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Fractals have always held a certain fascination for me. For a long time, it has been a hobby that remained in relative obscurity. Often one would lose the message, explaining the technical details. Not unlike a painter, in a world that had never seen paint. These past few years however, I have seen an immense explosion in the use of fractals, and especially the use of their particular concepts to convey emotions.

Today, I found another such example of incredibly fine, fractal use in media. www.meshuggah.net/ has some amazing web site art, and I thought perhaps you would like to see it as well. I have seen more and more of this type of art, hopping off the underground posters and onto cd covers, websites, and into movies.

Truly, it is an exciting time to be creating fractals.
If you have a moment to explore the subject, I suggest hopping on over to fractalcurves.com to learn more.

I think you might enjoy it.

Cheers!
This weeks Inspiration Station features the Faber brothers, Joel and Michael. I doubt they need much introduction, so I will let their work speak for me.

Hands down, MichaelFaber produces some of the best flames on the net.

On Par by MichaelFaber Dragon Tears by MichaelFaber Portrait of Invasion by MichaelFaber Separation by MichaelFaber Reach Out by MichaelFaber

And my personal favorite from his gallery:
The Time Machine by MichaelFaber

JoelFaber too, seems to have a flair for the mathematic.  Not to be outdone, his gallery is also full of gems.
Revelation by JoelFaber Mystified by JoelFaberUndone by JoelFaber Pacific by JoelFaber Descent by JoelFaber

And my personal favorite from his gallery:
Portal by JoelFaber

Outside of their fantastic artwork, both have worked hard to bring new variations to the apophysis community. So pay their galleries a vist, you won't be disappointed.

Cheers for now!
Chris.
This weeks inspirational fractalist is Chiara, aka lindelokse

You can often find her flitting from fractal to fractal, cheering up the galleries with her bright attitude. When she sits down in front of apophysis, magic happens. Her flame fractals are polished, and beautiful. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I have.

Lotus by lindelokse Inception by lindelokse Aquamarines by lindelokseNarya by lindelokse Life by lindelokse the Loonie Cave by lindelokse Precious by lindelokse Musk and Pollen by lindelokseEternal by lindelokse

I learned how to make my apo flowers from her excellent tutorial found here: fav.me/d3403b0 and it looks like Chiara may have a 3d version in the works. :dance:

I hope you enjoy her work as well.
This weeks inspiration is :iconaexion:

Aexion is best known for his unique 3d fractals, and for creating the 3d fractal software known as Incendia, which can be found at www.incendia.net.

Below are some of my favorite images from his gallery. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Stairway to.. by Aexion The Fractal Temple of New Age by Aexion The Sunset Castle by Aexion Julia Variation I by Aexion  Golden City by Aexion  Athena by Aexion Dreaming Again by Aexion Dichotomy by Aexion Summer by Aexion

I especially enjoy his fractal architecture, and his gallery has some stunning examples of it.

All the best,
--Chris
Today's Inspiration is :icons31415:

I wanted to first, start with saying thanks to Sam. I use his coloring algorithm SFBM II in a wide variety of my pieces for a number of purposes, and simply put, my work would not be the same without it. Likewise, many of the coloring algorithms and formulae he took the time to write for Ultra Fractal have proven indispensable. Many fractals today would simply not be the same without his interest in the craft.

Samuel Monnier is best known for his style of pattern piling, utilizing like patterns, at iteratively smaller scales. I am personally quite fond of the style itself, and find it quite engaging.  Sam takes these works a step further, and offers them on his website in a huge, explorable form.

Below are some of my favorites:
20100829-1 by s31415 20080803 by s31415 20090715-1 by s31415 20090829-1 by s31415 20091107-1 by s3141520100910-1 by s31415 20090504 by s31415 20090521 by s31415 20090219 by s31415

To me, his work often shows a great understanding of white-space, color balance, and light diffusion, offering up a happy marriage between the high's and lows of the color spectrum. Be sure to stop by his webpage to view them in even greater detail.

Cheers!
--Chris
Tim's articles, "Rebooting Fractal Art", come in five delectable, self hating flavors.

Below are my comments on part two:


What fractals are good for, or, the creative use of fractal algorithms.

Fractal art needs a reboot, a re-thinking of what it's all about.  The optimistic forecasts from the early days of fractal art, the coming fame and pubic recognition, needs to be corrected and downgraded in light of what has actually come about in the years since then –actual conditions.  Today's fractal artists believe fractals are just another artistic medium like paint, clay or photography and therefore possessing similar artistic potential .  They would probably say that the creative potential of fractal art is limited only by the creative ability of fractal artists.

