There are many ways to judge fractal artworks; you could look for beauty, whatever that is, or you could look for expression, or artistic merit, or something else too profound for words. I look for “Awesome!”. Call it the Awesome School of Fractal Art Criticism, or Awesome-ism for short. The exclamation mark is optional.
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Isn’t that awesome! It’s even better full-size; the “painterly” quality is more evident. The composition and variety in this one really shows the potential for 3D fractals: play with the parameters enough and look around long enough and you’ll find readymade paintings like this one. The lighting looks natural and with the repeated pattern of attending pillars there appear to be surreal sub-congregations tucked in beside uber-members who tower with architectural prominence. If a painter set out to paint a scene like this the hard way, would it turn out better than this?
This one is just too real. It looks like the perfect photograph of an imaginary place. I think that’s a mausoleum in the background and though that might not sound too exciting, the whole place is begging to be explored. Fractals are virtual places and we explore them in computer programs but I think they’re more real than the photos of real world places we’ve never been and never will visit. A good 3d fractal image leaves you with the feeling that you’ve been somewhere. And an imported sky backdrop helps too. But notice the shadows in the image: the sun is behind us, somewhat high in the sky, like about 9 in the morning or 3 in the afternoon. The weather looks good so we can take our time wandering around until sunset. The photographer was careful to maneuver their own shadow out of the frame of the photograph.
In the words of the master himself: “I simply can’t get enough of this object… fascinating endless variety” Once again this is an excellent example of vividity. That’s the awesome version of vivid. I feel this is underwater and although we’re in a dim, cool place, the shaft of sunlight pouring down suggests it’s a bright, hot day on the surface. I might have labeled this “Neptune’s Throne” because it has a majestic quality to it. 3dickulus has more like these on Fractalforums.com (the throne of fractal art). They all have this interesting liquid style to them with lots of endless variety as he says. The coloring fits in nicely with it to give them a “painted sculpture” appearance.
Yes, that’s lake effect at the bottom. But it actually adds to the awesomimity instead of what it usually does. I think it adds some sort of rhythm that enhances the soothing and dreamlike visionary effect of the image. It ought to be a haunting image with those dark forest shadows in the background, but I have a feeling that whatever disturbing thing comes out from there will be transformed once it steps into the light of the glowing spiral tree galaxies. This is a bit old school now and goes back about 6 years but fraxialmadness3 “nailed it” as they say on hip television these days. A simple but powerful scene which is even more incredible since, as you may not have noticed yet, it’s entirely monochrome. How many monochrome fractals do you see that look great like this? If there was a textbook for fractal art techniques, this one would be in it.
Encrypted has a lot of awesome stuff on his Deviant Art gallery. I just looked through it while trying to find the title for the image above and thought I could do an entire posting just on a few of the things he’s got posted there. Encrypted is one of the few fractal artists who works well in both 2d as well as 3d fractals and his recent Ultra Fractal postings really show this. Some people just have a good eye for design and composition and that seems to be 80% of good fractal art. In addition to that, he’s got a sort of da Vinci style to his 3d images that is unique; and personal style is a hard thing to accomplish in algorithmic art where we all seem to be fishing in the same pond most of the time. The 2d image above has a nice balance between action and intense detail versus quiet and plain textured areas. It’s a good example of what I call the image within the image genre which is easy to find in fractals but not so easy to select and crop. It just takes a sort of instinctive ability that one also sees in photography: some people just frame stuff up better than the rest of us.
I remember seeing another (awesome!) image like this I think I also reviewed. I often save images I see while browsing the internet but only give them an ID number that refers to a URL in a text file. The result is I often forget who the artist is until I decide to include them in a posting which can sometimes be years later. I would never have connected this image and the one just before it with the same artist but fractal art is always full of surprises. This one has that renaissance feel to it I was suggesting before with the da Vinci thing. But it’s also a rather unique 3d fractal in that it seems to be made entirely of gold foil or, perhaps, wisps of toffee. Just like alexl’s image earlier, this one begs us to step over the picture frame and walk around. It reminds me also of old fence lines around fields in the country that often formed a wall of scraggly, thorny trees with the occasional break between them that cattle would occasionally squeeze through and make into a gateway.
The lighting, coloring, detailing, shadowing, and just about everything-ing is simply awesome in this one. This is actually one of my all time favorite 3d fractal images. Remember the Death Star in Star Wars? Do you know how much time and money they spent designing and building it? And all the people involved? This fractal image just makes them all look like fools. Look at that gleaming cliff face up in the middle of the top section; just awesome. And the whole place has the feel of an abandoned ruin, too; the feel of an Egyptian tomb. Or a dusty shelf in a huge warehouse. There’s a surreal, modern/ancient, crowded/desolate, theme to the image as well. The mixing of moods that doesn’t naturally occur.
As the gallery comments from the Deviant Art page say, there’s a surreal feel to this one. I think it’s because the image is both realistic as well as abstracted; it treats the simplified, abstracted imagery as if they were real by giving them texture and especially, that shadow cast across the blue “lake” in the middle. I sensed a connection with backbones in the curving, semi-porous “cliff face” in the bottom section: subconscious association, another surrealist overtone. It also suggests the reservoir of a hydro-electric dam in the mountains. The image is richly symbolic and diagrammatic while at the same time composed of unique, individualized elements with elaborate detail. The symmetry magnifies the interest by making everything in the image appear to have a symbolic form like a crest or coat of arms.
