T H E
F R A C T A L G R A F I C S
O N - D I S K
M A N U A L
Copyright, 1990 by Dick Oliver
Cedar Software, Morrisville, VT 05661-9605
Version 1.4, September, 1990
Required: * IBM-PC, XT, AT, PS/2, or compatible
* DOS version 2.0 or higher
* CGA, EGA, or VGA graphics adapter
* Minimum of 384K of memory
Optional: * Microsoft compatible mouse
* Math co-processor
For file compatibility, this product uses the PCX Programmer's Toolkit,
Copyright 1989 by Genus Microprogramming, Inc. Other products mentioned
are trademarks of their respective companies.
I. What is Fractal Grafics?
II. What Can I Do With It?
III. Getting Started
IV. The Fractal Grafics Guidebook
VI. Running the Program
VII. Alternate Video Modes
VIII. Start-up Files
IX. The Juliman Program
X. New Features in Version 1.4
XI. Features and Frustrations
I. WHAT IS FRACTAL GRAFICS?
Fractal Grafics is a drawing program. As with any drawing program, you use
the mouse and keyboard to create pictures on the screen from dots and
lines, with full control over coloring and shading. The images you design
are limited only by your artistic skill and imagination.
Fractal Grafics gives you a new, powerful drawing tool called a "fractal
template". You use the template to create complex shapes with rich detail,
and assemble these shapes into eye-catching, colorful images. With
practice, you will be able to make pictures more realistic than anything
you've ever created on a computer (or, more than likely, on paper). Many
of the most difficult things to draw with other programs (like plants,
landscapes, and other flowing natural forms) can be drawn in great detail
in seconds with a single "imprint" of a fractal template.
But realism is only half the story. Even before you build your drawing
skills enough to mimic the "real" world, you'll embark on a breathtaking
journey into the fantastic world of fractal geometry. The easiest shapes
to create are spiraling vortexes, other-worldly plants, enchanting galaxies
of color, and dazzling portraits of infinity.
Fractal Grafics is designed to be intuitive and easy to use for anyone: you
don't need to know any mathematics, or be any good at art--though you'll
find plenty of chances to use both skills if you have them! The mission of
Fractal Grafics is to let YOU get creative with the geometry that has
revitalized both science and art, from the prediction of earthquakes to
state-of-the-art motion picture special effects.
II. WHAT CAN I DO WITH IT?
Fractals are beautiful and fascinating, and you're sure to get a great deal
of entertainment from using Fractal Grafics. You can also do some very
practical things with it:
--You will learn through hands-on exploration about fractal geometry
and "chaos" theory, which are revolutionizing many fields of science. Here
are just a few examples:
* See with your own eyes why traditional linear systems go belly up
when applied to most natural phenomena.
* "Grow" plants on the screen by designing your own geometric genetic
codes, and learn to reconstruct the genetics of real plants.
* Learn to create visual graphs and models of non-linear dynamical
--You can also create spectacular artwork and graphics designs. A
sampling of your new artistic repertoire:
* Sculpt a fractal mimicry of any existing (or imagined) image, and
add coloring and shading highlights. All shapes can be re-sized
without loss of textural detail.
* Then apply some of these effects: Irregular or spiraling zooms,
complex "cracks" and fragmentation, spray, blur, winding tendrils,
fuzz, or anything you can imagine (and lots you can't)!
* Tile any shape with copies of itself for dizzying "off to infinity"
* Exchange images with other "draw", "paint", and desktop publishing
programs via built-in compatibility with the PCX file format.
III. GETTING STARTED
What should I do to get How long
going with Fractal Grafics? will it take?
1. Install the program, and get 10 to 20 minutes
it running. (The following
two sections tell you how.)
2. Follow the on-line help 1 to 2 hours
topics 0 through 9 to get
familiar with the program.
(Just run the program, press
the letter H and follow the
instructions that appear.)
3. Create some fractals! At least an hour
Play, explore, and practice.
