No More Flat Fractals!

Does it seem that no one has any interest in the old, 2D fractal images anymore?  And furthermore, does it seem that since the advent of the 3D fractal craze that there are more fractal artists making interesting work than ever before?

I’d answer yes to both those questions.  Numerous times while browsing further and further back in an artist’s gallery on Deviant Art I’d come to the “Before Mandelbulb” era and their notable gallery all of a sudden reverts to UF layering trash.  It’s like the mandelbulb and it’s various other 3D formulas have given many artists superpowers which the old “flat” fractal programs failed to do.

In addition to that, quite a few fractalists are becoming more proficient with the 3D tool set and actually experimenting with non-fractal elements in order to be more creative.  There’s something about the 3D fractal genre I think that makes it easier to relate to and work with.  It’s more fertile ground.

And less abstract?  3D fractals seem to be more realistic or at least, more “concrete”.  Or are the 3D tools just much more powerful and better able to generate interesting imagery?  A few hours playing around in the mandelbulb programs will allow almost anyone to find something interesting?  Like being let loose in some newly discovered lost city with a camera; you can’t fail to bring back something shocking and awesome.

Let’s start with the most awesome thing I’ve seen lately, a new formula variation made by HalTenny (Deviant Art) who also seems to have made the best example of it:

~ Click on any of the blog images to view full-size on their original site~

Industrial Contamination by HalTenny

HalTenny brought us the famous “onion” or 3D metal boiler and enamelled piping images which quickly became a small rendering rage in themselves.  And just as with those, he lead the way.  This new variation looks even better and creates incredibly bizarre and yet realistic looking works.  The use of “fog” to give a photographic depth of field effect works well to give a sense of immensity to the rusted metal structure.

HalTenny’s Deviant Art gallery is well worth taking a look at.  His work just gets better and better and the high quality of the graphical rendering is state of the art.  He comes up with great, new variations of formulas and he’s a rendering perfectionist.  A great combination of talents.

View from the war machine by ZZZ_spb

Some people like to add trees, lakes and birds to their images.  We don’t need them.  They can eat lead and taste shrapnel if they ever come around here.  Nice dreamy Maxfield Parrish sunset, don’t you think?  I like that.  It’s a delightful contrast to the cold machine gun and artillery shells and harsh steel walls of this creatively rendered mandelbox, mandel-something.  Who is this ZZZ_spb guy?  I like his style!

The Hall of Masters by lxh

It doesn’t get much more 3D than this.  I keep expecting to see someone walk in through one of the passageways.  It’s a temple, cathedral or something grandiose like that.  And with the “fog” feature the depth is so realistic it reminds me of big budget CGI movie scenes like the last Harry Potter movie.

The gallery page for the image has this note by the artist, lxh:

Since i know it, i’ve always been fascinated by the architectural structures of ABoxMod2. To me it looks like a big pillar hall where all the fractal formula masters have their place. In this case i pimped it with _rotatedFolding, HeightMapIFS and Photoshop. Hope you like it.

Like it?  We love it!  Make another one, please…

The Masters Gallery by lxh

Lxh adds these notes:

As you might can imagine I just had to take a further walk through the hall of masters until Julia brought me a view stages deeper to show me the gallery, a sort of shrine krypta, but empty. And it seems no coincidence that my very first thought was: Right Julia … where all the masters have their place.

I understand this as a preview and i’m thinking of filling these shrines with shining and illuminating classical fractals. This could be the place of Mandelbrot for example. Right behind might be Pythagoras’, Sierpinski’s or Menger’s .. don’t know .. any suggestions?

Suggestions?  Yeah I’ve one: Skulls!

Pendant of Necromancy by Tahyon

Notes from the artist on the gallery page:

Mandelbulb 3D and PS CS6
Another Pendant from Alchemist collection
This one has a bit of postwork, but without the skulls it wouldn’t be a necromancer pendant…i put a little beat of evil in his shape
Hope you like it

Postwork done in PS CS6

The Alchemist collection is a set of shiny metallic mandelbulb designs presented as jewellery which you can see by clicking on the image and checking out the original gallery page.  Tahyon has quite a bit of skill as a designer as well as a fractal artist and here the two talents merge perfectly.  I’ve always said that 3D fractals were very ornate and would work well as decorative items.  The skulls (and the screaming skeleton) just add a little polish to the fractal.

