Benoit Mandelbrot

Up to this point there has been a lot of discussion of mathematics, geometry, theories, important people, and crazy anomalies.  I would love to say that this confusing array of subjects is behind us, but in truth it has only just begun.  The difference now is that we are moving out of history and theory and into application.

Fractals live by their own set of rules that defy the concepts of Euclidean geometry that we were taught in grade school.  As such, the approach to turning fractals into art has an equally unique methodology.  The subtopics in this section cover some of the most important design concepts in fractal art, and should help give readers a much firmer grasp of how all of these concepts come together to create a digital masterpiece. These masterpieces are often referred to as fractal "flames", so named for the random flame-like appearance exhibited by many fractals once they have been polished into a final design. You'll often see the term "flame" used interchangeably with the terms "fractal", "pattern", or "variation".

"Ethea" © Copyright 2007 Sean McCurry

Scripting for Animation
What Programs to Use

A “variation” is a formula that controls how a fractal is drawn.  Each has its own set of rules and habits that can be customized to the artist’s content.  By applying one or more variations to a fractal it can be molded into entirely new and interesting patterns.  In fact, The baseline algorithm that controls how the fractal is initially drawn is also considered a variation.  This section covers a few common variations and their effects.

go to "Variations"

Fractals are freely chaotic elements existing in a world of rules.  It’s no wonder then that the process for coloring these designs can be every bit as complex and unique as the designs themselves.  This section discusses how gradients and density mapping work together to determine the color patterns of a fractal, complete with an interactive demonstration.  Gamma and vibrance is also briefly discussed, and the concept of color algorithms is covered as well.

go to "Coloration"

Scripting for Animation
What Programs to Use

There are many methods and processes in graphic design that carry the name “filter”.  In the development of fractal art, this concept most often refers to the systematic correction and removal of unwanted visual side effects, such as aliases, artifacts, and graininess.  This section discusses anti-aliasing, the concept of sampling, and the process of density estimation.  A quick sidebar on blurs will be old news to some and an entirely new concept to others.

go to "Filtration"

This short section is by no means a comprehensive study of animation in fractal design.  Rather, it is an interesting look into yet another dimension of fractal creation.  The basic approach is discussed, covering the processes of frame-by-frame animation and batch rendering.  An introductory spotlight shows an example of a fractal animation and a brief overview on how it was created.

go to "Animation"