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Journal Entry: Sun Jun 15, 2014, 10:23 AM
Well this is definitely shameless self promotion, but at no cost to you. Several times I've mentioned my Kindle books here because I do my own cover art. Anyway, most of my books will be free for a few days this week starting Sunday, June 16. If you read any of them, leave an honest review, it helps the independent authors/publishers greatly! Below is the blurb I posted on the Face:

Starting Monday and all through next week I'm making most of my Kindle books free for a limited time. Amazon has a promotional tool that allows authors to do this (schedule free book promotions) in order to gain a larger reader base and promote interest in our work.

Remember, you don't have to own a Kindle to read a Kindle book! There are FREE Kindle apps for all tablets and I assume most handheld devices, as well as a FREE Kindle reader for your PC. (… . It would also be greatly appreciated if you would leave an honest review of any of the books after reading them. It would help immensely! A schedule of the dates for the free books is below.

June 16 through June 17 ~ Shortcut To Farside (A single science fiction short story) ~

June 18 through June 19 ~ Waves In Time: A collection of science fiction short stories ~

June 18 through June 19 ~ Nightland Tales: Finder's Keepers ~ (Horror short story) ~

June 20 through June 21 ~ Vinn Affair: A science fiction adventure ~

June 22 through June 23 ~ Horror Takes A Holiday: A collection of horror short stories ~

Standard Affair: A science fiction adventure. This novel can always be found free at… or…

Mandelbulb 3D Tutorial 4: Basic Tips

Journal Entry: Tue Jan 28, 2014, 1:40 PM

Mandelbulb 3D Tutorial 4: Basic Tips

First thing we'll cover are some tweaking tips. Tweaking, not to be confused with Twerking. Almost everyone does it. It's one of the best ways to learn. This section of the tutorial will cover some of the basics that will hopefully help new MB3D users with tweaking. Just don't let words like iterations, raystep multiplier and stepthwidth limiter scare you off. You don't need to know the math behind these things. Just consider those words as lables to show you where a setting is and you'll do fine. That's what the GUI is for, to make using the program fairly simple. I'm going to use a sample parameter of mine from about 2 1\2 years ago which is a tweak in a long line of tweaks. You will find that I am guilty of a few things that I'm going to cover, so it's a good example.

As always, I like to mention that I am not a tech giant. I really don't know a lot of the technical aspects of Mandelbulb 3D. If you are interested in the technical aspects or have more technical questions, the best place to get those answered is at Fractal Forums. You can pick up the software there as well, Mandelbulb 3D. So while I'm not a tech giant, I do however know my way around the program pretty well, and can make fairly good images.

Also, and this is one of the most important things about tweaking, you should always give credit to the original author of parameters you tweak. It's common courtesy and such a simple thing to do. It would be nice if you gave a link to the parameters or image you are tweaking too, but at least mention the artist's name and say your image is based on their parameters or some aspect of their work, such as a particular formula combination or guidance they may have given.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

I have argued with a few people over the years when I discovered they did tweaks of my work or other artist's work, and had not given credit to them. First off, if it was so obvious that I recognized it as being a tweak of someone else's work, then it possibly should have been tweaked some more. Regardless, the point being that credit was not given, and the most used excuse was, "I couldn't remember where I got the parameters from or who made them." I think it's a poor excuse. So the best thing to do to avoid this is to bookmark the location of the original parameters, or use the original artists name and image name as your saved parameters name. Example: blahblah-by-blahblah-1.m3p Just simple. No excuses.

On the particular parameters I chose as an example, I was actually able to track the lineage or evolution to where the starting parameters originated. I'm in no way saying you have to do this, but it was interesting. You can see the lineage of these parameters here: Parameter Lineage. So my parameters were a tweak of Brainpipes by Baddad. So as you can see, I gave credit where credit was due! :)

Let's Get Started!

Here are my parameters exactly as I posted them a few years ago:


As a note to beginners, here's how you paste parameters into MB3D:

1) Select the parameters and copy them to your clipboard. (Select text with your mouse, hit the control and c keys)
2) Open MB3D
3) Click the icon on the top left of main window I have circled in red in the image below.
4) Click the Calculate 3D button I have circled in the image below.

1 by HalTenny

Once you click the Calculate 3D button, a preview render will begin and the first thing you're going to notice is that the image is rendering very slow. My computer is fairly fast, and even so, the render estimate is quite high for a preview. The render estimate was 1 minute 35 seconds. The actual preview render took 1 minute 47 seconds. Right away, this might put many people off in tweaking these parameters because they render so slow. Many times, this can be overcome so that the preview renders much, much quicker. Not always, but quite often. It depends on many things, such as what formulas are used, preview render settings, etc. So let's cover those things.

Preview Renders

One of the first things you'll want to check if a preview render is slow, are the render settings. Many times, people post their parameters exactly as their finished image was rendered. In other words, the settings may be of a high resolution image with high quality render settings. So let's have a look at my render settings in the image below. Now I find these settings odd, seeing them today. Obviously, at the time, I just didn't know better. :) By the way, I do want to say that my tutorials are based on my opinions, observations and experiences. If you hear of or see different things than what I say here, that's from another persons perspective or opinion and doesn't make my way or their way right or wrong. So, anyway, as I said, the preview render settings are odd. It's like they are a mixture of final render and preview render settings.

First off, the image scale settings (red square at top of image) are good for a preview, so this is not slowing render speed. Higher resolution images obviously take longer and for previewing are simply not necessary. So if you are tweaking and the resolution is high, lower it for a significant preview render speed increase. Speed increase = shorter render time :)

Now let's look at the actual render settings (red square on the right side). There are two main problems here that are slowing the preview render significantly. The biggest culprit is the Stepwidth limiter setting. It is sometimes used to decrease noise in your image under certain circumstances. You need to believe me on this one. You almost, and I stress "almost," never need this set to anything but 1. Yes, that's a number one, not 0.1, and not 0.01, but 1. And I can say this definitively, a lower setting has NEVER helped reduce noise in ANY of my images, EVER. :) Again, this is only from my experience, your results may differ. I'm not saying it doesn't work at all, or has never worked for anyone, I'm sure it has helped some people with some image noise. I'm just saying it has never helped any of my images. What it will do is increase render time when set too low. And (in my opinion) it absolutely should not be set to anything but 1 for the preview render. Someone in the tweaking chain changed this setting from dainbramage1's original setting of .75 to .01, I don't know who, don't care. It wasn't me, even though I failed to realize it at the time years ago when I posted my parameters. I probably didn't know better then :). So if you load the parameters above, and right away change the Stepwidth limiter setting to 1, the preview render goes from taking 1:47 to 0:55 seconds on my computer, a big difference.

The next setting to look at is the Raystep multiplier. This setting is set lower for higher quality rendering. Here you can see I have it set to 0.05. This is a low setting and fine for finish renders, but again, (depending on the formulas used) rarely needed for preview renders. Most of the time, this can be set to 0.1 to 0.09 with satisfactory results for a preview render. In this case, we can set it as high as 0.5 and still get a fairly clean preview render. I want to be clear here. The actual setting you use for your finish render has to be determined by you. It will depend on the formulas used, how big an image size you render at and how long you are willing to wait for the render to finish, among other things. So changing the Raystep multiplier setting from 0.05 to 0.5 doesn't effect the preview image too much in this case. What it does do is change the render time from 0:55 seconds to 0:08 seconds on my computer! So we went from 1:47 to begin with, all the way down to 0.08. (yes, that's eight seconds) It's important to point out that obviously the image is a little noisy with some minor ragged edges, (see inside blue box in image below) but this is just the preview, and for speed purposes, you shouldn't let it concern you at this point.

