Fyre! Part1: Manipulating Fyre.

You like to play with fire but you don’t like to burn your fingers. Don’t you?


Thanks to Kendra Springer for this nice music.

Fyre draws chaotic figures (fractals) based on the Peter De Jong formula. You can use Fyre either to make still pictures or little animations.

Peter De Jong formula

figure 1figure 2

Playing with Fyre.

When you launch Fyre, it always starts with the same parameters. Same Width and Height of your final picture, same background and foreground colours, same minimal exposure and gamma, same values for the A, B, C, D parameters etc etc … As a result whenever you start Fyre, you’ve got the same figure (sort of rounded triangle).

fyre main window

Fyre at starting

To change this original graphic, you can either enter your own values for each parameters or use the Tools which will let you increase or decrease these values on mouse gestures.

For example: From blank project (Go -> Defaults);

  • change the background and the foreground colours,
  • increase the exposure and the gamma,
  • Choose a tool (eg: Tools -> AB/CD).  Click on the figure and move the mouse to modify the values.
  • Check Emphasize transient in the parameter panel and change the Initial conditions.
  • Take random values for the A, B, C, D parameters with Go -> Random parameters

Choose a tool, modify the values. You know now how to manipulate Fyre.

Export your Art.

Abstract from the readme file: “All the images you can create with this program are based on the simple Peter
de Jong map equations […]. For most values of a,b,c and d the point (x,y) moves chaotically. The resulting image is a map of the probability that the point lies within the area represented by each pixel. As you let Fyre render longer it collects more samples and this probability map and the image becomes more accurate.

So the images are calculated by the processor(s) of your computer. The longer the calculation last, the better the “quality” of the graphic is. That’s why you should take care to check View -> Pause Rendering each time you don’t want it to go further.

OK. It wasn’t really entirely made by you but you are proud of your Art. Fyre gives you the possibility to save it to .png images or .exr (OpenEXR). You will be able to keep the alpha channel if you chose a transparent background (or foreground) for your stills. For animated images that’s another thing.

Make the flames dance.

Animations are made through the animation window. It consists in choosing fixed figures named “keyframes” so that the software can calculate all the frames making the transition between these keyframes. You choose two key-frames, a duration and a speed (with the spline) and the animation window calculate each figure making the transition in-between.

  • Ignite Fyre. Start a new fyre or keep the default one.
  • View -> Animation Window.
  • Add : The current figure is added as a new keyframe in the animation list. Modify the duration and the speed (with the spline).
  • Back on the main window to draw another graphic. When done, add it in the animation window as a new keyframe.
  • etc etc

Play your work. Flames move.

Depends on size, framerate, quality, oversampling you choose for the final render… and speed of your CPU(s),  rendering process will last just a while or ages.

Rendering this 640×480 project of 3’07” at 24 fps with quality 1,00 took me about 9 hours!! with my two cores athlon 7850. Rendering process for animated images cannot be made currently through cluster nodes.

Status bar

Status bar gives information on the iterations done, their speed and the corresponding duration and quality for the figure drawn.

The generated .avi file is huge (almost 4 Gio for my project). To insert it into Cinelerra and add a sound track I had to convert it with Handbrake. The resulting file (.m4v format with mpeg-4 video codec, 5166 Kbps) was easily handled by Cinelerra.

Other tools using (or not) fractals:

Flam3 through Qosmic frontend.

Context Free Art

Flame from escapemotions.com


Fyre: Iniciaciòn a la creaciòn de figuras caoticas from Joaclintistgud

Fyre page on visualcomplexicity.com 

What’s new in Cinelerra 4?

About a year since its release, I finally managed to get Cinelerra 4 running on my system! Applause!! Thanks, thanks.

Cinelerra 4444444444444!

Cinelerra 4444444444444!

one TRY IT!

I finally figured out that the binary packages on heroinewarrior website were not .deb archives for ubuntu distro.

To get Cinelerra 4 no need to compile it. Just download the tar.bz2 archive of your architecture and untar it. Once done, run ./cinelerra in a terminal in the folder that appeared.

After a symlink ln -s /lib/libbz2.so.1 /usr/lib/libbz2.so.1.0 to get rid of an error, I was able to test the beast on my Fedora 10 system.

Get it running and follow me.


There are numerous new features in Cinelerra4 but not enough to alert the media.

Let’s see.

Masks are keyframable in real time

This is one of the best new features. With Cinelerra4 masks attributes changes are now recorded in real time. This means you will be able to blur somebody’s face and follow it by moving the mask in real time. Moreover it is now possible to change values for several keyframes at the same time by selecting them.

