Step 5: Rendering your Fractal
1. Framing your Fractal: Setting Up the Aspect Ratio
The first thing you'll want to do when setting up your fractal for rendering is determine exactly what size of picture you want to render. You'll then want the main window to show that size picture. This means we have to play with something called the aspect ratio.
If you don't know what an aspect ratio is, it's how wide an image is compared to how tall it is. In apophysis, we control the aspect ratio by setting the width and height of an image in pixels.
So let's do exactly that.
In the main window, on the top menu, click on the Adjust button . The button looks like a notepad with a pencil, and it's in the middle of the menu across the top. The adjust menu will show up.
Click on the Image Size tab . The image size dialog will show, as seen in picture 2.
Set width and the height of your image using the width and height box.
The width and height are in pixels. I set mine to 800 by 600, but you can set yours to different values if you want.
If you notice that every time you change the width, your height changes too, this is because the maintain aspect ratio box is checked. The maintain aspect ratio box makes sure that even if the size of the picture changes, the proportion of with to height doesn't change. If you want to change the height and width separately, uncheck the Maintain aspect ratio box.
The other thing on this dialog that you'll want to take a look at is the Resize Main Window box. If you check this box, it will make sure that the fractal image in your main window is resized to be exactly the same size the final render will be. Click Apply to see the new frame for you picture in the main window.\
The big advantage of setting the aspect ratio in the image size tab is that when you resize the main window, the preview window will still show the right aspect ratio, so you will still have a good idea of what your final picture is going to look like.
So, now that we know how to frame our image, let's see if we can't get the wing to look a bit prettier inside that frame.
2. Moving the Fractal Inside the Frame
You may have noticed that while your wing is very pretty, it is also a bit vertical. To show it off properly, it really needs to be horizontal. There are two ways to do this. First, you can do it in the main window.
Go to the main window, and select the rotate button. It is the curved arrow on the very right-hand side of the menu.
To rotate your wing, you need to select the rotate button
In the fractal window of your main screen, click and drag with your mouse. A rectangle outlined by a dotted line will show where your wing is going to rotate to.
Let go of the mouse, and your fractal will show up rotated in a few seconds.
So what do you do if your wing looks a little off-center?
In the main window, go up to the top menu and click on the Translate Image button . It is an arrow right next to the rotate button.
Then, in the main window, click and hold with the mouse and start dragging the image around until you have it where you want it, and let go of the mouse.
If you want to zoom in closer to your fractal, go to the main menu's top menu bar and click on the zoom to rectangle button- the magnifying glass with a + in it right next to the rotate button.
The zoom to rectangle button zooms by having you draw a rectangle around the part you want to see and then matching the edges of the main window as closely as possible to that rectangle.
To use the zoom to rectangle button, click and hold in the main window where you want a corner of your selected rectangle to be, and then drag the mouse to draw the rectangle.
The main window will zoom in.
The top menu bar's rectangle zoom out button works like the rectangle zoom in button, but in reverse. I'll leave that to you to play with.
There is another, more precise way to rotate your fractal, and that is by using the Camera tab of the adjust menu. In the main window on the top menu bar click on the adjust button .
It will bring up the adjust menu with the Camera tab already selected.
To rotate your wing, simply move the Rotation slider, or type in the exact degrees of rotation you want in the dialog beside the rotation slider.
You can move the fractal's position with the X position slider and the Y position slider in the camera tab of the adjust menu.
However, there is a trick to using these sliders. See, these sliders only work the way you think they would work if the rotation slider is set to zero degrees of rotation. This is because the X axis is horizontal and the Y axis is vertical when the rotation is 0.
If you move the X slider, the wing moves left or right, and if you move the Y slider, the wing moves up or down.
However, if you move the rotation slider, the X and Y axis rotates as well. That means that when you move the X slider, the fractal will still move along the X axis, but since the X axis is rotated as well, your fractal is probably going to move in a diagonal line across the screen.
As a result, I find it easier to move the fractal with the translate image hand on the main screen.
In the camera tab of the adjust menu, you can also zoom in on the image using the zoom slider. It will zoom in to wherever the center of the picture is.
And now, all your hard work pays off, because we are now going to render the fractal! In the main window in the top menu bar, click on the Render button . The Render Window will come up.
The first thing you need to do is set the Destination, which is where your final rendered image will be saved.
Click on the file browser button. The file browser window will open.
Browse around until you find a folder where you want to stash your images.Then give your picture a name in the file name field.
You can render your files as three different file types: a bitmap (.bmp) file, a PNG image (.png), or a jpg image (.jpg). However, this dialog box does not show those as an option- so you have to physically type in the file extension you want at the end of you filename.
The different file types do different things. Perhaps the most important difference is the difference between the PNG format and the other two formats.
The PNG format lets parts of the fractal be transparent. Specifically, it lets you render the fractal on a transparent background, which is very useful when you are going to be using the image together with several other other images (i.e. compositing the images together.) However, it will ONLY render on a transparent background, no matter what background color you set in the program. So if you want that pretty background, render it as a jpg by changing .png to .jpg.
And that leaves us with the bitmap format. Hardly anybody uses the BMP format, because the BMP format usually looks exactly like the .JPG format, and has more disadvantages. The disadvantage of using .BMP is that there is absolutely no compression on the image, so the file size is really really big, which makes it hard to store a lot of images. The advantage of using BMP is that there is no compression, so you don't get jpg compression artifacts in your fractal. So...use bmp if you are going to do a lot of manipulation in a photoshop program on your fractal. You'll get a slightly better image.
Now we get to determine the size of the image. By default, Apophysis tries to render things at 1024 pixels by 760 pixels, which is the standard default resolution for computer displays and HDTV. If you want the size settings to match the settings you set in the image size tab of the Adjust menu, you need to change them.
Change the width to 800. If you have the maintain aspect ratio box checked, the height will automatically change to 600. If you want to change the height and weight separately, you'll need to uncheck the maintain aspect ratio box.
The larger you make the image size, the longer it will take to render, and the more memory you will need on your computer. The memory usage box keeps track of how much memory you will need for a particular size image, as well as for other setting's we'll get to in the next step.
If you make the image too big, however, you will run out of memory.
Which brings us to the Rendering options. There are three rendering options. Quality, Filter Radius, and Oversample.
As a general rule of thumb, the higher these values are, the more higher quality your fractal will be, and the more time it will take to render the fractal. A higher quality tends to make the fractal more smooth and less grainy, as does a higher oversample. I have no idea what the Filter Radius does, because it has not been adequately explained to me yet.
For rendering the wing, the default settings will do.
All that's left is to hit the Render button. So hit it!
The rendering output window will show up, and give you information, a progress bar, and an estimated time of how long it will take.
When it's done, you'll have your beautiful wing!