Welcome to the 11th edition of Meet The Fractal Community!
In few words, Meet The Fractal Community is interview with someone of our beloved fractal community. But, from now and for a few editions, we will meet our wizards, the awesome people that do all the coding that allows us to make our pixels
This week let's have a closer look to thargor6
First of all , please introduce yourself to the community.
Hi, my name is Andreas. I'm 41 years old and live with my wonderful family (my wife, my son and three dogs) in Northern Germany.
I have a degree in physics and a strong background in usability and software development.
And, of course, tell us about JWildfire.
JWildfire is the spiritual successor of a commercial graphics software I created back in the 90's for the Amiga. When the Amiga platform was finally dead, I started my job as professional software developer.
In 2011 I played with some Java UI code just for fun, and was hooked by the new possibilities and how good it worked. (For the job I usually create more complicated server-based solutions. Writing software which runs just on a client was very relaxing and refreshing for me.) So the JWildfire project was born
Initially, the software is not designed to create only fractals, it is a more general image-processing-software. But the flame-fractal-designer (called TINA) is without any doubt the most popular part of the software
What is its standout feature or quality?
Simply spoken, JWildfire is the most versatile flame-fractal software on the planet
It is very stable and runs on any plattform, and it is open. It is open source, and there are open user groups both on Facebook and Google+.
Some of the standout features are:
- powerful realtime-based flame-editor with multiple editing-modes
- no "plugin hell" (there are about 300 integrated plugins. If you wish one more, just check in )
- ability to include free text, SVG-graphics and images as building blocks into your flames
- integrated Java-compiler for creating custom-plugins and scripts on the fly (without development tools)
- two different movie editors
- gradient editor
- imports most flames from flam3 and Apophysis (also those with "3D-hack")
What are the future plans for JWildfire?
Currently I work on release 1.1 which brings the new "layerz" technology. "layerz" allow you to combine different flames into one. They are called layerz because flames in JWildfire are not flat and layerz also respect this. Each layer can have a separate gradient and any number of transforms. But there is only one camera setting for all layers.
Additionally the "flatten" variation will be included to be able to import flames which were created by the recent Apophysis release (most important the popular 3D-flowers).
Currently there are no more concrete plans.
You have any other projects you are willing to show to the community?
My movie "Math in Motion". It was completely created using JWildfire and is a collaboration with Kausemus.
Do you create any fractal art yourself?
Not always step-by-step. I especially enjoy using randomly-generated flames as starting point. I play with them around until they turn into some interesting.
Why did you start working on fractal software?
I came to flame-fractals "by accident" when I saw images generated by flam3. Later I downloaded Apophysis2.09 and was hooked. With simple and small local changes one could create endless different images which looked so cool. I was so hooked that I immediately had dozens of new ideas and some features of the Apophysis software I really did not like.
So I downloaded the source-code... and gave it up quickly. I do not want to say that it was bad, but it was a mature project and the source-code of such projects lacks maintainability.
So I started on my own, but could use a modern language (Java) which allows to develop such style of applications very quickly.
And, last but not least, could you pick a few works from our fractal community to illustrate this interview?
Want to learn more about JWildfire?
JWildfire Homepage: here, you can download the program and find some useful info about it
JWildfire Wiki: info and tutorials
JWildfireArt: a JWildfire group on DA
Lets see what users have to say about JWildfire...
:iconAndrea1981G:There is nothing what I don't like in Jwildfire and at the moment I have no idea what additional function is missing.
What I like most there:
The variations/formulas are included in the newest verstions, you don't need install the plugins like in Apophysis.
You can create with the Mutagen new versions from your own params!
And I like the function about "Subflames", you can create from every flame an own subflame and make new forms with it.
I love expecially svg_wg function, allows you to import vectors (as gears )
I made this
for explain this funcion and insert a logo or other design, Inge (allthenightlong) have used for more deviations.
I think that the weakness of Jwildfire is just the animation module! I cannot control post movement and I made my animation totally in manual mode, one frame by one recomposed on photoshop.
Compatibility with Apophysis
The first thing to note is that almost 100% of the flames made with Apophysis can be opened in JWF where you can continue working with them. You can even open full collections, like you may have for instance for a certain month. As far as I know, unfortunately, there is no way to do the reverse operation, taking a bunch of JWF flames and packing them in a single file. Yet another advantage is that you don't have to care for which plugin you have or don't have. Almost all of them are included in the software plus many other variations some of which accept full complete flames as input, like subflame_wf.
Instead of splitting the GUI in three windows like Apo, JWF offers one integrated workspace from where you go to the parameters you want to work with. In my opinion, much more straight forward. Most of the values can be modified through sliders. However, and this is one drawback of JWF, the response is very slow in some of them. I am devoting 8Gb of RAM memory to the 64bit version of the program and still, I don't get a smooth response to the sliders.
This is probably the only point where JWF trails Apo. Of course you can do all of the adjustments in shape, size and location of the triangles plus any tweaking of values, weights, colors and antialias. However, the triangle is all the same color and sometimes is difficult to have them all at sight. Being located in the same windows than the flam does not help either.
This is the main interface where you can create or edit your fractal. Sintetic help balloons tells you what each button do, but the interface is basically intuitive, even with some change in vocabulary as Xaos is here Rel. weights, and Affine groups all triangle coordinates and handles.
This is a Chaotica-like facility to obtain a gradual rendering, either to look to a reduced size preview of the fractal or going for the full render instead of using the Render Image button located in the Flame Editor.
This is one of the funniest parts of JWF. I basically use for two different objectives. One is to use all of the Mutation options to search for a new different shape. Sometimes it works. The second use is to reduce the options to those related with color: gradient, position of the gradient, weight and probably affine, to obtain 24 variations to choose from. To me, much easier than going over the 700 palettes found in Apo to see which one fits better.
As I said, there is no way to make your own file with a group of related flames. Instead, you have this excellent picture viewer where your saved images are grouped by date. Note here that if you set the preferences to save the flame file each time you save the image, clicking in an image will put the parameters in the Editor.
I pass on the next three tabs, related to animations as I still have not arrived there. Next time!
Help and FAQ
JWildfire don't have a comprehensive documentation, probably because the speed at which the development is advancing would represent a big burden in trying to capture what you are seeing in the last version. The Help and FAQ do include some hints on the use of the program.
This is a smart addition to the raw output of the program. It produces 7 different images of the fractal, varying lighting, coloring, contrast, saturation, etc. From there you can "Tonemap" them to obtain a result of your liking. I use the free program Luminance HDR that does a decent job and offers quite a few variables to play.