Aug 22, 2012

Guest post: Once Again from the Land of Fractals by Troythulu

A Word from Kate:

Troythulu and I met through a love of science and skepticism, but we have found a common love of learning (he's more disciplined than me - despite what he says), a love of reading, creative pursuits and cats. Or should that be CATS since they demand the most attention?

A quick word about fractals for the lay person. Remember when you were at school, and graphed an equation? You'd get a line or a curved graph. Well, some equations when graphed produce infinite pictures of repetition. If you tried to do this on paper, you would end up with too many pencil marks and wouldn't be able to see it clearly. Now thanks to computers, you can see all the intricate details. That is a very simple explanation, but I hope you can appreciate the complex maths that goes into making these pictures.

Thanks to my creative friend Troythulu for allowing me to post some of his wonderful images. (Please remember these images belong to him and ask before re-posting and make sure you attribute him.)

Once Again from the Land of Fractals

Hello, everyone. It’s been a while since I’ve visited you all on this blog and in my last guest post, I talked about my fractal hobby, soon to be my fractal business if all goes according to plan…


I’ve diversified into new software, a freeware app called Mandelbulber, still experimental according to the developers as of this writing, as well as new uses of my old software, Fractal Domains and XaoS too.

Of the three, Mandelbulber is the most interesting for me, because even though it has the steepest learning-curve of the three, it produces the most interesting images – in 3D, no less, and with enormous potential for variety in the formulas used, even hybrids of formulas, though the default image makes use of a 3D formula based on the late Benoit Mandelbrot’s famous discovery, the mathematical set that bears his name to this day.

There are many, many complex adjustments to be made in the software that go into any image produced, some of them automatic, but the images it creates are among the most beautiful I’ve seen from an app compatible with the Macintosh I use, so much to be done, and so much I’ve yet to try out.

Many settings, and there are several tabs on the parameters window, with lots of settings to tweak for each -- the View tab, the Image tab, and so on, with formulas to adjust and buttons to click on, even an Animations tab, which will be fun to master – that determine how the images look, even settings for fog, blurring, or a spectral glow effect, my favorite for some images when done effectively.

I still haven’t found out how to access and delete unwanted settings, though I can replace them using new settings with the same file address, and I’ve set of my own settings folder for my own custom creations that I can easily access.

The “Load Settings” window has a neat feature – it renders a small preview of what the image for a set of parameters looks like, so I don’t have to render the full image to find out if I haven’t used it for a bit and forget what it looks like.

For some images, the rendering is the longest part of the process of making them:

Seven of my deviantART pieces were color-variants of an image that took 6 ½ hours to fully process, but IMHO the results were excellent and well worth the wait. After rendering, color maps may be easily changed and effects added, and I save my images initially to my desktop as JPEGs

I’ve said it before: To me, even though I’m the one calling the shots, so to speak, with the software, it feels more like I’m just a conduit – the images creating themselves through me via the apps.

But as I get better with them, especially since I’m creating my own settings for these images, looking almost like photographs of sculptures to my eyes, over time I’ve a better sense of control (hopefully not just a bias on my part!) over the results, and that’s one step closer to doing this professionally.

I’ve recently ventured into making wall-hanging sized pieces and experimenting with mural-sized ones, though I’ll upload the poster-sized ones to my deviantART page, the mural-sized ones are far too large to send to most social networking sites – the uploader tends to get very cross with me.

Still, the experimenting is fun, since it lets me test the limits of my hardware and software. I still need to get an art computer for this though, instead of the general-purpose desktop I’m using now, but that’s for future concern.

Thanks to Kate for hosting this visit to her blog, her terrific family, and to queen Jigglypuff who ruleth over all critters. In the words of Mr. Eccles, Mew!

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