It can be an arduous exercise but masking a detail in real time can be very useful.

It can be an arduous exercise but masking a detail in real time can be very useful.

Two new effects and other nice things

  • Swap Frames effect (New): it gives sort of trembling effect to your video. It doesn’t have many options.
swap frames

swap frames

  • Lens aberration effect (New): No need to describe it. It is another really nice feature.
Two lens effects applied on this video.

Two lens effects applied on this video.

  • Ruler and Angle tool (New): Maybe useful when using with the perspective effect for example.

ruler and angle tool

ruler and angle tool

  • 2 Points motion tracking tool (New): Well I still have to figure out how to use the first one.

2 point motion tracking for faster rotation tracking.

"2 point motion tracking for faster rotation tracking."

  • Musical notes in the synthesizer (New):  Well … don’t know if it can be interesting. I’m not a musical guy.
Im sure it will make you want to play piano.

I'm sure it will make you want to play piano.

New audio file format

FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) from Xiph.org. Cinelerra4 can import/export flac files. Not really the big feature (imo) but it’s a good thing to have the choice.

flac flac flac flac

flac flac flac flac

Pretty icons to select Insertion strategy

Once you got their meaning these icons simplify your life.

pretty and useful

pretty and useful

Other good news

  • Cinelerra can read .wma, .wmv, and .flv files. Seeking in these files formats works half the time, though.
  • Attach effects to multiple tracks simultaneously from the Audio & Video menus.
  • Better asynchronous frame decoding.
  • ID3 tags handled by mp3 parser.
  • Spectrogram horizontal zoom & colour.


These are not that numerous.

Let’s see.

No compatibility with Cinelerra2.1!

You will not be able to open your old .xml projects created with Cinelerra2.1 in Cin4. I tried and either I couldn’t find my keyframes (camera, masks, overlay) or Cinelerra crashed (or hung) instantly. Too Bad!

Cinelerra still can’t capture from firewire

Unless you are a lucky guy (like SimAV), you still will need kinodv or dvgrab to record your video from firewire.

Bezier mode for curves?

is this bezier curves?

is this bezier curves?

Some useful options disappeared

  • Where is my manual goto tool ? Gone.
  • Can’t import still pictures with a longer duration. The option is not in Settings -> Preferences -> Recording -> Video In.


An article on Cinelerra4 on LWN.net by Forrest Cook.

– A test of the Cinelerra4 OpenGL engine from Marmottux.

Masking, masks, masquerade, Carnival!

In this how-to I will replace my shadow with another one by applying a mask on the first one. Masking permit you to isolate a specific region of a picture for special treatment.

While I’m smoking my shadow is drinking water because it is dehydrated.

This little video was inspired to me by a photo from Clarisse a nice girl of the Netlog social network:

You should give too much freedom to your shadow Clarisse.

“You should not give too much freedom to your shadow” Clarisse.

oneTo make this effect I had to do all the sequences in only one take.

Why? Because the use of mask for these sort of videos needs same weather, same light, same background, same camera position (or same move) etc …

twoYou already know: Open Cinelerra, prepare your project (size, framerate, color model etc) in Settings -> Format according to the media you will use or the destination of your final work.

When done, load the video you want to modify on the first track of the timeline.

The video I want to modify: my shadow is smoking like me.

The video I want to modify: my shadow is smoking just like me.

threeIf you apply a mask right now on your video it will appear like a black hole drawn on the picture.

How to draw a mask:

  • In the compositor window click on the Edit mask tool . The mouse pointer change for a cross pointer that indicate you can draw right on the picture.
  • Use the splines to make a shape that surround the subject(s) you want to eliminate. There you guess that’s where this technique can become arduous: if the subject is moving you will have to follow his movement by modifying the mask shape or moving it (with Ctrl Alt Click).
  • The Show tool info button (question mark button) open a dialogue box and give you more options to change the mask:  mode, opacity, smoothness of the edges… I let you discover them.
The mask appear like a black hole in the picture. Substract alpha mode eliminate the subject, multiply alpha mode isolate the background of the subject.

The mask appear like a black hole in the picture. Substract alpha mode eliminate the subject, multiply alpha mode isolate the background of the subject.

fourNow you can load the video containing the new subject in a track below your first track. That’s all!

In fact steps 3 and 4 can be inverted but well it’s an how-to.

Last word: Masks are keyframable; that means you can change their attributes along the time using keyframes (which are viewable with View -> Mask).

fiveThere are different methods to isolate a specific region of a picture. It is possible for example to select an object by it’s color. Drawing a mask with splines is just one of them.

Masking is also used to blur someone’s face for example, to emphasis a character by bluring his surroundings, to make clones, or other artistic effects.