Morning Departure by MarkJayBee

Mandelbulb 3D v1.53

Found this ‘ship’ departing from the area of ‘Thedus Station’….

A rock that looks like an old fashioned wooden sailing ship.  It’s hard to imagine a rock looking like a sailing ship, but there it is.  A good example of how profitable it can be to wander around and browse a 3D fractal.  Mark, of course, has many more images which are much more sophisticated than this “rock” and here’s one that is also a little offbeat:

Dôme de Champ Magnétique by MarkJayBee

Notes from the gallery page by the artist:

Mandelbulb 3D v1.7.9.9c TestFile

DEcombinate using: discoballIFS/PolyFolding/ABoxModKali/Menger3/_reciprocalY3/_SphereFolding1

Managed to get an inside view of Luca’s new ‘discoballIFS’ formula; playing about with iterfog gives some interesting – but unpredictable! – transparency ‘diffraction’ effects.  nerd

Hi-Res version at:

The “diffraction” effects he’s referring to are quite creative.  They almost look like something a photoshop filter would have produced.  Just as HalTenny’s renderings are super clean and perfect, this one is rough and wild and yet reaches a similar level of perfection in a very different category of style.

Here’s a fantastic example of Mark’s advanced “watercolor-like” mandelbulb style:

GSV MainBay III by MarkJayBee

Mark has worked as a professional illustrator, photographer and photo-restorer and somewhere I read that his goal with 3D fractals is to create sci-fi illustrations.  I think he’s achieved that goal.

To the depths of the ocean where all hopes sank… by Mandelwerk (Kraftwerk)

Kraftwerk, on, or Mandelwerk on Deviant Art has really tried hard to take 3D fractals to that higher level of more expressive, cerebral art.  This actually is not a good example of that, but it is a good example of his rich and sophisticated coloring, an artistic quality that is less exploited by 3D fractal artists than it is by the 2D ones.  I like the shape, color and pattern to the fish object and the rendering is so photo-realistic that I would expect on closer examination to see that it’s carved from wood and covered with a thin layer of plaster and paint.

Nagasaki by Mandelwerk

Artist notes from Deviant Art gallery page:

My second image of the two horrible events that took place in Japan in August 1945.
I hope I will never have to create a third image.

Thinking of the hundreds of thousands people who lost their life and to those whose life is still affected by the aftermath of the atomic bomb.

Mandelbulb 3D
My own photo of sky added in Photoshop.

The 400 pixel version I have up there really doesn’t do justice the original which is 1280px wide.  It’s a neat depiction of distorted architecture and also of what could be interpreted as atomic models spinning and whirring away on the left.  If you loved Nagasaki you’ll love Hiroshima too:

Hiroshima by Mandelwerk

Image notes from Deviant Art gallery page:

When I found this theatrical scenery of a big city in a frozen moment just as it gets hit by a heavy impact I knew I had to do my Guernica. [link]

The stylized high buildings and twisted structures gave me the image of the vision I had as a child when I heard about what once had happened in the City of Hiroshima.

I have been working on this piece for almost a month to get the disposition and ambience exactly as I wanted it to be, to show my respect for the hundreds of thousands people who lost their life and to those whose life is still affected by the aftermath of the atomic bomb.

Mandelbulb 3D, rendered with 7760 x 3490 resolution, a very important aspect…

I hope mankind will never use these terrible weapons again.

Mandelbulb 3D, Photoshop

Can fractals be thought provoking and express ideas and not merely delight our eyes with beautiful designs and ornate details?  You know, maybe he’s done it and that without leaning too heavily on Photoshop to make mere fractal “elements” into something completely different.

