Shape Groups

Variations that generate groups of shapes.

Download Sample flames and resources


Random size circles in a grid.

Type: 2D blur
Author: Alexey Ermushev (eralex61)
Date: 17 Jun 2009

Shape Groups Variations Sample Circlerand
ScOverall scale for the circles
DensCircle density (0 to 1)
X, YSize of the grid; if Sc is 1, this will be the number of circles horizontally and vertically
SeedRandom number seed

Apophysis variation


A grid pattern of polygons.

Type: 2D direct color blur
Author: Jesus Sosa, inspired by a program by Lucia Tokárová
Date: 15 May 2018

Shape Groups Variations Sample gpattern 1
Shape Groups Variations Sample gpattern 2
stringType of polygons to use for each row as a comma-separated list of numbers (3 for triange, 4 for square, etc.); the list will be repeated to fill all the rows
seedRandom number seed
width, heightWidth and height of the grid to use
lineheightControls the size (both width and height) of the polygons
angleAngle to rotate each polygon, in degrees
randPosMaximum amount to randomly move each polygon left to right
randSizeMaximum amount to randomly shrink or enlarge each polygon
fill0: Do not fill polygons (outline only if outline is 1)
1: Fill polygons
outline0: Omit polygon outlines
1: Draw polygon outlines
fill colorStart color (gradient index) for filling polygons, between 0 and 1
fill color speedMaximum amount to randomly vary fill color, between 0 (single color) and 1 (use full gradient)
outline colorOutline color (gradient index), between 0 and 1


A group of metaballs, balls (solid spheres) that merge when close to each other to form blobs.

Type: 3D direct color blur
Author: Andreas Maschke (thargor6)
Date: 17 Dec 2018

Shape Groups Variations Sample metaballs3d_wf 
colormap_filenameName of image file for coloring the metaballs; only used when color_mode is 0, 1, or 2
mb_mode0: Distribute metaballs uniformly
1: Distribute metaballs closer to the XZ plane
2: Distribute metaballs closer to the origin
mb_countNumber of metaballs to generate
mb_min_radius, mb_max_radiusMinimum and maximum values for the radius of influence for each metaball
mb_negativeFraction (between 0 and 1) of the metaballs that will have a negative radius of influence; such metaballs are not visible, but interfere with merging of other metaballs to form more interesting shapes
mb_seedSeed for the random numbers used to generate the metaballs
mb_sharpnessThe threshold for determining whether a point is within a blob; small values make larger blobs and vice versa
border_sizeSize of the border; each of xmin, xmax, ymin, ymax, zmin, and zmax is adjusted towards the origin by this amount, which is more convenient that adjusting all six boundary parameters individually
xmin, xmax, ymin, ymax, zmin, zmaxThe boundaries the variation uses when placing the random metaballs
max_iterMaximum tries for finding points within a blob; this keeps the variation from trying forever and hanging JWildfire
direct_color0: Don’t use direct color (just standard variation coloring)
1: Use direct color according to color_mode
color_mode0: Use colormap on YZ plane
1: Use colormap on XZ plane
2: Use colormap on XY plans
3: Use gradient along the x axis
4: Use gradient along the y axis
5: Use gradient along the z axis
6: Use the gradient along the x and y axes combined
7: Use the gradient along the y and z axes combined
8: Use the gradient along the x and z axes combined
9: Use the gradient along the x, y, and z axes combined
blend_colormapWhether to blend colormap colors with surrounding colors (color_modes 0-2 only)
0: Don’t blend colors
1: Blend colors

Wikipedia article
Description and examples by Paul Bourke
Metaball article by Ryan Geiss


A 9×9 grid of nested polygons, with coloring based on sudoku.

Type: 2D direct color blur
Author: Jesus Sosa
Date: 19 Jun 2018

Shape Groups Variations Sample nsudoku
LevelNesting level (1-9)
thicknessThickness of outer polygons (0-1); innermost polygon is always filled
sizePolygon size (0.3-1.0)
anglePolygon rotation angle
typeNumber of sides for the polygons (3-6)

Coloring Sudokus blog post (the basis for this variation)


Generate an Islamic style tiling (based on code from the “taprats” program).

Type: 2D direct color blur
Authors: Jesus Sosa, Craig S. Kaplan, and Pierre Baillargeon
Date: 29 May 2018

Shape Groups Variations Sample taprats 1
Shape Groups Variations Sample taprats 2
Shape Groups Variations Sample taprats 3
idTiling to use, 0 to 49 ()
styleStyle to draw the pattern:
0: Line
1: Outline
2: Interlace
3: Emboss
4: Filled
5: Sketch
widthWidth of segments; should be less than 0.1 (styles 1, 2, 3 only)
gapSize of gap at segment crossing; should be less than 0.1 (style 3 only)
fill1 to fill polygons; 0 for outline only (styles 1, 2, 3, 4 only)
Rosette QControls the “pointiness” of the star at the center of the rosette, between -1.0 and 0.9 (only used if Rosette(0/1) is 1)
Rosett S1: Omit the central star of the rosette
2: Show the central star
(only used if Rosette(0/1) is 1)
Rosette(0/1)0: Decorate polygons with stars
1: Decorate polygons with rosettes
Star DControls the “pointiness” of the star, between 1.0 and 3.5 (only used if Rosette(0/1) is 0)
Star SNumber of “sub-stars”, 1, 2, or 3; the result is limited by Star D; for example, if Star D is 2.9, only 2 sub-stars will be generated even if Star S is 3 (only used if Rosette(0/1) is 0)
Infer(0/1)0: Use only polygons from the chosen tiling
1: Infer other polygons between the ones from the tiling

Author’s description of variation
Taprats program (on which this variation is based)

This information has all been created by Rick Sidwell as a guide to the more popular variations used in fractal flames, and very generously allowed me to reproduce it here. Not all of the variations are included with JWildfire, but a great many are, so it is worthwhile learning about them.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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