Here’s another (awesome!) example of pattern and artistry. And color; Dorianoart always manages to do rich color in a tasteful way: saturated but not over-saturated. As always, I like the old style digital elements like the blocky bits and glassy claws. Notice, by “zooming out” a bit, that the left half is blurry and blue while the right half is clear and bright. That’s the aerial perspective technique I learned about in high school art class: bluish haze naturally conveys an impression of distance and gives a landscape depth. This being a digital landscape, and sideways, too.
This one is awesome for something that may not be apparent at first: it is an extremely real and function scene. People don’t draw fractals, they alter the parameters that draw the fractals. Of course one can stick in all sorts of other imagery but this one is astonishingly convincing all on it’s own. We see hallways; not surprising in any 3d fractal image but they also have overhead and ground level tracks like you’d find in a underground train tunnel or in a warehouse or manufacturing setting: the basic elements make functional sense. The doorways are framed which is a natural element in any passageway that passes through a wall (door frame, window frame). The green roundish thing above could easily be a light fixture, ventilation duct or camera fixture, while the similar element on the floor could be a drain suggesting that the bluish haze over the floor area represents water and the floor is in fact flooded. This could easily be some sort of spent nuclear fuel storage pool or a surreal Turkish bath complex. The pastel color scheme fits with either one but I think suggests more the illumination in a nuclear fuel storage pool. Let this be the first official record of realism synchronicity (new term).
I think this was posted to Fractalforums.com as a humorous offering, but upon looking closely at it, the way all the elements in this image work together to convincingly portrays a “Desert Diner” is awesome. Notice the little green windows where windows are supposed to be; I don’t know where the door is but I’d try for the window area that doesn’t have the middle white bit; it’s probably a double doorway (busy diner). If you’ve ever been to New Mexico, down in the US southwest, you’d know that there really are rock formations like this and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone built a diner right into one as a gimmick to lure tourists off the interstate highway. I find these sorts of 3d fractal images that so easily lend themselves to real world comparisons make the concept of virtual space much more compelling and multiply the possibilities as well as the intrigue for fractals.
As the title suggests, this image bares a notable resemblance to a monumental building. I’ve never seen any 3d fractal that combined both the geometric qualities of a functional building shape along with the organic qualities of carved wood or marble. This is something new to me. Once again 3d fractals make better movie sets than Hollywood does. Roman ruins would be much more impressive if they had the creative touch these virtual ruins have. Or are they geometric tree trunks? You see what I mean by the hybrid look of architecture and organism: Man-made and natural growth.
My goodness, that’s three awesomes for Encrypted. There’s an old song off the radio that has the ridiculous line in it: “We built this city; we built this city on Rock ‘n Roll. We built this city; we built this city on Rock ‘n Roll!” To which I would add (30 years later), if ever there was a city built on the cosmetics industry… it would look just like this image here. In fact, like the old song, this image has a shiny, elegant 80s look to it. In fact, some of those lipstick tubes are the size of a football, just like the big, mammoth, eye-catching display versions you see on the counters and display shelves in the cosmetics department of a store. Same for the square, golden face powder boxes the size of washing machines. But, you’ve got to admit that there is no better example of an awesome cosmetics department fractal than this. Note that there’s no price tags: nothing’s on sale in this place.
I’m sure someone has made something like this before, but this is different, this is awesome! Being a Geography major back in my university days, I had a natural affinity for maps, especially old style ones. This image combines both the genuine facts of the “places” of the Mandelbrot set along with the romantic allure of an old map. If this doesn’t bring out the virtual Sindbad in you, then nothing will. I’m sure everyone who’s ever explored the Mandelbrot set has some sort of map-like concept in their mind which this map here captures and enhances. This ought to make a fine commercial venture since it has real appeal to both the science crowd as well as the fractal art fans. It’s also explanatory and as such makes a great gift for people who know nothing about fractals or how much you might have paid for this unique print. Of course, once you see the printed version you probably won’t want to give it away.
Another (awesome) hybrid. This time it’s the colorful, cartoonish drawing style of 2d fractals merged with the monumental architectural style of 3d fractals. Nicely rendered too, which can take some time with 3d fractals, I’ve heard. I don’t know who Ellenm1 is. Sometimes I discover that two different screen names on two different sites are actually the same artist, but from the content on her main Flickr page, I’d say she’s not one of the usual fractal art crowd. But why should she be? She’s awesome! Outsiders have that brief opportunity, before they become insiders, to approach and think about fractals in innovative ways. For the rest of us it takes years to shake off what we’ve “learned from others” and get back on that less traveled way. Follow the eye: the eye will lead you to the Land of Awesome! The eye can’t lie: it’s too simple minded.
In the words of Niel Young:
It was then I knew I’d had enough,
Burned my credit card for fuel
Headed out to where the pavement
turns to sand
With a one-way ticket
to the land of truth
And my suitcase in my hand
How I lost my friends
I still don’t understand.