I’ve really come to appreciate the great contribution that programmers make to the lives of us computer users, especially the ones who give their programs away, out of what I believe is just plain goodwill, and the joy of sharing their work with others.
I was working away with Fyre the other day and began to simultaneously praise it’s wonderful creativity and curse it’s lack of parameter files and the ability to do anti-aliasing.
Imagine my regret when I soon discovered how to save image parameters (so I could rework them later) and also to get rid of those revolting rough, jagged edges on curved shapes (ie. anti-aliasing – smoothing).
Not knowing much about how Fyre works (I think it’s an IFS, or flame thing, like Apophysis) I wasn’t exactly sure if it was even possible to save parameter files (the basic formula or underlying structures of the image). The menu options are pretty simple, although that also makes them easy to use, and I thought I’d tried them all.
While viewing a Fyre image in my image viewer, Konqueror, I suddenly saw it display some “meta” information that looked like all the variables used in forming an image. That looks just like a fractal parameter file, I thought, just a little shorter than usual -embedded in the png image file.
I knew jpgs could include information like a copyright notice, but I didn’t know pngs could. It’s just not an aspect of image files that I’ve ever had a need to use. I’d always wondered what the menu item, “Open Image” was for and so I opened my old image made in Fyre and instantly it was regenerated. I made some adjustments and was able to modify the image as if I had never stopped working with it. The saved png images contain the parameter information as meta information and all you have to do is reload the image to start working with it again. That’s pretty smart programming I think.
But the ugly jagged curves? I thought I would just have to do what I do with fractal programs that don’t have any built-in anti-aliasing: I would generate an image 2 or 4 times the size and scale it down 2 or 4:1, which is what anti-aliasing does, I think. Funny though, just below the two fields where you input the height and width sizes of the image that I wanted to change, there’s this “Oversampling” thing which has “1” as the default entry. I changed it to “2” (I tried to change it to “0”, but it wouldn’t let me). The image immediately regenerated, a little more slowly, and seemed to have lost all of its rough edges -it looked anti-aliased.
I don’t know why I didn’t experiment with the oversampling option. Its a common variable in many graphics tools. I guess I’m just used to seeing the label, “anti-aliasing”, and wasn’t thinking. I was almost ready to send off an email, telling the developers how great I thought their program was and wouldn’t it be nice if in the next revision they could just give it the ability to save image parameters and do antialiasing. If I was one of the Fyre developers, my response to an email like that would be, “Man! This guy’s a real imbecile!”