FUC 2: The Sequel

I need a brain...brain!!

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Shot of the 2011 Infinite Creations calendar.

[Image seen on BarnesandNoble.com.]

Just when you thought it was once again safe to enter your local chain bookstore…

The Fractal Universe Calendar (FUC) gets a name change and a new coat of renders.  But kick those familiar, sappy, spiral tires — and it’s easy to see what’s under this tired trope of a hood.

Notice of the FUC reboot was seen (unsurprisingly) on Keith Mackay’s blog.  “Daniel,” whose linked name goes to Orange Circle Studio, a commercial calendar site, leaves the following message

Orange Circle Studio now owns the rights to the Fractals 2011 wall calendar.

and provides a link that notes that in this NEW IMPROVED calendar

renowned fractal artists push their art to extremes and guide you on a journey through their infinite creations.

so I guess the inevitable questions will have to again be asked before this impostor starts hanging around strip malls in the fall:

–Who are these “renowned fractal artists”?
–How are they selected to be a part of this project?
–How are they compensated for having their art included?
–What is meant by “owns the rights”?  Has OCS purchased rights to re-use similar or even previous FUC images?
–Will you please explain in some detail how you ascertained that the images above have been “pushed to extremes”?
–The fuzzy wuzzy FUC “aesthetic” wasn’t hard to clone, wuzzit?

And the most critical question:

–Aren’t OT readers gladdened to know that the images above will be mass-marketed with the suggestion that this is the “most renowned” artistic expression our discipline is capable of producing?

You know, it’s starting to feel like Old Home Week around the blog lately…


I’d be remiss if I’d didn’t make time to acknowledge OT admirer and troll-in-waiting Chris Oldfield (milleniumsentry on deviantART) for blowing us virtual kisses.  Since I know he wants to reach a larger audience, and understand how much he enjoys having his work shared with others, here is a blown artwork posted with a dedication that reads: “A little something for the Orbit Trap bloggers…”

Nothing sharpens sight like envy (--Thomas Fuller)

Green-Eyed Envy by milleniumsentry

Really.  He shouldn’t have…

Oldfield, singled out as one of the official DA “masters,” did not specifically tag this particular post as wanting constructive criticism — so I wouldn’t want to spoil the uniform tone of effusive, Fractalbook gushiness found in the comment thread located directly under the image.  If you haven’t yet had your daily recommended allotment of saccharine, you should drop by and drink deeply.


UPDATE: More mystery.  What could this be?

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14 thoughts on “FUC 2: The Sequel

  1. I do not really like the pics on the calendar. However … the last pic (the “green eyed envy”) is impressive.

  2. @ker2x, this looks like a 2D fractal with multiple layers and some texturing. Possibly done in UF.

  3. It’s pure UF. Many many layers. *wink*

    And one day.. these guys will eventually take a hint.

  4. And sorry for the double post, but here we are again, using my art without permission, which is what sparked the piece to begin with.

    It was fun to make though, and I did mean it tongue in cheek.. next time, just go through the proper channels and save yourself some trouble. ;)

  5. So this is not “a fractal”, this is a digital artwork made of fractal, a “derivated product”.

    Btw… it still look nice, but i have no interest in this kind of artwork.
    i like the beauty we can (surprisingly) find in mathematic and chaos.

  6. Actually, it is “a fractal” and you can still zoom in and explore like you would any other.

    This discussion comes up in many forms, and I would point out, that combining the result of two fractal equations (or even more) does not negate the fact that they are still fractals. Combining one with another does not redefine them as many seem to believe.

    What you find beautiful is a matter of taste. Just be careful not to let your preferences redefine your understanding of what you are looking at.

    If you’d like to discuss this further, feel free to email me at milleniumsentry@hotmail.com

    These guys don’t like me much, so probably better to discuss it in private if you are interested.

  7. It is not really so much about you, Chris Oldfield , and whether “these guys don’t like” or do like you. (Not everything resolves around you personally.) It is more of your understanding of the English language and the ability to adequately use it, along with your knowledge of what “a fractal” really is.

    First of all, the phrase “a fractal” is singular, meaning one item. And since you have already stated the image was made up of several “layers” of “fractals”, both of these being plural words, then your image is definitely not “a fractal”. (It is probably more closely related to a collage.)

    It is exactly what ker2x has stated: a digital artwork made up of fractals, a derivative product; something that is made from something else.

  8. I did notice that Keith has made several entries in his blog, which concern fractal calendars:

    It seems as though Keith agrees with many people about the current state of these calendars: “I don’t care much for the style of many of the fractals that they put on those calendars…”
    and: “It seems that none of the calendars represent the type of fractals that most fractal artists are creating today.”

