Tierazon Program Instructions

These notes are to help you to use the program Tierazon v2.7 (or v2.8). Unfortunately, this is no longer freeware. You can buy if for $25 US at Ferguson's Shareware Programs.

In many cases these instructions also apply to inkblot, iterations, sterling and flarium, which are quite similar. I have not attempted to cover every feature of Tierazon. In particular I have omitted those features (such as 'convolve' or fractal parameters) that I have not found useful. Like all first-rate programs, Tierazon rewards exploration.

Anyone wishing to add to these notes is most welcome to email me. If I have not mentioned a neat trick you know about then please let me know. My thanks to Tamrof for some valuable additions to these notes. Click here for a Tierazon tutorial written by Doug Harrington.

Starting Up

Your monitor must be set to show at least 16k colours, preferably 16 million (24-bit colour) or more. Click on Windows Start, Settings, Control Panel, Display, Settings. Now set 'color palette' to 32-bit or whatever is the highest setting.

When you start Tierazon you will see a disappointingly small and somewhat ugly picture. This is a basic view of the Mandelbrot set (y = z*z). Better things will come soon! The first thing to do is to maximise the screen by clicking on the square at extreme top right.

Image Size

You can enlarge the image by changing the 'XY' parameter at the left side of the screen. Try doing so and select 320x240. It is good to work with a small picture to start with to try out different options. Remember that the bigger the picture the longer it takes to repaint it each time you change something. I use the size 320x240 while I am trying out what different filters (see later) do to a particular algorithm. Sooner or later you will want to create a full-screen image eg 1280x1024, if that is your screen resolution.

Zooming In

The most basic tool for working with fractals is the zoom control. This allows you to enlarge any part of the existing image to fill the entire window.

To zoom into the image, position the cursor where you want to put the top left-hand corner of the rectangle you want to zoom into, keep your finger pressed on the left mouse button and move the cursor down (with the mouse) to where you want the bottom right-hand corner to be. When you have drawn your rectangle take your finger off the left mouse button.

If the zoom box is not quite where you want it then take your fingers off the mouse buttons and move the cursor to one of the sides of the zoom rectangle. A vertical arrow will replace the '+'. Now press on the left button and move the rectangle to where you want it. Take your finger off the button when you are happy with the result.

When you have made your selection give a click to the right mouse button. A little window will appear. Click on the "zoom into rectangle" option. Better still, just click on the magnifying glass in the tool bar. The program will now enlarge the area you have picked to fill the entire window.

If you find you have zoomed in too far, you can decrease the zoom factor in various ways. One way is to paint the image as 320x240 and make the zoom box larger than the entire image. Position it carefully so that the diagonals cross over where you want the middle of the new image to be. A better way to zoom out is to open the fractal parameters box in the toolbar (labelled "F") and set "Magnif" to a smaller number. Cutting the number in half is a good way to keep continuity while zooming back out.


Each fractal image is a snapshot of a particular mathematical algorithm. To select the algorithm, click on 'Draw' and choose one of the 117 algorithms available. You can spend many hours or weeks on each algorithm by zooming in and changing filters and colours. There is no limit to what you can do with a single algorithm except for your patience and enthusiasm.

If you like, you can specify your own personal algorithm. To do this, click on 'draw' then 'unique editor dialogue' then enter your algorithm, eg "sin( z*z )". Note that the character '*' is used to mean multiplication and '^' denotes exponentiation. You can use any combination of log, real, imag, cos, atan, sinh, etc. The letters u, v & w may be used as constants, c is the current pixel and z denotes the complex variable. See tierazon.htm for more details.


The tool bar options 'filters-1' through 'filters-3' allow you to select filters that may radically change the look of your image. The way I see it is that the 'coarse' control is the algorithm, the medium control is the filter selection and the fine control is the colour selection (described below).

If you select filters-3 and "Iterations FDimensions" then the "FD-Options" will also be available.


There is a lot of scope for changing the colours of any image produced using Tierazon. The controls are divided up into color-1, color-2 and color.

If you click on color-1 or color-2 and select one of the options displayed then the image will be repainted with the new selection. This should not change the form of the fractal, only the colours. Keep trying different options in color-1 & color-2 until you get one you like. The trouble is that you have little idea what is going to happen until the fractal redraws - it is trial and error.

