Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sidetracked by the mechanical

I spent all day among printing presses again, and have no new fractals, so here's another old-ish image from the series I did with the gears.

The Machine Stops

Frame-Robert formula, eleven layers.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A self-portrait of sorts

After this, I think I'd like to go back to more abstract things for a while, and stop trying to make the fractals look so much like something specific.

Where Does All the Wasted Time Go?

This is a Mandelbrot image, of course. But it's six layers, instead of just a single-layer zoom, so it's slow enough that rendering it took about three days.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I'm actually pretty happy with how this one turned out. The colors worked well, for a single-layer image.

Blue Diamonds

Magnification 1.8161869x1035. It took a stupid amount of deep-zooming to get the diamonds to be even slightly the right shape, and thus the render was probably the slowest of the whole bunch.

I made some Purple Horseshoes, but they looked only slightly like horseshoes, and a lot more like the cross-section of some mutant purple celery, so I probably won't post them.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I fear my luck is running out

I'm not even to the end of the week, and already I'm really sick of this series. This one is better than the hearts, at least.

Green Clovers

Magnification 5.463162x1017. I had to crank the maximum iterations way up on this one, which made it render excruciatingly slowly.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

100% pure cheese

Continuing my series of single-layer mandelbrot zooms: a minimalist sort of image, with stylized rays and the sun in the middle.

Yellow Moons

Magnification 2.6467484x1015. A nice quick render.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Don't thank them yet

Second in the series of single-layer Mandelbrot zooms.

Orange Stars

Magnification 4.8710492x1025. The spirally stuff in between them is meant to be suggestive of nebulas or space dust or some such.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Serial molecules

One of the well-known properties of the Mandelbrot set is that it's full of smaller, distorted copies of itself. I've just found out that Mandelbrot himself refers to these as "molecules," which I think is a wonderful name for them.

Over the last week or so, I've been doing a lot of systematic exploring of the Mandelbrot, trying to get a better feel for the patterns around the molecules, and how those patterns are affected when you zoom into different sub-regions of them. It's fascinating; they distort in all sorts of ways, and I'm getting better at predicting and working with the distortion to find the shapes I want.

I must confess, though, that so far the results have been embarrassingly silly. This week I plan to post a series of single-layer Mandelbrot zooms, the reaction to which will probably be the same hollow groan that follows a really bad pun. To begin with, the image that started me on this exploring binge in the first place.

Pink Hearts

The magnification is 2.3422469x1020. I've surrounded them with thorns, because it seemed suitably poetic, or symbolic, or something.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Plants enjoy rain

Bah, what a worthless day this has been. I can't make my brain work properly at all.

Persistent Vegetative

Compounding Tweaked Julia, eight layers, with some Hoops & Tubes and some epicycloids.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Ragweeds, calm yourselves!

It's that time of year again. Achoo.

Allergy Season

Compounding Tweaked Julia, nine layers, lots of Gnarly Orbit Traps. Some of my own parametric curves as well. Ragweed pollen looks like some kind of miniature spiky medieval weaponry, and I hate it.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hypocycloid with chromatic aberration

This one is from March or so, in answer to a question which wasn't actually directed at me.

Because They Don't Understand

It's a Mandelbrot, it's at least five layers, and that's all I can remember right now. I'll have to dig out the parameter file at some point, to see if there's anything particularly noteworthy about it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I'm not sure if this one's finished, exactly, but it has definitely reached a point where I need to stop poking at it. In my mind, it makes a sort of squelchy noise in protest.


A fairly simple eight-layer Julia, of the sort sometimes referred to as a "lovingly-layered spiral."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I spent a lot of time today looking at beautiful old printing presses, many different kinds. The next step is figuring out how and where to have some proper workshop space, so I'll have a place to put such a thing.

Man, I'm a big sucker for gears. Here is an old-ish, vaguely mechanical fractal.

Sepia Machinery

IFS-Barnsley, ten layers.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

A radiant swallowtail, perhaps

I've been thinking about the color gamut of a computer monitor, which doesn't do blue-green very well; it either goes all muddy and icky, or it lurches into too-saturated cyan and primary green or blue. I like blue-green, when it's out in the real world where there are materials that can do it justice, and I was wondering if it would be possible to use it in a digital image that was less harsh and computery-looking.