  9. No offense Nahee, but calling into question my use of the english language doesn’t serve to debunk the argument.

    My argument still stands, that a layered fractal can be represented as one fractal formula, and that even though there is a separation in definition (layers) that the layers are still added together mathematically, point by point, using two (or more) equations to determine a result.

    What I find interesting, is that because you are placing more emphasis on a software definition, than on the actual math that is going on behind the scenes.

    When you are using layers, you are simply taking the result of one point, and adding it to another. The type of layer, is the type of math used on those points. It’s actually pretty simple if you view things mathematically, and not in terms of the software.

    Hope this helps.

  10. Combining layers is not a fractal formula, it is simply graphic editing, which has been around a very long time. One can find these abilities in many graphic editors, and there are even plug-in filters to do similar tasks.

    Adding the colors of pixels together (or using other math operators) to combine image layers has nothing to do with fractal formulas. It is not much different than a collage, or using a “wash” over a painting.

    Just because math is involved to combine two or more pixel colors, does not make it “a fractal”. If at least two of those layers were actually fractals unto themselves, then combining them together is not “a fractal”, but a conglomerate image of fractals.

    Even somebody with a modicum of intelligence should be able to understand that.

  11. Nahee,

    If we were speaking of just a graphics editor, I would lend your argument some weight, but we are not. You are being very selective in your reasoning.

    In your graphics editor example, you are limited to the fractal data that you have rendered, yes. And no matter what work you do in an editor outside of the fractal environment, you are still working with a limited set of fractal data. This I agree with.

    However, in a native environment, such as ultrafractal, you are still working with fractal expressions. Like it or not, combining two fractal expressions, does not negate the fact that they are fractal.

    A good example of this is using a coloring algorithm on a base fractal formula. Does using orbit traps on a julia make the julia non-fractal? No. It adds more math to the expression, and the result is generated on screen.

    Likewise, combing two fractal expressions does not negate their fractal nature. Let’s look at a simple opacity example where one result is set at 80 percent, and one at 20%.

    the expression would look something like:
    pixel = ((result of fractal formula used) *.8 ) + ((result fractal formula used) *.2)

    Despite your obvious combativeness, I would open the floor to the following challenge. Find me one piece of mathematical literature that states combining two fractal formulae negates their fractal nature.

    You won’t, and in fact, many of the more advanced fractals employ this very dynamic.

  12. This all just boils down to the seemingly endless argument that just because an image is created entirely inside a fractal program with image-processing capabilities it should be considered a “natural” fractal, albeit without a shred of post-processing. Why is it so hard to accept that images that result from combining fractal layers in this way are no different from those created using a program like Photoshop? Yes the whole image is fractal-based. No, it’s not something that a single formula, or series of formulas would produce iteratively without human tampering or conditioning, if you will. There are however techniques that use multiple formulas that work without any wide stretches of the imagination, such as plugging the output of one formula into another, or using the greater magnitude of one formula over another formula’s output magnitude, or using a threshhold value based on some formula’s output to determine where to end the iterative loop — the latter formula may or may not be fractal in substance. These are just a few methods of creating a “pure” single-layered fractal based on multiple fractal formulas. Combining layers of fractals (each with a separate formula) and/or using different coloring methods for each layer doesn’t constitute what I would consider a “natural” fractal in so much as it is possible to create one with a single fractal program. You could also use a fractal formula to image warp a photograph and turn that into a fractal of sorts, which is becoming more common these days, but the temptation there is to use any formula, not necessarily fractal to warp the image. Some people wouldn’t know the difference. There are ways of manipulating images using linear algebra to create the same sort of effects, which are clearly recognizable in IFS studies, but only go to show how powerful linear algebra can be. Eventually it has to be acknowledged that if you fool around with an image long enough, in one program or multiple programs, you can get any image to look like a fractal, even if the main formula it is based on isn’t technically fractal in origin. We just happen to live in a fractally dynamic world, with an infinitude of cubby holes where real living fractals lurk, breed and reproduce. It is not that hard to imagine that human babies possess the same characteristics as fractals, and are imprinted from birth with the overwelming desire to seek out and create their own fractals “from scratch.” It is pointless to continue to argue that rendering layers of fractals is some kind of advanced or superior approach to fractal generation, or that one program is all you need to create great fractals. It is a great selling point for the benefit of fractal novices, and to eliminate the excess fractal programmer population, but it does nothing to advance the science of fractal imaging.

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