Mandelbulb3D/Reference/Initial Directories

Initial DirectoriesEdit

The Initial Directories window is launched from the Ini Dirs button in the Prefs tab of the Main Window.

Mandelbulb3D, like nearly all 3D programs, deals with many different types of files in addition to the native scene file format. For example, backgrounds and texture maps are stored as separate image files. Entries in the various fields of the Initial Directories window tell Mandelbulb3D where to load and save various types of files. These folder locations are stored in the Mandelbulb3D.ini file.

The default folder locations are all inside the Mandelbulb3D installation directory. This is not a requirement; the Initial Directory fields can reference any local folder on the current workstation. Mapped network drives are also permitted.

Project FoldersEdit

The Initial Directories window allows users to manage assets in a manner similar to a traditional project folder structure seen in professional applications such as Autodesk Maya. Large projects such as animated films benefit most from this style of asset management.

Because the Mandelbulb3D program directory does not consume very much disk space, it is entirely feasible to have multiple Mandelbulb3D installations on the same workstation. Each installation has its own Mandelbulb3D.ini file that can reference any arbitrary directories. This gives users the option of organizing assets based on projects.

Each installation of Mandelbulb3D can be a project with its own dependent file directories. For example, texture files for a project can be stored in a dedicated location, and rendered image sequences can likewise be saved out to a dedicated directory. These can be in subfolders of the current Mandelbulb3D installation, which provides the added benefits of making the project portable and easy to archive. All of the dependent files needed for a scene file to open are nested within the current project folder structure. However, Mandelbulb3D uses absolute paths, not relative paths, so any changes to the project folder name or location will need to be manually updated in the Initial Directories window. The Mandelbulb3D.ini file can also be edited or copied manually.

Full .M3I Image FilesEdit

Specifies the directory where Mandelbulb3D will read and write .M3I Image + Parameter files.

M3P Parameter FilesEdit

Specifies the directory where Mandelbulb3D will read and write .M3P parameter files.

BMP, JPG, PNG SavingEdit

Specifies the directory where Mandelbulb3D will save non-native image files, in the formats .BMP, .JPG, and .PNG.

M3F Formula Files LoadEdit

Specifies the directory for reading formula definition files. These are the "DNA" of a fractal. The Mandelbulb3D default installation includes hundreds of formulas, found in the M3Formulas folder.

New formulas are being developed by volunteers., the birthplace of the Mandelbulb, is still the place to go for new formulas.

M3I Light ParameterEdit

This field specifies the directory where the Lighting window will read and write. .M3I files saved from the Lighting window only store the lighting and shading information, not the fractal parameters.

M3A Animation filesEdit

Specifies the directory where the Animation Maker window will read and write .M3A animation files.

Animation Pics OutputEdit

Specifies the directory where the Animation Maker window will save rendered images.

Background PicturesEdit

Specifies the directory where the Lighting window will read background images.

Big Render ProjectsEdit

Specifies the directory where the Big Renders window will read and write .M3D Big Render parameter files.

Images for MapsEdit

Specifies the directory where the Lighting window and Formulas window will read image maps. These can take several forms, including diffuse map, lighting map, and heightmap. Mandelbulb3D accepts .JPG, .PNG, and .BMP as maps.

Map filename requirementsEdit

Maps are selected in Mandelbulb3D with a numerical field, not by name. Files placed in the Images for Maps folder must have a number as the filename. For example, a map filename can be 1.jpg, 13.bmp, or 1024.png. Any file that does not follow this naming convention is ignored and will not be loaded. This limitation makes the project folder asset management scheme more attractive. Different installations of Mandelbulb3D can refer to different Images for Maps folders, mitigating the inconvenience of numerical filenames and allowing duplicate numbers to be used in different projects.

M3V, PNG Voxel SlicesEdit

Specifies the directory for the output of the Voxelstack Export window.

M3C Pathtracer FilesEdit

Specifies the directory where the Monte Carlo Rendering window will read and write .MC3 Monte Carlo files.


Specifies the location for reading and writing traditional 3D model file formats. The Mandelbulb3D core does not support any 3D file format, but the Plug-in Modules do. The Bulb Tracer window exports fractal forms to .PLY point clouds and meshes. The Heightmap Generator window imports Wavefront .OBJ meshes for conversion to bitmaps.

See AlsoEdit

External LinksEdit