4. Follow the rest of the 1 to 2 hours
on-line help topics to learn
all the features of the program.
5. Practice some more. Try to At least an hour
imagine a shape and see if you
can create it on the screen.
If you wish to continue using the program at this point, you are asked
register your use with the author. You will be sent a Guidebook which
picks up where the on-line tutorial leaves off.
IV. THE FRACTAL GRAFICS GUIDEBOOK
When you register, you'll get a guided tour of the fractal universe, with
six educational sections and more than 150 hands-on examples. The
following topics are covered:
You'll master the use of fractal templates to create breathtaking
images. Learn how to produce any design you can imagine, and a world of
shapes beyond imagination.
Fractals have revolutionized almost every branch of science.
By modelling the natural world, you will discover the deep simplicity
behind Nature's complex face. You'll also learn to graph fractal curves to
fit actual data.
Step into infinity and learn how fractals work. If you want to
see the equations and algorithms, they're all here. If you don't,
everything is explained visually and intuitively.
You'll discover the startling revelations of "non-linear"
thinking, and the intimate connections between fractals and Chaos theory.
Is the universe a fractal? Are YOU?
You'll retrace the evolution of a new geometry, and find out
how "pathological" shapes which appalled their inventors have revitalized
science, mathematics, and art.
You'll also get a complete bibliography of fractal books,
articles, software, and videos. There's also advice on how to use Fractal
Grafics as a companion to several books.
And all the examples used in the Guidebook are indexed in the back so you
can browse through them on disk and then read about the ones that intrigue
you the most.
Follow these steps before you run Fractal Grafics for the first time:
1. Back up the Fractal Grafics disk(s). Use the back up copy from now on,
and put the original in a safe place. If you're not sure how to back up a
disk, here's how:
--Insert a blank floppy disk in drive A.
--Type FORMAT A: at the DOS prompt,
and press Enter. If you're sure you've
inserted a blank disk, tell DOS by
pressing Enter again.
--When the formatting is done, take out the
blank and insert the Fractal Grafics disk
--Type DISKCOPY A: A: and press Enter
--Follow the computer's instructions
for inserting disks during the copy
--Label the copy, and stash the original
2. Insert the back-up copy of the Fractal Grafics disk in drive A, type A:
(the letter A and a colon), and press the Enter key. (The DOS prompt
should now say A>)
If, for some reason, you can't use drive A, just type the letter of the
drive you will be using, followed by a colon, and press Enter. (Example:
To use drive B, type B:). If you want to copy the disk to
a drive other than A (for example, drive B), use this command:
XCOPY A:*.* B: /S
NOTE: A "double-density" 3.5 inch disk holds twice as much as a "double
density" 5.25 inch disk. Therefore, you can not backup a 3.5" disk to a
5.25" disk, unless the 5.25" disk is "high density". You CAN copy two
5.25" disks onto one 3.5" disk if you want, though. Just use the XCOPY
command above twice. If this all sounds confusing, just
use one disk drive and the DISKCOPY command!
3. Type INSTALL and press Enter. Follow the instructions that appear on
The installation is done by several batch files which will tell you exactly
what they are doing before they do it. If you're a DOS expert, you can
modify these batch files to suit any special need or unusual system
configuration you may have.
VI. RUNNING THE PROGRAM
Once you've installed Fractal Grafics (see the previous page for
installation instructions), you can run it by entering FG from the
directory where the program resides. For example:
--To run from a floppy disk, type this (pressing Enter after each line):
--To run from the default hard drive directory:
--To run from another directory (if you specified one during installation):
CD \(directory name)
NOTE FOR MOUSE USERS: If you wish to use your Microsoft-compatible mouse
with Fractal Grafics, you must be sure to install your mouse driver before
running the program. In many cases, the driver is installed automatically
when you start the computer, so you may not need to take any additional
steps. See your mouse manual for more instructions.
