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Ppmforge User Manual(0)                                Ppmforge User Manual(0)

       ppmforge - fractal forgeries of clouds, planets, and starry skies


       [-clouds]  [-night]  [-dimension  dimen]  [-hour  hour] [-inclination|-tilt angle] [-mesh size] [-power factor]
       [-glaciers level] [-ice level]  [-saturation  sat]  [-seed  seed]  [-stars  fraction]  [{-xsize|-width}  width]
       [{-ysize|-height} height]

       This program is part of Netpbm(1).

       ppmforge  generates  three kinds of ''random fractal forgeries,'' the term coined by Richard F. Voss of the IBM
       Thomas J. Watson Research Center for seemingly realistic pictures of natural objects generated by simple  algo-
       rithms embodying randomness and fractal self-similarity.  The techniques used by ppmforge are essentially those
       given by Voss[1], particularly the technique  of  spectral  synthesis  explained  in  more  detail  by  Dietmar

       The  program  generates  two  varieties of pictures: planets and clouds, which are just different renderings of
       data generated in an identical manner, illustrating the unity of the fractal structure of these very  different
       objects.  A third type of picture, a starry sky, is synthesised directly from pseudorandom numbers.

       The  generation  of  planets  or clouds begins with the preparation of an array of random data in the frequency
       domain.  The size of this array, the ''mesh size,'' can be set with the -mesh option; the larger the  mesh  the
       more realistic the pictures but the calculation time and memory requirement increases as the square of the mesh
       size.  The fractal dimension, which you can specify with the -dimension option, determines the roughness of the
       terrain  on  the planet or the scale of detail in the clouds.  As the fractal dimension is increased, more high
       frequency components are added into the random mesh.

       Once the mesh is generated, an inverse two dimensional Fourier transform is performed upon it.   This  converts
       the  original  random  frequency domain data into spatial amplitudes.  We scale the real components that result
       from the Fourier transform into numbers from 0 to 1 associated with each point on the mesh.   You  can  further
       modify this number by applying a ''power law scale'' to it with the -power option.  Unity scale leaves the num-
       bers unmodified; a power scale of 0.5 takes the square root of the numbers in the mesh, while a power scale  of
       3  replaces  the numbers in the mesh with their cubes.  Power law scaling is best envisioned by thinking of the
       data as representing the elevation of terrain; powers less than 1 yield landscapes with  vertical  scarps  that
       look  like glacially-carved valleys; powers greater than one make fairy-castle spires (which require large mesh
       sizes and high resolution for best results).

       After these calculations, we have a array of the specified size containing numbers that  range  from  0  to  1.
       ppmforge generates as follows:

       The  randomness  in the image is limited before Netpbm 10.37 (December 2006) -- if you run the program twice in
       the same second, you may get identical output.

       Clouds A color map is created that ranges from pure blue to white by  increasing  admixture  (desaturation)  of
              blue  with  white.  Numbers less than 0.5 are colored blue, numbers between 0.5 and 1.0 are colored with
              corresponding levels of white, with 1.0 being pure white.

       Planet The mesh is projected onto a sphere.  Values less than 0.5 are treated as water and values  between  0.5
              and  1.0  as land.  The water areas are colored based upon the water depth, and land based on its eleva-
              tion.  The random depth data are used to create clouds over the  oceans.   An  atmosphere  approximately
              like  the Earth's is simulated; its light absorption is calculated to create a blue cast around the limb
              of the planet.  A function that rises from 0 to 1 based on latitude is modulated by the local  elevation
              to  generate polar ice caps--high altitude terrain carries glaciers farther from the pole.  Based on the
              position of the star with respect to the observer, the apparent color of each pixel  of  the  planet  is
              calculated by ray-tracing from the star to the planet to the observer and applying a lighting model that
              sums ambient light and diffuse reflection (for most planets ambient light is zero, as their primary star
              is  the  only  source  of  illumination).   Additional random data are used to generate stars around the

       Night  A sequence of pseudorandom numbers is used to generate stars with a user specified density.

       Cloud pictures always contain 256 or fewer colors and may be displayed on most  color  mapped  devices  without
       further  processing.   Planet  pictures often contain tens of thousands of colors which must be compressed with
       pnmquant or ppmdither before encoding in a color mapped format.  If the  display  resolution  is  high  enough,
       ppmdither  generally  produces better looking planets.  pnmquant tends to create discrete color bands, particu-
       larly in the oceans, which are unrealistic and distracting.  The number of colors in starry sky pictures gener-
       ated  with the -night option depends on the value specified for -saturation.  Small values limit the color tem-
       perature distribution of the stars and reduce the number of colors in the image.  If the -saturation is set  to
       0,  none  of  the stars will be colored and the resulting image will never contain more than 256 colors.  Night
       sky pictures with many different star colors often look best when color  compressed  by  pamdepth  rather  than
       pnmquant or ppmdither.  Try newmaxval settings of 63, 31, or 15 with pamdepth to reduce the number of colors in
       the picture to 256 or fewer.

