Animating gradients

Of course, you can also animate gradients in Ultra Fractal to create color cycling movies or subtle color change effects during your animations.

Ultra Fractal gradients Animating gradients

The gradient editor contains a small bar just above the rotation slider that shows whether or not the control points above it are animated. When Animate mode is on, this bar shows red animation indicators below each control point to illustrate that it can be animated.

Ultra Fractal animate Animating gradients  

To animate a control point, first set Animate mode to on and move the time slider to the frame where you want to create a new animation key, as described in Creating animations.

Now simply drag the control point around. This will record keys for both the color and the position of the control point. You can also type new values in the input boxes in the gradient editor. See also Editing gradients.

As with parameters, a blue dot below a control point means that a control point is animated. It turns into a yellow marker if the control point has an animation key at the current frame. In this case, dragging the control point while Animate mode is on will change the value of the keys at the current frame instead of inserting new keys.

If Animate mode is off, dragging an animated control point will transform the values of all its animation keys. For example, if a control point animates from position 0 at frame 1 to 50 at frame 100, and the current frame is 1 and you drag it to position 20, its position at frame 100 will change to 70.

The following gradient adjustment options record keys when Animate mode is on and can be used to create animated gradients: Randomize Custom (if Randomize control points is not checked), Adjust Colors, Reverse, and Invert.

The Randomize, Randomize Bright, and Randomize Misty options clear all control points and then generate a new gradient, so they cannot animate the existing control points.

The Copy and Paste commands work differently depending on whether or not Animate mode is on:

    Animate mode on   Animate mode off
Ultra Fractal copy Animating gradients   Copies the control points at the current frame to the Clipboard, without any animation keys.   Copies the control points for the entire frame range to the Clipboard, including all animation keys.
Ultra Fractal paste Animating gradients  

Pastes the control points from the Clipboard into the gradient, inserting animation keys as necessary.

If the number of control points on the Clipboard is equal to the number of control points in the gradient, this will animate the control points in the gradient.

You must turn off Animate mode before pasting gradients with animation keys (copied when Animate mode is off).


Pastes the control points from the Clipboard into the gradient, overwriting any animation keys.

If the gradient on the Clipboard has no animation keys (copied with Animate mode on, or from a non-animated gradient), any animation keys in the gradient will be removed.


  • You can create color cycling animations simply by changing the Rotation setting or dragging the rotation slider while Animate mode is on.
  • The individual input boxes in the gradient editor do not show animation indicators. Refer to the animation indicators in the horizontal bar below the control points instead.
  • You cannot directly insert or delete animation keys in the gradient editor. Use the Timeline tool window instead.
  • Because each control point is animated separately, you cannot create an animation from one arbitrary gradient to another, and you cannot animate the insertion or deletion of a control point. To blend from one arbitrary gradient to another, duplicate the current layer, change the gradient on the new layer, and animate the opacity of the layer so it fades in to replace the original gradient.

Next: Animating layers

See Also
Tutorial: Working with animations
Animating parameters

Animating gradients