Have I mentioned what a great addition to the fractal world Fractalforums.com is? As someone who likes to review exciting new things in fractal art it’s really made my job much easier. Before, I used to wander around Flickr or check out links on the UF mailing list or just stumble on something while surfing around. I’ll probably have to go back to that again sometime, but until then I’ve got this alien planet filled with fractal treasure to report and review on.
There’s been a lot of development in the area of 3D fractals and the results, as I’ve been saying lately, have been impressive. But one can still create interesting 3D work with some of the older methods. The Stone Path is a good example of one of the older 3D techniques called height field (or something) and gives the impression of perspective though a special rendering trick. These sorts of images aren’t usually very interesting, but this one by the username, Duncan C is a tasteful combination of subtle coloring and a well chosen perspective. It’s not a marvel of cutting edge fractal rendering, but that makes it even more of an accomplishment because Duncan C is using well established techniques to produce an image that is equal to the others in it’s overall impression.
Buddhi seems to have created his own unique style of fractals in these smudgy, glowing 3D creations. If you look carefully you’ll see lines on the x or y or z or whatever axes. It’s a nice, technical, lab-diagram, touch in an image with such strong artistic style. I reviewed one of these types of images before. They’re really stylish and not like anything else I’ve seen.
Here’s an interesting Mandelbox by Dave Makin created in Ultra Fractal and titled New Rome detail. The name I’m sure comes from the similarity the image shares with the ruins of the Colosseum in Rome. The three dimensional details in this, and the excellent coloring which makes them stand out and look like such a carefully constructed and ornamented building is what caught my eye in this one. It’s got amazing photorealism and shows how vivid and tangible these sorts of 3D fractals can be.
Elephant Canyon by bib, is another example of the older 3D style –or at least what appears to be the more traditional 3D style in fractals. I think this is actually a “slice” of a Mandelbulb. The contrast between the smooth, golden plain of the slice and the rough, craggy cliff of the edges is what gives this image its effect. To me it almost suggests something about fractals themselves; that one often discovers things by accidentally falling off the edge or by traversing some huge empty plain and discovering at the horizon an abyss filled with rich and limitless detail. This image was actually posted in a thread, Re: Problem replicating Mandelbulb power 2 and intended to be merely an additional illustration of the problem. This comment by bib, accompanied his posting of the image: “Yes it’s always difficult to properly render the power 2, there too many chaotic shapes and calculation artifacts. When I saw this post I wanted to try again, so I did this image called “Elephant Canyon”. Nothing very original, but I like it “
Frozen in space. That’s what I think when I look at this one. Another by Buddhi and having the same touch of the schematic style to it. There’s an interesting structure formed by the repeating “bits” that form in a line off the major “pieces”. Although this one is relatively monotone (one color), the lighting and surface texture effects are actually enhanced by the simple coloring. That’s what makes art such a strange bird to capture and study: sometimes simpler things have a more powerful effect and sometimes they’re just simple. The central core of the main object, back in the dark area, has an almost paint brushed appearance. I guess that dark shadowed area is what draws our eye into it, but who can really say? Trying to explain what makes an image impressive can often be futile as well as not being terribly exciting to read.
I guess it wouldn’t be called Mandelbox castle if it wasn’t a Mandelbox. Once again the title really catches the essential quality of the image. I particularly like how the moonlight (it’s nighttime) shines on the floor under the arch in the area to the right of the center. If you’ve ever played Prince of Persia: Sands of Time (video game) then you’ll probably immediately think of the part of the game where the Prince had to walk along the tops of stone walls, fight big birds and then get into the room above the gate where the gate opening mechanism was. Or others. There were so many nighttime scenes in that game featuring different parts of an Indian castle. Maybe game developers will pick up on the Mandelbox and produce a game that actually takes place inside one. You could change the castle just by starting the game with a new set of parameters.
A pretty unusual color palette in this one by Jesse entitled Teeth but it works really well. I would never have thought florescent yellows and greens could look so natural. This is the “S2 cube”, which I assume is a variety of the Mandelbox. Reminds me of a man-made planet in a sci-fi story. Here’s another one with the same coloring and looking just as natural and appealing too. Jesse seems to make some of the most unusual and offbeat versions of these 3D fractals. He’s obviously experimenting with more than just the coloring, although he’s done a great job just with that alone.
This is another by Jesse taken from his Supercubes gallery section on Fractalforums.com. Have you ever seen such a freaky fractal and with so much bizarre and yet carefully constructed detail? They’re like egg cannisters and they grow on the sides of the bigger egg things in strange patterns and all over the place too. I remember back in my early days of using Sterlingware, I was zooming into a fractal that seemed to be made of red velvet curtains. The “curtains” were quite intriguing but then while zooming in further I discovered shiny eggs growing under them. All this makes it rather difficult to define what a fractal is or to explain to someone what fractal graphics look like. There’s just too many freaky things to be found. There’s fractals and then there’s “freak-tals“.
Xenodream has not been left out of the 3D fractal craze here. This one is by xenodreambuie and had the label, Triplex Z=rcosphi Julias. I think a better title would be Catalog of the Fractal Brains. They’re all very rich in well rendered, three dimensional details and colored well even though I think the method is a fairly basic one. The numbers are in there for technical reference of course, but I think they add a nice artistic touch as well. This would make a very appealing wall poster. I’ll bet if you showed this image to people and asked them what kind of textbook it came from they’d all guess it was Biology and not Math.
Arch detail by Tglad (2010 Nobel Prize Winner, incidently) is interesting for the, well, details of this arch it shows… Another great title. See how the section in the lower right appears to be eroded away? That’s all algorithmic. The main arch structure off center to the left is interesting too with its floating triangle center. The coloring gives it all the impression of being carved from wood or some sort of soft stone. There’s always something new to see in the Mandelbox. I think it’s going to be a popular formula for some time.
I said 10 fractals and a movie and here’s the movie. I forget how I stumbled on this one. I think I saw it amongst the entries in the current Fractalforums.com contest in the animation section. However I didn’t actually view it right away (that’s a problem with animation, you can’t just take a quick glance at it). I only looked at it for the first time while visiting subblue’s website (subblue.com). For those of you who often skip videos if you don’t happen to like the title picture, this video features a very good soundtrack which straddles the categories of sound effects and slow paced instrumental music. Also featured is some of subblue’s special, black and white, polished steel renderings of the Mandelbulb. It’s some of the best video rendering of the Mandelbulb actually. Anyhow, with good graphics and a smooth professional soundtrack, it’s worth taking a look at.
The music is actually not by subblue but by The Formula. Here’s a link to subblue’s blog which has a larger version of the video and has a bit more information as well as a very long string of glowing comments.
Well, there you go; 10 fractals and a movie. And it didn’t even cost you 10cents like Tales of the Unexpected comic books did fifty years ago. The internet is just a such a great and wonderful thing. Let’s hope it stays that way.