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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:

Mandelbulb3Dv18{
b.....h...Uk/...w....2A...UM.xj48q3/.rQBFlpfxWyD/X.fIXNy0znrlKSQK.1tzssbBCjEH3.k
................................aWvAeCjrX.2........Y./..................y.2...wD
...Uz......3..../M.1/.....kh....P0....E3.....os5eQi1CCnD/..........m/dkpXm1.....
z.U0LDOD12../2.........wzoAnAnAnAHyD........Mz1..........o.u1....y1...sD...../..
.z1...sD1ovy9KAXnwn6ew0BugNly8jpmti1wchjkha43SjJiuXPRmYWhmCAzO9fqAkGLCmDKJQtmGU5
QvfHeP9rXOt6zmaoKPjPf1nj......2p..............sD.6....sD..E.....................
.............oAnAt1...sD....z.rbn9.2UCj.k0uw0.Jcn9.wVCj.E8uw0.ncn9......G....k1.
.....AQxcz1.......kz.wzzz1.U..6......M1...EB.........c3....F....6/...I1.....SFL0
..UU4W1KEyzlciszsU3YzTAe906.2s..zzSi...Fbf24LNyD4Ak5eP./cz1..........2.28.kFrA0.
.Ub96aAIVz9.1se7Umvxz0........../EU0.wzzz1...........s/...................E.2c..
zzzz.............0...................2./8.kzzzD...........EA....................
/EU0.wzzz1...................................wjoG1.E./2EexkNNqC../2E.3m5U08c..2E
./oSi.8cU0.E./2EFonzTz9../2E.VSGU08c..2E./2zJ/8cU0.E./2Ez4Kd/LD../2E.VQPU08c..2E
./okulfrS1.E./2E...cU08czz/cU08cyz1cU08cxz3cU08cnAX9e/rN........................
E....A....k.....I....w....EE0x4SElKMoZaPppaE..........................k/.MU/4...
.ok.1Ak.0.UaNaNaNaN..1........yDbNaNaNaNiz1.....................................
...................................wz...........................................
.....................2.....3....A....AYQjBrQ0ZaFjl4N............................
.....MU/4MU/4........AnAnAnAnQ.EOaNaNaNalz1....................E................
........................................................kz1........0./..........
................................/....E/..../....T7LNXZ4QmxqMVl4Kn64.............
..........U3K...................rX0LD8Qx6zHQxckpX0Ltz.........zD........kz1.....
................................................................................
............................................}

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Add a Comment:
 
:iconeclecticeric:
eclecticeric Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you Hal - that helps a lot - now I can go back and clean up some of my earlier attempts!
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:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Apr 25, 2015
Quite welcome~
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:iconchillheimer:
chillheimer Featured By Owner Mar 22, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thx for sharing! :)
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:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Mar 23, 2015
Quite welcome~
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:iconjakeukalane:
Jakeukalane Featured By Owner Edited Feb 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice, I was thinking about ask this to someone. I will save to my computer and maybe I will try to do when I have some days free.

thank you!
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:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2015
Welcome!
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:iconvessto:
vessto Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2014
Thank you very much!! This tutorial answered to one of my biggest question, about how to make HQ detailed image!
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:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2014
You're welcome. Details in an image are usually controlled by the DE stop setting. Lower DE stop setting is more detailed, higher is less detailed. High quality is controlled by the render size and raystep multiplier setting. Lower raystep multiplier setting is better quality. Render as large as possible and then anti-alias or reduce the size of the finished image.
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:iconalbertgauer:
AlbertGauer Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much, Hal, I learn a lot from your tuts.

Maybe one day you can tackle the post process window?

I only know how to use the DOF feature, the rest is obscure, I feel like I could improve the imaging with the extra tools (reflectsion, transparency, absorption, etc..)

Cheers!
Reply
:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2014
You're welcome! I can't offer much advice on transparency as I rarely use it. Most of my work benefits by use of shadows, and transparency is not shadow friendly imho. Transparency and reflections work best when using dIFS formulas as they are solid shapes, thus smoother surfaces. That is not to say you can't get smooth surfaces with other formulas, it's just less likely and often more difficult. Generally, when using reflections, I use near default settings or don't set the amount higher than 2. Images get washed out somewhat with reflections and transparency so you have to make it darker with with the use of negative fog settings and lowering the gamma and sometimes shifting light angles. Those settings are in the lighting panel. I don't ever use the 2 top settings in the post process window. Hard shadows are pretty straightforward, just select the light you want to use to cast the shadow, and adjust the angle of the light with the global light Y and  X sliders in the light panel.

