Tonal Variation and Good Mutations

One key to a good flame is its inherent tonal variation. Different gradients can disguise the tonal variation
of a flame, especially if they have a lot of dark colors in them, so sometimes it's nice to use a monochrome
gradient while searching. You can easily create a monochrome gradient in Apophysis by selecting Blur
in the Gradient window and pulling the scroll bar to the far right.

blur.jpg (13321 bytes)

blur2.jpg (7736 bytes)

Next you want to make Apophysis use this gradient for all of the following random flames. You do this by
un-selecting Random gradient in the Random tab of the Options dialog.

Since it is often hard to find nice looking random flames it's a good idea to build up a collection of "presets":
flames that respond well to further editing or mutation. If a flame responds well to mutation you can use it

over and over as a starting point for your exploration. Save your presets into a single *.fla file, and make this
a different file from the one in which you keep your "finished" images.

Mutation will add variations and generally make things more complex, so it's nice to start with the Linear style.
The Linear style is also good for spotting flames with a nice tonal variation. Select Linear from the Variation

menu and then press Ctrl+B to generate a random batch of flames.

linear.jpg (4462 bytes)

We're looking for flames that mutate well, so open the Mutation window (Ctrl+M) and position it away from
the main window. Close all of the other secondary windows, because the calculations needed to keep these
updated can slow things down. In the Mutation window's popup menu make sure that High Quality and
Reset Location are both checked. Set the Speed control to 0.15.

mutation.jpg (34475 bytes)

Leave the Mutation window open but click on the main window to bring it back into focus. Watch the Mutation
window and use the down arrow key on your keyboard to scroll through the flames in the batch. You'll find a
pace that allows the Mutation window to update fully for each flame. You don't have to wait for the flame in
the main window to calculate until you see something that looks promising in the Mutation window previews.

We're looking for flames that show something interesting in all, or most, of the mutation previews and often
the flames that mutate well aren't very interesting in themselves. Save anything that you think might be a good
starting point to your preset file. Later you can use these as starting points for more developed flame images.