What's new in Ultra Fractal 5?
These are the major new features in Ultra Fractal 5:
- Layer groups
With the new layer groups feature, you can organize layers in groups, which makes fractals with many layers easier to work with. Because a layer group has a separate merge mode, this also makes new creative merging effects possible. See Layer groups.
- Select multiple layers
You can now select multiple layers and edit them together by Ctrl-clicking or Shift-clicking in the layers list in the Fractal Properties tool window. For example, you can easily move or delete multiple layers, apply a new fractal formula, or edit parameters that all selected layers share. Likewise, it is also possible to select multiple transformations in the Mapping tab of the Layer Properties tool window. This makes it much easier to work with fractals that have many layers or transformations. See Working with layers and Working with transformations.
- Image import
Import PNG, JPEG or BMP images in your fractals with the new image import feature. Simply select a coloring algorithm that contains an image parameter, and you can select any image on your computer to use. The coloring algorithm determines how the information from the image is used. For example, the standard Image coloring algorithm just displays the entire image in the fractal window. See Using images.
- Formula plug-ins
Formulas in Ultra Fractal can now use plug-ins. Like regular formulas, plug-ins can be written by formula authors within Ultra Fractal. Because you can select the plug-ins that you want to combine with the formula yourself, this is a very powerful way to extend the capabilities of a formula after it has been published. It can really change the way you work with Ultra Fractal. For more information, see Plug-ins. (If you are a formula author and you want to incorporate plug-ins in your own formulas, see New compiler features.)
- Browser thumbnails
The browser now includes a thumbnail view for formulas, parameter sets, fractals and gradients that gives a great overview of the available items. See View style.
- Formula ratings
Ultra Fractal now contains a rating system for formulas that makes it easy to see which formulas you should try first, and which are no longer recommended to use. See Formula ratings.
- Improved support for dual-core processors
Ultra Fractal 5 uses dual-core or multi-processor systems more efficiently. Previously, on these systems, the fractal to calculate was split in vertical strips which made it harder to judge the calculation. Now, the image is split in as many strips as there are cores, so it appears to be calculated at once. If one strip finishes earlier than the other, the unfinished strip is subdivided again. This gives an impressive speed-up with most fractals and makes it even more worthwhile to have a dual-core system.
- Improved formula compiler
Under the hood, Ultra Fractal's formula compiler uses a new and more efficient code generator. This means that your formulas will run faster than in Ultra Fractal 4. Selecting new formulas and opening parameter sets is faster, too.
- Improved Timeline tool window
The Timeline tool window now lets you edit the properties of multiple selected ranges or keys together, just like the way this works with layers and transformations. Previously, you could only edit one item at a time.
- Improved fractal window
The fractal window now enables you pan the fractal very precisely with the Ctrl+arrow keys. There is a new Copy Image command on the Edit menu so you can copy the parameters and the image of the fractal individually. Also, there is a new Gradient|Replace command on the pop-up menu that appears if you right-click in the fractal window.
- Improved formula parameters list
The list of formula parameters in the Mapping, Formula, Inside and Outside tab of the Layer Properties tool window now enables you to horizontally resize the area reserved for parameter labels. See Formula parameters.
- Improved Explore window
The Explore window now shows the location of the original value of the parameter that is being explored.
- Improved formula editor
The formula editor now supports editing plug-in library files and contains an additional Check Class Syntax command in the File menu to easily check all classes in a file for errors.
- Improved Windows 7 and Vista support
Ultra Fractal 5 supports the new Aero user interface in Windows 7 and Vista even better with new file open/save dialogs, support for the Segoe UI font, and more.
Next: New compiler features