       You can abbreviate any options to its shortest unique prefix.

              Generate clouds.  An image of fractal clouds is generated.  Selecting clouds sets the default for  frac-
              tal dimension to 2.15 and power scale factor to 0.75.

       -dimension dimen
               Sets  the fractal dimension to the specified dimen, which may be any floating point value between 0 and
              3.  Higher fractal dimensions create more ''chaotic'' images, which require higher resolution output and
              a  larger FFT mesh size to look good.  If no dimension is specified, 2.4 is used when generating planets
              and 2.15 for clouds.

       -glaciers level
              The floating point level setting controls the extent to which terrain elevation causes ice to appear  at
              lower  latitudes.   The default value of 0.75 makes the polar caps extend toward the equator across high
              terrain and forms glaciers in the highest mountains, as on Earth.  Higher values make  ice  sheets  that
              cover  more  and  more of the land surface, simulating planets in the midst of an ice age.  Lower values
              tend to be boring, resulting in unrealistic geometrically-precise ice cap boundaries.

       -hour hour
              When generating a planet, ppmforge uses hour as the 'hour angle at the central meridian.'  If you  spec-
              ify  -hour 12, for example, the planet will be fully illuminated, corresponding to high noon at the lon-
              gitude at the center of the screen.  You can specify any floating point value between 0 and 24 for hour,
              but  values  which place most of the planet in darkness (0 to 4 and 20 to 24) result in crescents which,
              while pretty, don't give you many illuminated pixels for the amount of computing that's required.  If no
              -hour  option  is specified, a random hour angle is chosen, biased so that only 25% of the images gener-
              ated will be crescents.

       -ice level
              Sets the extent of the polar ice caps to the given floating point level.  The default level of 0.4  pro-
              duces  ice  caps  similar  to those of the Earth.  Smaller values reduce the amount of ice, while larger
              -ice settings create more prominent ice caps.  Sufficiently large values, such as 100 or more,  in  con-
              junction with small settings for -glaciers (try 0.1) create 'ice balls' like Europa.

       -inclination|-tilt angle
              The  inclination  angle  of the planet with regard to its primary star is set to angle, which can be any
              floating point value from -90 to 90.  The inclination angle can be thought of as specifying, in degrees,
              the  ''season''  the planet is presently experiencing or, more precisely, the latitude at which the star
              transits the zenith at local noon.  If 0, the planet is at equinox; the star is directly overhead at the
              equator.   Positive  values  represent  summer in the northern hemisphere, negative values summer in the
              southern hemisphere.  The Earth's inclination angle, for example, is about 23.5 at the June solstice,  0
              at the equinoxes in March and September, and -23.5 at the December solstice.  If no inclination angle is
              specified, a random value between -21.6 and 21.6 degrees is chosen.

       -mesh size
              A mesh of size by size will be used for the fast Fourier transform (FFT).  Note that memory requirements
              and  computation speed increase as the square of size; if you double the mesh size, the program will use
              four times the memory and run four times as long.  The default mesh is 256x256, which  produces  reason-
              ably good looking pictures while using half a megabyte for the 256x256 array of single precision complex
              numbers required by the FFT.  On machines with limited memory capacity, you may have to reduce the  mesh
              size  to  avoid running out of RAM.  Increasing the mesh size produces better looking pictures; the dif-
              ference becomes particularly noticeable when generating high  resolution  images  with  relatively  high
              fractal dimensions (between 2.2 and 3).

       -night A starry sky is generated.  The stars are created by the same algorithm used for the stars that surround
              planet pictures, but the output consists exclusively of stars.

       -power factor
              Sets the 'power factor' used to scale elevations synthesised from the FFT to factor, which  can  be  any
              floating point number greater than zero.  If no factor is specified a default of 1.2 is used if a planet
              is being generated, or 0.75 if clouds are selected by the -clouds option.  The result of the  FFT  image
              synthesis  is an array of elevation values between 0 and 1.  A non-unity power factor exponentiates each
              of these elevations to the specified power.  For example, a power factor of 2 squares each value,  while
              a  power  factor  of 0.5 replaces each with its square root.  (Note that exponentiating values between 0
              and 1 yields values that remain within that range.)  Power factors less  than  1  emphasise  large-scale
              elevation  changes at the expense of small variations.  Power factors greater than 1 increase the rough-
              ness of the terrain and, like high fractal dimensions, may require a larger FFT mesh size and/or  higher
              screen resolution to look good.

