Finding Darwin’s Fractals: Evolutionary Parallels and the Fitness of Images


Nocticulens

Nocticulens

I don’t often generate my fractals from scratch, unless I’m sure I know what I’m looking for in a piece or feel adventurous and prone to fooling around.

But there’s nothing mystical about the process. Nothing to elicit awe save the resulting image itself when it’s fully rendered.

Usually, with Fractal Domains or Mandelbulber, I’ll use a previously saved set of parameters, or software settings ready-made for whatever I happen to have in mind. It saves me time and effort. But I’ve noticed that there’s an interesting similarity between my use of parameter sets, the process I use to create, keep, alter, and sometimes delete, with biological evolution.

The selective pressures for this evolutionary process, of course derive from the perceived coolness and beauty, according to the beholders, of the images…that particular set’s fitness for continuing to generate the best images over time. This selective pressure involved rests on esthetic evaluations and tastes, and tends to shift over time.

This has led to my continuously updating my stock of parameter sets to maintain image fitness by varying my content, whether by gradual modification accumulating into major alterations, micro-evolution that builds into macro-evolution.

And for other sets, there is relative stability over time punctuated by sudden and major changes, as with switching a set from one distinct fractal type into another with Mandelbulber by tweaking menu buttons.

Some sets exhaust their possibilities, or just aren’t viable for making good-looking images, and so lose their fitness, becoming ‘extinct’ by being sent to the trash folder and deleted, or by using the terminal window to delete them directly.

Others continue to evolve, but adjusting to the shifting in personal judgements of what’s cool and what’s not. I’ve come up with a term I use to refer to the best images, from those sets that continue to remain adaptive:

Horrific elegance.

It refers to the cold, stark, sometimes weird, and reportedly, the occasionally erotic ‘feel’ of the images, those whose coolness keeps their set of origin fit, and thus ready to pass its data to an update or when using one set to create another as its descendant, unless and until it is eliminated by unfavorable shifts in the selective pressures.

That, and my finger on the delete button.

I probably won’t need parameter sets for anything but the most data-heavy images using very complex code to generate them, but it’s really cool how an artistic endeavor, hobby or professional, so nicely fits with biology, and sometimes the images themselves have almost a life of their own.

 

About Troythulu

I seek to learn through this site and others how to better my ability as a person and my skill at using my reason and understanding to best effect. I do fractal artwork as a hobby, and I'm working to develop it to professional levels, though I've a bit to go till I reach that degree of skill! This is a crazy world we're in, but maybe I can do a little, if only that, to make it a bit more sane than it otherwise would be.

Posted on Monday, 0:09, April 29, 2013, in Fractals, Ponderings, Science and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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