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Author Topic: Fractal Architect 3D - fractals done the Mac way!  (Read 10050 times)
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Lelle
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« on: January 06, 2014, 01:37:00 PM »

The best fractal renderer and editor for Mac is Fractal Architect 3D (available from Mac App Store - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fractal-architect-3d/id722452540?mt=12). I have been working as a beta tester of the app and I can say it's the most intuitive fractal app on any platform and certainly one of the most powerful. It's fractal flames done the Mac way!

I have made a series of youtube tutorials that you can watch to check FA3D out.

Overview: youtu.be/hqndE_MJiPg

In depth - Variants editor: youtu.be/yAn23_4MYFc

In depth - random variations settings: youtu.be/wqZ9TDV3Ubg

In depth - working with colors: youtu.be/hwNMav04Cvg
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lycium
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« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2014, 04:16:13 PM »

These guys talk a big game about Chaotica being slow (here http://www.fractalarchitect.net/blog/2013/12/rendering-on-the-new-mac-pro/), I wonder if they will ever consider backing up their claims with actual numbers  grin
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Lelle
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2014, 04:40:53 PM »

I have not tested the compared speed myself, but I don't think that is so interesting. When it comes down to it Fractal Architect is much more user friendly and intuitive and, from what I have seen of it much more powerful. For me it's the fractals that are important, not how many seconds I have to wait. I haven't tested GPU rendering myself since my Mac doesn't support it.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 04:43:57 PM by Lelle » Logged
lycium
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2014, 04:43:02 PM »

Well, that's funny, because Chaotica isn't the one overselling performance at the expense of image quality! Show me just one high quality image produced with FA, and we have a discussion...
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Lelle
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« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2014, 04:47:05 PM »

You can take a look at this one. it's 4000x3000 px. I posted three fractals in this set on Google+ today.

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos?pid=5965706557657110498&oid=113210195985045745953
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lycium
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« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2014, 04:50:18 PM »

Resized, recompressed images are not really putting your best foot forward...

I am very keen to do a proper comparison: post a PNG image and the flam3 params, and any rendering information you might want to add. I'll post back a PNG image, with the same.
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Lelle
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« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2014, 05:19:25 PM »

Are you interested in doing a fair comparison? I'm not about to go through that work just to fuel an argument. I'm sure both Chaotica and Fractal Architect 3D can render high quality fractals. But what's interesting is how inspiring and intuitive it is to work with the apps. I use several different fractal apps myself and I have found that they all have their strong and weak points. In my eye the most inspiring app is Fractal Architect 3D.
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lycium
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« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2014, 05:54:01 PM »

I realise the burden isn't yours to bear, but they are the ones essentially calling a Duel, saying "Users of Chaotica will be crying", and then showing up with no pistol and only strong language.

I've asked my star beta tester (which I guess you are for FA), and an expert in Apophysis, to post here about doing a simple comparison. A commercial product making such strong claims should be able to stand up to the most basic scrutiny / fact checking, no?
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Lelle
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« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2014, 06:03:44 PM »

I believe that blog post was about the new Mac pro and the fact that FA3D use GPU rendering. Not much to make a fuzz about in my eyes. I'll redirect you to Steven Brodhead, who is the programmer of Fractal Architect. I think you guys should be better off being inspired by each other than battle over words.
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tatasz
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« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2014, 06:10:47 PM »

Well, as user, i would like to see some actual numbers and examples (unfortunately there are no proper examples on the website) before buying a software.
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Lelle
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« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2014, 06:12:53 PM »

There are examples of fractals. What examples and numbers do you miss? I'm sure it can be arranged.
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Far
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« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2014, 07:58:06 PM »

Hey Lelle.

First, full disclosure: I'm an avid beta tester for Chaotica, but I guess that just puts me and you on the same footing bias-wise.