Well, it looks like Mandelwerk’s pair of fractal images has managed to express and evoke something more substantial than the usual eye candy wonders. I could see something like this made into an actual outdoor sculpture/memorial type of thing.  An artist like that deserves his own public exhibition.  Browsing his Deviant Art gallery will quickly show you what I mean by his unique graphical style and persistence in trying to move fractal art to a higher level.  I’ve said it couldn’t be done, but I was just speculating on the future based on all the junk we were all making at the time.

Circuitry Circus #4 by Reallybigname

Reallybigname brought us the Mayan Trickster images that were symphonies of detail and design.  This one is equally good although you’ll need to view it full-size to really appreciate it.  Here’s another one in the series:

Circuitry Circus #2 by Reallybigname

The detail isn’t just of high quantity, which is easy enough to find in any fractal formula whether 2D or 3D even, the detail is also of exceptionally high quality and shows the processing power of these formulas to create unimaginable imagery.  This is the world’s most complicated clock or circuitry as the name suggests.

Soldiers in a Row by skyzyk

Skyzyk ignored the rules about color when he made this image.  Or is Skyzyk now writing the rules about color?  Ironically, this 3D image has a flattened appearance to it.  But the plastic look it has is why I like it so much.  These are distinctly artificial colors if one can say that in the context of digital art.  It’s the bowels of a machine, a plastic extruding, super-advanced toy factory (and shiny!).

Here’s another one by “Skyzyk the Rule-Breaker:”

Hall of Champions by Skyzyk

It’s eerie and creepy and the pillars look like they’re made of celery –celery gone bad and yellow– and all this because of the color!  Nice touch.

Jan 20 by Skyzyk

Not an uncommon 3D fractal rotary cheese-grater image.  But transformed into something radically different and resembling a hand-drawn comic book image by Skyzyk’s mysterious color talents.  If you look closely at the full-size image on Skyzyk’s Deviant Art gallery page, you’ll see the artistic effect his coloring style has on the “drive shaft” structure.

Artist notes for the image:

Made with Mandelbulb3D 1.796 by jesse, [link] ,Photoshop and or finished in Dynamic Photo HDR5 Formulas by :icondark-beam:[link]
Artwork Copyright at myfreecopyright. [link]
My work is not and should not be considered Public Domain. All my works are watermarks embedded with Digimarc. My works are not to be shared anywhere without my express consent and written permisssion.

Please note that my parameters are available upon request. If you would like to download the full image, or as a print, also, please notify me.
:groups: Member of #GetWatchers: We help Artists to expand their audience. Expand yours… You can Join us Here.OU!!!

HDR?  Maybe that and the Photoshop finishing explains the stylish look.  This HDR is the same thing that photographers (like Ron Fitch) use to combine several versions of the same shot with varying levels of contrast to make a richer image with more “pop” as the Dynamic Photo HDR website says.

Tower by ZZZ_spb

This is just plain cool.  Wait, look!  It’s by the same guy as made the machine gun one above.  I often don’t see the artist’s name when browsing around the fractal art world because they aren’t always that noticeable.  (And some names are harder to remember than others.)

It’s a desert sky at sunset… the ornate stone work suggests bricks and blocks, not slabs… the little window is typical of a defensive position… the title, “Tower” suggests the artist was thinking the same thing… the machine gun and artillery shells of his last one…  all this reminds me of an interesting photo I saw on Wikipedia of an ancient tower:

Tripoli Tower of Lions (Lebanon) c1900 from Wikipedia

Or the famous university library at UNAM in Mexico City:

UNAM Library by Oscar Esquimal

From the blog, Esquimal.

You can check out more by ZZZ_spb on on this page if I’ve copied the link correctly.  (Linking to some things can be pretty complicated these days.)

Looking forward by ZZZ_spb

Yes, we just can’t rule out any possibility when it comes to 3D fractals, looking forward

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2 thoughts on “No More Flat Fractals!

  1. Didn’t know you were back at it until today. I appreciate the kind words. I try to create pieces beyond the mainstream work we often see, sometimes I get there. :) Thanks again.

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