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What is Virtual Flower?
Star Spheres
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Flash and jpeg animations for web pages etc
Stereoscopic views - and Coloured 3D Anaglyphs
Explore four and higher dimensional geometry
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Virtual Flower Requirements

VRML Viewer

You will need a VRML viewer if you want to see your flowers in 3D after you save them from within VF. If you can see the 3D image geraniums.wrl then you have one already.

The Cortona is excellent - nowadays it displays a small logo at bottom right but it is fairly unobtrusive. It is very fast and smooth running. Also, for more options for your browser: Other VRML Viewers - auto detected

BTW - it isn't required for Virtual Flower or the scenes on this site, but if you use Cortona, it is worth installing the VRML 1.0 Converter for Cortona while you are at it, to help with any version 1.0 VRML web pages you may visit elsewhere on the web.

Computer Speed issues For VRML viewers

Because of the amount of detail involved, the animations in your VRML scenes look best with a computer perhaps of 400 Khz or so or faster. This is only relevant nowadays if you have a very old or second hand computer from maybe ten years ago or so. A more modern 1 or 2 Ghz computer or faster will show them very smoothly.

If you have a slower computer, you can still run Virtual Flower. You may need to make trees with fewer layers to them (less detail) to get smooth animations in your VRML scenes.

Computer Speed issues for Virtual Flower itself

When you work with the flowers within Virtual flower, then they aren't quite so smooth to turn around in Virtual Flower as they are in the VRML viewers - though on a 1 or 2 Ghz computer or faster they are pretty good.

That's because they are unaccelerated at present - they don't use the capabilities of your graphics card.

Work around 1 - reduce the number of layers while you edit the pattern

If you have a fast computer at 1Ghz or more you just need to keep the number of layers fairly low until you save the flower. The number of layers controls how many times the tree divides into smaller and smaller branches. Increase the number again right at the end before you output or print the result, or show it in a VRML viewer.

To find this feature in Virtual Flower, go to Tree | Tree and reduce the number of layers. Increase that again just before the save or print.

Work around 2 - reduce the level of detail

With a slower computer, of 400 Hz or so, perhaps from the mid nineteen nineties, you may need to reduce the detail to a an outline wireframe type line type drawing while editing the flowers, or further, to a schematic line type drawing - in the most schematic view then for instance a whole geranium flower may be represented as just a single red line. There is also a scene graph type view you can use for really slow computers, which doesn't really preview the 3D pattern, but does give some feedback as you increase the level of detail for the more complex patterns.

To find this feature in Virtual Flower, go to Pictures and from the drop menu, choose Wireframe or Outline.

For more detailed control, go to Picture | Options and set the Stationary and On Move parameters low (say 0, 1 or 2), or configure the way it works by hand in the rest of that window.

Pictures | Medium Quality, which is also quite fast, and shows them as solid shapes, may be suitable if the shapes aren't too complex. It just draws all the faces in order of the average distance from the viewer, from back to front. That's very fast to do and usually works for simpler shapes, but sometimes will get confused about faces that are partly in front of other faces.

Work around 3 - reduce the level of detail when the tree is moving only

You can also set it to show the trees at a lower level of detail whenever you turn the tree around or zoom in - and "snap back" to the more detailed view when it stops turning or changing position. The lowerlevel of detail will also be used whenever you animate the main window. This is very useful for older machines. It can also be useful for newer machines for very complex patterns.

To find this feature in Virtual Flower, go to Picture | Options and set the On Move parameter to 0 or 1 - fast but low quality. With the parameter set to 0, you can reduce it even further by setting the Leaves setting to Line - which will draw just a single line for every tree, leaf, flower or object on the tree.

Either way, you can then increase the detail and number of layers once the flower is finished and you are ready to print or copy it or show it in a VRML scene.

What happens if the flower is too complex for your computer to show it in Virtual Flower

There is no harm done if you make a flower which can't be rendered swiftly. All that happens is that the drawing will time out after 1.5 seconds (configurable by the user) and you will see a fragmentary tree with as much of it as could be drawn in that time. The copy to clipboard, and print will be rendered complete.

You can set the time out high temporarily to show a more complex tree in Virtual Flower if you wait long enough. If it takes too long you can interrupt the drawing by holding down the Escape key.

To find this feature in Virtual Flower, go to Picture | Drawing Options and vary the Drawing Time Out

Plan for the future - to add OpenGL to Virtual Flower

The reason these issues arise are mainly because Virtual Flower doesn't use your graphics card acceleration capabilities. I have plans to add OpenGL to virtual flower presently, as soon as I get the time to do it, which will deal with most of these issues by permitting graphics acceleration. The Lissajous 3D program already uses OpenGL So it is a matter of using the same techniques in Virtual Flower, which is an older program written before I learnt to use OpenGL.

This won't solve everything.

If you set the number of layers high enough you expect it to time out with some really complex trees - certainly on old machines - but also even on really fast computers with graphics acceleration because the trees are fractal and so can be made as complicated and detailed as you wish. So the best one can do is to make it fast enough to handle reasonably complex trees. Once I add OpenGL it should be reasonably fast, hopefully.

Features.

Features include: Animations - leaves rustle, trees grow etc. Make forests and avenues. Animated tour of the viewpoints. Add audio clips. Show as anaglyphs (for 3D specs).

In the freeware version, you can make trees with up to two layers.

You can also save four times per session - after which you need to exit the program and start it again.

You can make anaglyphs of up to 200 pixels in height.

There is no obligation to buy, and no maximum evalutation period - you are free to use it with these limitations for as long as you like. You can also try out VF for 30 days for free, exactly as it will be if you unlock it - and you can start the evaluation period at any time you like.

 

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Shapes you can make with Virtual Flower
   

Virtual Flowers and Trees
Virtual flower scenes (VRML)
Star Spheres
Geometrical Shapes
Anaglyph Garden
Higher Dimensional Shapes



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© Robert Walker 2008
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Create virtual flowers, Lissajous curves, and geometrical patterns in 3D - 3D Art
By Robert Walker
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