Fractal of the Week: 2014 Halloween Night Edition

Tower of Bone

Tower of Bone

All JPEG, PNG & GIF images in this post are original works by the author, created via Mandelbulber, Fractal Domains, Ultra Fractal , Frax, and Mandelbulb 3D and unless otherwise stated are copyright 2014 by Troy Loy.

Friga’s Day Flash Fiction: Arbelus Thrice-Cursed

Arbelus the Gifted, and Thrice-Cursed, had the triple misfortune to be born a mutant, to be born on All-Hallow’s Eve, and to be born in this, the Last Age of Life, in waiting for the end of the world. It was the year One Billion and then some, and the time for life on Eruutt was soon.

Humans were long gone tens of millions of years ago, when the sun began to redden and loom larger in the sky. They were dead long before the cursed planet became tide locked to the sun, one side eternally dark, the other charred desert presiding over the scorched forests, parched seabeds, and the dead cities of what was once humanity. There, the sun hung forever in the noontide sky, leering in mockery at the feeble attempts of what life that remained to survive.

Arbelus, of course, travelled mostly on the dark side, living in the twilight hive cities between sides, and scavenging in the fungous forests of the planet’s endless night. Arbelus was a filcher and tomb robber, he was a trickster, a rogue, and a dreamer, but lately his dreams had been nightmares. He had woken only a few hours ago, screaming and raving, about a temple lying in what was once a deep ocean trench, when there were oceans, of a light shining from it and something within calling to him each sleep cycle since he had found the figurine.

The figurine.

It was a small thing, really, carved of a rare and traditionally magical substance called ivory. No one knew from whence ivory came…perhaps from another world. Surely there were no animals left on Eruutt to produce it, not for millions of years since that last Perfect Day. Arbelus had taken it from the neck of a hive monk he robbed at knifepoint. Surely it must have been an item of great power, he had thought, for he let the mutant live rather than simply slit his throat and dispose of the body. Mutant, not man, for there were no longer any men, nor any women, only the Eldritch of the Scorched Eruutt, the children of the Obscenity that waits dreaded beyond the effable.

Welcome to the Apocalypse, Arbelus thought. He wished he could get rid of the tiny trinket, but it wound up reappearing in the oddest places when he tried to ditch it, and he felt something driving him on, leading him, to his current path. He had just rappelled down a steep cliff face in a deep valley. The air seemed thicker here, denser, and nearly pitch dark save for the light of the stars. Forget the moon. It survived only as a red-lit ring overhead after wandering too close to Eruutt in a great war long ago, when there were enough people left to fight wars.

Arbelus lit his night staff and peered about the valley floor. The remains of long extinct animals dotted the landscape, fossilized and then exposed through wind and dust erosion. There was a light in the distance. Perhaps another traveller like he. Perhaps another filch. He dimmed his light to avoid giving himself away, and pressed on.

Then after hours on foot, he saw it. The temple. Just as it was in his feverish nightmares. Oddly, he was suddenly frightened, terrified, but approached anyway. He could see a light coming from it. Surely, a voice within counselled, there were great riches here. There would be tombs to plunder, gems beyond count to sell when he returned to the hive cities of the twilight regions. He stepped closer. He thought of turning back, of running from this place, to save his skin. Then he noticed something in his hand. It was the figurine. It had somehow gotten out of his pack, and into the palm of his hand. In the flickering dim radiance of his night staff it looked more menacing, its tiny eyes glaring at him, its tiny mouth smiling. It called to him in his mind, tiny lips silently whispering threats and promises of wealth and power beyond imagining.

His mind rebelled, but only for a moment. He gripped the tiny ivory icon tighter, now holding it close to his breast, as he had visions of death and glory beyond. He felt the call stronger this time, dimly realizing that it was the Obscenity Herself, the mother of his Race calling him to Her. He would obey, he thought, and stand at Her right tentacle forever.

Then he laughed, and it was not happy laughter, but of something beyond. He lost all sense of fear, all care, and all sanity, and went to answer Her call, on this, his birthday. Lucky him.

Happy Halloween.

Mandelbulber Tutorial: Basic Settings II

World Building

World Building

G’day. With this, the third in a series of entries dealing with generating your own fractal art using the Mandelbulber software, v.1.16, by Krzysztof Marczak. Here, I’ll discuss the settings for Mandelbulber’s Shaders 1 and Shaders 2 tabs. Here, and from this point on, I’ll be limiting these tutorials to sixteen or fewer settings. For earlier entries, see the first and second of this series here and here respectively.

