Jwildfire Vs Apophysis: What’s The Difference?

Not having used Apophysis a great deal, but seeing lots of references to it. I asked for some feedback from people who’d used or who still use both Apophysis and JWildfire. I’ll start with some observations by Rick Sidwell.

Some advantages of Apophysis:

  • There are lots of tutorials. Most are fairly easy to adapt to JWildfire once you understand the basics, but they work as they are in Apophysis.
  • If you have a slow computer, the tiny preview in the Apophysis transform editor is more responsive than the JWildfire preview window.
  • You can use polar coordinates for the affine transforms. This lets you see and set the exact rotation for transforms and lets you easily position transforms in a circle around the origin.
  • Pivot points make some operations on transforms easier (but I don’t think most people understand how they work).

Some advantages of JWildfire:

  • Variations are built-in; no need for fiddling with plugins. (And no risk of plugin viruses; this hasn’t been a problem, but the potential is there.)
  • The preview is progressive (though this can be disabled if needed), so you see the basic structure of your flame with added detail as you watch.
  • You can have multiple instances of a variation on a single transform with different parameters.
  • You can have multiple final transforms. This can be slow since each of the final transforms is executed on every iteration, but it allows effects that would be difficult to replicate in Apophysis.
  • It uses a much better random number generator, resulting in smoother renders.
  • It is available natively for MacOS and Linux as well as Windows (though some features are only available in Windows).
  • There are lots of features not available in Apophysis, and new ones are being added all the time. A few of these are layers, 3D solid rendering, several ways to animate flames, two gradient editors (normal and curve-based), weighting fields, coloring types, YZ and ZX edit planes (in addition to the standard XY), and GPU support (in the latest versions).


I read something Andreas said on a post to an Apo user. Why would you want to use a program that hasn’t been updated in a decade?

Missy Gainer

agree I left apo due 2 exactly that w our needs the programs but follow or lead the way and update

Steph Tassuro

There is nothing inherently wrong with using old software! The latest versions of Apo my be old, but they are reasonably stable and a lot of people still use them.

Rick Sidwell

I believe he said that to me. I was looking for a work-around to Apo 209_3dHack which had just expired, but finally got the creator of it to give me a version of it that did not expire. I use that particular version to create the fractal I use for nebula. No other version does it. As for the difference between Apo and Jwildfire, JWF allows the users more flexibility to be creative at a base level, ie make their own scripts for new things, Apo in my opinion allows for easier mutations of fractals and manipulation of those mutations.

Ali Ries

I would have to say in comparison JWF offers a lot more features and tools. And is kept updated Thanks to Andreas and all the alpha/beta testers. JWF just keeps getting better and better.

Lynda McDaniel

I used both of them intensely at times but I didn’t use Apophysis anymore for some years now. It wasn’t a bad fractal software but let’s just say JWF it’s kind of Apophysis on steroids if I might say it like this. Apo was great for years, I used it a lot back from 2008 till 2015 when I discovered JWF which is far more advanced and powerful and even more intuitive

Pavlusenco Appel Cristian

JW has a lot more features than Apo, and the fact that we can use our old Apo flames and tweak them in JW, using variations not found in Apo, is a plus.

Angel Rodriquez

I did not know of JWF for a long time. I tried and tried with apo, and finally gave up trying to do fractals at all, Heather Law showed me how to use JWF and i have never been happier!

Denice Marie Dell

I used Apo extensively before JW. It was a really good program to learn fractals on and I did pretty well with, including creating “fractalets” for collages I used to do a lot. When JW first came out, I couldn’t get it to open. So, I waited about 6 months or so and tried again and Voila! Well, to say the least, I rarely use Apo now. With JW, there’s so many more functions and control of your fractal. But the part I loved the most (and it’s reinforced when I go back to Apo for one reason or another), in the manipulation of the transform and you don’t need to even have your cursor near the transform to move it, rotate it, change size, and a whole bunch of other stuff. And the abiity to do animation is awesome! I also like that Apo flames can be used in JW, with the exceptions of some fractals, like 3D Blooms from Apo. If I want to make or render one of those, I have to use Apo. Very minor inconvenience. The multifunctionality of JW alone makes it superior to Apo, but there are other advantages as well, as mentioned above.

Peggi Reed Wolfe

Only used Apo twice as well then I found JWF and I haven’t went back. Love not only how more user friendly it is but also the support and groups

Quellen Tammy Smith

I jave used Apo since before v 2 lol When I first used it, it couldn’t render images – I remember I had to screen grab to capture a fractal ! I loved it, used all the different versions but they started to diverge into different strands and it all got a bit confusing 🙂 Still used it though, until jwildfire which is fabulous. I have loved fractals for ever 🙂

Ann Garrett

One thing that I discovered when trying to learn APO was that if you were not tied in with that community you were not going to get far with it. For one thing, other than a few variations, everything is a plugin you have to find and install. I think this is still true.

Jane Spaulding

when I was a newbie, I would directly ask some of my favorite fractal artists questions about various things related to fractals or Apophysis specifically and I found most of them very helpful and encouraging. If they had not been so helpful, I’m not sure how far I would have gotten. But, I also found the same when I started using JW. All in all, I have enjoyed fractals and interacting with the fractal community. As a whole, I think they are delighted to help, teach, guide, and encourage those who are starting out and have no clue what they’re doing. There was one dA group known as ApoShack and it was a chat group and they used to work on some parameters and try out different styles. I think Light aka “Suicide by Safety Pin”, who died way too young, ran it. It doesn’t exist anymore, but that was a good place to go and get immediate feedback. There were a few a**holes, but most were really nice.

Peggi Reed Wolfe

There is a Discord group now: https://discord.gg/V2QnCaBJdx. It isn’t limited to Apophysis; you can talk about and share fractals from any program. There are also regular competitions.

Rick Sidwell

I started with Fractal Architect. I still think that Java apps are super ugly. But Fractal Architect like Apo had the problem of not being able to load all variations at once. So I switched to JWildfire and haven’t looked back.

Beatrix Willius

I started with UltraFraktal, later with Apophysis, but I did not find such a good Community as Jwildfire(the admins and the members) and it was too difficult for me. I worked only with mutagen

Lieselotte Zängl

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