Fractal art

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Fractal art is a form of algorithmic art created by calculating fractal objects and representing the calculation results as still images, animations, and media. Fractal art is usually created indirectly with the assistance of fractal-generating software, iterating through three phases: setting parameters of appropriate fractal software; executing the possibly lengthy calculation; and evaluating the product. In some cases, other graphics programs are used to further modify the images produced. This is called post-processing.

As stated by Kerry Mitchell in The Fractal Art Manifesto, "Fractal Art is a subclass of two-dimensional visual art, and is in many respects similar to photography—another art form that was greeted by skepticism upon its arrival. Fractal images typically are manifested as prints, bringing Fractal Artists into the company of painters, photographers, and printmakers. Fractals exist natively as electronic images. This is a format that traditional visual artists are quickly embracing, bringing them into FA's digital realm. Generating fractals can be an artistic endeavor, a mathematical pursuit, or just a soothing diversion. However, FA is clearly distinguished from other digital activities by what it is, and by what it is not." According to Mitchell, fractal art is not computerized art, lacking in rules, unpredictable, nor something that any person with access to a computer can do well. Instead, fractal art is expressive, creative, and requires input, effort, and intelligence. Most importantly, "fractal art is simply that which is created by Fractal Artists: ART."

Fractal art comes from uses fractal designs. Fractals are any of various extremely irregular curves or shapes for which any suitably chosen part is similar in shape to a given larger or smaller part when magnified or reduced to the same size.[1] There are many different kinds of fractal images and can be subdivided into several groups.

  • Fractals derived from standard geometry by using iterative transformations on an initial common figure like a straight line (the Cantor dust or the von Koch curve), a triangle (the Sierpinski triangle), or a cube (the Menger sponge). The first fractal figures invented near the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries belong to this group.
  • IFS (iterate function systems).
  • Strange attractors.
  • Flame fractals.
  • L-system fractals.
  • Fractals created by the iteration of complex polynomials: perhaps the most famous fractals.
  • Quaternionic and (recently) hypernionic fractals. * Fractal terrains generated by random fractal processes.[2]



Fractals of all four kinds have been used as the basis for digital art and animation. Starting with 2-dimensional details of fractals, such as the Mandelbrot Set, fractals have found artistic application in fields as varied as texture generation, plant growth simulation and landscape generation.

Fractals are sometimes combined with human-assisted evolutionary algorithms, either by iteratively choosing good-looking specimens in a set of random variations of a fractal artwork and producing new variations, to avoid dealing cumbersome or unpredictable parameters, or collectively, like in the Electric Sheep project, where people use fractal flames rendered with distributed computing as their screensaver and "rate" the flame they are viewing, influencing the server, which reduces the traits of the undesirables, and increases those of the desirables to produce a computer-generated, community-created piece of art.

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