What's new in Ultra Fractal 6?
These are the new features in Ultra Fractal 6:
- New user interface (Windows)
On Windows, the interface has been modernized like the Mac version. There is no main window anymore that hosts all other windows. Instead, each fractal window, browser and formula editor is self-contained and floats on the desktop. Tool windows that work with the current fractal (Layer Properties, Fractal Properties, Fractal Mode, Gradient, Statistics and Color Cycling) can be docked to a fractal window, or they can be used as floating tool windows. The new View menu contains commands to toggle the tool bar, status bar and animation bar, and open the Preferences dialog (previously called Options). Update Public Formulas is now located on the File menu and the Options menu has been removed. See also Workspace.
- Gradient editor is a tool window (Windows)
The gradient editor is now a tool window as well: it can be docked to the fractal window or work as a floating tool window. It's no longer possible to edit gradients in a stand-alone gradient editor. To open or save gradients, click the More button in the gradient editor (downward pointing arrow), or right-click and choose Open or Save.
- Fractal can resize with fractal window (Windows)
By default, the fractal resizes with the fractal window. This can be configured with the 'Resize with window' option in the Image tab of the
Fractal Properties tool window. If the fractal is smaller than the window, the color of the surrounding area can be set with the 'Background color' setting in the Fractal tab of the Preferences dialog. If Resize with window is enabled, the fractal will also resize to fill the entire screen in Full screen mode.
- Perturbation calculations
The new perturbation calculation algorithm radically speeds up deep zooming. Images that would take hours or even days to complete are now ready in minutes. Ultra Fractal now supports this for various standard fractal types and you can also add perturbation support to your own fractal formulas, if the formula is suitable. See perturbation calculations.
Ultra Fractal is now a 64-bit application on both Mac and Windows. The main benefit is that Ultra Fractal can now use more than 2 GB of memory, which makes it possible to render larger flame fractals (and similar fractal types that require the entire fractal image to be in memory). Note that you could already render regular fractals (like the Mandelbrot set) at almost any size, and that hasn't changed. If you're still using a 32-bit Windows version, a 32-bit version of Ultra Fractal is also available. See www.ultrafractal.com/download.
- Fully supports Retina on Mac and High DPI on Windows
Ultra Fractal has been updated to fully take advantage of modern high-resolution displays like Retina displays on Mac, and High DPI displays (like 4K and 5K monitors) on Windows. This lets you enjoy your fractals at almost print-like resolution on the screen.
- OpenGL graphics acceleration
The fractal window now uses OpenGL graphics acceleration to speed up layer compositing. You will notice that zooming and working with layers is now much more fluid, especially for fractals that use many layers. Sometimes OpenGL acceleration will not work well depending on the quality of the hardware drivers provided by the graphics manufacturer. If you encounter any problems, you can turn off OpenGL acceleration in the Fractal tab of the Preferences dialog.
- Anti-aliasing in the fractal window
You can now enable anti-aliasing in the fractal window for a much more high-quality fractal image. See Anti-aliasing (fractal window).
- Render to disk improvements
The Render to Disk engine has been made more efficient and will typically render fractals significantly faster than before, especially in combination with network calculations. Invisible layers are now ignored while rendering. Anti-aliasing looks a lot better because it now uses linear color blending, which preserves the brightness of images (previously "busy" anti-aliased areas could become less bright and a bit grayish). When rendering animations, individual frames are now saved as soon as they are ready while the render progresses, allowing you to examine them right away (previously all frames would be saved at the end of the render). And the Render to Disk tool window now shows the progress of the current frame.
- Formula parameter list improvements
The list of formula parameters in the various tabs of the
Layer Properties tool window now shows you at a glance which parameters have been changed from their default values by highlighting them in bold. In addition, there is a new Set to Default option in the right-click menu for formula parameters that lets you easily reset individual parameters to their default values.
- Quick access to recently used formulas and plug-ins
You can now quickly choose a recently used formula or plug-in. Just hold down the Browse button in the Formula, Inside or Outside tabs of the Layer Properties tool window and open the Recent submenu in the presets menu that appears. This also works for the Add button in the Mapping tab, and the Browse buttons for plug-in parameters.
- Copy and Paste in the Timeline tool window
The right-click menu in the Timeline tool window contains new Copy and Paste commands that let you easily copy and paste individual keys or entire animated ranges.
- Various improvements and bug fixes
The fractal history list now stores up to 250 past states (compared to 50 before). And last but not least, you can now zoom in the fractal window by simply pressing the I or O keys.
Next: Compiler changes