What are IFlames?
An "IFlame" is a symbiosis of computer images and flame fractals. The basic idea is to build one huge fractal by exchanging the "important" pixels of an image with small fractals. i. e., an IFlame is made by combining a picture (which may be another fractal or any other image) and a number of base-fractals. The base-fractals should have rather simple shapes, should be monochrome in color and occupy only a small area of the screen. You can use multiple fractals per flame, and specify numerous parameters for each of a flame, like size or variation in size and orientation. Currently, there are about 400 parameters allowing for endless possibilities to play with.
It is not necessary for all small shapes to be the same. You may also create mutations by specifying a set of flames or flame-parameters which is modified in order to compute a different flame. Each possible parameter may be modified this way, including the parameters of each variation. For example, you may create a collection of different polygons by using a flame with the "nBlur"-variation and varying the "numEdges"-parameter
Implementation as flame-fractal
To make things simple (and quick to implement) the initial implementation was just a regular variation called "iflames_wf". Since it was so powerful and complex, it made sense to create a new module for just this variation. IFlames are still flames and can be handled like any other flame, but using the IFlames-editor is is MUCH simpler and more intuitive to create them. After that, you can use the same workflow and tools for creating images as you use for regular flames, and you can even add more effects to an IFlame, like DoF and bokeh. Also, it is possible to load a flame with the "iflames_wf"-variation Back into to IFlames-editor. Since you would already have the "iflames_wf" in the original only the first one can be modified with with IFlames-Editor.
Create a library
Even if it is not truly necessary, it is highly recommended, to create a library. It makes it a lot easier (and a lot of more fun) to just play around with iflames.
A library is a collection of images and flames which can be used by double-clicking at them in the interface to compose iflames.
Here is a short guide to create your initial library:
- Create a new main directory (folder) for stuff related to IFlames, e.g. "D:\Graphics\IFlames"
- Create a sub directory to hold images, e.g. "D:\Graphics\IFlames\image-library"
- Copy some of your favourite images (as *.PNG-files) into the image-drawer, 5-10 images is a good number to start
- Create a sub directory to hold flames, e.g. "D:\Graphics\IFlames\flame-library"
- Copy some of your favourite flames (as *.FLAME-files) into the flame-drawer, 5-10 flames is a good number to start. Please note that not all flames will work well inside of IFlames, and only flames with one layer are supported. Additionally, most "special effects" like post-symmetry or bokeh-effects will be not be visible inside IFlames. Flames with simple and sharp structure work the best, e. g. a fractal flower.
- Enter the Preferences-window and change the following settings:
- Set iflamesFlameLibraryPath to the path of your image-library ("D:\Graphics\IFlames\image-library" in the example)
- Set iflamesImageLibraryPath to the path of your flame-library ("D:\Graphics\IFlames\flame-library" in the example)
- Check the option iflamesLoadLibraryAtStartup to automatically load the library at startup
- Close JWildfire and open it again, loading the library for the first time may take some time (depends on the number of images and flames), so please be patient. You now should see two columns of thumbnails showing your images and flames.
Create your first IFlame using your library
- Just hit the "New IFlame"-button. The program uses a random image from your library and some random flames from your library to construct an IFlame
- To use another image double-click at the thumbnail
- If you want to use an external image, load by pressing the "Add images"-button. Please note, that such images will not be added to library. To add images to the library you have to copy them into the library folder.
- To use a different flame in the creation of your new image
- Select the flame to be replaced using the drop-down list of thumbnails at the bottom left
- Double-click the thumbnail of the flame that should replace the original in the flame library list at the far right
- If you want to use an external flame, load one by pressing the "Add flames"-button. Please note, that such flames will not be added to your library. To add flames to the library, you must copy them into the library folder.
- Switch between several base-flames using the "Base-Flame"-Listbox
Use the main flame module to post-edit and render your IFlames
After all, an IFlame still remains a flame. So you can open it in the main editor like any other flame to adjust the render-settings, camera, coloring, bokeh, ... as you would do with a regular flame. You can also animate it and add motion-blur and, of course, you can render it using the interactive-renderer. To change the default camera view inside the IFlames-editor, you may export the IFlame into the main editor, change view, and import it back into the IFlames-editor. Now, have fun!