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Textures Overview

A Fractal Science Kit fractal generator texture is a small rectangular image mapped onto the unit square (0 to 1 in x and y). Note that the origin of a texture is the upper-left corner of the image and the positive y values move down the image.

Textures are used by the Color Controllers to map the sample data to colors for display. Each controller maintains a list of textures using the Texture List Control. The controller can access the textures in the list using the Texture Functions. These functions also support accessing individual colors within a texture using a mapping from a complex number to a color. This is done by linearly mapping the x and y components of the complex number to a spatial position within the texture and returning the color at that position.

The texture data (the image data) is not saved as part of the fractal. Instead, the path to the texture file is saved with the fractal and any time the texture data is required, the texture is loaded from the texture file. In truth, the texture data is saved in a texture cache and only loaded if it is not in the cache. Clearly, these files must be distributed with any program that uses them. It is recommended that you store these files in the folder My Files located in the Fractal Science Kit Home folder. You can organize your textures by placing them in a folder that you create under the My Files folder (e.g., My Textures). Files located in the hierarchy under My Files will be referenced using a relative path to the file rather than a fully qualified path which is highly specific to your machine. See Sharing Programs for details.

There are many textures available on the Internet. Try searching for seamless textures as a starting point.

A good source for seamless textures is Genetica Viewer by Spiral Graphics. Genetica Viewer is a free application for rendering seamless textures that were created in Genetica. I highly recommend that you download Genetica Viewer. The download includes hundreds of seamless textures plus editing functionality to generate countless different variations of each texture.

There is also a nice set of public domain textures found at Public Domain Textures.

Texture Cache

When a texture is loaded, it is placed in the Texture Cache so that future requests for the texture do not need to reload the image data. This greatly improves the performance with respect to texture processing. The downside is that if you relocate/change a texture, the image data may exist in the cache and the change will not be apparent until the application is closed and then restarted. The Clear Texture Cache command on the Fractal Window solves this problem. Clear Texture Cache clears the cache that holds textures used by the Color Controllers. If you determine that a change you made to a texture file is not reflected in the corresponding texture object loaded into the Fractal Science Kit, it is likely that the texture is in the texture cache and you will need to execute the Clear Texture Cache command to clear the cache. Once you execute this command, requests for a texture will reload the cache with the current file.


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