/background, the slower it gets. If the image is filled with just the fractal parts, it goes much faster. The elements that are closer to the camera for example, are rendered much faster in an image that has “sky” parts even though they look much more complex than the plain blue sky behind them. I guess it’s due to the 3D, it has to calculate the distances from for example the border of the fractal to the “horizon” or the “sky”, which is quite far from the camera (I guess this calculation is limited by the iterations as well, it tells the software where the “sky” – the end of the image – is). The difference is brutal. Frames with about 30-40% of “sky” areas can take up to 20 mins to be rendered, maybe more (just one frame!), while others with minimal open areas are rendered in 40 seconds. So a good tip for a fractal animation using Mandelbrot 3D is… avoid these open areas, focus on the fractal details. Which is the most interesting part anyway.

Update: it is really getting slower. Last frames past the #200 are taking 7 mins to be rendered and it’s getting considerably slower from there. Maybe it’s really the zoom, the frame #207 for example has a zoom of 1599946.7something while the very first one is 1x I think or near that. This combined with the lights, shading, etc. make it go slower. And I just found that I’m using the Julia mode and the cutting in this one. Also it seems that the more colours an image have, the more complicated it gets to be rendered. Images that are too colourful like the “Beatle Sugar Cube” below seem to be slower because of the different colours. But sometimes the images need to be that vivid. OK if you like a plain pink shade all over your image, I don’t.

I will try to make some more tests and for example disable the cutting when/if it won’t make a difference in certain keyframes. I think that it works for me more like a guideline if I want to find a Mandelbrot shape inside that mess, for example, or to reveal certain areas of “solid” fractals to see if they have something interesting inside. I’m not sure if I can really reach these internal areas just by zooming in without cutting them first, probably I can’t.

I have read that the common timeframe people spend rendering these animations are “weeks”, so I guess I’m just starting… if I want to add a soundtrack for example, it wouldn’t work if the animation is too short. At 24 frames per second, 2 of these keyframes with the settings I’m using for this new test (25 frames inbetween keyframes) will give me a 2 seconds animation. Do the math.

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Mind-Boggling Fractals

While doing the fractal softwares tests I had the opportunity to try one software that was in my list of “I want to try this someday”, Mind-Boggling Fractals. I always liked its colourful images, but never could find even a demo of the software.

Apparently, the author gave up on its development and it is now available for free in that list of fractal softwares. It used to be shareware, and a very expensive one if I can remember, considering what it did. Maybe because you now can replicate most if not all of its effects with some colouring algorithms in UltraFractal (pwc.ucl and kcc3.ucl in UF 4 which is what I use) it was no longer interesting for it to be kept as a separate software.

Anyway, I tried it and I didn’t go too far, I just did 2 images (a relatively deep zoom in a simple Mandelbrot looking for a square midget) and gave up. I think with these 2 colouring methods of UF I can make much more interesting images in that style, if needed. Here are my attempts:

Mind-Boggling Midget

MB-Midget

Mind-Boggling Midget

MB Midget 02

It might make some interesting images, but with UltraFractal I have way more options, as in different formulas. With this specific software, I will be limited to a dozen or so kinds of fractals.

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Starting to test the softwares… and what a surprise!

Let’s try not to get bored and install all these softwares. First part starts here. Little I knew that I was going to have a nice surprise…

First I’ve unzipped most of the downloaded stuff that doesn’t come as a single .exe file (.RARs and .ZIPs), then what was left (a bunch of .EXEs) I decided to install already after that so I didn’t have to redownload boring stuff by accident. All these files and installation packages are quite small and simple, so I’m already expecting to find very basic softwares…

First installed softwares were: Aros Magic, Double Fractal and Fractint 21 beta (it appears as “Fractint for Windows” in the menu, although it’s not called WinFract!)

Aros Magic: a toy. Full of small jokes here and there, and nothing but a toy. Seems that its “millions of colours” feature is like when you set Fractint to work with more than 256 colours, it goes to a default blue and black gradient and all your previous colour schemes are set to that instead. Seems that it works with the basic images and formulas only.

Double Fractal: another toy. It’s not very easy to guess that you must click one of the images that appear in the window that opens when you launch the software. Then another window opens which seems to be the “editor”. Very basic images as well.

Fractint 21 beta (actually it seems to be v. 20.99): YAY. Fast, Evolution method is available, big resolutions, works smoothly in Windows 7, which means… it’s all I ever wanted from Fractint to be. Now it’s time to install my alternative formula collections and my colour maps to that version and have some real good fun again. I couldn’t really be more pleased. Sorry but the project of testing all these other softwares will be stopped for a while, it’s Fractint time again!

Note: it says “not for public release” in big bold letters in the Fractint beta main window. I can’t be sure how stable it is yet (seems quite stable so far) and I’ll respect this and won’t publish the link for a download of this version, in case you are interested. Just do a search or visit some of the links in my menu, it’s hidden there somewhere and it’s quite easy to be found. Also remember if you wish to install that it’s a beta software, and it might (still) have bugs, use it at your own risk.

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Mandelbulbs

OK, let’s try this Mandelbulb 3D a little more seriously.

It doesn’t seem that slow, not in a quadcore with 4Gb of RAM. And it seems a bit of fun, more or less like making some random “caves” in Bryce and exploring the different parts of it. I just did a quick test, using basically the default settings (but the parameters and formula), and here it goes:

Gold city Mandelbulb

Gold City

Right-click and choose “view image” or something similar according to your browser and it will open in its original size where you can see (some) of the details. I did a bigger render, but it’s uploaded in 1024 x 768.

I didn’t even bother to zoom in and explore all these details or else I’d be stuck in this city for days. Somehow it reminds me of Amsterdam or at least this is how I imagine it to be if it was a fractal.

I don’t plan to make too many of these images right now (why not have a look at my other images if you happened to find this post just because you were searching for Mandelbulbs?), it’s sort of a brand new kind of fractal and there aren’t even decent tutorials for Mandelbulbs so far so I am a bit stuck although I can make some basic images already like this one displayed above. I haven’t found any tutorials, at least. It’s fun to play with this but it’s hard to make something useful without much guides of what can or should be done to get useful results and not get lost waiting for a useless render and I’m not very fond of exploring this beast using a trial and error method right now, anyone that ever tried a fractal software using this method probably got seriously frustrated at some point.

If you want to download the Mandelbulb generator, I found it in the Fractal Forum, here’s the link to the page where you can download it.

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Banner/logo idea

This is just a test to check sizes, alignments, if it fits with the rest etc. As the little globe image can’t be enlarged, this is the biggest it can ever be, I think. Unless I can find another similar globe image that is bigger. Seems that it won’t fit with the header, and if it’s shrunk it might be too small to be used, the fonts will have to be adjusted and all that. OrI can just shrink the mandelbrot or something.

Logo MF
150 x 150, just a test.

Full size.

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