A lot of you enjoyed the Christmas themed fractal images that Richard shared with us in December; I think this is the resource with the most comments to date (and they were all positive)! According to Richard, anyone can create those beautiful images, so below is a little tutorial from him to explain how to do it:

Creating Fractal Artwork with Apophysis
Richard Lyall Dec 09 (http://craftycurate.blogs.com)

Introduction

I created the Christmas fractals using a freeware fractal generating program called Apophysis.  To read more about fractals, visit here.

Apophysis generates random images using fractal mathematics. But the maths is completely hidden behind a friendly interface, so don't be put off, or worry about having to wrap your mind round some complex maths.

Briefly, Apophysis generates the initial fractal image. I then load this into an image editor to apply various processes and enhancements, and add text if required.

Getting Started

What you will need:

1. Apophysis (v2.09) software. Download from here (http://sourceforge.net/projects/apophysis/files/). Sadly, itís Windows only.

2. An image editing program (Photoshop, Paintshop Pro, GIMP or an online one like www.pixlr.com or Photoshop Online)

Using Apophysis

Run Apophysis to get to the main screen.




1. Creating Fractals

Select "Create a New Batch" (File | Create New Batch). This will autogenerate generate 100 new random fractals. These can be viewed by clicking through the thumbnails down the left of the screen (area 1 on the screen shot).

After clicking a thumbnail, it takes a second or two to generate a larger version in the main window (area 2 on screen shot).

You can drag the image inside the main viewing window to reposition it.

To increase the quality of the image increase the value in the "Iteration" dropdown (see area 3). The higher the quality, the longer it takes to process.

At any time you can click "Create A New Batch" to generate 100 more.

2. Saving a Preset

If you have found a fractal you particularly like, you can store the settings in a file for future use. Select "Save Parameters" from the "File" menu.

3. Saving to Disk

When you find one you like, you can save it as a JPG or a PNG.

Click  "Render To Disk" from the "Flame menu". The following dialogue box will appear.



Try the following suggested settings to start with

Width: 1024
Height: 768
Quality: 100
Filter Radius: 0.4
Oversampling: 2

Then enter a filename, and click "Render".

4. Enhancing in Photoshop etc

This article just deals with creating the fractals, but here's a quick summary of how I process the fractal image I just saved.

In Paint Shop Pro I often duplicate to a second layer, apply a Gaussian Blur, and then a "Screen" or "Add" overlay mode to create a more dynamic, with a  slight soft focus glow, and then add text.

Advanced Editing

If a fractal is close to something you like, there are a few advanced editing tools to allow you to apply various changes, and get "under the hood" of the fractal itself.

1. The "Transform Editor" (Press F4)



This allows you to edit the fractal itself. It is a complex tool, but try dragging the triangles around to see how the fractal changes.

2. The Adjustment Tool (Press F5)



This offers another set of editing tools, including the Camera tool, which allows you to rotate and zoom the image etc, and the Gradient tool, which allows you to alter the colour palette used to paint the fractal.

3. The Mutation Tool (Press F7)

This shows you what the fractal would look like if "mutated" in a number of different ways. Click on any of the thumbnails in the Mutation window to make it the current fractal.



This guide will get you started, but there is a great deal of depth to explore.

I hope this will encourage you to create images that help people to worship and get close to God.