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Is it Worth Buying the Ultra Fractal Software?

Ultra Fractal allows you to make complex floral compositions.

Ultra Fractal allows you to make complex floral compositions.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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


aa lite (author) from London on September 02, 2013:

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!

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on August 31, 2013:

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.