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Mandelbulber Tutorial: Basic Settings II

World Building

World Building

G’day. With this, the third in a series of entries dealing with generating your own fractal art using the Mandelbulber software, v.1.16, by Krzysztof Marczak. Here, I’ll discuss the settings for Mandelbulber’s Shaders 1 and Shaders 2 tabs. Here, and from this point on, I’ll be limiting these tutorials to sixteen or fewer settings. For earlier entries, see the first and second of this series here and here respectively.

Figure 9

Figure 1

Shaders 1 tab (figure 1):

Reflection: This determines the intensity of virtual light reflected from the fractal surface. This may be used by itself to illuminate an object even in the absence of ‘direct light’ or ‘ambient intensity,’ i.e, those settings each assigned a value of 0. My typical value set for this ranges from 0.1 to less than 1.0.

Reflections depth: This is quite cool, and may be used to adjust the reflective quality of a surface up or down as needed. I usually use a value of from 0-5 for most images.

Glow: This determines the intensity of the volumetric glow effect, a radiance that shines from the fractal surface itself. This is handy for spectral-looking images or as a sort of misty effect, a sort of luminescent ‘faux fog’ that gets denser the closer into the figure one zooms by moving the virtual camera.

In Mandelbulber version 1.16, entering a negative value in the box causes the Glow 1 setting on Shaders 2 to generate a diametrically opposite color on its color wheel and sometimes other effects depending on other parameters.

Figure 10

Figure 2

Shaders 2 tab (figure 2):

Glow 1: This allows selection of one glow color. This can be used to generate a shade diametrically opposite to what’s selected on the color wheel, by giving the Glow setting on Shaders 1 a negative value, and may produce interesting effects with some parameter sets. If the Glow value is negative, dark shades become brighter, and light shades darker.

Glow 2: This permits selection of another simultaneous glow color. Unlike Glow 1, this does not produce diametrically reversed shades or brightness no matter the sign of the Glow value.

Background 1: 2: 3: These settings enable selection of the ambient colors of the fractal surface’s environment, with each of 1, 2, or 3 being a separate color. In some presets, defaults, and most examples I’ve seen, the default colors are [1] sky blue, [2] white, [3] blackish green. The perceived colors depend on the angle of the virtual camera to the fractal surface.

Depth of field (DOF) – Clicking on this setting allows simulation of virtual camera focus effects, with nearby or distant objects selectable using the slider.

DOF focus distance = 1.47911e-14: I find this the most useful value for updating this setting and bringing out foreground objects.

Figure 2

Figure 3

Engine tab(figure 3):

Interior mode: this lets you render a figure as a thin shell, revealing its inner structure, and I’ve noticed that this works really well with the ‘limits’ setting. Limits allows chopping up a figure by selecting which parts to remove based on the entered coordinates. Using these two settings together can make for interesting images, but also drastically slows rendering, especially with hybrid formula images.

Limits- Again, works well with ‘interior,’ or may be used without, showing a sliced portion of a figure without revealing inner detail.

x min: Begins as a negative value approaching zero in the 3D complex space, from the edge of the figure, left to right, assuming a virtual camera angle at x, y, and z of 0 degrees. A value of zero splits the figure to its core, with or without interior detail.

x max: The highest positive value occupied by the figure in the complex space. Assuming x, y, and z camera angles of 0 degrees, from the figure’s furthest right lowering toward the origin of the figure.

y min: starting as a negative value approaching zero in the complex space occupied by the figure. As with ‘x min,’ the value increases toward zero, and assuming camera angle of x, y, and z of 0 degrees, slices the figure from top to bottom toward its origin.

y max: Starting as a positive value, the largest distance from the origin occupied by the figure, lowering toward the origin. slices figure from bottom to origin/core., with a virtual camera angle of 0/0/0 degrees.

z min: Starting with a negative value, approaching zero in the complex space the figure occupies, assuming a virtual camera angle for x, y, & z of 0/0/0 degrees, this slices a cross-section of the interior structure facing the camera, and approaching the origin.

z max: Initially with a positive value, approaching zero, with view coordinates x, y & z being set at 0, this slices the figure from opposite side of the surface to the figure’s origin.

Fractals of the Week: A Method to Halley’s Madness

This time, I bring you some images made using the math of Edmund Halley…yes, the comet-guy, who as I understand knew Sir Isaac Newton, whose work led to the maths for last week’s images. Halley’s is a neat little method for generating fractals in Julia set mode, though it’s very challenging and difficult to get a really good image, but fun. So, here they are.

Next week, I’ll feature a mix of images from all 5 apps. See you then!






All JPEG, PNG & GIF images in this post are original works by the author, created via Mandelbulber, Fractal Domains, Ultra Fractal , Frax, and Mandelbulb 3D and unless otherwise stated are copyright 2014 by Troy Loy.

Fractals of the Week: Newton’s Spawn

G’day, this week I bring you new images from my first fractal making app, Fractal Domains. I’ve been fooling about with settings for the app, working with a familiar program in not-so-familiar ways while revisiting my favorite fractal type for this, that employing Newton’s method for finding ratios to calculate Julia sets. With this revisitation, I’m generating for printing purposes new hi-resolution images for my commercial use, and here I offer a glimpse into what these might look like. I’ll be generating new candidates, of at least 300 dpi, for the cover pages of my eBook stories and anthologies once the editing and formatting of the books themselves is complete.