The next page explains some advanced tricks for running Fractal Grafics.
You don't need to read it until you've used the program for a while.
VII. STARTING IN AN ALTERNATE VIDEO MODE
To force Fractal Grafics to start in a particular video mode, type one of
the following switches after the FG command. (For example, to start a VGA
in 640 by 350 mode, enter FG /E)
If you don't specify a mode, you will get mode /C (if you have a CGA), /E
(with EGA), or /V (with VGA).
Switch: Resolution: Colors:
/L 320 by 200 Green/Red/Brown
/L2 320 by 200 Green/Red/Yellow
/L3 320 by 200 Cyan/Magenta/White
/C 640 by 200 Black & White
/H (Hercules only) Black & White
/E 640 by 350 16-Color Palette
/M 640 by 480 Black & White
/V 640 by 480 16-Color Palette
NOTE: There is no on-line help in /L modes, and many coloring features
require 16-color modes.
Templates can be saved in one mode and loaded in another. Picture files,
however, may look wrong when saved and loaded in different video modes.
VIII. STARTUP FILES
Whenever you run Fractal Grafics, it automatically loads a picture file
named STARTUP.PCX and a template file named STARTUP.FRT if they exist in
the current directory. You can save any picture and/or template under the
name STARTUP and they will come up every time you start the program.
You can specify another start-up file name on the command line. For
example, to start Fractal Grafics in 320 by 200 mode and bring up the
picture and template named CGASTART, enter:
FG CGASTART /L
To start up without loading any files, either delete the files named
STARTUP or specify a non-existent name (example: FG NOFILE). The picture
will come up blank and a simple triangular template will be centered on the
IX. THE JULIMAN PROGRAM
The JULIMAN.EXE file on this disk is a simple program to generate pictures
of the Mandelbrot Set and Julia Sets. These are famous mathematical
fractals which are drawn by multiplying points on the "complex plane"
by themselves or each other over and over again. Pictures of these sets
take quite a while to produce (up to several hours per picture on an "AT"
class computer). The "Escape-Time Algorithm" used to draw these sets is
explained in the Guidebook (which you get when you register), with
illustrations and commented pseudo-code.
To use the Juliman program, install Fractal Grafics and type JULIMAN at the
DOS prompt instead of FG. If you have VGA graphics, you may want to force
the program to run in the lower EGA resolution mode by typing JULIMAN /E.
(Images take less time to generate in the lower resolution.)
JULIMAN will ask for several numbers. If you're not familiar with x,y
coordinates and that sort of thing, just keep pressing Enter to use the
default values. To get you started, here are a few interesting parameters:
From x = y = To x = y =
-0.95 -0.32 -0.85 -0.22
-0.2 1.02 -0.13 1.07
-0.7 0.5 -0.4 0.7
-1.78 0 -1.76 0.013
Julia Sets for the points:
x = y =
All Julia sets are from (x = -1.5, y = -1.5) to (x = 1.5, y = 1.5).
You can "zoom in" by using numbers in between, for example:
(x = -1, y = -1) to (x = -0.25, y = 0.25) zooms into the top left corner.
In most cases, 30 is a good number of iterations.
More iterations will show greater detail, less will go faster.
Control over colors and palettes is very limited in Juliman, but the
images are saved as PCX files, so you can load them into Fractal Grafics
(or another graphics program) to adjust the colors as you wish.
X. NEW FEATURES IN VERSION 1.4
This is a new update with the following enhancements over version 1.0:
* FASTER, FASTER, FASTER! Everything is now between THREE AND TEN TIMES as
fast as it was before (unless you had a math-coprocessor, in which case you'll
notice a less dramatic speed-up). This was done by switching everything
to scaled integer math instead of floating-point. "Haze" fill (with fill
settings other than 0% or 100%) is still slower than solids or outlines,
but LOTS faster than it was before. Juliman is about FIVE TIMES faster, too.
* NO MORE SMUDGES! The template doesn't slosh black goop all over everything
any more when it moves around.
