Variation and Good Mutations
One key to a good flame is its inherent tonal variation.
Different gradients can disguise the tonal variation
of a flame, especially if they have a lot of dark colors in them, so sometimes it's nice
to use a monochrome
gradient while searching. You can easily create a monochrome gradient in Apophysis by
in the Gradient window and pulling the scroll bar to the far right.
Next you want to make Apophysis use this gradient
for all of the following random flames. You do this by
un-selecting Random gradient in the Random tab of the Options dialog.
Since it is often hard to find nice looking
random flames it's a good idea to build up a collection of "presets":
flames that respond well to further editing or mutation. If a flame responds well to
mutation you can use it
over and over as a starting point for your exploration. Save your presets into a
single *.fla file, and make this
a different file from the one in which you keep your "finished" images.
Mutation will add variations and generally make
things more complex, so it's nice to start with the Linear style.
The Linear style is also good for spotting flames with a nice tonal variation. Select
Linear from the Variation
menu and then press Ctrl+B to generate a random batch of flames.
We're looking for flames that mutate well, so open the Mutation
window (Ctrl+M) and position it away from
the main window. Close all of the other secondary windows,
because the calculations needed to keep these
updated can slow things down. In the Mutation window's popup menu make sure that High
Reset Location are both checked. Set the Speed
control to 0.15.
Leave the Mutation window open but click on the main window to bring
it back into focus. Watch the Mutation
window and use the down arrow key on your keyboard to scroll through the
flames in the batch. You'll find a
pace that allows the Mutation window to update fully for each flame. You
don't have to wait for the flame in
the main window to calculate until you see something that looks promising
in the Mutation window previews.
We're looking for flames that show something interesting in all, or
most, of the mutation previews and often
the flames that mutate well aren't very interesting in themselves. Save anything that
you think might be a good
starting point to your preset file. Later you can use these as starting
points for more developed flame images.