I'm always glad to answer specific questions. General questions are hard to address because so many things might have to be covered, which leads to writing mini tutorials that can take quite a bit of time. Feel free to send a question any time though.
Reply
:icontabasco-raremaster:
TABASCO-RAREMASTER Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
Yes you are an expert in M3d Hal :D
Reply
:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2013
Thanks very much, it's greatly appreciated!
Reply
:iconbengvc:
BengvC Featured By Owner May 19, 2013
So very useful, clear instruction. Thanks. Please, more. I wish there were more tutorials guiding one through the behavior and use of different formulas. I bring this options up, more often than not see a blank screen as the starting point. I understand the secrets must be teased, find the interesting corner, etc. but at the starting block it's working in a vacuum. I keep two computers busy 24/7 rendering stereo HD animations, so not like I'm anywhere close to being stuck, but I'm a sponge to learn more how to cook in this awesome kitchen that is M3d.
Reply
:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner May 19, 2013
If you see a blank screen, you can try resetting the position and rotation by clicking reset in their tabs in the main window, and then zooming out. You may need to set depth slider (in lighting tab) all the way to the left. You may have to raise the far plane setting in the 3d navi window to 100 or higher. You may have to select fixed zoom and steps in the 3d navi window and then zoom out. You may have to turn Julia off. All these things can help if you are seeing a blank screen. If you have a specific question, feel free to ask. :)
Reply
:iconbengvc:
BengvC Featured By Owner May 24, 2013
You're awesome. Thanks. I just walked through the far plane tut, so very useful. I'm playing around in the lighting window, not the happiest with the background. I'm only seeing controls for lighting the object, where do you change the colors (and thereby luminance) of the background?
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:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner May 24, 2013
The background colors are changed by way of the colored boxes next to the depth slider under the ambient tab. You can left click on a colored box to bring up the color picker window, or right click on a colored box to bring up a selection of preset color choices. The first colored box is the top background color, and the second is the bottom BG color...
Reply
:iconbengvc:
BengvC Featured By Owner May 24, 2013
Of course, depth color... Thanks for all the tips on finding the launch pad for the various formulas. I'm off to see the wizard ;^)
Reply
:icontripthewidesky:
TripTheWideSky Featured By Owner May 2, 2013
I'm a bit late to say so, but thank you for posting this!! I am still learning MB3D and this was incredibly helpful. :)

I couldn't find any appropriate little thank-you flower emoticon, so, um... spork? :spork:
Reply
:iconsquirreltape:
squirreltape Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2013
"You've got my Spork!", says villager #9.

I agree, fantastic tut and thankyou for sharing these tips, it really helps enormously :) :) D)
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:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner May 3, 2013
You're welcome, and thanks very much!
Reply
:iconcatelee2u:
catelee2u Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Awesome - thankyou very much for sharing!!
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:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2013
Thanks and you're welcome!
Reply
:iconlion6255:
Lion6255 Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I want to THANK YOU again for taking the time to write this up. I used it to do "The Heart Of the Mandelbulb"[link]. I understand so much more on how the program works.
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:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2013
Glad to share when I can, I'm glad it helped. It's a nice isolated piece!
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:iconlion6255:
Lion6255 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:handshake::happybounce::huggle::happybounce:
Reply
:icontahyon:
Tahyon Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
very useful one Hal , sure guys will appreciate it ! ;)
Reply
:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2013
Thanks, I hope it helps some!
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:icontahyon:
Tahyon Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
sure it will! ;)
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:iconlion6255:
Lion6255 Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you so much Hal for always taking the time to share your wonderful Knowledge to all of us Newbie.It is just to kind of you.
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:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013
You're welcome, always glad to help when I can!
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:iconrocserum:
rocserum Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013
Thanks for sharing! very instructive. I've done a tweak of your script, and post it on renderosity;.

[link]

Cornelis-art.blogspot.nl
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:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013
You're quite welcome! It came out very nice, I like it! Glad the tutorial was helpful.
Reply
:iconrocserum:
rocserum Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013
Thanks for sharing! very instructive. I've done a tweak of your script, and post it on renderosity;.

[link]

Cornelis-art.blogspot.nl
Reply
:iconrocserum:
rocserum Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013
Thanks for sharing! very instructive. I've done a tweak of your script, and post it on renderosity;.

[link]

Cornelis-art.blogspot.nl
Reply
:iconshoughad:
shoughad Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:wave: Thanks a lot. I really have to give it a try these days. :pc:
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:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2013
Welcome!
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:iconfractalbeke:
fractalbeke Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2013
Many thanks, Hal, very interesting tut... clear explanation, even for people with limited English knowledge, like me.
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:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
You're welcome!
Reply
:iconfractalbeke:
fractalbeke Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
Hal, at this moment and following your tut here above, I have a detail of your paramater in rendering and I am really satisfied with the result.
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:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2013
Great! I'll keep an eye out for it.:)
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:icontopas2012:
Topas2012 Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013  Hobbyist Interface Designer
wow :) this is super cool :) thanks for sharing :)
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:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013
Thanks and you're welcome!
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:iconciokkolata:
ciokkolata Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013
Many thanks, Hal.
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:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013
Very welcome!
Reply
:iconaereol:
aereol Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks very much Hal. As one artist who is trying to delve into the depths of Mandelbulb 3D, this is an enormous help.
:icongivemesmilesplz:
Reply
:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013
You're welcome and I hope you find the tip useful!
Reply
:iconeccoarts:
eccoarts Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013
Thanks Hal as always your knowledge is appreciated and it helps so many of us make better art! While I have been recovering from my heart attack I looked a lot at your images they always fascinate me.
Reply
:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013
You're quite welcome. I hope you're feeling better and appreciate your comment. Your images are some of the most colorful and smooth renders out there by the way! Very nice. :)
Reply
:iconeccoarts:
eccoarts Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013
I am doing really well better then the doctors hoped. I am back lifting weights and running. Pretty much a full recovery. I will be on a few meds the rest of my life but that is it.
Reply
:iconhaltenny:
HalTenny Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013
Excellent! That's very good to hear!
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