As you might have noticed I'v been quite inactive for some time already, and the main reason for it (apart from varous real-life activities, like work and such) is ofcourse that I am a bit unsatisfied with Apophysis and it's possibilities for making fractal art.
Although the program is quite powerful now, especially when using "xaos" and a variety of plugins, often I had a feeling that things are getting just too hard to control and I need a different kind of program interface for building fractals.
Besides, I really don't like how Apophysis hides some mathematical terms under silly names like "triangles" or "variations", which makes the program harder to use even for people somhow familiar with math.
So I've been thinking about this for some time, and just a few ... years ago, during 2011 New Year holidays I suddenly managed to visualize how I want my fractal editor to look like.
The main idea is - everything is a transformation.
In Apophysis we deal with a single list of "transforms", each being a sum of transformations called "variations". All transformations happen at once, and we cannot put one transformation before another without using some unusual hacks like writing a special "pre-" or "post-" version of the transformation code. Ofcourse we could simulate the same by messing with "xaos" weight modifiers that change the way the next "transform" is chosen, but working with many transformations this way is quite inconvenient.
Now, in my model a transformation is any function that we can put coordinates into, and get some transformed coordinates in the output. We can apply transformations one after another, and ofcourse we can look what's inside of a transformation - which can be a simple calculation with parameters that we can change, or a number of inner transformations, that we can add or remove or edit in the same way. Or both.
Some transformations work on coordinates, some other work on colors - or maybe they can change colors based on coordinate positions, or vice versa. Some transformations may not need any input at all, like random number generator we use in Apophysis under the name "blur". Some transformations may not do any changes by themselves, but apply their child transformations in some way. One example is "random choice" transformation, which applies one of its inner transformations at a time - and if we call it repeatedly from another transformation called "iterator", we get an Iterated Function System
So the whole fractal itself in this case becomes a transformation, that we can copy-paste into another fractal as an element, which is sort of cool.
Unfortunately I didn't have enough time to make anything more than a prototype renderer for this kind of fractals... But now I have no better things to do, so I'm working on the editor I do not intend to make it Apo/flam3-compatible, and I don't want to make any kind of random generation (have you seen a "create random photo" button in Photoshop?). I want to make a kind of fractal editor that will help people to understand how fractals work... Or at least do this better than Apophysis