This tutorial will teach you what final transforms in the Apophysis fractal program are, and how to visualize their effects and utilize them. This special form of transform is very powerful and can completely change the look of a fractal. We'll first build a base fractal so that you can visualize each variation easily, and then we'll look at the practical application.
What Are Final Transforms?
A final transform is a very special form of transform in Apophysis. As the name implies, there can be only one. It acts as a funnel would. All of the regular transforms are funneled through this one transform so that the effect you see is whatever variations are found on the final transform. The final transform can so drastically change your original fractal that you may not even recognize it.
Why Use Final Transforms?
The simple answer: because they make things easy. There are other ways to accomplish the same effect that the final transform gives a fractal, but they are very complicated and not necessary in most instances. The sheer speed and power afforded you by the final transform is enough incentive to learn how to use them.
Lets get started by building a test fractal and then looking at the effect a final transform has on the fractal.
1. Creating a Test Fractal
Load Apophysis and open the Editor. Click the button for a New Flame. This will give us a blank canvas to with which to start.
Before we proceed any further, close the Editor window and open the Gradient Adjustment window. We will assign a gradient to the fractal so that the colors are clear and evident when we make changes to the final transform.
Choose a gradient that includes several bright and contrasting colors. I have selected 531_Dark_Rainbow.
Open the Editor again and switch to the Variations tab. Remove linear from your fractal by changing the value to 0. Look for the blur_square variation and add 1 to the value. Older versions of Apophysis might include the square variation and you should use this if blur_square is not available. If neither is an option in the version of Apophysis you are using, use sinusoidal and blur both with values of 1. The effect is nearly identical, with slight nuances.
Click the button in the toolbar to turn on the Post Transform option for Transform 1. This is the button with a PX and a Triangle beside it. Switch to the Triangle tab. Change the unit size for the move box (the box with the up and down arrows on the left; and left and right arrows to the right) to 1 unit. Move this transform up 1 and to the left 1. At this point, you will not see any change in your preview window.
Click the Duplicate Transform button in the top of the toolbar. Move this transform to the right two units. Switch to the Colors tab. Change the Color speed to -1. Choose a new color for this transform by adjusting the value in the Transform color box. I've selected 0.740.
The process is very similar for the next two transforms. Again, click Duplicate Transform. This time move Transform 3 down two units. Change to the Colors tab and adjust the color. I chose 1.000.
Duplicate this transform as well. Move it to the left two units. In the Colors tab, choose one more color. This time I've selected 0.406.
I would highly recommend you save the fractal at this point. Congratulations, you've created your test fractal. Now we'll apply the final transform and take note of its effect.
2. Applying the Final Transforms
In the Editor window, click the FX with a triangle icon in the toolbar which is the Enable Final Transform button. You will not notice an immediate change in the preview window because Linear is the default variation. You will, however, have a new grey-colored transform in the editor. Switch to the Variations tab and set linear equal to 0. You will notice that your fractal disappears completely from the preview window.
Add 1 to the swirl variation. Notice the change. Try adding more and taking away from swirl. Take note that in this instance the size and shape does not change, but the lighting and hue of the fractal do. Remember this trick and use it to your advantage when you need to increase or decrease the lighting in your fractal.
Take some time to explore and try out different variations on the final transform. Next, mix two different variations together and see how the effect changes the fractal as a whole. Below are a few examples.
This is the effect of applying Polar = 1 to the final Transform.
Below is LazySusan = 1 applied to the final transform.
Here I have mixed both Elliptic and Auger with a value of 1 on the final transform.
Feel free to spend some more time exploring the Final Transform. Don't forget that you can move it, rotate it, and even apply a post transform to it just as you would any other fractal transform.
3. Using a Final Transform on Fractals
For ease of use, we will stick with our base fractal. Turn the final transform off by clicking the button in the toolbar to disable the final transform. Select Transform 1 from the Transform dropdown menu. Click the Clear button at the bottom of the Variations tab to remove all variations. Add a value of 1 to the linear variation. Finally, change the Weight of this transform to 1.
Repeat this for transforms 2 through 4 so that all transforms now have linear equal to 1. We just created a very simple square tile.
Add a new transform to the fractal by clicking the New Transform button in the toolbar. Remove linear from the Variations tab by changing its value to 0 and add blur_square (or your square variation) by changing its value to 0.5. Change the Weight of this transform to 2.
Duplicate Transform 5. In the Triangle tab or at the top of the toolbar, activate the post transform. Move this transform over to the right 1 unit.
4. Activating the Final Transform
In the toolbar of the Editor, Enable the Final Transform. In the Variations tab, click the Clear button to remove all previously used variations. Experiment with different variations and combinations.
I decided to use a combination of variations on the final transform. The combo is checks = 1 and Circlize = 1.17. I also flipped the transform vertically along its axis.
5. Rendering the Fractal
Now all that is left to do is to clean up the fractal and adjust the lighting. Close the Editor window as you will no longer need this window. Open the Adjustments window and switch to the Rendering tab. The fractal looks quite dull and I want it to really pop. Change the Gamma to 5 and the Brightness to 20. Notice how much “stronger” the fractal now looks.
Use the move, rotate and zoom tools in the main window to adjust the framing and fractal position as you see fit.
Click the Render button (purple gear) in the toolbar of the main window to open up the rendering dialog. Choose the path to save your fractal. I chose unusual render settings for this fractal, but it gives it a very nice appearance. Oversample of 3. Filter of 1.6. Density of 20,000. Of course, you should feel free to experiment with different settings and compare the results.
Here is my result.
You have just designed your own fractal from scratch and applied a final transform to it. Not only that, but now you have a working knowledge of final transforms, how to test them, and how to apply them to your own fractal designs. Have fun!