Another use of masking with Cinelerra.

Another use of masking with Cinelerra.

questionWhat about a contest to imitate this sequence of Lucky luck cartoon?:

What about a contest?

What about a contest?

starOther videos made with Cinelerra playing with masks:

Being by myself from devapea

Cinelerra masking from Tatucik

Mi clon y yo from pedroIramon

Core 2 duo from zoelans

Clones from strongpiggie

Cinelerra Magic from Kris Czerniawski

Intro Guerrilla y nuevos movimientos sociales from Victor Zamora

Like in a dream effect with Cinelerra

I was trying to figure out how to make a “dream effect” with Cinelerra – you know this effect used by filmmakers to show that a character is dreaming or to give sort of beauty to a sequence – … so I shot a baby hummingbird (with my camcorder). Believe me or not; this effect is also called “instant sex” trick.

seems like I made an excessive use of the blur effect 😐

oneOpen Cinelerra. Prepare your project (size, framerate, color model etc) in Settings -> Format according to the media you will use or the destination of your final work.

When done, load the video you want to modify twice on the timeline just  like in the following screenshot:

the part of the video you want to modify must be loaded twice

The part of the video you want to modify must be loaded twice.

twoIn the second track,  insert a brightness/contrast effect and a blur one by dragging/dropping them from the resources window to the timeline.

We should insert them in this order: brightness/contrast effect on top of blur effect. Right click on the effect bar and move them top or down.

Click on the little magnifying glass to change the values of the effects.

For this how-to I chose these values:

– brightness: -0.0600   contrast: 1.800

– blur: 20

Add the effect in this order. You can also deinterlace your video with the deinterlace effect.

Add effects and deinterlace your video (if needed) with the deinterlace effect.

threeIn the previous screenshot, as you can see, I deinterlaced my video (with the deinterlace effect).

If you use a progressive file format you can go directly to the forth step of this how-to.

Two links to understand what (de)interlacing is ==>100fps.com hardware.info (see the picture).

Cinelerra offers different deinterlace filters. The Bob & Weave one seems to be commonly used.

fourNow, Ladies and Gentlemen, the special ingredient:

For the first track, change the overlay mode to Addition and adjust the opacity to 50% for example.

fiveThat’s all Folks!

Change brightness/contrast, blur, opacity values to get the effect you want to make.

Go in the wild to shoot some birds…  and don’t forget to warm your balance.

Note1: Bad new; overlay modes don’t seem to be keyframable :(.

Note2: I’m not sure if this is the better way to make this effect but I’m not unsatisfied of the result. If you have other methods I would like to test them.

starOther how-tos playing with overlay mode:

Vignetting-in-cinelerra from M4rci.

Cinelerra: efecto lapiz from facilware.com

Stop-motion animations with Cinelerra: the “PESCI” example.

Let me introduce you to raffa, an italian music and art teacher and active member of the Cinelerra and Lumiera communities. She uses Cinelerra at school for months now making nice projects with her pupils. “PESCI” is one of these projects. They even got a prize for it.



Find a brilliant idea.

Make sketches as your storyboard.

Stop-motion is a simple way to make good quality movies with low budget. You’ll see.

twoGo in the wild with your camera to take some photos.

Decompose all movements you want to show with several photos. Each photo is called a frame. Stop-motion is an animation technique.

Awesome! Isn’t it?

threeWhen your pictures are all in the box just put them in a folder somewhere in your computer.

If it’s not the case already, the frames should be renamed in a chronological basis. Something like frame0001.jpg, frame0002.jpg … frame0003.jpg etc etc.

fourLoad the pictures into Cinelerra.

We could load all files like we did in the previous tutorials (Files -> Load files -> insertion strategy) but for this exercise we will use another solution:

  • Download and install this piece of software ==> seven-gnomes (link)
  • Just drop the folder containing your frames in the first tab of the software.
  • A .toc file appear in your folder. It contains a list of all the frames and the framerate they should be displayed. This .toc file can be edited with a simple text editor.
  • Now you can load the .toc thing into Cinelerra like a normal video file.

Note that you can use other tools to make the image list ==> image lists tools

For example raffa chose Img2list ==> raffa’s howto page.

Look: Frames loaded as a list appear like a normal video file on the timeline.

fivePlay the whole thing to see your animation. It works? I’m proud of you.

Add some effects, a sound track.

You can also edit the frames in your favorite bitmap manipulating program to add virtual object to your movie but that is another story.

starOther stop-motion animations made with cinelerra:

– check raffa’s vimeo page.

Linda and Tim’s wedding made by Shannon Smith.