* BETTER DRAW! The Draw command now builds one level at a time. This lets
you see an approximation of the whole shape without waiting for the most
intricate details to appear. For example, it will now finish the big branches
on a tree before drawing the twigs. You can now set the Level of detail to a
high number, and just hit the Esc key when you see as much detail as you want.
To draw the old way (all levels at once, a part at a time), type R instead
of D, or pick Draw with the right mouse button instead of the left. This
finishes the drawing a little bit faster than the new method, and can sometimes
produce slightly different results because of the order of overlapping parts.
* MOUSE FILE SELECTION! If you have a mouse, you can now pick files and
nagivate sub-directories by pointing and clicking. Even if you don't have a
mouse, you can navigate subdirectories by preceding the directory name with a
backslash (\). This makes browsing through the example files totally painless.
* EASIER HELP, AND MORE OF IT! Lots of people got lost in version 1.0's help,
and couldn't get out. Your work is now saved automatically, and restored
when you pick EXIT HELP from the help menu. Two new help screens (2 & 19)
have been added, and the others have been neatened up and slightly revised.
* BETTER MOUSING ACCURACY! Mouse control is now noticeably more precise than
it was before. It's nearly perfect in VGA, but still a tiny bit sloppy in
other video modes because of the extra aspect-ratio calculations needed.
* BETTER FILL ACCURACY! Solid Drawing (100% fill) now stays completely within
the lines. Haze fill (5% to 95%) still strays outside the lines sometimes,
but less than it used to.
* MORE VIDEO MODES! You can now run in Hercules Monochrome and VGA Monochrome
modes, if you have the right equipment. We're not advertising this yet,
because these modes have been finicky in beta-testing. Go ahead and try
them if you have a use for them. Start in Hercules mode with FG /H, or
VGA Mono with FG /M. Two-color VGA pictures take up much less disk space
when saved from VGA Mono mode than when saved from 16-color mode.
* SIMPLER INSTALLATION! Meaning that installation is now simpler.
* FATTER! Oops. The program takes up about 20K more memory. It should
still run in 256K for monochrome or CGA and 384K for EGA/VGA color modes.
* NO LONGER 8088 COMPATIBLE! If you have an 8088-based computer,
you'll need to run version 1.0 and miss out on all the new goodies.
If you don't HAVE version 1.0, I'll send it to you free if you call me.
(It might be on your disk. If so, it's called FG10.EXE)
Is anyone really running Fractal Grafics on an 8088?
Let me know, and I'll support your machine in future updates.
XI. FEATURES AND FRUSTRATIONS
"A documented bug is a feature." In keeping with this old programmers' adage,
you should know about the following potentially confusing features and stubborn
bugs that haven't been fixed yet. Planned future enhancements are also listed.
LOCATING HELP: The program can find help from any sub-directory of FRACTAL,
but may not be able to locate the help files from other directories or drives.
TOO BIG: If you grow the template a hundred times or so, it will eventually
get too big for the program to handle. You will NOT get a friendly message
to this effect, but the program will crash and report a math error. (You could
never use a template that big, since it would take hours to Draw or Paint.)
CONTROL-C: If you press Ctrl-C, or Ctrl-Break, a familiar "STOP!" command,
the whole program will stop and return to DOS. (This isn't a bug, but you
might expect it to just stop Painting instead. Use the Esc key for that.)
PAINT AND FILL TUNING: Determining exactly how long to Paint or Fill a shape
can be tricky in some rare situations. If Paint takes too long or short a
time, press I instead of P (to Paint "Infinitely" long), and just hit the
Esc key when the image looks right. In most cases, Adjusting the Fill
setting will work just fine.
DRAWING ORDER: The order which the Draw command builds parts on top of one
another is predictable. Parts will be drawn in the same order you see when
browsing through them with NextPart. In some templates, having the shapes
in a different order creates quite a different picture. Use Insert and Delete
to control the order your parts will be drawn.
