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Creating and Managing Gradients with Apophysis (applies to version 2.x)

For a more definitive introduction to gradients, see this tutorial at Arcane Fractals. The only reason I'm partially duplicating information here is that I wish to have a 'local' introduction to using my own 'Palette Master' spreadsheet (formerly GradientMaker).

The Smooth Palette function in Apophysis (and in ApoMap, a standalone spin-off) is IMHO the simplest method of creating a complex colour palette from an existing picture. There are also some other fantastically useful built-in tools for palette manipulation. This tutorial assumes a good basic familiarity with Apophysis.

1. Launch the software and open the gradient window (see right) using the tool or ctrl-g.

2. Use the Smooth Palette button to launch a standard file browser dialogue and browse to a folder containing picture files (.bmp or .jpg) that have a colour scheme of interest.

3. Select one of these and press Open - the software will generate a 256-point colour palette based on a 400-point index system, and should show % progress in the left status bar panel at the bottom of the main window. On completion, the gradient will be displayed in the gradient window (see right).

4. Usefully, every gradient created in this way is saved by default to a file called smooth.ugr in the default Apophysis installation folder (usually C:\Program Files\Apophysis 2.0). However, if you're anything like me, you'll want a bit more control over the general management of your gradients. Right-click on the main gradient window to display the main gradient menu (see right).

5. Choose Save Gradient... to obtain the following dialogue box:

6. Study entries in the box: I have a 'Gradients' folder subsidiary to the program installation folder in which to store the gradient (.ugr) files. Make 'filename.ugr' whatever you wish (a .ugr file may hold many individual gradients) and enter a suitable name for 'gradient name', then click Save - job done! Your .ugr file will be obtainable via the Gradient Browser... function, and gradient names are displayed alphabetically rather than chronologically.

7. While we're here, it's worth mentioning briefly the other gradient management/manipulation features. Starting with the right-click menu (above right):

8. And finally, the slider control: in the main gradient window (top right), click on the (not so obvious) button labelled 'Rotate'. The following options are available, each applying to the slider:
  • Rotate - moves the gradient across its whole range.
  • Hue - moves the hue component across the spectrum.
  • Saturation - changes the colour intensity, varies from monochrome to full-on.
  • Brightness/Contrast - should be obvious!
  • Blur - smoothes the transition between colour bands.
  • Frequency - causes the colour banding sequence to be repeated up to 10 times.

To learn about format conversion, see the next tutorial.

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