Developments in Fractal Art

Fractal Art

Recently, I was looking through the art web site of Sven Geier. He has a lot of fractal images that he has been creating since 2001. Many of the images are quite beautiful, particularly the recent ones if you scroll down to 2011.

What is interesting though is to see the progression as the power of home computers has increased over the last decade. Fractal art around 2001 was mostly 2D with bold colors, lower resolutions, and fairly raw in that the images come with little post processing. They tend to make use of complex number sequence sets such as Mandelbrot with familiar fractal spirals. Then around 2003 the fractal flame algorithm really became popular with programs such as Scott Draves’ Electric Sheep distributed screensaver and the Apophysis software. It became possible to create very rich and complex 2D patterns which could be easily animated.

Buddhabrot Fractal

In more recent years, high performance computers with excellent GPU cards make possible visually stunning 3D fractals which can incorporate complex post-processing effects such as depth-of-field. Also I notice a tendency to move towards procedural structures where the 3D space is populated with patterns that have a solid and familiar 3D interpretation such as machinery or organic scenery elements. These elicit a stronger feeling in the viewer of being in the space than the previous chaos of abstract 3D forms. Impressive examples can be found here and here. It will be interesting to see how this area develops.

Incidentally there is a nice page on Wikipedia about the Buddhabrot which is a class of fractals based on the Mandelbrot set which is interesting in that it produces images which resemble the meditating Buddha. You can view a really beautiful animation here.