What I intend to do in this second part of my series is talk about what fractals do best and how that relates to using them creatively –artistically.  The down side, what fractals fail at will come in the next part, Part 3.  Fractal artists are defensive of their art form because in their minds they've elevated fractals to the level of fine art and subsequently made them into something that continually falls short of it's goal.  We need to accept fractals for the simple and fun things that they are and quit hyping them as some new art form with super powers –digital da Vincis.


I think this opening paragraph really illustrates Tim's state of mind and how he views his time with fractals. What coming fame and public recognition is he speaking of? Did he actually think that a new tool would give that to him? It will take more than a fancy new program to achieve this.

It's a two part equation. Get the tool, and learn how to use it. If you are missing either side, you will fall on your metaphorical ass. Once you are there, you may.. just may,  have the chance to fall into the public eye, with HOW you use it.


[Once upon a time…
I remember the old days.  It was only about ten years ago, 2002.  I'd been playing around for about two years with my graphics program, the GIMP, making seamless tiles for web pages.  Take any kind of image, apply the "Make Seamless" filter and then load it into a test web page.  It was a kind of graphical jackpot machine; you never what the result was going to look like.  I did just about anything you could to an image and then, "Make Seamless".  Sometimes the most interesting results were just cutting out a little square and using it as a tile without making it seamless.  There were so many creative options.

I did feel at first that this new background tile thing could be a new and exciting 21st century art form.  I was a bit of an art fan and had studied art in high school and read a few books, so I was always expecting somewhere to arise a new "art form"and the start of a new "revolution in art".  But after a year or two I came to see it as a decorative, design sort of thing and lost interest when the styles in web pages turned from being heavily textured, 3D everything to today's more simpler, subdued styles.  Today those background tiles and "left borders" look pretty retro, along with flaming text, turning java-cubes, embedded MIDI files…]


So here is where Tim's mindset really stands out. I used to wonder why he was so bitter, and he finally provided an answer. Tim thinks everything should be easy and the above truly illustrates how he arrives at some of his conclusions. I can not imagine someone thinking a "make seamless plugin" would represent anything other than what it says it was. A tool to make seamless tiles. Logically speaking, you could make seamless tiles without a plugin long before the automated tools came out. It's called cut, paste, flip and rotate. If Tim can not even see that much, I think he may be a lost cause. Likewise, comparing a simple plugin to a fractal editor is like comparing a post-it note to an encyclopedia. It's just not a fair comparison. If Tim wants to make images the cheap way, by all means, he should go for it. Just don't attempt to publically cheapen others work by comparing it to your own weak attempts.

[I got interested in fractals, somehow, and settled down to playing a similar graphical game with Sterlingware, a classic fractal program by Stephen Ferguson.  Once again, the creative options seemed endless and, if I do say so myself, I think stretched the creative boundaries of Sterlingware as far as they could go.  Also, like seamless tiles, making fractals was pure joy and something that was so engrossing you often had to tear yourself away from before doing anything else.  There was always some new parameter adjustment to experiment with and who could say what strange new world would grow up from that.

I saved a lot of images back then.  I deleted a lot too.  Over the years I came to save less.  I came to make the images larger and larger and fewer and fewer.  I became more discerning and overcame my "beginner's excitement"that made me think everything was a great discovery.  The images became a bit repetitive as I reached the limits of my experimenting and I tried out other fractal programs.  They're all different in some way but they were all similar in some ways too.  One of the ways they were all similar is that the images often looked more interesting when I was making them than they did later on.  Especially when I would review an entire (large) folder of them.  I used to think this was because I'd lost a bit of my objectivity when playing around in the fractal program and just thought everything looked good.

Now I think differently .  I think it's because fractals are a more interesting and more creative experience when you can interact with them.  There's a dynamic with fractals that is lost when they're presented in "static" form as an image separated from the flowing world of parameter changes.  Fractal programs themselves are an art form, a generative art form.  Saved images can show you what you might see in the program, a sample, but they can't capture the interactive world experience that makes fractal programs such an engrossing experience.

The number one creative use of fractal algorithms is the creation of interactive programming.  That's the creation of fractal programs to experiment with fractal algorithms and rendering methods.  I'm sure an audience would rather play with your parameter file than look at the image you made with it.  It's the difference between seeing an exotic tropical fish swimming in an aquarium and looking at one preserved and mounted on a board.  Live fish are a much deeper and more complex kind of object than dead ones.  I think of static fractal art images now as "Dead Fish Fractals".  Souvenirs rather than the real thing.

The real beauty of Stephen Ferguson's fractal programs, like Sterlingware, or Tierazon is in the using of them.  Most people wouldn't see that as a fractal art form, but I do.  Fractals are best presented in interactive form –a fractal program.  Personally, I think Sterlingware is the best example.  I've never seen any program that rivaled its interactive art powers.  You can do almost everything from a mouse click.