For more colour control click on 'color'. If you select 'invert' then you will get the negative image of the current view. This is useful if the current colours are yucky. For more precise control try selecting each of the options 'RGB' through 'BGR'.

However, for real control, select 'Color parameters', which brings up a window called 'Color controls' (this may require a few clicks sometimes). Or just click on the symbol below 'XY' in the tool bar. Important note: this feature only works if XY is 320x240 or less (so make it small, change the colours then enlarge it again).

Now you can adjust each of the three colours: red, green and blue one at a time. Basically, you just move each of the three buttons up and down. If you prefer, you can type in the numbers under "Starting" and then click "Apply".

If you have the patience and want to get the best colours possible then you might want to follow this procedure: set all three colours to 255 (ie buttons at the bottom). Now pull the button for blue half way up and take your finger off the mouse. Then pull it all the way up and see how that looks. Next set blue back to the bottom and pull green half way up. Repeat for all combinations of red, green and blue. In this way you will try 27 combinations, all quite different. When you have picked your favourite(s) do a bit of fine tuning, jiggling each control a bit up and down until you have found the optimum. Now you can click on 'X' to exit, and then draw the image full size in blazing or pusillanimous colour.

By changing the numbers in the left-most boxes (under "Steps"), you can change the sizes of the three different colour bands individually. This will change the granularity of the image.

Fractal Parameters

Open the parameters box by clicking on the parameters button in the tool bar (it says "F"). Bay factor one controls the fineness or coarseness of the change from one colour to another. "M-set max" is the number of iterations, ie the number of times the calculation is performed for each pixel. More iterations gives more complexity. "Stalks and bubbles" controls the size of the stalks and bubbles.

Making Movies

Tierazon allows you to make avi movies, so that you can show the effect of zooming deep into a fractal. Click on Movie then fill in the boxes. You need to specify the midpoint of the first and last image of the movie. The other parameter is the initial and final magnification. These values are found in the fractal parameters, marked 'F'. First tick the two Lock boxes. The problem is that the moment you go outside the movie input box the values inside the box get corrupted, so they need to be typed in, though you can pick up and put down so long as you stay within the box. My suggestion is to not change the origin much, as otherwise much blank space may turn up in the footage. This is most easily done by having the same x and y start and finish values, ie only varying the magnification. Warning: the files produced can be huge. There seems to be a restriction on how long a movie you can make - the longest I have made was 300 frames, that runs for 50 seconds and takes up 1.1 gig of space.

Saving Images To Disk

This you do with a right-click while the cursor is inside the image, followed by a left click on "Save as", then a click on 'Save'. I suggest you change the file name (given as 'jungle') to whatever takes your fancy, eg 'xxx'. The program will store a file called "xxx.bmp" in your working directory (the one specified next to "Save in"). If you make more than a few fractals then you might want to use a systematic naming scheme, such as a prefix of a few letters followed by a sequentially increasing number or a date plus number, eg "MyFractal07-01-2000-8". You can append a descriptive name eg "MyFractal07-01-2000-8 sunrise with triumphant frogs".

Warning: bmp files consume space, eg 3.8 MB for 1280x1024 resolution. If you have space problems (who hasn't?) you can make the files smaller by converting them to jpg files, which you will need to do if you want to send them to friends or post them on a website. To do so you will need to use a program such as ACDSee (which is nag-ware, available from the Net). By the time you have created 100 images you will find you need some sort of visual librarian that can show you thumbnails, as well as full-screen images with nothing else cluttering the screen.

If you are badly strapped for space but don't want to delete your fractals then just keep the files with the extension ".zar". These 432-byte files store all the parameters for the fractal of the same name. The downside is that you will have to redraw each fractal before you can see it. Of course you can also store fractals as small bmp files eg 320x240.


You can stop the program at any time by clicking on the red button at left. You can also save what is currently displayed on the screen at any time. Sometimes half the new image combined with half the previous one looks effective, eg with colours inverted.

If you want quite a different version of your image then select a rectangle as if for the zoom control and then click the funny button just above the magnifying glass on the tool bar at left. This will draw the Julia set. You can do the same with the Mandel button immediately above it, though only if you have a Julia image displayed. Each part of a Mandelbrot image has its own corresponding Julia image. If you have a Mandel view you like, but the orientation or some other detail is wrong, you may prefer the corresponding Julia image, which will reproduce your Mandel zoom with variations.

