Just a whistle-stop tour to highlight the basics: many features will require their own entry for an adequate explanation. Convention: following brackets provide keyboard shortcut and note whether a tool is available, if applicable. Beginning with menu items:
Key items here are Open… (Ctrl-O, tool) and Save Parameters… (Ctrl-S, tool), neither of which requires explanation.
More familiar functions: copy (Ctrl-C), paste (Ctrl-V), Undo (Ctrl-Z, tool) and Redo (Ctrl-Y, tool).
All items have tool shortcuts. Fullscreen (F3) needs no explanation. Editor (F4) opens the Transform Editor, the real heart of the software. Further details later. Adjust (F5), Gradient (F6) and Image Size lead to three different tabs of the Adjust Editor. Further details later. Mutation (F7) opens the Mutation Editor, a tool for controlling changes to the current flame.
Most important are Calculate Colors Values (automatically distributes the colour gradient across all transforms evenly) and Render To Disk… (Ctrl-R, tool) which actually opens a dialogue for specifying various parameters essential to final image creation.
The variations are the formulae that transform the points. Most useful here is Random (F11), which uses settings in Options (see later) to apply selected variations to the current flame structure. The other two items are submenus listing all installed formulae and apply that variation only to the current flame structure.
Scripts are just instruction sets written in Pascal that automate functions of the GUI. Installation supplies a clutch of largely outdated ones. More to say on these later.
The first three items are GUI elements that may be shown or hidden. The fourth (Ctrl-P, tool) opens an 8-tabbed dialogue for specifying various preferences. Rather than run through them all here, I’ll just list key elements by tab:
Multithreading – unless you’re working on a dedicated system, you’ll want to set this at less than the number of installed cores. So on single-/dual-core machines, set to off; on quad-core, set to 2. This enables one to continue working while an image renders.
JPEG Quality – set to 100 (not sure about 120 – I’ve experienced problems with this).
PNG Transparency – if you intend to use your flames in collages or mixed media, set to Enabled.
Random batch – defaults to 100 on installation. With the advent of thumbnails in 2.09, this can add a long time to the program launch stabilisation (if random batch is allowed to run on launch). I’d recommend reducing this to between 5 and 20.
The other setting are worth perusing at this stage: Number of transforms determines those used in Random batch; Mutation transforms determines the final number when the Mutation function is used; and Forced symmetry allows the creation of symmetric flames in the random batch.
Here, you may tick as many of the formulae as desired – these are the ones to be used in the random functions. Very useful for exploring specific interactions.
If you prefer to begin not with a random batch but with a specific file, this may be entered under Default parameter file.
The five rightmost tools on the bar are unique to it. In order left to right:
Show transparency – toggles background on/off
Then the four ‘mouse modes’ for the preview window:
Zoom to rectangle – use the mouse to draw a zoom box
Zoom out using rectangle – works in the opposite way to the above: the box drawn represents the current view in relation to the zoom-out view of the whole preview
Translate image – allows for simple dragging
Rotate – visually spin the image
Help (further information)
Apophysis installs an outdated help file in the install root called Apophysis 2.0.chm. A vastly improved version may be downloaded from here (created for 2.08 beta):
By replacing the installed version with this, it will become the default launched from the Help menu under Contents (F1).
For the mathematically adept (and the curious – the spatial distortion of many of the variations is shown pictorially), the other Help menu item launches a .pdf file The Fractal Flame Algorithm. This is also outdated – an update may be downloaded here: