Fractal Explorer Update

Posted by Doug Haber on 2014-12-16
A new release of Leshy Fractal Explorer is out. Included in this release is experimental support for stripe average coloring and color cycling, as well as a large number of other changes and fixes.

Most of the work for this was actually done shortly after the initial release about 2 years ago. I had been hoping to find the time to redo the user interface to make it easier to use and accessible to more people. The current user interface is reminiscent of many older programs, with lots of key combinations needed to be learned in order to fully take advantage of the program.

I had a rewrite in progress with many new features a new user interface, but I just wasn't finding the free time to complete it. Yesterday, Leshy Fractal Explorer got a surprising amount of traffic, so I decided to package up a release with many of the new features, but with the original user interface.
Click here to launch Leshy Fractal Explorer

Notable New Features

Stripe Average Coloring

Stripe average coloring modes use a smooth coloring technique that produces very different views of fractals, with some amazing possible results. To toggle stripe average coloring, use the V key. This technique is much slower than other ways of coloring a fractal, but the results make it worthwhile.

These features are experimental and may change in the future. Options were added under the "Fractal" tab, and some details are found in the documentation.

Settings can be randomized with the 1 key. More extreme settings can be randomly chosen with the 2 key. Color weights can be randomly chosen with the 3 key.

Here are some links to examples of stripe average colored fractals:

Color Cycling

Color cycling dynamically changes the color of each pixel based on color cycle settings. It is toggled on and off by pressing Q or SHIFT+Q for reverse. Settings aren't yet available in the user interface, but they can be randomized by pressing the 9 key. Color cycling is effected by other modes, so results can vary greatly based on color and zColor settings.

Unfortunately, color cycling isn't performant enough this way to do at a good speed, and so it is only done in low quality drawing mode. When exiting color cycle modes all colors are restored to their default.

Other Changes

A large number of other changes and bugfixes were made. Here are some of the more noticable ones:
  • The fractal browser now defaults to full screen. You can still make it smaller by switching out of full-screen mode. (ALT-Enter) The old UI is available when outside of full-screen mode.
  • The default settings were changed to be more reasonable. For example, the maximum iterations is now at 5000 instead of 200, and different coloring modes are used by default that include smoothing. Originally, the options were more conservative for performance reasons, but these new settings make everything look more impressive, and it seems worthwhile to have them as the default.
  • Image smoothing can now be disabled under the advanced tab, and the new default is to disable it. Web browsers smooth over scaled images, unless explicitly told not to. This settings allows a user to choose whether or not they have the smooth or pixelated look. This only applies to low quality drawing modes, and those modes will be faster if smoothing is disabled.
  • Some effort was put into maintaining reverse compatibility with old fractal links. Almost everything works, except for fractals using "Newton Outline" zColoring. There were two example fractals that used "Newton Outline," and they have both been disabled for now. It is recommended not to use that mode, since when it is fixed anything using it as is may become impossible to reproduce.

Final notes

This was put together quickly, and there definitely could be bugs. I am aware of an issue with Firefox double-saving screenshots. Feel free to report any other issues found.

For more information about Leshy Fractal Explorer, please see the Introduction to Leshy Fractal Explorer post and the documentation.

Click here to launch Leshy Fractal Explorer

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