  2 by HalTenny

Impact Of Formulas Used

So now instead of you discarding these parameters as a tweaking project because the preview takes too long to render, we have something you can work with. Another thing to check while tweaking is the impact that each formulas has on the image. This is very easy to do, and there is a very good reason to do it. Sometimes certain formulas have been added that don't impact the image much at all visually, but they do sometimes increase the length of time the render takes. We've already reduced the preview render time down to 8 seconds, and I doubt we'll improve on that much, but we're going to look anyway. Time to open the 3D Navi window! Click the button that says "3D Navi", located at the top left corner (second icon down) of the main preview window.

The way to check if a formula has an impact or not is to turn them off, one at a time. There are two ways to do this, the easiest being in the 3D Navi window. In the image below, the red box shows what formula number you currently have selected. You can click the up and down arrows to scroll through the formulas. Next to that in the blue box is the name of the formula currently selected, and the number of iterations. To turn a formula off, you need to reduce iterations to zero. As you can see in the image, iterations for the Amazing Box formula are set to 4. If you push the down arrow until it says zero, then the formula is turned off. Usually, if not always, you will find that if you turn the first formula off, there will be a significant difference. And indeed, if you reduce the iterations to 3, you will immediately see the first formula has a significant impact, and can not be eliminated as a test to decrease render time.

So you do this one formula at a time going through all the formulas. Select the second formula by clicking the up arrow inside the red box. Iterations on this one are set to 1, so turn this formula off by clicking the down arrow inside the blue box. You will see this formula has no important, visible impact and can be eliminated. If you send this very 'minor' tweak to the main window by pressing the button (View to main)in the green box, and then click Calculate 3D in the main preview window, on my computer, this resulted in a one second speed gain. Obviously not significant in this case, but you can see where we're going with this. Some formulas add to the render time, and if they are not needed, should be eliminated.

You may wonder why that formula is there in the first place. I added that formula at some point in the tweaking process to see what it did. Although it was quite some time ago, I imagine it DID have an impact at some point, but as I tweaked other settings and variables, the formula was overpowered by some of those changes and became nothing but excess baggage. This is not all that uncommon of a thing to happen. So it's always a good habit to keep checking the impact of formulas as you add and change other formulas and settings.

Using the same testing sequence and moving on to the next formula, you will find that the _PolyFolding formula does have an impact, as well as the second Amazing Box formula in position 4. Both of these should remain turned on. The fifth formula, _SinePow2, has some impact as well, but not quite as much, but we leave it on for now. The final formula you will find has little to no impact, other than a slight color change, and can be turned off. I doesn't seem to decrease render speed though. For some reason at this point, I went back and checked the impact of all the formulas again. Formula one and six are now turned off. To my surprise, when I got back to the original fifth formula, _SinePow2, and set iterations to zero, it now has no impact and can be left turned off. Now I sent all these changes to the main window and did a preview render. It took 0:04 seconds on my machine. Now we have gone from 1:47 to 0:04 seconds in render time for the preview image, and only a minor noise increase.

As I mentioned there are two ways to change iteration settings, the second as indicated in the second image on the right below. It shows the Formula window and where you can change iterations there. If you do it in the formula window, then you have to reload the parameters in the 3D Navi window to see the change. (Click the Parameter button shown in the yellow box in the first image below.) Sometimes there is nothing you can do to speed up preview render time. Some formulas are just slow. But in this example we had some significant speed gains.

4 by HalTenny  5 by HalTenny

Yeah But We Haven't Even Tweaked It Yet!

Good point! So let's call the above pre-tweaking. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people say parameters are just too slow for them to tweak on their computer, so we solved that problem in this case. It's a start. Next I wanted to quickly cover some tips on DEcombinate and dIFS tweaking. I give a lot of advice through notes, so this is something I addressed in response to someone asking for a little guidance with dIFS...

First many people are put off by using dIFS because it seems too slow to them. To help with this, set the max iterations for your dIFS formulas to between 5 and 10. It's important to note that in DEcombinate mode, you can have your dIFS formulas first, with regular formulas following, or the other way around. So you need to make sure you are setting the lower max iterations for the right part of the hybrid. Those settings are in the bottom left hand side of the formulas window (in DEcombinate mode) as shown in image below. Iterations for non dIFS formulas remain normal, usually from a minimum of 60 to anything higher. I usually have dIFS formulas first, so in the example image below, maxits for hybrid part1: would be 5. Also, you can normally raise the Raystep multiplier in the main window under the calculations tab to 0.3 to 0.5 when using dIFS formulas. These two things vastly improve render speed.

Often when setting these up, I will reset the position and rotation of the image. (Two tabs on top right of main window, click each tab and there are reset buttons there) This resets the image to a center view looking down where the influence of the second part of the DE combinate has the most effect. From there just zoom in, rotate and slide the view for an interesting composition. Also there's another important setting in the formula window. In the red square at the bottom of the image below (at the very top of the square) where it says DE comb: there is a tab with 5 settings in it. They vary the effect the dIFS formulas and regular formulas have on each other. MarkJayBee almost always uses Inv. Max. (Me too!) These setting are something you need to play with to check out what they do. If you just float your cursor over the button, a description will come up.

Also you need to make sure you have the correct setting for where the second part of your hybrid or DE combinate starts! Just to the left of the reset button (top right in formula window) is a setting to set where the second part of the DE combinate starts. So if you have 2 dIFS formulas and one or more regular formulas, then the second part of the DE combinate starts on the third formula and the setting should set to 3... In the image below, I only used one dIFS formula so the second part of the hybrid is set to 2.

6 by HalTenny

Odds And Ends

In my opinion, you shouldn't be totally obsessed with how your final render looks at full (high) resolution. It would be similar to watching your 42 inch flat screen TV from 12 or 18 inches away. There's just no way it's going to look as good and every tiny imperfection will show. Instead, render your image as large as your system allows, or as large as you're willing to wait on (if you're impatient like me) and then either save it with antialiasing or only allow it to be viewed at a lower resolution. That will help smooth edges and eliminate some noise. Obviously, if you want to offer prints of an image, you want it to look as nice as possible. So render very large and use antialiasing or other method to save your image with the same number of pixels in a smaller size image.

In the image below under the viewing tab you can see where you can utilize antialiasing. (Click on top of the 1:1 under Viewing and the dropdown selection appears) Render at whatever size you choose, but before saving the image, select 1:2 aa or 1:3 aa. An image rendered at 3000X and saved at 1:2 aa will end up 1500 X. One saved at 1:3 will end up 1000 X

7 by HalTenny

Don't immediately assume that because the view in the 3D Navi window is terrible, that there is nothing to work with. Many times the Navi window shows a noisy, indistinct image, but there may very well be something nice hidden there. The image on the left below is from the 3D Navi window, the one on the right is from the main preview window. As you can see, there's something nice there worth persuing. :)

8 by HalTenny  9 by HalTenny

To get a good visual sense of distance or fade out in your image, you may have to adjust your far plane setting in the 3D Navi window. (Parameters for this image are at the end of this tutorial.) If your Navi window looks different, you may have to expand the parameter or adjustment panel by clicking the arrows in box #1 in the image below. Now you will see the far plane setting in box #2, it's set to 425.8. You'll want to change this to something pretty low. In the example I changed it to 5. Now you have to load that change into your main preview window by clicking View to main (box #3). Click Calculate 3D in the main window. You won't notice much change yet. The image below on the right shows the lighting panel. Make sure the Ambient tab is selected and adjust the Depth slider to the right, you will see changes similar to what the bottom image below shows. It's a simple thing that will add impact to your image.

10 by HalTenny  11 by HalTenny

12 by HalTenny

I guess that's about it for now. These were just a few things you might run into as you learn the program. Anytime you run into trouble, I'm almost always in Aposhack during the day, US time. :) You can also find help with almost any fractal program there. I also suggest the following tutorials to get you more familiar with the basics of MB3D:

Mandelbulb 3D Tutorial 1 ~
Mandelbulb 3D Tutorial 2 ~
Mandelbulb3D Tutorial 3 ~
Mandelbulb3D Volumetric Light Tutorial

Good luck!

