User interface overview

Fractorium uses a set of tabs to represent the various parts of a fractal flame. These top level tabs are detachable and can be floated or docked in various ways on the left and right sides of the main window. The layout is saved between program runs.

If you are unsure what a particular control does, hover over its label and you will see a tooltip with more information.


These values govern the overall flame such as dimensions, color adjustments, 3D values, filtering and quality.


A flame contains a single palette which is a set of 256 colors that are used during processing.

Various aspects of the palette can be adjusted to produce a customized effect.

The list of palettes shown on this tab are what is contained in the default palette file named flam3-palettes.xml as well as additional user-supplied palettes that come with the installation.

Users can also create their own palettes by using the Palette Editor.


A flame has 1 or more xforms which contain a probability, or “weight”, that it will be chosen. To the right of the weight field is the name field which can optionally be filled in to more easily identify an xform while editing. The currently selected xform is shown in the combo box and can be changed by either scrolling this box, by pressing the F1, F2… keys, or the + = _ – keys.

The sub tabs correspond to other attributes each xform contains:


An affine transform which consists of 6 numbers and is represented by the circles on the main preview window. Post affine transforms can optionally be used as well.


An index into the chosen palette, as well as this xform’s effect on other xform’s color indexes.

Color Speed

How much the palette index is moved toward the xform’s palette index on each iteration. Positive values attract, negative ones repel.


How visible an xform’s contribution to the final output image. 1 is fully visible, 0 is invisible.

Direct Color

An advanced feature that only works with a small number of variations (they will have a green dot in the Type column of the variations table). It’s a multiplier that specifies how much of the palette index computed inside of a direct color variation is added to the palette index computed outside of the variation. See the direct color article for more information.


Zero or more variations which are special math functions.

Variations with non-zero values are present in the xform. Expand their sub-tree to see additional parameters for each variation.

See the Type column for indicators of special, non-standard attributes of certain variations.


Sometimes it’s useful to apply an operation to more than one xform at a time. Most operations will apply to the current xform plus any others that are selected with these checkboxes.

You  may also select multiple xforms by dragging the left mouse button in the render area.


Xaos is an advanced feature which gives more fine grained control over the probability that an xform is chosen for a given iteration step. See the xaos section of the user’s guide for more information.


Gives summary and diagnostic information about the flame.


Gives a rough summary of the most important pieces of information about the flame. This is an easy way to get an idea of the characteristics of a flame in one place without having to inspect so many different parts of the UI.

Bounds & Log

This is more related to engineering curiosity and is not needed by most end users. It shows the sizes of the various pieces of data the rendering process uses as well as errors that occurred during file opening or rendering.