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Is it Worth Buying the Ultra Fractal Software?

Updated on April 15, 2015
Ultra Fractal allows you to make complex floral compositions.
Ultra Fractal allows you to make complex floral compositions. | Source

Why Pay for Ultra Fractal5?

With so many excellent fractal generators available, I initially thought people must be crazy to part with their hard earned cash for software. But a few months ago, when I tried the free trial version of Ultra Fractal5 I fell in love with it, and found myself opening my wallet, before common sense could stop me.

I think it was the colours that did it for me. And the similarities of the program to Photoshop, which I love using. This was like Photoshop, but it also created fractal patterns. I was hooked!

All fractal images used are my own. All rights reserved!

Marbles are easy in Ultra-Fractal!

The Similarities to Photoshop

If you have used Photoshop to enhance your images, I am sure you are familiar with using layers. In the past I've loved using different blending modes to add strange colours to pictures. Well Ultra Fractal also has layers and blending modes, and you can use them in exactly the same way.

What this means is that you can create different fractals in the same document and have them interact with each other.

Or you can accentuate a fractal by duplicating the layer and trying out different blending methods. Overlay usually works for this.

What's more you can set some of the colours to be transparent, or even better use a layer as a mask. This allows you to create backgrounds for your art, or to assign a texture to certain parts of the image.

Most of the time, however, I just use this to change the colours of my images. Below are different version of the same, rather simple fractal in different colours assigned by just changing the way different layers blend.

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Herd of Sea Horses (in admittedly strange colours)
Herd of Sea Horses (in admittedly strange colours)
Herd of Sea Horses (in admittedly strange colours) | Source

Are you considering buying Ultra Fractal

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Great Functionality of UF5

I am really amazed at how easy it is to use the program. You've got a layer in one document that you want to transfer to another? Just right click, copy, then right click anywhere on the second fractal and paste the layer in. You can copy and paste colour gradients in exactly the same way.

Creating colour gradients couldn't be easier. In the gradient window you just define as many points as you need, and move them to obtain the colours you want. If you need sharp boundaries, make sure you move different colour points next to each other. If you need "fuzzy" colours move them apart. It is all incredibly intuitive!

There is also a random gradient generator that you can just keep using until it comes up with something you like.

If you need to zoom in to a part of your image, just draw a rectangle around the area you want to see and double click. If you want to "experiment' but are afraid of losing the original, simple duplicate the layer with one click and work on it, with the original copy safely underneath.

And, most of the time, the fractals render very fast. Anybody who's sat for hours waiting while their apophysis image renders is sure to appreciate that.

Creating a colour gradient for your fractals is incredibly easy.
Creating a colour gradient for your fractals is incredibly easy. | Source

Creating Flowers in Ultra Fractal

Abstract flower patterns are always of interest when creating fractals. If you are planning to sell your work on sites like Zazzle, then they are probably a good aim. The general public likes flowers! And they are very easy to make using UF5.

In fact there are several methods of achieving flowers. Usually they involve choosing a Julia formula and an outside colouring method that automatically produces digital blooms. You can, of course, find detailed tutorials on how to do that on the deviant art website. To start with try this one.

Ultra Fractal Flowers

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The doodads colouring produces Ultra Fractal flowers with the right parameters.Another example of doodads flowersFractal Flower FlamesBut the orbit traps method is probably the easiest for flowers.  There are about 100 different shapes to choose from.Abstract Daisies
The doodads colouring produces Ultra Fractal flowers with the right parameters.
The doodads colouring produces Ultra Fractal flowers with the right parameters.
Another example of doodads flowers
Another example of doodads flowers
Fractal Flower Flames
Fractal Flower Flames | Source
But the orbit traps method is probably the easiest for flowers.  There are about 100 different shapes to choose from.
But the orbit traps method is probably the easiest for flowers. There are about 100 different shapes to choose from.
Source
Abstract Daisies
Abstract Daisies

Colouring Algorithms

Creating your fractal images in UF5 is largely a function of combining different formulas (many publicly available ones load with the program) with a different colouring algorithm. Both the formulas and the colouring algorithms have many different parameters that you can test until you find something that you like.

Different colouring algorithms have very different functions. For example orbit traps with a pinch trap shape can be used to create flowers shapes as shown above.

On the other hand, the triangle inequality average (TIA) algorithm, creates smooth flames of colour that extend from the centre, as shown below.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Jungle created using the triangle inequality outside colouring mode.Currants and Cream.  Same idea as above, different colours.
Jungle created using the triangle inequality outside colouring mode.
Jungle created using the triangle inequality outside colouring mode.
Currants and Cream.  Same idea as above, different colours.
Currants and Cream. Same idea as above, different colours.

A Simple Demo of the Generator

Don't Forget to Zoom into the Fractal!

As with many fractal programs, the trick to producing original work is to zoom into areas of the original image you've produced. What is lovely about the program is that it allows you whether to zoom (or move around) all the layers synchronously, or to choose a specific layer that you want to work with, while leaving the rest unaffected.

Using this program is really easy and fun!

If you would like to check it further, head on to the UF home page.

Blue Flight Fractal
Blue Flight Fractal

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    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 3 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Absolutely stunning! I don't dare buy the software (yet), I wouldn't get anything done for the next 6 months! Those are beautiful fractals, especially the white flower one, that is gorgeous. As you can see I am running out of superlatives.

    • aa lite profile image
      Author

      aa lite 3 years ago from London

      Thanks very much DreamerMeg. If you want to try easy fractal making for free, I suggest the sterling2 program. But I have to agree with you, it's a terrible time sink!

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