{Titel: 12-13-1~a}

Congrats to new CV and let's chat!

Journal Entry: Tue Nov 12, 2013, 9:37 AM
Just a quick thingy here to let everyone know (if you don't know already) that there is a new Community Volunteer for fractals! tatasz is the new CV. She really does some amazing work and is very helpful when asked.

Desert Rose by tatasz  Orchid and Bee by tatasz  Veter by tatasz

Also, while I'm always happy to help people in notes on DA, it can be a clunky way to communicate. So I'm going to try to be available more often in Aposhack . bezo97 and skulkey spend time there already as do I and I'm sure many other Mandelbulb3d artists. Don't be put off by your need for knowledge and don't be afraid to ask for help! That's what the shack is all about. If I'm not in the shack and no one else is that can help with MB2D, you can always note me and I can usually hop right in. There's always Apo experts there too such as SuicideBySafetyPin f--l--A--r--k, FarDareisMai and tataszjust to name a few

There's also a Mandelbulb 3D chat room but it's not often used so your best bet would be to hit the aposhack.

12th Mandelbulb 3D Teaser ~ 1st Annual Special

Journal Entry: Fri Nov 1, 2013, 4:02 AM
I just wanted to spread the word on the Mandelbulb 3D Teaser groups first annual teaser special. We would love to have some new participants, head over and join the group now! Mandelbulb 3D Teaser


We hope all the participants here at the Mandelbulb 3D Teaser group have been having a great time. It's been almost a year since LaxmiJayaraj came up with the idea. She has truly been the driving force behind the group and has done the majority of the heavy lifting, and for that she deserves a lot of credit!

While there has never been a particular set of goals, we feel much has been accomplished and most of all, it has been fun. The unique rules where each monthly winner sets the next challenge makes for an interesting mix of projects for us all to participate in. If in the process we learn something new, then we all come out on the winning side.

In a sort of tribute in completing the first full year of the Teaser group, Lux, Tim and I have discussed doing something different for the 12th Mandelbulb 3D Teaser as a sort of anniversary celebration. The winner of the 11th teaser will be setting the rules for the 13th teaser instead.

This month, the 12th teaser will be a tweaking teaser. Just something a little bit different for a new challenge. Lux, Tim and I have all chosen a piece for you to tweak and below you will see a link to the stash location where you'll find the parameters.


Rules for the 12th teaser by the Admins:

1 ~ You may do one tweak from each admin parameter for a total of 3 entries. A folder for each admin parameter will be made, post entries in the proper folder. Optional: You don't have to tweak all 3, but it would be nice if you did! It gives you the opportunity for three entries this month :)

2 ~ You may change or replace any one formula if you wish. In addition, you may add 1 or 2 formulas of your choice, but only 2.

3 ~ Parameter sharing is REQUIRED!

4 ~ You may use Julia, Volumetric lights, maps, backgrounds, etc...

Here are the links to the stash images and parameters you will be tweaking:
LaxmiJayaraj's parameters
Tim's parameters
Hal's parameters

Please submit your entry to the proper folder:
1st Annual Teaser-Lux
1st Annual Teaser-Tim
1st Annual Teaser-Hal

Each participant can submit up to 3 deviations, one tweak to each folder.
Last date of submission - 25th November 2013

There will be three winners this month! One winner from the Lux tweak folder, one from the Tim tweak folder and one from the Hal tweak folder. There will also be three runner ups as well. While the winners this month will not be making rules for the next challenge, the Teaser group will award each of the three winners 100 points! In addition, Lux, Tim and I will each post personal journals featuring the three winners and runner ups. :) Judging this month will be done by the admins.

General Teaser Rules:-

1. (This rule does not apply this time!)

2. If it is necessary, you can use a Background picture, like sky etc... provided, it should not occupy major portion of your deviation.

3. (This rule is changed for this teaser only!.) Up to 3 submissions, one tweak of each admin parameters...

4. (This rule is changed for this teaser only!.) Parameter sharing is REQUIRED! You may wish to give a short description of your workflow as well. Any tips or tricks used, if you care to share would be greatly appreciated.

5. (This rule does not apply this time!)

If anybody wants to join these Teasers please send  a note to the group. :D

Most of all, have fun...:dance:
Happy Fractalling!!!

Lux, Tim and Hal

Evolution of a fractal ~ a ~ to ~ z

Journal Entry: Wed Oct 9, 2013, 8:24 AM
I was just looking for something to do, and though it might be interesting for some of you see the work flow process I went through for a fractal yesterday. This is not a tutorial. It's just a visual representation of my searching for something that I hoped would be interesting, and if I got lucky, something unique as well. I'm not saying I accomplished either of those goals, but I like where I ended up, and in the process saved many parameters that could be further developed and possibly become worth posting at some point in time.

I decided to start with the formula ABoxModKali, as I have seen Tim, (aka timemit) using it a lot lately. I've used it before, but rarely started out with it as the anchor formula. (Fo.1) Played with it alone for a few minutes, with and without Julia, and then added _addC in Fo.2.  I thought the first image below would be a good staring point and it was my first saved parameter. A lot of the time, I work with no color because it can be distracting. In the second image I added _Rotate in Fo.3. Once I get more than two formulas going, I often turn them on and off to check the impact on the image. So these images maintain the 'Kali' structure look, but also take on an organic twist...

10-8-1~a by HalTenny  10-8-1~b by HalTenny

First image below is still 3 formulas, no Julia. I liked the spaghetti tangles and bent towers. I tried to develop the cauliflower shape between the towers into something more interesting and failed. Played with it a while and then added another formula in Fo.4, _Translate. I often use _Translate and _addC together. So the second image below was shaping up, I added color and depth settings and almost stopped there. But what the hell, it was still early and I thought I might as well see what else there was to find...

10-8-1~c by HalTenny  10-8-1~d by HalTenny

The more I play, the more formulas I add. It's a character flaw I'm totally unable to overcome. I hate to think what trouble I could get into if there were more formula slots... Now we have _RotatedFolding in Fo.5. Julia is still off. I liked the first image because the towers terminate into a sort of mushroom shape, and in the upper left section, we have some chaotic things going on. Also worth mentioning, it was at this point I began to consider doing the a to z evolution journal, so I was forced to keep going. :) I was in full tweak mode now. The second image below, I chased the tree branch look a bit. As I tweak, I still turn formulas on and off to check impact. Once I make a change to variables in one formula, I go back and adjust all variables in all formulas. You never know what you will find...

10-8-1~e by HalTenny  10-8-1~f by HalTenny

Below I just chased the tree or root shape a little, but to me they started to look a little plain or normal. I began to totally loose the 'Kali' structure look which was what my original goal was. As you will see in the next set of images, I decided to back up and reload a previous save and continue...

10-8-1~g by HalTenny  10-8-1~h by HalTenny

Now we're back to a more structured look. For most of this set of images, I have been zoomed out pretty much. I also forgot to mention that I reduced the DEstop to 0.5 to get more detail. This particular formula combination renders fairly fast and smooth with a raystep multiplier setting of 0.3. I should also mention that these images aren't the only preview renders I did. But they are the ones I saved. The first image below I liked for the tower in the cave look. The second image is more like towers on a cliff and probably has some nice zoomable areas... Still nothing that really floats my boat though...

10-8-1~i-e~ by HalTenny  10-8-1~j by HalTenny

Still looking for something to grab my interest. In the first image below, I turned off the _Translate and _addc formulas. You can see they had some impact if compared to the top right image above, but not much. In the second image below, I turned on Julia. So now we have ABoxModKali, _Rotate and _RotatedFolding with Julia.

