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The Trident

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So, I started messing around with some new (to me) fractal software, XaoS, on my Linux box, and this is the first one I’ve rendered out and captured.

Like a lot of things in Linux land, the UI for this software leaves a lot to be desired, and there’s a bit more of a learning curve for it than there is with equivalent software on proprietary platforms.  In fact, if you read through their project pages, they indicate that the version they’ve released for Mac has a much better UI.

But hey, to use that, I’d have to buy a Mac, which should happen sometime around the heat death of the universe.

On the other hand, like a lot of things in Linux land, once you get past the dodgy User Interface, you actually have a lot more fine grained control over the software than you tend to in the equivalents on  Windows or Mac.  Live zoom, instant capturing, really good control over the algo, colour…  And it’s really light on system resources.  It renders the fractals out instantaneously on my Linux box, which has much lower hardware specs than my Windows box.

I had a lot of fun coming up with this one.  It’s a zoom of an Octal Mandelbrot set fractal, with some colour tweaks.  I then took the resulting capture, and did some colour, hue, and level balancing in GIMP, and this is the end result.  Long story short, this is by far the most “manipulated” fractal I’ve posted here.

Oh, and for those of you who are about to jump up and down and complain about GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program), let me just say the following:

  • It’s about $700 cheaper than Photoshop (as in, GIMP is free, and I just checked the price for Photoshop at the Adobe site).
  • You probably haven’t used it lately – the newest versions of GIMP are actually quite easy to use and fairly feature packed.
  • It will run/look the same on Windows, Mac, or Linux.  For me, the Linux part is kinda important.
  • It’s incredibly lightweight.  The latest versions of Photoshop are fat bloated resource hogs.
  • All those fancy features in Photoshop?  99% of you will only use a tiny fraction of them, and the equivalent features for those are in GIMP.  For the other 1% of you, there’s a plugin available.  In fact the fancy liquid rescaling that was recently released in Photoshop was available as a GIMP plugin for a year and a half  before it was released as “ground breaking feature” for Photoshop. (If you don’t know what liquid rescaling is, it’s way too hard for me to describe – search YouTube for “gimp liquid rescale” or just go to the plugin page for an idea – it is a vastly cool thing to be able to do to an image).
  • My wife, the one with the BFA in Graphic Arts, who currently works in architectural design and drafting, abandoned Photoshop for GIMP several years ago and doesn’t for a minute regret the decision.  She actually finds that all the key features that you use on a regular basis are easier to find in GIMP than in Photoshop, and she’s the closest thing I have on hand to a graphic arts expert…  So it’s nice that she IS a graphic arts expert.

So, for a $700 savings, (which equates, I remind you, to FREE) you get a highly workable graphics editor, that even if you’re a pro and need all the “deep” features, you can get plugins and extensions from a pretty vast repository.

FOSS is a pretty fun world, and it keeps getting better by the day.

Something to say?


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