Tips and Tricks for Fractalization among the Ranks…
I started my hobby of generating fractals, beginning with Fractal Domains, then and Mandelbulber, as a way of creating my own copyright-free artwork for this blog. I got tired of using other peoples’ work, even with permission or when in the public domain. But as many of you probably have noticed, it quickly snowballed out of control into the horrific monstrosity it is today.
I rather like making these silly things, and they’re a useful outlet for my frustration, dark moods, and fits of awe alike.
Over time, I’ve come up with a set of useful guidelines, rules-of-thumb, or what-have-you that I’ve found handy for effectively and consistently coming up with images that even when not pretty to look at (Sometimes, pretty is bad. Dark and creepy, surreal, and even erotic have their place too.) can spark people to see totally different things in the same piece.
Such is the power of the human imagination when seeing weird imagery.
Here are a few, pending my noting yet more of them or amending these in future posts, and none of these being set in stone.
- Learn the app, whether by trial-and-error, reading and practicing from the manual, and anywhere between these. This should be a no-brainer, but getting overconfident with a new app without familiarity with the software lessens the quality and range of the images you can produce. If nothing else, experimenting is useful in finding out which settings have what results in the final images. Some apps have a more limited range of types of images they can produce, but knowing the software maximizes the variety and awesomeness of the work generated.
- As briefly mentioned above, experiment, and often. Never be afraid to ask yourself, “what happens if I click on this button, or type this number into an input window?” Even if you mess up, with most apps I’ve seen you can reset to default mode or otherwise undo the results, and experimentation shows you firsthand what NOT to do. Be careful with some apps, though, and at least glance over the manual to know what combinations of settings will really hurt image quality or unnecessarily slow down rendering, often to a crawl when you must budget your time. Some programs will allow you to preview the results before rendering, so you may nix poor results and try again before unwittingly giving your CPU fits or making your media viewer very cross with you.
- When you can, shift between apps periodically. Sometimes, one can get into a rut only using a single program for long periods of time, so it pays to have more than one app available on your system. Give yourself a break from using one program and switch to another to try out any ideas that come for potentially cool images with that, or even for exploration’s own sake. Taking a break from one app and switching to another temporarily gives you time to go back to the former later, and look toward image creation again with fresh eyes and a fresh mind, though hopefully not a cheeky one…
- Try to avoid using the same set of parameters more than, say, two or three times unless you are making a commissioned replica of an image, or a particularly striking version of it at a different pixel-size. Whenever possible, never repeat color combinations for an image. Always try to move out of a comfort spot that may develop when you find things looking and feeling too much the same. If you don’t, others will. The goal is to keep the images interesting and novel, not just to duplicate earlier work, again, unless it’s a commissioned piece or for a specific purpose like rendering thumbnails of larger images, murals, or poster prints.
Hopefully, others will find these as useful, though no set of normative standards is ever completely definitive. But I’ve found them very helpful, and though they’re not logically self-justifying they work, at least for the present. Try your hand at making your own images, and good fractaling!
- Fractals Will Prevent Internet Cat Photo Shortage (wired.com)
- Fractal Utensils (neatorama.com)
- Fractal Kitties: They Exist (readingbyeugene.com)
- Mindscape Presents Fractals! (vyshakhullas.wordpress.com)