10-8-1~k~ by HalTenny  10-8-1~l by HalTenny

I like both images below, thought they are radically different than where I started. Some neat things worth pursuing I think. Both use ABoxModKali, _Rotate and _RotatedFolding with Julia. I believe it has become harder chasing the tower look with this combination, but I'm trudging on to see what comes of it all. Some minor adjustments, color, V lights and or fog and these could be postable... Just not what I'm looking for right now.

10-8-1~m by HalTenny  10-8-1~n by HalTenny

Now I'm getting a little impatient and decide to let my dark side free for a moment. Even though my intentions were to stay with ABoxModKali in Fo.1, I wanted to experiment a bit. So the images below have AmazingSurf as Fo.1 instead, followed by ABoxModKali, _Rotate and _RotatedFolding with Julia. Again some interesting things, but the tower structures are pretty much history. Of the two below, I like the second one better. Who doesn't like shrooms?

10-8-1~o by HalTenny  10-8-1~p by HalTenny

In images below, I turned the _Translate formula back on. So now we have AmazingSurf , ABoxModKali, _Rotate,  _RotatedFolding and _Translate with Julia on. There's something I really liked about the first image, I don't know for sure what it is. It's like some sort of order out of chaos, something growing out of nothing... Certainly not ground breaking in any way, but I like it never the less.

10-8-1~q by HalTenny  10-8-1~r~ by HalTenny

Same formula combo as above. I think I'm kind of losing my way here. I did like the leaf like patterns in the second image below though. I chased them for a while and gave up... And now I am running out of letters so I had to decide which of the previous images to pursue.

10-8-1~s~ by HalTenny  10-8-1~t~ by HalTenny

As I mentioned before, I have a tendency to stack formulas, and you can see how it led away from the original shapes I was chasing at the start. So I went back to using only ABoxModKali in Fo.1 and _addC in Fo.2 with Julia off. In the first image below, I really liked how the bottom of the tower structures curved around like they were grabbing onto the ground rather than just placed on top of the ground. But I also wanted more a sense of height. In the second image I rotated it somewhat and thinned the towers down. I really liked the tower in the background leaning back like and off in the distance... The second image is postable as is in my opinion. I think it has a lot of character even though it's all grey.

10-8-1~u~ by HalTenny  10-8-1~v~ by HalTenny

Still undecided at this point so I kept playing in the first image below. I think it has potential but I was looking for a more tortured structure, something that looked damaged. So I went back to the top right image above and adjusted the zoom and rotation a little. The second image below definitely has the tortured, damaged look and a good sense of height that can be taken advantage of using fog, depth and volumetric light settings. Next up some color and a bit more play time selecting a good view.

10-8-1~w~ by HalTenny  10-8-1~x~ by HalTenny

The first image below (keeping to the a to z theme) is the letter Y, and the second is the letter Z. While both are the same style, they are a good bit different from each other. I can't remember exactly, but I think I only rotated the first image to the west and maybe adjusted the zoom a bit. Once I did that, I liked the tower shape on the right of the second image, so in the last two images on the bottom, I zoomed and rotated some more and played with the fog settings.

10-8-1~y~ by HalTenny  10-8-1~z~ by HalTenny

10-8-1~z2 by HalTenny  10-8-1~z3 by HalTenny

So that's it. As far as time spent, I probably spent around five or six hours fractaling yesterday, though not all in one sitting. I'm still undecided on which of the four above I'll post, but probably the first and last for sure, and maybe the top right one too. This is a case where all three of those are similar enough where it might be better to post them on different days, or weeks apart, or even months. Hope you all like my little trip looking for a nice piece to share... :)

Leaving some groups...

Journal Entry: Wed Oct 2, 2013, 10:12 AM
I didn't want any groups to take this personally so I thought I would explain. I understand that groups want members, and a lot of them. Most groups, when first starting out, have very liberal posting rules. Such as allowing an unlimited amount of postings per day, or up to five a day, etc. And I understand that this is in part to help get members, and I guess it probably works. Unfortunately, this often leads to abuse by some group members in that they are not selective enough in choosing what they post. Instead they feel the more work they post then the more exposure they get and the more successful they will become in a shorter amount of time.

I certainly understand an artist wanting to gain exposure. But you are not doing yourself any favors by posting every single piece from your gallery in a group, just because it is allowed, to accomplish that. If your work is good, people are going to recognize that and you will get followers, but it takes time. In my opinion, quality, not quantity will gain recognition quicker. I recently saw a person post over 35 images in a single day to a group, and not a single one was unique or noteworthy. I am not saying the images were bad, I am only saying that if that person had posted the best one or two out of that 35+ images, I think they would get more recognition. Instead I quit the group because I felt like I was being spammed. It's like brand name exposure. If a product is good, word will get around and it will be recognized. If a product is not unique or a standout, no amount of advertising is going to help.

If you want to gain a following, join more groups and post a few of your best pieces every other day or so, don't spam it with your whole gallery. If those few pieces are are your best, then people will come look on their own. And once a group gets 100, or 500 watchers or members, in my opinion you should reconsider your posting rules and standards if they are too liberal. I hope no one takes my opinion badly, it is just an opinion after all, and we all have our own...

New Science Fiction Novel

Journal Entry: Mon Jul 15, 2013, 7:32 AM
You my have noticed that I haven't been doing much art the past three or four weeks. I had my new novel 90% finished about three months ago, and finally dropped everything else so I could finish it. The new novel is called Vinn Affair: A science fiction adventure. The title is in keeping with the 'Affair' series as it is a continuation of my first novel, Standard Affair: A science fiction adventure. I'm not a hard sci-fi writer. These novels are less technology or apocalyptic driven, but still have interesting characters and situations. (I think!) They are fun, humorous, easy reading and don't get bogged down with superfluous descriptive meanderings. Not to say there isn't some descriptive prose, I just don't get anal about it! :)

 Cover Vinn Affair by HalTenny    Standard-affair by HalTenny

All my writing is available for the Kindle at Amazon. But you need not own a Kindle! You can get a free Kindle reader for the PC here Or Kindle reader for Mac here. I have two other books available as well. Waves In Time, a collection of science fiction short stories, and Shortcut To Farside which is a single short story. And of course you can get a free Kindle app for just about any device you own through the Amazon or Android app stores.

 Waves-in-time by HalTenny    Shortcu-to-farside by HalTenny

So here is your summer reading list if you like science fiction! I'd appreciate the support. :) Click on any link to read a description of the books to see if you're interested. Obviously, no pressure to buy. I know myself how tight things are for many of us, and while I would love to purchase many of the prints I see all the time, I just can't afford  it. I will however shell out a few bucks for a book now and then. You can click on any book title to take you to amazon for the description of the book or to purchase. :)

Cover Vinn Affair by HalTenny   Vinn Affair: A science fiction adventure

Standard-affair by HalTenny   Standard Affair: A science fiction adventure

Waves-in-time by HalTenny   Waves In Time: A collection of science fiction short stories

Shortcu-to-farside by HalTenny   Shortcut To Farside (A single short story)


  • Listening to: Cat barking
  • Reading: Recidivist Paradox (Contact)
  • Watching: Stargate Atlantis season 5
  • Playing: Dead Island and Max Payne 2
  • Eating: so much chicken I lay eggs
  • Drinking: Coffee, water, Diet Coke, Gin and Tonic

Mandelbulb 3D Art in Short Film

Journal Entry: Tue Jun 4, 2013, 8:27 AM
Quite some time ago (9-8-2011) I was contacted along with other Mandelbulb 3D artists at Fractal Forums and DeviantArt and was asked for permission to use some of our work in a short, independent Science Fiction film. The production group is called We Were Monkeys and they were putting together the film for the Sitges Film Festival in Spain that October. They said that things went really well for them at the festival but they were making some revisions to the film before posting it online.

