Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mandelbulb 3D Tutorial: Formula Parameter Adjuster Bar

It's so nice to be back into doing this. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy playing around with Mandelbulb 3D =)

So! The Formula Adjuster... Jesse actually implemented this amazingly useful little feature ages ago. If you don't already know about it, believe me, you're going to love it.

You know how annoying it can be sometimes, when, after looking for a good combination of formulae and finally finding something that looks like it might work; that might produce your next beautiful fractal art piece, you set your eyes on those formula parameters and your heart sinks... Because now, you have to make small adjustments going back and forth between formula tab and render, trying to find something that looks interesting/unique.

Well, for those who understand the in-depth workings of the formulae/parameters and how they might affect a fractal, this process might be a bit easier because of course they have some idea of what to expect when they adjust such-and-such a parameter, or add such-and-such a formula after having done this or that...

But as for the rest of us... It's all guess-work, really. Especially in the beginning. And thus, Jesse thought of us! Hehe... Presenting, the parameter adjuster bar!

The Parameter Adjuster Bar

To find it, you need to open the Navigator, and click on the little arrow in the bottom right corner (yes, that inconspicuously framed red one ;P).

So, for the purposes of this tutorial page, I chose everybody's favourite, AmazingBox, as Formula 1. And I tried a few before settling on ABoxVeryScale for Formula 2. What you see in the above image is one corner of the AmazingBox without any adjustments. As you can see up there on the right, where I've underlined in red, you can choose which formula to work with. F. nr. is "Formula number" and I've got it on Formula 2, ABoxVaryScale.

You'll notice also, the "min", "fine", "mid" and "big" options right at the top. These are extremely useful, because they determine just how much a parameter will change when you slide the scales left or right. This is good because most of the time, changes in very small numbers can have big effects on your fractal.

And because you're already in the Navigator, you will see the adjustments affecting the fractals right there and then! =) Let me demonstrate.

With the "min" option, the changes were too imperceptible, so I started with "fine" on the Fold parameter:

Fine Adjustment

Notice how the parameter value only increases by 0.09375, but the image has changed noticeably. You'll see that when you let go of the mouse button after dragging, the scale bar snaps back to the center. Then you can adjust further, like so:

Fine Adjustment 02
I dragged it to the right three times. You see how you can perceive the changes to the fractal as you drag the bar? I love this. I never really used this feature properly before, and I can't wait to get started.

Other important bits to notice: That "Reset value" button. It does what it says: It resets the parameter value that you last adjusted back to the value found in Mandelbulb3D's main program Formula tab. On the other hand, if you click the "Send value" button, it takes whatever the current parameter value is and sends it to the Formula tab, so that then, the "Reset value" button will return the value to the one you sent to the main program, not the "default" formula value.

The other wonderful thing here is the "Julia values (x,y,z)" tab at the top. Open that up and you can preview the current formulae as they would appear in Julia mode, as well as adjust the x, y, and z values to find something interesting, all before rendering anything! And of course, once you find your "spot", as normal, you click on the "View to main" button there at the bottom left and "Calculate 3D" in the main program.

Wow: I hadn't even tried that "Divers:" tab, so I clicked on it to see, and lo and behold, more parameters to change! Global parameters that affect all formulae, like Dynamic Fog, DEstop, and Max Iterations. Adjustments you can observe as you change the values! Amazing.

To demonstrate further, here are a few more images, with explanatory captions (I will reset the value every time before making another change):

Fine Adjustment to the "Min R" parameter to 0.125

Mid adjustment to the "Scale" parameter to 0.975

Mid adjustment to the "Scale vary" parameter to -0.6

Mid adjustment to the "R power" parameter to 0.525

Many changes to various parameters! =) And zoomed in a bit.

You must also remember that I manipulated the very outer corner of the entire Amazing Box. If you start zooming in and discovering landscapes within it, then even "min" adjustments will result in big changes. At that scale, the tiniest of numbers matter a lot.

How great is this? I really can't wait to get stuck in and make some art. The possibilities are a bit overwhelming, really... How many times have I just gotten lost within a fractal for hours without "producing" anything....? And that was before this feature!

Okay, that's it for this post. This new version of Mandelbulb 3D has many new tabs and buttons that I don't recognise, so I'll be playing around and will make tutuorials as I learn =) Also, I'm planning on finally learning how to make videos, for which I'll make a separate tutorial. Really looking forward to it all!

To finish this off, here's a high-resolution image of my last adjustment example above, for your viewing pleasure =) ... (Click on it for full size):

Corner of the AmazingBox HD with ABoxVaryScale adjustments and colour changes.

If my tutorial is helping you, please consider supporting me over at my Patreon page.
I also have a deviantArt gallery.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I'm back!

Hellooo, one and all!

Please forgive my long, long absence... It has been a hectic year for me, especially the part where my computer died back in July last year, and I had to wait almost 5 months before being able to buy a new one. But oh, what a new one it is! =) I now have an Intel i7, and from the little bit of zipping around in Mandelbulb 3D's navigator that I did today, I have a feeling I'll be rendering up beautiful fractals in a fraction of the time it used to take with my ol' Core² Duo.

But what, you may ask, have I been doing with my new uber PC if I've had it since November already? Well, I think you guys may all be interested, in fact. You see, I pride myself in being a diverse, multi-faceted human being, with many interests that absorb my attention. So besides having to work a bit more than usual, this is what I've been doing:


I confess to it completely. It's an awesome game, and I believe, still in its infancy. The potential uses of a platform like Minecraft... I get excited thinking about it. But for the present, I've just been enjoying myself playing the game. I started a YouTube channel, joined a server, got to know a few people, built an Earth (diameter of 64 blocks), and have generally had a great time. The possibility of importing fractals into Minecraft is also something I can't wait to try (with Mandelbulb 3D's new Voxelstack feature =).

Amateur Insights of a Reasoning Mammal

Next, there's my other blog about Life, the Universe and Everything. For the more pontifical of you, I address a few issues to do with the nature of reality, God (or lack of), and the human mind. I've just started it, so there are only 5 or so posts, but I've got plans to be just as active there as I am going to be here again. In fact, you have a certain view of the universe and how "it all" works, right? If you're interested in writing it all down, I'm interested in reading about it =) And then, if you like, I'll put it up on the "Your Story" page. Go check it out =)

Uhm... Well, that's about it, really... Hehe. I also have a girlfriend, please remember...! ;P

Hmm... I think I'll leave this post as is instead of including a bit about my recent experiments with the new version of Mandelbulb 3D. I'll make that a post on its own.

Anyway, thank you for all you guys who've been visiting my blog, following my tutorial, etc. I'm very close to 50 000 pageviews! That was a nice surprise to see =) ... My goal is to get that to 100 000 in a much shorter period of time.

Tchau for now!