Figure 9

Figure 1

Shaders 1 tab (figure 1):

Reflection: This determines the intensity of virtual light reflected from the fractal surface. This may be used by itself to illuminate an object even in the absence of ‘direct light’ or ‘ambient intensity,’ i.e, those settings each assigned a value of 0. My typical value set for this ranges from 0.1 to less than 1.0.

Reflections depth: This is quite cool, and may be used to adjust the reflective quality of a surface up or down as needed. I usually use a value of from 0-5 for most images.

Glow: This determines the intensity of the volumetric glow effect, a radiance that shines from the fractal surface itself. This is handy for spectral-looking images or as a sort of misty effect, a sort of luminescent ‘faux fog’ that gets denser the closer into the figure one zooms by moving the virtual camera.

In Mandelbulber version 1.16, entering a negative value in the box causes the Glow 1 setting on Shaders 2 to generate a diametrically opposite color on its color wheel and sometimes other effects depending on other parameters.

Figure 10

Figure 2

Shaders 2 tab (figure 2):

Glow 1: This allows selection of one glow color. This can be used to generate a shade diametrically opposite to what’s selected on the color wheel, by giving the Glow setting on Shaders 1 a negative value, and may produce interesting effects with some parameter sets. If the Glow value is negative, dark shades become brighter, and light shades darker.

Glow 2: This permits selection of another simultaneous glow color. Unlike Glow 1, this does not produce diametrically reversed shades or brightness no matter the sign of the Glow value.

Background 1: 2: 3: These settings enable selection of the ambient colors of the fractal surface’s environment, with each of 1, 2, or 3 being a separate color. In some presets, defaults, and most examples I’ve seen, the default colors are [1] sky blue, [2] white, [3] blackish green. The perceived colors depend on the angle of the virtual camera to the fractal surface.

Depth of field (DOF) – Clicking on this setting allows simulation of virtual camera focus effects, with nearby or distant objects selectable using the slider.

DOF focus distance = 1.47911e-14: I find this the most useful value for updating this setting and bringing out foreground objects.

Figure 2

Figure 3

Engine tab(figure 3):

Interior mode: this lets you render a figure as a thin shell, revealing its inner structure, and I’ve noticed that this works really well with the ‘limits’ setting. Limits allows chopping up a figure by selecting which parts to remove based on the entered coordinates. Using these two settings together can make for interesting images, but also drastically slows rendering, especially with hybrid formula images.

Limits- Again, works well with ‘interior,’ or may be used without, showing a sliced portion of a figure without revealing inner detail.

x min: Begins as a negative value approaching zero in the 3D complex space, from the edge of the figure, left to right, assuming a virtual camera angle at x, y, and z of 0 degrees. A value of zero splits the figure to its core, with or without interior detail.

x max: The highest positive value occupied by the figure in the complex space. Assuming x, y, and z camera angles of 0 degrees, from the figure’s furthest right lowering toward the origin of the figure.

y min: starting as a negative value approaching zero in the complex space occupied by the figure. As with ‘x min,’ the value increases toward zero, and assuming camera angle of x, y, and z of 0 degrees, slices the figure from top to bottom toward its origin.

y max: Starting as a positive value, the largest distance from the origin occupied by the figure, lowering toward the origin. slices figure from bottom to origin/core., with a virtual camera angle of 0/0/0 degrees.

z min: Starting with a negative value, approaching zero in the complex space the figure occupies, assuming a virtual camera angle for x, y, & z of 0/0/0 degrees, this slices a cross-section of the interior structure facing the camera, and approaching the origin.

z max: Initially with a positive value, approaching zero, with view coordinates x, y & z being set at 0, this slices the figure from opposite side of the surface to the figure’s origin.

Cat Thursday: The Faceplant

cat thursday 2

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It’s all for the love of cats! Enjoy!


Fractals of the Week: A Method to Halley’s Madness

This time, I bring you some images made using the math of Edmund Halley…yes, the comet-guy, who as I understand knew Sir Isaac Newton, whose work led to the maths for last week’s images. Halley’s is a neat little method for generating fractals in Julia set mode, though it’s very challenging and difficult to get a really good image, but fun. So, here they are.

Next week, I’ll feature a mix of images from all 5 apps. See you then!






All JPEG, PNG & GIF images in this post are original works by the author, created via Mandelbulber, Fractal Domains, Ultra Fractal , Frax, and Mandelbulb 3D and unless otherwise stated are copyright 2014 by Troy Loy.

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