A few days ago they contacted those involved with the film and let us know that it is finally now available for viewing. It is titled OVO . It's quite interesting with well done effects. It's made with English sub-titles but spoken in Spanish(?). All of the MB3D artists got a screen credit at the end, so that was cool! Other MB3D artists include Jesse, Lenord, Broken-Ragdoll, Dainbramage, Mario837, Popol4444 and myself. The Mandelbulb art is used somewhat in the far background in long shots but very prominent at the end of the film. So click on the OVO link if you're interested in watching the film!

  • Mood: Wow!
  • Listening to: Tweety birds
  • Reading: All the time
  • Watching: Stargate Atlantis again
  • Playing: I don't play well with others
  • Eating: Everything I can get my hands on
  • Drinking: Diet Coke

Interesting Mandelbulb 3D Image News

Journal Entry: Sat Apr 27, 2013, 2:39 PM
Interesting email ~  

I received an interesting email this morning. Someone contacted me through my Fine Art America site requesting that I make a print available. I forgot to ask how she found the image, as I hadn't even posted it there yet. Anyway, it turns out this person is the daughter of Karl Menger, who's most famous popular contribution to mathematics (according to WikipediA), was the Menger sponge, a three-dimensional version of Sierpinski's carpet. The Menger3 formula (and other forms of it) certainly seem to be some of the most widely used and popular formulas for many that use Mandelbulb 3D.

The image she was interested in was one I recently posted here at DA, Wreck Of The Menger. Eve pointed me to a very interesting video that explains the Menger sponge quite well, Mathematical Impressions: The Surprising Menger Sponge Slice. I highly recommend that you take the time to check it out! She also had this to say about the video:
"The narrator mentions that this diagonal slice was not "discovered" till 2007.  That is inaccurate.  That slice was on exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago years earlier."

While Menger3 was not the only formula used in that image, the influence is evident. I use it quite often myself as it can often lead to incredible structures of simulated fantasy architecture. :) While I'm at it I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all those responsible for making my artwork possible, including, but not limited to Jesse at Fractal Forums for creating the Mandelbulb 3D software, Luca (aka dark-beam ) for creating many of the formulas and also Karl Menger and Benoit Mandelbrot for their dedicated work in mathematics which makes it all possible. Also thanks to all my watchers and those that fave my work too!!!

PS: Help support Fractal Forums. You can order a Fractal Forums calendar at the Fractal Forums shop.


  • Mood: Wow!
  • Listening to: Two fans blowing hot air
  • Reading: 3 books
  • Watching: Suits and Falling Skies
  • Playing: I don't play well with others
  • Eating: Spam sandwitch
  • Drinking: Diet Coke

Isolating Structures In MB3D

Journal Entry: Sun Mar 10, 2013, 10:13 AM
How to clean up your image background ~  

Wow. I haven't done a journal in ages. I thought I would share a little trick for getting a nice clean background when you want to isolate a structure in Mandelbulb 3D. Why? Because sometimes the structures behind the main focus of your image or the main structure are either just small repeats of the main structure, or they are fragmented and in one way or another just not as interesting. Or the background might bury the foreground object in detail or draw attention away from what you really want the viewer to focus on. People strive for a lot of detail, and that's fine, and sometimes it works. But often I find that there's no main focus to frame your point of view. (Edit: I forgot to mention this is made using Mandelbulb 3D version 1.8.2 and I fixed a few typo's!)

Sometimes you're able to focus on the foreground structure through clever use of fog, lights and depth of field settings. Nothing wrong with that either, so this is just another way to  pick an object and isolate it by itself and keep a good clean image. I decided to use the image I posted yesterday (Shields Up) as a reference image as I used this technique to isolate the main shape. Below is an image in the main window similar to how I found the shape I was interested in for this demonstration. There's a shape outlined in white in the center area I liked and wanted to isolate. Out lined in red on the right is one of the settings we'll be adjusting later. (Parameters are included at the end of this journal if you want to follow along! :))

Below is the 3d navi (navigator) window with settings we'll adjust outlined in red. If your navi window looks different, you need to expand the extra tools setting by clicking the two arrows I have outlined in red box #1 at the bottom right. On the bottom left is the far plane setting, red box #2  which we will be adjusting. The first thing I do when I find an interesting structure I want to focus on is to zoom in, rotate and center it the way I want. I already have it rotated and centered for a decent view as this is from existing parameters, so now I'll just get us zoomed in.

Sometimes zooming alone will clear the background some. So with fixed zoom and steps selected (see image above, red box #3) I clicked the top zoom button (see image above, red box #4) 5 times. As you can see in the below image, the zoom changed from around 10 to just over 56. Now the structure I like is centered and just about fills the screen. As you can see, this time, zooming did not clear up the background at all. Notice that the far plane setting is at 79.8. Now we can start the isolation process.

First thing we do is change the far plane setting. I usually go right down to 1. Sometimes the entire image disappears in the navi window and you have to try 2 or 5 or 10. But this time 1 worked perfect. As you can see below, the structure I was interested in is perfectly isolated. Groovy! Now let's load that puppy into the main window. Click the 'View to main' on the left of the 3d navi window and then click Calculate 3D in the main window.

Look below. Shit the bed. What the hell happened in the main window? Welcome to Mandelbulb 3d! This is a standard result when loading an image from the navi window to the main window. Things aren't always this different, but often are when you start messing with the far plane settings. I can't explain the technical reasons, because I'm not a tech expert in MB3D. And the funny thing is, if you now reload the image from your main window into the navi window, then the images will match again, but the far plane resets to 2.7. Anyway, as you can see, we need to clear up the background more, and get rid of the un-interesting clutter. We do this with the Zend setting.

In your main window, make sure the Position tab at the top right is selected and you will see the Zend setting I have outlined in red. Here it is set to -1.85019825378516. Big number! As I've said in previous tutorials, many times you can get rid of a lot of the decimal places and it won't effect the image. For the most part this is true, however it may depend on how far you are zoomed into an image. If you are zoomed way in, a small change can shift the image a lot. At the zoom factor we are at, this will not be an issue. So to start I'm going to get rid of all but two decimal places and that leaves us with -1.85 for the Zend setting. There is no visible change in the image. This is an arbitrary decision and may or may not work with other images, you may have to leave three or four decimal places, but the overall process is the same. We are adjusting the Zend, and what that is actually doing is cutting the image from the back.

You need to be patient here and go in little steps. But let's say you are me and not patient at all. Let's set the Zend to -2. Boom, all gone. I only changed the Zend 15 hundredths and the image is gone. So let's not be me, and just try changing it from -1.85 to -1.88. That's better! Only a -0.03 change and half the background clutter is gone. Through this trial and error process, you can usually clean all the clutter that is behind the structure you are focusing on. This will not remove clutter that is adjacent to your structure or other wise on the same plane, only clutter behind it!

And here is the final setting I ended up with. The Zend is set to -1.913 and all of the background clutter is gone. Also if you notice, part of the right wing tip has been cut as indicated by the arrow. This is not an obvious flaw as it wouldn't be noticed if you hadn't seen the original before cutting. It bothered me at first, and I tried rotating the structure to get the wing tip back, but then I lost the profile of the upper sail which I liked. And also be warned, if you reload this image from your main window into the navi window to rotate, zoom or otherwise edit the image further, you will have to go through the entire Zend cutting process all over again. You can however do some zooms and moving in the main window. If you want to zoom, just do it manually by inputting new zoom values in the zoom box. You can recenter the image with the move tool.

And there you have it. I hope someone gets some use out of this little process for isolating structures. Here are the parameters for the image if you want to follow along with the process:


  • Mood: Wow!
  • Listening to: Two fans blowing hot air
  • Reading: 3 books
  • Watching: Suits and Falling Skies
  • Playing: I don't play well with others
  • Eating: Spam sandwitch
  • Drinking: Diet Coke

More Fractals in Print Magazine

Journal Entry: Sun Aug 12, 2012, 8:57 AM
Just a quick plug here ~  

Back in April I was contacted about the use of one of my Apophysis images, "String Theory", in EXACTAmente magazine. The magazine is "...a free popularization of science magazine edited by the Faculty of Natural Sciences, of the University of Buenos Aires", says Juan Pablo Vittori, the person who contacted me. He also says, "EXACTAmente is a magazine that is meant for secondary school teachers, so it is freely sent to 2000 high-schools in Buenos Aires in printed version.