So, here they are!





All JPEG, PNG & GIF images in this post are original works by the author, created via  Mandelbulber, Fractal Domains, Ultra Fractal , Frax, and Mandelbulb 3D and are copyright 2014 by Troy Loy.

Mandelbulb 3D Tutorial: Generating Tiled Images Using Big Render

I’ve recently been experimenting with a freeware app called Mandelbulb 3d, the version I’m using for the Mac is 1.8.9. Over the last week, I’ve discovered the use of the app’s Big Render option, which is just what it sounds — it allows the generation of really huge images, by rendering them piece by piece in m3i files, as tiles, and they may then be assembled into one large whole by one’s software of choice. I’ll describe how I rendered them below, after some video tutorials for the program’s basic operation. These videos are by Don Whitaker, and the software may be found here:

First, the base image was rendered at 800×600 pixels:Biggie_2X04Y04

Following are some screenshots of the settings I used to create it. Figure 1 is the main rendering window, the Lighting window is shown twice in Figures 2 & 3 for each the color settings used, the Formulas window is shown twice, Figures 4 & 5, for each of the two fractal types used and the means of combining them (They make up a hybrid fractal type, and those are always fun!). Figure 6 shows the Julia set coordinates used for this image (I used the “Julia on” option for this parameter set, because Julia sets are cool.).

Figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 2

Figure 2

Figure 3

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 4

Figure 5

Figure 5

Figure 6

Figure 6

But where to find the button that opens the Big Render window? Note Figure 1, at the top of the window. Under the “Utilities” tab, Big Render is the second button from the left. Click on that after rendering the base image once all its parameters are assigned and calculated. You are then ready to begin. Figure 1 was snapped during the rendering of the tile from column and row X=3 Y=1.

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 18.44.46

Figure 7

Note figure 7. Once you open it, note the button at the top right, “Import actual paras” clicking this will load the parameters of the base image. Here you see the Original parameter size given at 800 x 600 pixels. I did this to keep rendering time relatively reasonable, rather than using some giant monster base image that takes more than 30 minutes to render each individual tile.

Size factor as entered as x3, which would enlarge the fully assembled image to 2400 x 1800 pixels. Just above that, you see a “Big size” shown at 1200 x 900, assuming anti-aliasing at a factor of 2, which I did not use for this experiment, so that counts not. This winds up as the full scale indicated by the Size factor.

“Tiling” shows 4 horizontal x 4 vertical tiles, or 16 total. Note that each may be raised or lowered by clicking the upper or lower buttons to their immediate right, increasing the number of tiles and so rows and columns in the matrix of tiles to the right of Figure 7.

The Tilesize (including anti-aliasing, again if I were using that, which I’m not) is given as 300 x 225. All this means that the actual tile size during rendering is 600 x 450 pixels each.

Just below that, at “Saving:” the “Tile downscale, anti-aliasing” setting, shows here a value of 2. This too may be raised or lowered, as may the “sharp” setting, which I’m leaving at zero. No anti-aliasing needed here, though I recommend it for clearer images with cleanly defined edges and surfaces.

“Output image type” has three buttons, one for PNG files, one for JPEG, and one for BMP files. Here, I chose JPEG, though I’ve left JPEG quality at 95%. Meh!

Under “Output image type” I’ve clicked on Save m3i files. Do that, as it saves the parameters for each tile when it’s completely rendered and shaded in a file.

I’ve also clicked on “Render all tiles included in the lines:” and left the numbers here alone, from 1 to 999. Don’t worry about how high that last set of digits is as the app will stop rendering automatically upon completing the last tile on the last row and column.

Once you save the project in an appropriate folder, using the “Save project” button, second from the left at the top of the window, you are ready to begin.

Now click “Render next tile,” and the process will begin, generating m3i parameter files for each tile in the project folder you’ve saved. These files are just like the normal parameter files for MB3D, and like them may be opened and exported as image files using the main app.

One last thing: Look again to the right in Figure 7, the set of 16 tile boxes. When rendering and shading is complete, each tile box  turns from grey to white to indicate when it’s done, until all are complete. You can see that here, 11 tiles are fully rendered. Make sure you re-save the project once all files are rendered so you don’t lose them.

You may halt the rendering process at any point and save the project again, given at least one or more fully complete tiles, and then reopen the project later to pick up where you left off on unfinished ones.

This allows you to space rendering extremely large images with many tiles over a long period. Try to keep the base image size and number of tiles to be rendered reasonable, or the project well may take several days or longer to finish!

Fractals of the Week: Frax-ional Values

G’Day, and happy Wednesday. I’ve more images for you by way of Frax today. Over the last few days, I’ve also been experimenting with Mandelbulb 3D’s Big Render option, and I’ve learned enough to write a tutorial on how that works. I’ve also bookmarked a few video tutorials to help with basic operations of the software for those new to it. The draft for the tutorial is already started and should be scheduled for posting this weekend. Well, here are the images. It’s been a great week, and I hope that’s true for you as well!






Fading tones




Storm of Brass



All JPEG, PNG & GIF images in this post are original works by the author, created via  Mandelbulber, Fractal Domains, Ultra Fractal , Frax, and Mandelbulb 3D and are copyright 2014 by Troy Loy.

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