Fractals: Cooler Than You Think

In A Whisper

Everyone rejoice!  It turns out Fractals aren’t just for stoners and math geeks any more.

Now I know that might seem snarky – but seriously – when you read that opening sentence at least one of those things popped into your head.

Well no more.

Over the past year, there has been an ever-growing interest from the art and design communities in harnesses fractals and/or computation art to aide in creating some seriously mind-bending stuff.

The best part is that if you have even a passing interest at taking a crack at creating something cool with fractals you don’t need a math degree or recreational drugs – just an internet connection.  Here are three free programs that will have you making something trippy in no time flat:

1) Fractal4D – This fantastic little Adobe Air App lets you draw tremendously detailed fractals with your mouse right on the desktop, while allowing for continuous control over color and flow.  Once you are happy with the results you can export the results right to Adobe Illustrator or as a layered PNG file for easy editing.  Here is a great overview of the interface:

2) Adobe Pixel Blender Toolkit - This free program from the big ‘A’ gives you the best of both worlds, a decent UI to create cool fractals without the all hassle, and a great toolkit to really dig into the nitty-gritty should you so choose; although the best part in my opinion is ability to create “filters” for the program.  You can think of these like Photoshop actions – a quick way to create awesome art based on source imagery.  The best of which are created by Tom Beddard over at Subblue.  Here is an example of one of these filters, the ‘Droste Effect’ in action:

3) Apophysis – The most powerful (and thus, most complicated) of the batch, this program leverages user-input scripts to crank out amazing fractals.  But don’t let it’s learning curve intimidate you, there are lots of great resources out there to help you.  With a little patience you will be cranking out visuals like this in no time flat:

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  • Comments (12)
    • higgs
    • 10/03. 2009 9:18am

    Fyre is nice. Although not strictly fractals.
    Eletric sheep is great too.

    • mike
    • 11/07. 2009 11:10pm

    using the concept of fractals as a metaphor has also been used recently by theorists and critics of globalization, which is pretty interesting. I think Arjun Appadurai (Anthropology) is one person who’s used the metaphor. It helps to complicate the idea of rhetorical mapping (mapping knowledge).

  1. I always use Adobe illustrator at work because i work in an animation studio. this is really a serious tool for the graphic artist.’.*

  2. i don’t know with other users but the new version of Adobe illustrator is a bit slower when it loads. :”

  3. The fractals created with these tool are really beautiful. Fractal art has been improving at a very fast pace in the last couple of years. does anyone know of any fractal animation software? I am thinking of something that could be used to create flash for use on websites. Thx!!

  4. i use adobe illustrator a lot and i really love its great freatures“’

  5. in our office we use adobe illustrator very much-,~

  6. Adobe illustrator has been the bread and butter software on our photostudio. can’t live without using it`          

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