Below is a Google translation (Spanish to English)of the opening paragraph of the magazine...

Physicists practitioners of string theory are perhaps those with greater and more sophisticated talents to handle a fascinatingly complex formalism. researchers other branches can hardly penetrate with solvency, not in the details, but in core concepts of a theory that is as science and mathematics but about their goal of being natural science generates divided.

Also, Casperium had one of her images appear in the article. The image that appears is similar to her 2006 image that is also titled "String Theory." And here's a thumb of my image of the same title...

String Theory by HalTenny

The article appeared in the April 2012 issue of EXACTAmente. If you're interested, you can check out the April issue at EXACTAmente The String Theory article can be found here, a pfd file


  • Mood: Wow!
  • Listening to: Two fans blowing hot air
  • Reading: 3 books
  • Watching: Suits and Falling Skies
  • Playing: I don't play well with others
  • Eating: Spam sandwitch
  • Drinking: Diet Coke

Artwork licensed to Zero 1 Music

Journal Entry: Sat Jul 7, 2012, 10:09 AM
More Shameless Self Promotion ~  

It's fun to create art, but it's even more fun when you find that someone actually likes your work enough to want to use it. A few months ago Celli, aka Earthling, from Zero 1 Music contacted me about licensing a few of my pieces for cover art on a CD they were currently making, with more in the works. He recently sent me the CD artwork for their first release and I thought I would share that with everyone.

They're doing an initial press of 1000 CD's. Here's the short press release for the CD, "Reboot".

Zero One Music has arrived. Yes folks, the Psychedelic Circus is back in town , and to announce our intentions we have assembled "Reboot" a digital manifesto of 9 of the freshest and most cutting edge tracks around today.

Featuring Veteran Psychedelic pioneers like GMS, Earthling, Hux Flux and Chromatone  once again showing us how its done. Combined with the prodigal genius of the youngbloods of the last few years , like Tron, Audio-X, MACK, Poli, Telekinetic, and K.I.M, this release intends to prove that the medium of Psy Trance has once again been re-invented... The original Old Skool spirit skillfully manipulated and re-initiated into a new and vibrant expression.

Also of interest is that Mushroom Magazine is doing an article on the "Reboot" CD with a full review. Hopefully they'll include an image of the CD, (I'm certain they will :) ) Earthling says there will be 100,000 copies of that magazine printed! So by far this will be the most exposure I personally have gotten. Sweet!  Here's a thumb of my original image, "Bird Cages".

Bird Cages by HalTenny

Zero 1 Music is a new label for the "Psychedelic Music Scene". Here's their press release:

ZERO 1 MUSIC: Out of the aftermath of mediocrity rises a new voice in the Global Psychedelic Music Scene. Zero 1 has been slowly assembling itself on the front-line of the Cutting edge,  preparing for a head on assault upon stagnation and outmoded ideas. A gleaming new label with a crystal clear vision and a singular focus: Upgrade the Psychedelic dance music genre…

We seek to provide a transparent and democratically run platform for our Artists; serving to deliver their freshest creations, direct from their studios to the ear drums of the population.  A Round Table of talent and creative genius has been assembled to promote originality, to push through with ground breaking advances, and to cut away at the many shackles and chains of preconception.

In creating our roster we've managed to amass some of the most respected and
innovative Pioneers in the World's Psychedelic Scene around, whilst also throwing in the cream of the latest emerging young troublemakers currently blasting the underground party scene worldwide.

All of our artists and DJ's possess unhealthy obsessions with Massive sound-systems, obnoxious basslines and holographic sound. From more than a hundred years of collective experience, we have meticulously fine tuned a formula that will create a dancefloor pulsating with an usually unattainable energy.

From the intrepid minds of our digital renegades comes Binary Code for your heart and soul. Expect the unexpected, forget the way things were before..Zero 1 is about to instigate mind bending changes in the status quo. You might even call it a revolution......

This will be the third print magazine my work has appeared in. Hopefully it will help provide a kick start to more exposure and success for all fractal artists! That would be nice, very nice... :)

Edit: I should also mention that I did not do the CD design, I just only supplied the main Mandelbulb background image! Hope there was no confusion with that!

  • Mood: Wow!
  • Listening to: Two fans blowing hot air
  • Reading: 3 books
  • Watching: Suits and Falling Skies
  • Playing: I don't play well with others
  • Eating: Spam sandwitch
  • Drinking: Diet Coke

2011 BMFAC News Update

Journal Entry: Wed May 2, 2012, 11:36 AM
BMFAC winners published in print magazine!  

The 25 winners of the Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest were contacted in mid February to supply large format files of their winning images and also a short bio explaining their interest in fractal art, software used and general information about their work if they chose to do so. We were also informed that the first exhibit would be held in Logroño, in Northern Spain. Javier Barrallo, a Professor of Mathematics at The University of the Basque Country, Spain and also one of the panelists for the BMFAC was our contact for this. The current exhibit will be in the Casa de la Ciencia (House of Science), in Logroño, the Capital city of RIOJA until June 10th. I'll post a few pictures Javier sent further down. Javier also says he will send more pictures soon.

Also when I was contacted in February, Javier informed me that he had written an article about the BMFAC for a Spanish scientific magazine with all the winning images included in the article as well. The magazine is " "REDES para la Ciencia" (NETS for Science) which is the written format of a well known Spanish Science TV program." Also at that time he informed me that my winning image, "Gordian Twist" had been chosen by the editor of the magazine as the cover image for that issue. I was obviously quite honored and proud to have been chosen for that. I received a copy of the magazine a few days ago and all the winning pieces printed in the article look fabulous! I asked for and received permission to post the article and pictures as they appear. (Javier was kind enough to send a PDF of the article. If any of you wish a copy of it, just note me with your email address and I'll send it along.)

Javier also says... "Feel free to share this report and also to encourage (you or others) to write a similar article about the exhibit in any science magazine from other country or prepare a similar exhibit. If so, I can provide all the necessary data and help."


Below you will find 6 images of the article titled "EL ARTE FRACTAL" by Javier Barrallo. The article appears in issue 23 of "REDES para la Ciencia".  The article is in Spanish. Also included is the cover image. Unfortunately I can't translate the article to any other language. If anyone would like to translate it to English or another language, let me know and I'll send you the PDF and then include a translation at the bottom of this Journal.

Edit: I replaced the cover image with a better version and included an index image of a fractal collage.

A few pictures of the show  

Below are three pictures that Javier sent. Two are of the exhibit and one is of the poster for the show. "The images from the magazine (cover, arrangements) where chosen from the editors, the images from the poster and brochure were selected by the House of Science of Logroño." says Javier.

I'll get a better image of the magazine cover uploaded soon. So once again, congratulations to all the selected winners of the BMFAC! I'm sure we'll all get a kick out of having our work in a print magazine and seeing them hanging on a wall in large print format. I know I did. :)

  • Listening to: Tweety birds
  • Reading: Dark Object (UFO book)
  • Watching: Suits
  • Playing: Don't play well with others
  • Eating: Candy bar
  • Drinking: Cold coffee

New Book ~ Standard Affair

Journal Entry: Sun Feb 5, 2012, 2:53 PM
Shameless Self Promotion ~  

Yeah, I'm still missing in action. I did get my second book published on Amazon though! And of course I wanted to thank everyone who bought a copy of the first one. I've been on DA for about three years and not sold a single piece of art here. (I will keep trying!) I've sold about a dozen books thus far so I felt it was worth the effort to get the second one published.

