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Welcome to the Apophysis Group

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Mission Statement

Our mission is to promote the work of apophysis users and strengthen their abilities in the usage of the program apophysis thru advice given thru blogs and tutorials.

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Hey folks,

during the last week, I had C-91 around (:heart:) and obviously, we did some fractal work together :w00t: During this, we needed to create some ad-hoc plugins to do the things we wanted to do. Well - not that it's something new for me because I kinda do this all the time but it gave me the idea that maybe I should write up how you actually create the plugins with x86 / x64 processor architecture support. I'm well aware that it's not very well documented so I try to fill this gap now with this little guide.

First off, I don't like to call it a "new" way to create plugins. You still create them with the same interface you had before when JoelFaber (afaik, it was him) set up the plugin infrastructure. But I felt maybe since Apo is sort of bound to Microsoft Windows and Visual Studio is a super comfortable development environment every professional Windows developer has at hand anyway, I could use VS and C++ to create them instead of a random GNU-C environment which is always somehow incomplete and bulky to me personally.

Yeah, I know. GNU-C is the way and blah. But as said, this way came up through a personal need of mine and I'm in no way saying that you can't compile x64-plugins without VS. Pretty much all you have to do is set the architecture in MinGW and alter some pointer lengths and you got it.

Anyway. Here is what you need to do to create plugins the way I publish them - in x86-, x64- and legacy*)-versions :)

*) the "legacy"-version is always the plugin compiled with MinGW under Windows so it doesn't depend on the MSVC++ redistributable. It's sort of a requirement to allow the plugin to be used under some older WINE-environments for OSX and Linux computers


I'm assuming you work under Windows. Otherwise, I don't know how you think you will get VS to run heh heh :D
So first, you need a working installation of Microsoft Visual Studio. And no, the (free) express editions won't do. You need the Professional/Premium or Ultimate 2012 or 2013 version. I highly recommend 2012 unless you feel like converting the plugin projects and want your users to require a newer runtime. I know it is super expensive but this guide requires it. But feel free to make it work for VS Express - it's not that it's impossible. Just that I didn't do it yet :)

Once you have downloaded and installed it, you can can download the Apophysis plugin SDK and extract it to any folder. This folder will become your new working path for any plugin you do with it. So maybe put it somewhere you remember it and preferably not right on your desktop. You can see that I use the same thing so I'm pretty sure it works as it is because I've got the whole thing in subversion and check it out on "virgin" computers (who didn't even see Apo before and just got a fresh install of Visual Studio) regularily ;)

Creating your plugin from scratch

To create a plugin from scratch, all you have to do is either:
  • open create_plugin.cmd from explorer or
  • open a command prompt in your working folder and enter create_plugin <name_of_plugin>

Then a new folder should appear named after what you just entered as the name of your plugin. In there, you find a .vcxproj-file for Visual Studio and a .cbp-file for CodeBlocks (a free IDE for MinGW) I recommend you edit your plugin in Visual Studio (also because this guide shows you how) so open the .vcxproj-file with Visual Studio.

You will find that your plugin is split into the files "variables.h" and "[your_plugin].h" - why I did the split is something I honestly don't remember but I didn't change the template yet. Either way, you just edit name and variables in variables.h and the calculations in the other file - your generated plugin project already has the name set right and some example variables you can either delete or change.

From there, it's up to you - maybe you want to read how to compile it for all architectures and legacy targets down below :)

Converting an old plugin project to VS-friendly structure

Simple as that - take your .c file (the source code of the plugin you want to convert) and drag it to update_plugin.cmd in the explorer. Alternatively, enter update_plugin <path_to_c_file> in the command prompt of your working folder.