Similarly, you can experiment with 'M-Set Method' and 'N-Set Method' under the 'draw' option.


You can start up 16 or more copies of the program and leave them running overnight or while you are out. Strangely enough, this will not crash Windows. This is useful if you want to try many possibilities at once, eg all the filters-1 options applied to a particular image.

If you want to try more than one thing at once, eg enlarge two different parts of the same image, then save the image as it is, and then open it up in another copy of Tierazon (using file open). You can always delete the image later. Another way to do this is to use the "new view on zoom" button above the abort button, together with the window command in the task bar.

One of the pleasures of fractal making is that you can always return to a fractal you have previously made and redraw it with any or all its parameters changed. Note that the program uses the file called xxx.zar to redraw a fractal. It does not use the xxx.bmp file to draw a fractal (but only to show an existing one). The zar files are the ones referred to by the options 'Save Parameters' and 'Load Parameters' under 'file'. If you rename a fractal image (ie the bmp file) be sure to rename the zar file as well.

If the image is drawing slowly and you are impatient to see what the next bit looks like then just click on the image and a little more will be shown.


There are three steps involved in printing a fractal: creation of the image, saving it to a disk file, and printing the file. Once you have saved an image to disk, use a program such as Internet Explorer or Paint to print the file ("jungle.bmp" or whatever) which you created using Tierazon. Just open the image file and then click print. You may need to fiddle with printer properties to get it to print nicely in colour, landscape mode etc.

My suggestion is that you hold off from printing for a while. I made some 2500 fractals before I printed my first one. I think they look better on the screen, being creatures of light. Unless you have a very good colour printer you will probably be disappointed by the print-out.

If you want to avoid the jagged look of some curves as they appear on the screen (due to the limited number of pixels being shown, eg 1280 by 1024) then create a large image such as 2560x1920 or even 3564x2784, and wait! This will create a largish disk file but will print very nicely.


The program is very solid - you'll probably never see it crash. Here is a list of Tierazon glitches and what to do about them.

Sometimes the program will paint a series of horizontal lines or a featureless image instead of redrawing the fractal. When this happens click on the letter 'F' to bring up the fractal parameters box. Hit OK and the fractal should now redraw. If this fails then select XY, click on 160x120 and OK. Immediately after, click XY and select the size you wanted in the first place.

The orientation option (under 'view') does not always work. There is no way to reliably change the orientation from horizontal to vertical using Tierazon only. This is my biggest gripe about what is otherwise an excellent program.

To rotate an image 90 degrees clockwise
1) Change the image using view / orientation from 1, 0 to 0, 1.
2) Swap the x-Mid and y-Mid values in fractal parameters, using notepad or some other scratch pad to hold the intermediate value. (Pick up and delete the x-value, store it in wordpad. Pick up and delete the y-value and put it down in the x slot. Then pick up the original x-value from wordpad and put it down in the y-slot.)
3) Reverse the sign on the y-value.

To rotate an image 90 degrees counter-clockwise
1) Change the image using view / orientation from 1, 0 to 0, -1.
2) Swap the x-Mid and y-Mid values in fractal parameters.
3) Reverse the sign on the x-value.

If the above fails, here is a way to rotate an image 90 degrees (or any multiple thereof) using an external program. These instructions assume a 1280x1024 format.
1) Paint the fractal as 1024x1280 and save it.
2) Using Paint Shop Pro or some other program, rotate it 90 degrees.
This gives you a full-screen rotated (1280x1024) image with no cropping.

An annoying feature is that if you select invert (under 'color') and save the resulting image then if you open the image later using Tierazon and repaint it then it will have colours opposite to those you saved. Just select 'invert' again. The same applies to fractals painted in the 'ISeeDaLight' colour mode - Tierazon will redraw these in 'regular' colour mode.

If the horizontal scroll bar disappears, just click on view, and switch status bar on and then off.

If you are running multiple copies of Tierazon and windows refuses to let you view one of the copies then right click on the task bar, choose 'minimize all' then 'undo minimize all'.