Book Cover for Standard Affair by HalTenny

The new book is called Standard Affair: A science fiction adventure. Here's a little description of it. Standard Affair is a science fiction adventure that takes you away from earth and gives you your first taste of contact with advanced alien races. A morsel that may just leave a bad taste in your mouth. Owen Ricks, a retired military officer, is unwillingly thrust into the role of ambassador of earth when he hitches a ride on a disabled space craft that he helps repair. Though he is an uninvited guest, his training proves useful and the captain of the ship enlists his help as a bounty hunter of a different kind than what you might expect. It doesn't take Owen long to realize that the captain is being less than honest with him. While constantly being reminded by the captain that earth humans are backwards and uncivilized, Owen sees it differently and has to learn how to deal with aliens that can be just as devious and cruel as earth humans. This book is around 65,000 words, a short novel.

Blurb on first book ~  

I don't write 'hard' science fiction, so the stories in this book are not tech heavy. Most of them do however incorporate my warped sense of humor and sarcasm. A few are a bit dark, but for the most part, they should put a smile on a readers face, or if I'm lucky, make them chuckle. :) There are 16 short stories that total around 60,000 words. (About equivalent to a 200+ page novel). I also have a collection of horror shorts in the works as well as another completed science fiction novel. Here's a link to Waves In Time if you want to check it out.

You don't need a Kindle ~  

For those who don't own a Kindle, you can get a Kindle reader for the PC free. (Kindle for PC) A lot of people don't know there are many free Kindle books as well.

  • Listening to: Tweety birds
  • Reading: Dark Object (UFO book)
  • Watching: Suits
  • Playing: Don't play well with others
  • Eating: Candy bar
  • Drinking: Cold coffee

Kindle book ~ Waves In Time

Journal Entry: Mon Jan 23, 2012, 9:07 AM
Toot Toot ~  

I just thought I would toot my own horn (again) real quick here. The reason I've been missing the past two weeks is that I was in a fractal dry spell. I then decided it was a perfect time to gather up a collection of my Sci-fi short stories and get them published for the Kindle at After many hours of finishing up a couple of stories, re-writing others and then editing them all, (several times) I finally uploaded Waves In Time yesterday.

Book cover for Waves In Time by HalTenny

I don't write 'hard' science fiction, so the stories are not tech heavy. Most of them do however incorporate my warped sense of humor and sarcasm. A few are a bit dark, but for the most part, they should put a smile on a readers face, or if I'm lucky, make them chuckle. :) There are 16 short stories that total around 60,000 words. (About equivalent to a 200+ page novel). I also have a collection of horror shorts in the works as well as another completed science fiction novel. Here's a link to Waves In Time if you want to check it out.

You don't need a Kindle ~  

For those who don't own a Kindle, you can get a Kindle reader for the PC free. (Kindle for PC) A lot of people don't know there are many free Kindle books as well. I enrolled in a special program where I can offer the book for free, and still make a little from a special fund Amazon has set up for authors, but I don't know when I'm going to do that yet. :)

  • Listening to: Tweety birds
  • Reading: Dark Object (UFO book)
  • Watching: Suits
  • Playing: Don't play well with others
  • Eating: Candy bar
  • Drinking: Cold coffee

Piece selected for BMFAC!

Journal Entry: Sat Oct 15, 2011, 3:20 PM

I'm happy to announce that I had a piece selected as one of the 25 winners in the Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest! I'm so thrilled to have my work chosen along with all the other fantastic pieces that were entered. I also had a piece selected as an honorable mention. I can't thank the judges enough and also all my friends at Deviant Art who have supported me all along. By the looks of the winners, it looks like the Deviant Art community made a good showing! Congratulations to everyone who has been selected! See all the winners here ~…

Gordian Twist by HalTenny Gordian Twist

  • Listening to: Tweety birds
  • Reading: Dark Object (UFO book)
  • Watching: Suits
  • Playing: Don't play well with others
  • Eating: Candy bar
  • Drinking: Cold coffee

Mandelbulb 3D ~ Mastering 3D Navi

Journal Entry: Wed Sep 14, 2011, 9:39 AM
Bet that got your attention ~  

Well I'm sorry to suck you in by that devious title! I haven't mastered anything, but I did finally put together all the useful advice given in comments from a recent journal (… I wrote on navigating with the 3D Navi tool. The funny thing is I brought up my solution to navigating at Fractal Forums back in May and FractKali responded with a much better solution than mine, and I either didn't read it thoroughly or simply didn't understand it. So I want to make it clear that I am simply passing along advice from the comments I've received here and at Fractal Forums. I just want to organize and better explain the procedure in case any have missed some of the comments.

Disclaimer ~  

I almost always offer this disclaimer. I readily claim that I am far from an expert with MB3D. If beaten over the head with information enough times, it eventually seeps thorough the cracks in my skull and worms it's way into my brain pan. Proof that I am not an expert is obvious by the convoluted and tedious solution to navigating I gave in the past journal. The following solution is much more elegant and just simple.

I'm stuck ~  

So here we are once again, stuck in a piece. You have navigated to a point with the 3D Nav tool and are stuck. Sometimes you can still move left or right or up or down to a certain extent, but not always. And now you find that you can't move forward (zoom or walk in) or backward (zoom or walk out). At this point, most everyone knows you can expand the nav box by clicking the little arrow located in the bottom right corner of the 3d nav window. When you do this more options become available, one of the most important (concerning our problem) being, 'fixed zoom and steps'. This has been beaten into our heads on many occasions so I'm just as sure that many know of this as well.

So if we select this box (click on it and a check mark will appear) it will allow us to once again move freely about in the nav window.  (I always reload my parameters into the nav window after selecting the 'fixed zoom and steps' box, just in case I've made some changes I've forgotten about.) You can now walk in our out to your hearts content. However it does raise several other issues. The reason we are stuck in the first place is because we are either inside a structure or running up against a structure when we tried to move in or out. With the 'fixed zoom and steps' box selected, when you 'walk' you actually are cutting your way into or out of the structures that have you trapped. You may not want to do this as it will spoil your current view in your piece.

Here's the part I didn't understand or realize until a week or so ago. I can be thick at times, and I noticed on occasion an extra set of zoom controls sometimes appear in the 3d nav window directly below and to the left of the image, but I didn't know why they were sometime there, and sometimes were not there. Well I rarely used the 'fixed zoom and steps' function so it didn't occur to me that selecting 'fixed zoom and steps' is what triggers the extra zoom controls. Below is an image of the nav controls. Circled in red is the control that expands the nav box so more options are available. Circled in blue is the 'fixed zoom and steps' box which you want to select if you are stuck. Circled in green are the extra zoom buttons that appear if the 'fixed zoom and steps' box is selected.

And here is the key ~  

If you are stuck, do this:
1) Select the 'fixed zoom and steps' box by clicking on it.
If you want to ONLY zoom in or out, do the following:
2) Use the extra zoom buttons to navigate in or out, (buttons circled in green) NOT THE WALK CONTROLS!
If you want to cut further into your piece:
3) Use the walk buttons to cut into your piece.

Here's some more info to absorb. If you select the 'fixed zoom and steps' and then try to zoom in with the extra zoom buttons and it doesn't work, then you are probably already zoomed way in. In this case you can do one of two things. You can still cut your way in by using the walk controls, but obviously this changes the looks of your piece. If you still want to zoom in without changing your image or cutting, first ZOOM OUT with the extra zoom buttons, then WALK in by cutting until you get back to the view you had before zooming out. Once you get to that point, then you can zoom in with the extra zoom buttons and with no cutting.

Another thing that many are aware of is that if your image disappears while you are zooming in, then you can raise the 'far plane' setting' at the lower left corner of the nav window. Some people don't realize you can use this in reverse as well. (Obviously) If the background of your image is too busy looking or you can't seem to make the background fade or fog up by using the depth slide in the ambient lighting, then you can lower the far plane setting in the nav window.