A new folder should appear named after the .c file you just converted. From there, it's pretty much the same as the previous paragraph about creating a new plugin from scratch except that for this template, I've already undone the split into [name].h and variables.h - sorry for the inconsistency. I'll fix it later :)

Compiling your plugin project to all targets at once

Pretty much, you can set your target architecture in Visual Studio and compile in release mode and then copy your .dll from the bin-folder to the Apophysis plugin folder. But that's something which is kind of uncomfortable. Here is an easier way:

Simply drag the folder which one of the previous scripts generated onto the file build.cmd or enter build <name_of_plugin(_folder)> in the command prompt of your working folder. That's it, you should find all three versions of your plugin in the folder named ".output" ready for you to copy it anywhere.

If you want to build all plugins at once, you can run build_all.cmd from the explorer or run build_all from the command prompt of your working folder.

Testing plugins from Visual Studio

The project templates are already setup so that you can simply use the "Run" command in Visual Studio (usually F5) to start an instance of Apophysis with your plugin installed.

Alternatively, you can enter test <name_of_plugin(_folder)> in the command prompt of your working folder. Sorry, I didn't add drag-and-drop support for plugin folders to this script yet - didn't need it because you can test right from Visual Studio.

You can even set breakpoints and anything. But note that, of course, Apophysis will run A LOT slower when a debugger is attached.

If you want to start Apophysis with a test flame for your plugin loaded right away, you can save a flame as "test.flame" into the folder of your plugin. Visual Studio will pass this file to Apophysis when it's loaded. This way, you can start Apophysis with your plugin installed AND your test flame loaded when you hit F5 in Visual Studio. How comfortable!

I hope this helps you a bit. If you are against this workflow or environment, this guide was probably not the right thing for you to read and I apologize with the hint that the SDK generates CodeBlocks-projects for you as well :)

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Lanoo Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2015
Hi, I'd like to know how to render in 300 dpi in order to have my flames printed in a lab.  Apop renders in 72 dpi & I need 300.  How do I do that???
Deadshades Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2015  New member
I have discovered Apophysis a few days ago and spent most of my time reading tutorials and experimenting.
One thing is EXTREMELY confusing and I found no info  on the net.
There is a jungle of versions, they all seem to have different features and nothing is documented.
For instance I downloaded the 7X 64 bit Version but it has no Script tab (even if the Script function is described in the help files).
Could somebody tell me how I can get the script tab ?
Or what version (if any) has the script tab ?
The-Caped-Madman Featured By Owner Feb 16, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Just thought you should know... The Apophysis links in the " Links" box at the top of the page aren't working. Not sure if this is just a temporary thing or not but right now I get 404 errors for both the program and the tutorial.
(1 Reply)
dogroferifno Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Love the Fractals on this Page, Make mine seem a little elementery schoolish, but I hope to get there.
treeofone Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2015  Professional Digital Artist
Looking for some tips on simulating dynamic lighting within apophysis, especially light beams and such. Iv'e been working on some blooms and can get the structure, texturing placement well but seem to be struggling with adding final FX such as lighting and "bokeh" style circles...any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
LightBulbMoon Featured By Owner Nov 15, 2014
Hi All -
Over at the Pongorama group - we have an open invitation for any interested Apo artist to join a Pong Chain.
In this style of pong - parameters are received, tweaked and passed to the next artist in the chain. 
If the idea appeals to you, please see the details in this Journal: Invite To Chain Pongs: UF - Apo - MB3D

Thanks & Regards - Dave
soozan624 Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I have windows 8.1 and I seem to be having a problem with doing some tutorials.. I am following them to the letter but my results don't come out the same it seems that the plugins are not working properly .. I have a 64 bit system and a new computer and am using the 64 bit program... its wierd .. I hope someone can help me if there is a setting I can adjust to get some better gradations in my work .. it just seems too stringy and I am not getting nice gradations of color just more lines.
Paulletter Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2014
I have a 64 bit computer but apophysis 7x is rendering at 32 bit. Anyone have any idea why?
infinityfractals Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2014
wow thx for letting me join
TinaLouiseUk Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
How do you make fractals with a transparent background so they save as a png file?
(1 Reply)
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