I've also just been re-reading Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, by Tom Robbins, in which the main character complains of things being too vivid. It was the combination of influences, I think, that resulted in this fractal.

Iridescent Wings

Rational Newton Julia, five layers. Actually a re-working of a very old image that never got anywhere when I was first messing with it.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Vulgar (?) excess (?)

I think the thing I like best about fractals is how they take something as bare and simple as a mathematical equation, and turn it into something ridiculously complicated. It's like going from sterile Swedish minimalism to overblown Baroque. It reminds me that the whole world is in fact full of complicated wiggly business.


More neptwona, more parametric curves. Eight layers. Not influenced by restraint, taste, or Swedish minimalism.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dust or maybe dewdrops

Ah yes, the weekend, when I get nothing done. Or sometimes less than that.


Seven layers of neptwona. The lissajous coloring I've been working on still doesn't do all the things I would like it to do, but it's getting there. Parametric curves are bastards.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

New Growth

I am telling myself to be less grim about the whole question of art, and to just get on with things. I did two small press runs this afternoon, and my postcards are nearly done. I'm pleased about that. Then I made a batch of guacamole, and the Professor and I ate most of it along with dinner, so we're both fed and reasonably contented with life.

Here's a fractal from a week or so ago.

New Growth

A formula called sn00z (what do the names mean?!) with three layers of inside coloring and three layers of outside. I quite like the sky effect on this one.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Aesthetic demons

Today I am once again unhappy about spending so much time messing with fractals, when I know perfectly well that the world mostly has no use for them and no interest in them. It's not just the fractals, I guess, it's all art in general. The present culture fundamentally disapproves of anything that cannot be made to generate vast piles of cash. Art doesn't count until you can sell it to somebody.

I don't know what it would take to interest any major art buyers in fractals. The only time fractals seem to show up in a museum is when it's a science museum, putting together an exhibit to try to interest gradeschool children in math. Balls.

I also ask myself why I don't put my energy into a medium that's more readily accepted. Try paint, dumb-head, I say to myself, make some etchings, do some more woodcuts. (The big woodcuts have to wait until the school year starts again, and I have access to the big presses, but smaller cuts would work perfectly well using the spoon-burnishing technique.) But no, I keep coming back to fractals, because there's something about their complexity and precision that I still find pleasing. It is a hideous addiction.

In this spirit and frame of mind, it's probably not surprising that I've come up with an image that reminds me of some of the levels of Dante's Inferno.

Just Another Nightmare

Seven layers of a formula called deimos. I'm definitely getting a lot of mileage out of jock.ufm lately. The basic shapes are two layers of sine coloring, the rest is mostly texture.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Still contemplating wizardly things

The Professor keeps whistling the theme song from the Harry Potter movie, and wishing for a magical feast. Sadly, I cannot produce such a thing. All I can make is regular non-magical food, and pictures. So here is a picture.

I live in a magical house

Seven layers of the oddly-named ploom formula. Mostly orbit traps and lyapunov, with a custom star coloring I've been working on.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tom "Conveniently-Named" Marvolo Riddle

A silly illustration, in honor of the final Harry Potter book.


Plain old Julia set, with eight layers of background stuff, and another thirteen layers for the eyes. Relies heavily on orbit traps, as usual.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Black Magic

Here is a place for me to put some fractals. I'm hoping that I will actually keep up with some of my current images, if I give them a place to be, without the pressure of having to organize them into tidy gallery pages before I've even decided whether they're any good or not. This is, therefore, something in the nature of a sketchbook. It's for images that are new, unfinished, not-quite-titled, or otherwise possibly-still-in-progress.

I'm trying, by this exercise, to get back to producing images without worrying so much about what they're good for, or whether anyone will like them, or what. I think I've been missing the early days of when I was messing with fractal generators, before all the art-sniveling happened, when it was no more complicated than finding where the spirals were, and seeing what colors looked good. I'm happy about having gone back to art school, in some ways, but it really screws up your perceptions about just making stuff.

So, with that in mind, here's a spiral.

That Ol' Black Magic

Seven layers of a Jock Cooper formula called "ploom." Some thin orbit traps and S.F.B.M., among other things.