Second, apologies in advance for what will probably turn out to be a wall of text. I'm a thorough person by nature and I think in paragraphs, not quips. tongue stuck out

I think part of the issue here is that everyone talks about "high quality" images without ever explaining what exactly they mean by that. To me, high quality means smoothness of anti-aliasing (no jaggies), while retaining an overall sharpness that lets details and textures be seen. These two concerns can be surprisingly difficult to balance! After that, I value an absence of grain, although this of course is partially determined by rendering time and not quite as program-dependent as the aa... but, since grain is occasionally unavoidable or even desirable, we should lastly take into account that some programs just seem to have much more attractive and "natural looking" grain.

With that in mind, the google plus image you've linked does not particularly impress me, sorry to say. The extent of the visible jaggies almost reminds me of a photo that has been oversharpened in photoshop or something like that. The grain in the background, aside from being very prevalent and unsmooth to begin with, just looks... very harsh. I have similar issues with the example images on the fractalarchitect website.

To this I would contrast...

But, for a more one-to-one comparison we really should use the same params. I think these http://pastebin.com/gEjDxUS4 would be good; they are fairly simple, no plugins needed, etc. But if you want we can also compare with any flam3-compatible params you have.

---

It's not that I think the intuitiveness of the interface is unimportant, but to me, if I can't use that interface to generate a nicely sharp and anti-aliased image, then... the user-friendly UI is almost wasted. I realize this is a personal opinion, and especially if someone is a new user they might not be so fussed about jaggies and grain and whatnot, but my point is that a solid rendering core and high quality image processing is more substantial and fundamental to a fractal renderer than a flashy, "inspiring" interface, especially for a longtime or serious user. It seems to me that newer users are often easily impressed when they can quickly churn out colorful wispy designs, but after years of making fractal art and looking at literally thousands of renders, I am quite inured to hyperbolic claims about "blowing anything else out of the water" which are then followed by the kind of aliased, julian-based, semi-randomly-generated mandalas that I've already seen hundreds of times before.
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tatasz
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« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2014, 08:08:50 PM »

There are examples of fractals. What examples and numbers do you miss? I'm sure it can be arranged.

Far said everything Grin with closed eyes

You know, not just saying the software you test is way better than everything else, but showing concrete examples: renders and more renders, same params all programs =)
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Lelle
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« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2014, 09:23:10 PM »

I agree with you Far that quality is very important. I have not tested the unlimited version of Chaotica so I can't easily compare the rendering quality between the two. But I don't agree that quality is overshadowing user interface in importance. They are both important to me. If I turn your example around I can just as easily say that the best rendering quality in the world would not be as interesting if the interface did not lend itself to inspiring creative work and discovery.

It's important here to make clear that I'm not coming into fractal making from a mathematic interest side but from an interest in the produced art. When I say that Fractal Architect blows everything else out of the water I'm not talking about astounding rendering quality, I'm talking about astounding user experience. And when it comes to user experience and shear inspiration value, I maintain that Fractal Architect is the best out there. But as I said earlier in this post, every fractal program has its weak and strong points, and there are reasons to use several of them together many times.

As for the quality of the renders, the example I provided was not straight out of FA but post processed in Aperture. I might have overdone the sharpening on that one to suit the medium. I'll be glad to do a comparison render of the file you suggested. If Chaotica turns up the best quality I think we will take that as a reason to make Fractal Architect better, but I will still maintain that the user experience of FA is better. To understand my view of fractal images you can look at this gallery with images I've made with Fractal Architect: https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/113210195985045745953/albums/5845848728961026337

We all go about making art in different ways, so it's only natural that we will be drawn to different tools to make that art. I think it's important to be inspired by each other to find new ways and revalue old ideas and habits.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2014, 10:04:57 PM by Lelle » Logged
tatasz
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« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2014, 11:18:28 PM »

Just quoting,  A Beer Cup

Fractal Architect 3D is now available from App Store, and it blows anything else out of the water!

Also, FA blog claims that:
Quote
Users of Apophysis, Chaotica, and JWildfire will be crying as they wait on slow CPU renders while the Mac Pro renders the exact same fractal in a itty-bitty fraction of time.

We arent talking about user experience, we are talking about speed and image quality, so please dont.
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