And once again I want to give credit to all those who commented and gave tips in the previous Journal. By looking over those comments, I hope I've clarified as well as simplified using the nav window to a certain extent! booyah!

  • Listening to: Tweety birds
  • Reading: Dark Object (UFO book)
  • Watching: Suits
  • Playing: Don't play well with others
  • Eating: Candy bar
  • Drinking: Cold coffee

Inspiration Station: Zueuk

Journal Entry: Tue Sep 6, 2011, 5:16 AM

This is the second flash mob inspired Inspiration Station and features Zueuk. I can't believe I had never visited his gallery. He is one of the most important and influential people in the early and mid development of Apophysis. If you're like me and have missed a look at his gallery, there's no better time than now to give his fantastic work a long overdue look! Here's just a few samples....

Strange Jewelry by Zueuk  Dungeon Heart by Zueuk

Constellation by Zueuk  Reflections II by Zueuk

Regal Mechanics by Zueuk   Alien metalwork by Zueuk

  • Listening to: Fans blowing hot air
  • Reading: Not at the moment
  • Watching: Buffy get her arse kicked
  • Playing: with MB3D
  • Eating: Gum
  • Drinking: Diet Coke

Contest Announcement

Journal Entry: Fri Sep 2, 2011, 5:23 AM

The details have been released on the new fractal contest here at DA. SuicideBySafetyPin announced a few weeks ago that a big contest was in the works and today, FantasyStock posted the official announcement. Back To Fractal Class is a contest for fractalists. (Or anyone who wishes to give fractaling a try)  Click on the link to check out the details and all the amazing prizes! Good luck to everyone!

  • Listening to: Fans blowing hot air
  • Reading: Not at the moment
  • Watching: Buffy get her arse kicked
  • Playing: with MB3D
  • Eating: Gum
  • Drinking: Diet Coke

Mandelbulb 3D ~ Navigating Tip

Journal Entry: Fri Aug 5, 2011, 11:39 AM
Can't Get There From Here

I thought that title was good as sometimes it's difficult to navigate MB3D pieces. It may only be me who has difficulty, I don't know. I Don't use the 3D navigator exclusively like many do. So it occurred to me that some of the pieces that I've posted parameters for may be difficult to tweak if you use the navigator exclusively. If you don't have any problems with the navigator, just disregard this journal, otherwise, read on.

My way or the highway...

Of course not. Everyone has their own techniques and favorite ways to explore. To think there is only one way to explore in MB3D is ridiculous. And I'm certainly not saying there is a best way either. What ever works for each of us should not be shoved off on others as the best or easiest way to go about things. What I'm discussing here will be how I go about it and how that might present problems to others if I happen to post parameters on a piece. Or perhaps you suddenly find that after adding a formula to your piece or changing some values in the formulas you are using, the navigator suddenly becomes uncooperative.

The way I tweak...

This is the way I work. I usually load up one of my existing parameters. I keep everything. I may post a piece that I had saved 5 or 10 different versions of before I was satisfied with it, so I have a ton of parameters to choose from. I do my main tweaking in the main window. Why? Simply because the view is much clearer and bigger. That's nothing against the navigator, it's just a simple fact. Minor changes of the values in formulas may not show up at all in the navigator. (I'm sure that is common knowledge) So because I see the details and formula changes better in the main window, I use it more for rotating and zooming as well.

But why, the navigator is so easy to use!

Yes it is. But it may be just as likely that suddenly after a few formula changes and tweaks, it quits working. I didn't use the navigator at all a while back because of this. A lot of people were stunned by that. Over time, I forced myself to use it and finally found most of the little tricks to get results with it. I know I've done a lot of really nice pieces but I still don't consider myself an expert with MB3D. I just don't know the technical stuff and may never learn it. So as I tweak away, I may rotate my view in the main window as well as using the move tool and zooming. All of these tweaks may mess with the navigator functions. I'm sure many of you have found at one point or other that this happens. You may just undo changes until you get the navigator to function again, or you may know other ways to fix the problems you have. The following is just one way to fix a particular problem that crops up.

The, "My back is against a wall" scenario...

That may be better known as the "I'm having a nightmare and the monster is coming after me and my feet are glued to the floor and I can't move" scenario. So you've tweaked away and go to the navigator and try to look around and a): either everything disappears, or b): you cant move. The "everything disappears" thing is easy to fix and I think almost everyone knows the solution. You just adjust the far plane setting (to a higher value) in the navigator. The "I can't move" thing, while a little time consuming, can be fixed as well. I only know of one way to fix this, some of you may know of other ways. If you know of other ways, please tell all in a comment in as clear and non technical way as possible!

So Mr. Genius, why the super glue?

Teleportation my friend! Somehow you have teleported inside your piece. You can't backup, (zoom out) walk forward, (zoom in) and often can't look side to side either. In other words, there is some structure behind you and you bump into it while trying to move, or you are actually right inside a structure that is holding on to you. For a long time I simply abandoned the navigator when this happened. So how do you fix this? One way is to cut your way out. (There may be other ways, but I only know this one way) It's kind of like opening a door behind you so you can back up. The neat thing is if you open that door behind you, it also allows you to move forward and side to side as well so you basically restore the full functionality of the navigator.

Trial and error, the story of my life...

Trial and error is not such a bad way to learn. It's time consuming but often the lesson sticks with you better. So let's cut away! So you are glued down in the navigator and can't move. The first thing you have to determine is what plane you are facing. I did a tutorial a while back that covers the basics of cutting (Mandelbulb3D Tutorial 3) so I'll not go over cutting in too great a detail here. So assuming no cutting plane is selected, click on the cutting tab and select the x,y or z plane. I start at the top or the x plane. You select the plane by clicking in the empty box and a check mark appears. The x plane is now cut at 0.0 (zero). Click calculate 3d and then RELOAD your parameters in the nav window. See if you can navigate. If no, then change the cut value in the x plane up or down. Go for a large value to shorten this trial by error solution. So lets use 4 as a value. Click calculate 3D and RELOAD parameters into the nav window. See if you can navigate, if not, repeat above changing the value to -4. Reload parameters and try navigating again. Usually if 4, 0.0 or -4 doesn't fix the navigating problem, then we are working on the wrong plane and we would move on to the y plane and go through the same trial and error.

Hey bud, you fuxored my piece!

Sorry about that! So yeah, by the trial and error described above we found the plane we wanted but our piece is totally destroyed because we cut it to ribbons. Well that's because we're not done yet! Let's assume we found that we are looking at the y plane and it is now cut at a value of 4.0. It looks totally different because we cut too deep. We can navigate now but we went way past the nice area we wanted to explore. All we have to do now is fine tune the y cut value. Assuming we are at 4, lets lower the value to 3, then 2 and so on (clicking calculate 3d between each change) until we get back to the view we had before cutting. Let's say we have to go all the way down to a -1 value on the y plane cut. Now our view is the same as before we started, but wait! Navigating is broke again! So we went a little to far. Try -0.8 or -0.6. You have to fine tune to make this work and keep the same view. You may end up with a y plane cut value of -0.17 or anything. It takes time but once you do it a few times it's fairly quick and easy.

Why bother, you're wasting my time...

Well sure, it's just something I do to get the most out of a piece. If you abandon some parameters you can no longer navigate, you might be missing a real beauty. By the way, if you can't navigate a piece that is already cut, then you just have to adjust the existing cut value to fix it. The bad news is that this cutting trick sometimes doesn't work very well, particularly if you are looking at a plane at an extreme angle. You can still fix the nav problem but you will not be able to quite get back to the view you started with. So I'll be happy if this helps even one person, and if not, it at least gave me something to do on a rainy Friday afternoon...

PS: Also made a new journal skin!

  • Listening to: Fans blowing hot air
  • Reading: Not at the moment
  • Watching: Buffy get her arse kicked
  • Playing: with MB3D
  • Eating: Gum
  • Drinking: Diet Coke