Monday, December 22, 2008

Don't get too close

I was tinkering with the picture of trees, adjusting some details. I made a copy of the whole thing and then zoomed into part of it, to see how some of the layers were working. This is something I often do when fine-tuning a fractal image: work with greatly enlarged copies to try and get the colors to work better. It's always disappointing when I make a large print-sized render and discover that there are weird orange blobs or grey halos or something appearing in places which were formerly sub-pixel specks.

At any rate, after I'd gotten my gradients all tweaked into place, I decided I liked the zoomed version of the image enough to make it into its own thing. Though obviously based on the same elements, it's a contrast in many ways to the parent image; instead of being settled and serene, with an expanse of dark sky, it's focused on the frenetic commercial center of the holiday season. Things blink and spin and explode. It has a kind of relentless energy, like the Muzak that fills the stores and the insistently cheery well-wishers who won't leave you alone. Buy! Smile! Feel that Hallmark-approved glow! Buy some more! It resembles an advertisement gone wrong, and in the dizzy confusion all you can do is try to dodge the shards of mirrored glass as they orbit past.

Consumer Incentives

A useful reminder to myself, perhaps, that it's not a great idea to look too closely at the holidays. Better to admire the glitter from a distance, and try to hang onto whatever serenity is available.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Longest night

Happy Solstice!

Yule Trees

Tent Julia formula, festively decorated with excessive goop.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Reasons to stay inside

My semester is finally over (hooray!) and so I have a little time to think about fractals again. I expect it will take me a while to get back up to speed again.

This weekend we're getting a whole bunch of unusually wintery weather, so I dug up a very old image that I've always liked, but that somehow never made it as far as any of my various gallery pages.


When I first made this one, in early 2001, I remember being annoyed by how slowly it rendered. That was at least two processors ago, and now it takes less than a minute for a decent screen preview, and about twelve minutes for a 1600x1200 disk render, which seems much better.