Mandelbulb 3D Tutorial: Generating Tiled Images Using Big Render

I’ve done some experimentation with freeware app Mandelbulb 3d, and the version I’m using for the Mac at the moment is v.1.9.7. Over time, I’ve made much use of the app’s Big Render tool, which is just what it sounds like — it allows the generation of extremely large images, rendering them sequentially as tiles, to then later be assembled into one large image by your software of choice. I’ll describe how I use this tool below, after some video tutorials for the program’s basic operation. These videos are by Don Whitaker, and the software may be found here:

First, the base image was rendered at 300×400 pixels:

Following are some screenshots of the settings I used to create it. Figure 1 below is part of the main rendering window:

Figure 1

The Formulas window is shown in Figure 2, for the fractal type used in this example:

Figure 2

I used reflections and transparencies from the postprocess window  with this piece, and those settings are included in the full parameters which I’ll include here:

Mandelbulb3Dv18{g….kG….Y/…w….2….UWX4F1kkrwz0sYlA8Bfp0E……….k2LN.OqihszEOmmnthECuD…………………………..fw2oH0PT7.2……..A.3lO/……………y.2…wD…Uz6………./Q.0/…..Eb/…8…..ED…..ADS2V3p87qD/………EM/dkpXm1….Uz…..cD12../……….wz……………………………U0…..y1…sD…../…z1…sDpQNJiZMrKx1……….0………………..EBLKZP7qhJz……….U…………………InZJtKWRPpDU…..2o8………….sD1M….sD..G…………………………….oAnAt1…sD….zw1…………………………………../….k1……OD8wz1…….kz.wzzz1.U..6.P….61…kB….U0…s/….F….6/…I1…..SH52…U.06..wD…kz….zX6dE16.0c…1Ak..UoK/nl2xvj6sM93P58iz1………..U.8..U.06..wUmc2beYz1.dA8E5Exwz0………./EU0.wzzz1………..s/……………….E.2c..zzzz………….0……………….2./8.kzzzD…………8………………../EU0.wzzz1……………………………..M..C..y3q/yzz/…/..1Ak.vzD0s12.UDn5VTzT/U2..kaqaPiQsr7….sLM5s1bTc.k/.UTVRUDly7E0…y3q/yMwbQ….sLM5snqTHQ…UTVRUDkzJk.Q..y3q/y…y3q/bzz/k.1Akyz1yATomxzpaqaff/3YHCF3J7ZY9e/rN.Q4………….E….2..F2E…..I….w….UGjBrGipGHjFKG4B3…………………………….6U.0………UNaNaNaN4zzcNaNaNaNawDaNaNaNaNiznzzzzzzzzwzcNaNaNaN4xj……..wz1…….U8./…….U.E……..I.YNaNaNaNawzYNaNaNaN4zD……………….wz……………….Uz1………….}{Titel: Project_14}

But where to find the button that opens the Big Render window? Note Figure 1, at the top of the window. Under the “Tools” tab, Big render is the second button from the left. Click on that after setting up the base image once all its parameters are assigned and calculated as a test. You are then ready to begin!

Note figure 3. Once you open it, note the button at the top right, “Import actual paras” clicking this will load the parameters of the base image. Here you see the original parameter size given at 300 x 400 pixels:

Figure 3

Size factor as entered as x18, which would enlarge the fully assembled image to 5400 x 7200 pixels in size, enough for a good looking file for making poster prints at 18 x 24 inches at 300 ppi. This winds up as the full scale indicated by the Size factor.

“Tiling” shows 2 horizontal x 2 vertical tiles, or 4 total. Note that each may be increased or lowered in number by clicking the upper or lower buttons to their immediate right, increasing the number of tiles and so rows and columns in the matrix of tiles to the right of Figure 3.

The tile-size is given here as 2700 x 3600 pixels in the main rendering window, for each tile as it is calculated during processing. Mandelbulb 3D uses the available memory of the computer for rendering its images, which puts limits on the maximum size of any single image, thus the reason why Big Render is needed in the first place for many large images. Rendering in tiles allows the project to be saved in its stored file once each tile is finished calculating, and this may be resumed by reloading the saved Big Render project file and the rendering of further tiles of that project, and so on until all are done. Note that it’s important to first set the project parameters after loading the main params from the rendering window, and then save the entire project before beginning rendering on the tiles. Each tile is rendered sequentially.

Just below that, at “Saving:” the “Tile downscale, anti-aliasing” setting, shows here a value of 1. This too may be raised, as may the “sharp” setting, which I’m leaving at zero. No anti-aliasing is needed here, though I recommend it for some clearer images with cleanly defined edges and surfaces.

“Output image type” has three buttons, one for PNG files, one for JPEG, and one for BMP files. Here, I chose PNG so I don’t have to worry about image quality for use of the JPEG format or the less versatile BMP format. PNG is also information-lossless as a format, even with the high amount of file space it takes up. Meh!

Once you save the project in an appropriate folder, (I’m using a file created for all of my parameter files called “MB3D Presets”) using the “Save project” button, second from the left at the top of the window you are ready to begin.

Now click “Render next tile,” and the process will begin, generating the indicated files for each tile in the project folder you’ve saved. Here, each PNG will be ready to save with the whole project once done, though if you stop rendering a tile before it’s complete and saved, you must start again from the beginning once you resume rendering.

One last thing: Look again to the right in Figures 3 above and figure 4 below, at the set of 4 tile boxes. When rendering and shading is complete, each tile box  turns from grey to white to indicate when it’s done, and when all are complete, the project is done and may be fully saved. Make sure you re-save the project once all files are rendered so you don’t lose them.

Figure 4

You may halt the rendering process at any point and save the project again, given at least one or more fully complete tiles, and then reopen the project later to pick up where you left off on unfinished ones.

This allows you to space rendering extremely large images with many tiles over a long period. One project a while back had me rendering for most of a month, with 900 tiles at a full image size of 90,000 x 54,000 pixels, or 25 x 15 feet of printed image at 300 dpi, all tiles stitched into a single file at 300 ppi.

So with that warning, try to keep the base image size and number of tiles to be rendered reasonable, and feel free to experiment with different settings to speed things up or even tweak image quality.

Figure 5 a reduced screen capture of this post’s example once all calculations are finished. All tiles of the base image took about a week to complete, which would have taken much longer even without interruptions in a single-frame image:

Figure 5

So, have at it! Use reason here, but think big, render big! And make something cool!

Tf. Tk. Tts.

This entry has been updated on 1/20/2019, at 11:00

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