PICTURE SIZE: Picture size is limited to the size of your screen. You can
use another program (like PC Paintbrush) to piece screens together into
full-page artwork. You can even Paint the top and bottom half of a template
onto seperate screens and put them together with a page layout program. I'd
like to incorporate oversized pictures directly into Fractal Grafics, but
this will involve a major re-write of the program, and may not happen soon.
ENHANCED TEMPLATE MANIPULATION: Sometimes, it would be nice to be able to
rotate all parts around the seed, or move the seed independantly of the parts.
This is easy to program, but difficult to make comprehensible in a user-
interface. Any suggestions on how you'd like this implemented?
MENU HILITING: If you're in a hurry, it's easy to goof and pick the wrong menu
item with the mouse (like Delete instead of Insert--Oops). Enhanced visual
feedback will make this easier in the future.
BACKGROUND COLOR VS. DON'T DRAW: If you assign the background color to a part
of the template, that part will not be drawn at all; EXCEPT for the seed,
which actually draws over the picture in the background color (erasing anything
underneath). This discrepancy was put there on purpose so you can use the
seed as an "eraser", but you can also make a template partly "transparent".
CAPTION GROUPING: Consecutive caption characters form a group, which moves
together when you Insert or Delete within it. Spaces typed with the spacebar
are considered caption characters: they are different than "blank" areas,
because they cover up the picture underneath them.
CAPTION CURSOR DISAPPEARS: Once in a while, the caption cursor just vanishes.
Don't worry, it's still there. Press a key, and it comes back. I'll fix this.
EGA COLORS: EGA cards support only 64 possible colors, which means the Red,
Green, and Blue Adjustments should move in 4 steps. I have purposefully
allowed VGA precision in EGA mode, so the color bars must be moved quite a bit
to actually change the colors on a real EGA. I did this so that VGA users can
work in the faster lower resolution EGA mode without losing color capabilities.
WARNING: Fractal Grafics will not warn you if you Quit without having saved
your work. This is a bug or a feature, depending on how annoyed you get with
being warned about things all the time.
MAXIMUM NUMBER OF POINTS AND PARTS: You can have up to 19 of each. I've
occasionally run into templates where I'd like more, but it doesn't seem
worth the extra memory you'd need to support them.
AUTOPOINTS: A new feature is in the works which automatically changes the
shape of the seed so that it approximates the finished fractal as you change
the parts around. This should be fun and useful.
This is an unregistered "shareware" copy of Fractal Grafics.
You are encouraged to copy and distribute this program freely, but it is
NOT in the public domain. If you continue to use the software in any way,
you must "register" (i.e. buy) it by sending $59 to the author at:
Cedar Software, Morrisville, Vermont 05661-9605
When you register, you will receive the most recent version of the program,
a 120-page printed Manual and Guidebook, and over 150 fractal template
files used as examples in the Guidebook. The Guidebook includes in-depth
sections on fractal art, science, philosophy, math, history, and
literature. You will also receive product support, the next update free,
future updates at the cost of distribution, and other periodic bonuses
(such as additional templates, pictures, and specialized fractal programs).
The shareware arrangement allows free information exchange while enabling
authors to focus on development and support of quality software without
huge advertising budgets, and resulting high prices. The success of
shareware, and the freedom and benefits it offers all of us, depend on the
honesty and integrity of users, distributors, and authors alike. Thank you
for supporting the shareware concept.
An order form/invoice is provided on the disk for your convenience. To
print it, get to the disk and directory where the FG program is, and enter
COPY ORDER.TXT PRN
Phone orders are accepted at (802) 888-5275, although you may need to leave
a message on an answering machine. Visa, MasterCard, and P.O.s are
welcome, or you may send a check or money order for $59. We pay shipping in
North America (add $20 overseas, and 4% tax in Vermont).
Thanks for trying Fractal Grafics. We hope to hear from you soon!