       -saturation sat
              Controls the degree of color saturation of the stars that surround planet pictures and fill starry skies
              created with the -night option.  The default value of 125 creates stars which resemble the sky  as  seen
              by  the  human  eye  from  Earth's surface.  Stars are dim; only the brightest activate the cones in the
              human retina, causing color to be perceived.  Higher values of sat approximate the appearance  of  stars
              from  Earth orbit, where better dark adaptation, absence of skyglow, and the concentration of light from
              a given star onto a smaller area of the retina thanks to the lack of atmospheric turbulence enhances the
              perception of color.  Values greater than 250 create ''science fiction'' skies that, while pretty, don't
              occur in this universe.

              Thanks to the inverse square law combined with Nature's love of mediocrity, there  are  many,  many  dim
              stars  for  every bright one.  This population relationship is accurately reflected in the skies created
              by ppmforge.  Dim, low mass stars live much longer than bright massive  stars,  consequently  there  are
              many  reddish  stars for every blue giant.  This relationship is preserved by ppmforge.  You can reverse
              the proportion, simulating the sky as seen in a starburst galaxy, by specifying a negative sat value.

       -seed num
              Sets the seed for the random number generator to the integer num.  The seed used to create each  picture
              is displayed on standard output (unless suppressed with the -quiet option).  Pictures generated with the
              same seed will be identical.  If no -seed is specified, a random seed derived from  the  date  and  time
              will  be chosen.  Specifying an explicit seed allows you to re-render a picture you particularly like at
              a higher resolution or with different viewing parameters.

       -stars fraction
              Specifies the percentage of pixels, in tenths of a percent, which will appear as stars, either surround-
              ing a planet or filling the entire frame if -night is specified.  The default fraction is 100.

       -xsize|-width width
              Sets the width of the generated image to width pixels.  The default width is 256 pixels.  Images must be
              at least as wide as they are high; if a width less than the height is specified, it will be increased to
              equal  the height.  If you must have a long skinny image, make a square one with ppmforge, then use pam-
              cut to extract a portion of the shape and size you require.

       -ysize|-height height
              Sets the height of the generated image to height pixels.  The default height  is  256  pixels.   If  the
              height specified exceeds the width, the width will be increased to equal the height.

       The  algorithms require the output image to be at least as wide as it is high, and the width to be an even num-
       ber of pixels.  These constraints are enforced by increasing the size of the requested image if necessary.

       You may have to reduce the FFT mesh size on machines with 16 bit integers and segmented pointer  architectures.

       pamcut(1), pamdepth(1), ppmdither(1), pnmquant(1), ppm(1)

       [1]    Voss, Richard F., ''Random Fractal Forgeries,'' in Earnshaw et. al., Fundamental Algorithms for Computer
              Graphics, Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1985.

       [2]    Peitgen, H.-O., and Saupe, D. eds., The Science Of Fractal Images, New York: Springer Verlag, 1988.

       John Walker
       Autodesk SA
       Avenue des Champs-Montants 14b
       CH-2074 MARIN
           Fax:038/33 88 15
           Voice:038/33 76 33

       Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and its documentation for any purpose and without
       fee  is  hereby  granted,  without any conditions or restrictions.  This software is provided ''as is'' without
       express or implied warranty.

       If you like this kind of stuff, you may also enjoy ''James Gleick's Chaos--The Software'' for MS-DOS, available
       for $59.95 from your local software store or directly from Autodesk, Inc., Attn: Science Series, 2320 Marinship
       Way, Sausalito, CA 94965, USA.  Telephone: (800) 688-2344 toll-free or, outside the  U.S.  (415)  332-2344  Ext
       4886.   Fax:  (415)  289-4718.  ''Chaos--The Software'' includes a more comprehensive fractal forgery generator
       which creates three-dimensional landscapes as well as clouds and planets, plus five more modules which  explore
       other  aspects  of  Chaos.   The user guide of more than 200 pages includes an introduction by James Gleick and
       detailed explanations by Rudy Rucker of the mathematics and algorithms used by each program.

netpbm documentation            25 October 1991        Ppmforge User Manual(0)