Even though I’ve been absolutely useless in regards to actually producing any new music recently I have however been investing a lot of time into making digital art. I stumbled across some applications which are not only mindbogglingly addictive and capable of producing awe inspiring images, but they are free!!!
First up is ‘Mandelbulb3d’ and no that’s not a typo. Benoit Mandelbrot first brought the iconic Mandelbrot-set to the worlds attention in 1979, more recently this model has been taken into the third dimension. This 3d mandelbrot, credited to Paul Nylander and Daniel White is being referred to as the Mandelbulb. I won’t go into that much info about the Mandelbulb itself, but I will sing the praises of the users of a particular forum especially Jesse, Luca (Darkbeam), Kali and Christian Kleinhuis – these guys are the driving force behind the software ‘Mandelbulb3D’ and it’s home www.fractalforums.com .
This top notch bit of software was developed by Jesse and there is also an extensive set of fractal formulas included many of which have been coded by many of the forums members, with the majority provided by Darkbeam, and they are directly integrated into the software.
Fractal forums is not your average internet art forum, in fact art is not the major focus (although these guys produce some fantastic art), more prominent is the development of software, the philosophical discussions, scientific research and plenty of hardcore mathematics. I enjoy reading through the forums and the members are a friendly bunch but I am happy to admit that a vast majority of the discussions are way over my head. I did initially try and get more involved at the forums, but think I was more likely to annoy the peeps at the forum with my stupid questions and occasional attempts to make vaguely relevant or helpful posts. Maths never has been my strong point, nor programming, so trying to get my head round complex numbers, calculus, advanced geometry and algebra without simply embarrassing myself was not a likely outcome – these days I tend to pop in to check out the artwork and read through some of the posts with out giving in to what is probably my most finely honed skill – chatting bollocks and coming up with horrendously bad analogies in an attempt to get a handle on concepts which baffle me.
The FractalForums are the place where the concept and investigations of the Mandelbulb were first initiated and have led to the hunt for the ‘Holy Grail’ (which is the formula or code which accurately describes/produces a mathematically accurate mandelbulb …….. I think!)
If you’re into fractals then i highly recommend heading over there and having a look.
The application does have a bit of a learning curve as the terminology isn’t exactly intuitive (to a fool like me), but within a short while and thanks to tips and advice from the forum members the controls can become much clearer. If you do go get this app then the first thing I recommend you do is check out the read me file. If you do read it and still are left thinking ‘Hmm what the Hell is DE Stop?’, ‘Do the step widths need limiting?’ and most of all ‘Isn’t Monte Carlo a rally? then just search the forums or after you’ve had a look through the discussions, ask someone. A lot of your questions may already been answered and the forums are pretty active with knowledgeable people to help you out.
So what does it actually do? It gives you the tools to produce 3d renderings of mandelbulbs and other 3d fractals. It also allows for creating hybrids of the many different formula included. It has an animation section too, letting a user define keyframes, which the program interpolates to create a series of individual frames and saves these for compiling externally.
I’ll be adding a gallery of my works here too, so keep an eye out for a whole host of uploads or go check out the forums and have try yourself, just don’t blame me when if become addicted to it!!