Tim suffers from the strangest kind of mentality. He seems to view others finished work as less, because he enjoys the act of creating a fractal, more than he enjoys the finished piece. This is fine. However, it seems kind of an odd tact to use, in order to devalue another's work.

A painter will tell you that painting is more rewarding than hanging the frame. A photographer enjoys the act of taking pictures more than printing them. A sculptor will tell you to pick up some clay and get your hands dirty. Of course the creation of something is going to be more engaging for the creator. That's a pretty obvious dynamic.

I can't imagine, however, what the world would be like if all anyone did was create for themselves, hiding the finished piece and only showing the work involved. Where would his Mona Lisa be if Davinci threw it into the fireplace because no one could see him in the act of painting it?

He further attempts to cheapen peoples work by saying the software the artist is using is the artform, and not the finished product. I know a few 3d artists and photoshop users who may wish to argue this point.


[It probably sounds ridiculous to say such things in the fractal world today, but to experience the highest and most creative form of fractal art one needs to go no further than a fractal program.  Fractals are first and foremost an interactive medium, and not a source of wall art.  But one wouldn't expect that because traditionally art is a "wall and frame" thing.  This is what I mean when I say that most fractal artists don't really understand fractals and what their most creative application is.  

Fractal programs are the real fractal art and fractal programmers the real artists in all this.  Sterlingware is such a thrill because Stephen Ferguson understood fractals and how to make them look good as well as how to make it easy and fun for someone to experiment with and explore them.  It's an interactive canvas and the program is the frame.

But we all know this don't we?  We've just overlooked our own experience and thought that what our viewers will want most to see are saved images and not have the fractal "art experience" for themselves.  We've been showing the world our snapshots when we should have been showing them how to go and see the real thing for themselves. (Or maybe fractal art audiences have been doing just that; sneaking past the art exhibits and exploring the software instead.  That might explain why the number of fractal artists is growing while the size of the audience never changes.)

One could say that there are actually no fractal artists at all because the art is interactive and the viewers are really the so-called artists themselves who operate the programs.  We photograph statues and call ourselves sculptors.  The real fractal art exhibits are in the programs not in the portfolios.]


Yes, it does sound kind of ridiculous. Saying that fractal programs and programmers are the real artists in all this again, alludes to the fact that creative input is done at the behest of the computer or the programmer. I would expect this from Tim, the plugin champion, aka "Make Seamless Man".

Fractal programmers use programming languages to put fractal formulae into a format that is easier to work with. That's all. Some do it far better than others, but that is all. Nothing stops a person from picking up a programming language and doing it themselves, and in many cases, a good fractal suite will have a method of inputting new algorithms or modifying the formulae that came with it.

The fractal science kit for instance, is set up for the average user to work mathematically, outside of having to learn a complex programming language. One of it's greatest strengths lay in it's ability to allow a user to explore fractal formula that they normally would not have access too. The program itself understands mathematical terms, and you can modify or input your own formulae.

I personally wrote my first fractal program in high school. It was a mandelbrot viewer. It wasn't anything complex, and I never thought it was artistic, because I didn't have any artistic input. There were no controls for me to be aesthetically deterministic. Today, I could add those tools, but it would still be an aesthetic mindset that used them. Implementation and Use are two vastly different things.

Tim believes that the art is done by the programmer. In reality, the programmer has worked very hard to enable someone, by making a tool. The best tools will have all the options open to be modified. An artist who uses photoshop isn't any less of an artist because Photoshop has plugins. Some may cheapen their own work by relying on those plugins too heavily, but the good ones know better. The good ones know that other photoshop users can recognize when something was done autonomically without input.

There are a lot of fractals that are done autonomically. Plenty. But using those as a blanket method of classifying others work seems a bit weak. It's fairly obvious when people are lazy.  Tim can't recognize when work has been done because he has never done any himself. He is still in random snap shot mode, without an understanding of the process. If he were a photographer, he'd still be capturing images without setting up things like lights, or scene, or wardrobe. He would view all cameras as equals and wouldn't dream of modifying things like lens choice, or shutter speed.

If he thinks that taking a picture of a sculpture makes you a sculptor, he is, for lack of a better word, hopeless.


[Terry Gintz, a contemporary and colleague of Stephen Ferguson made a program that even further shows how the real creativity in the programming and "live" presentation of fractal imagery.  The program, (Fractal Vizion, I think) generated random parameters and served up the image for you.  I don't think you could even tell it what formula to use.  One of the several types of random images it would make was a fractal "landscape".  It drew it for you and colored it too.  Each one was a different landscape and it was fun just to watch the program perform.  That's the sort of thing that exploits the creativity of fractal algorithms.

Fractal Explorer has a Strange Attractor feature that creates one random strange attractor shape after another.  They're all a little different and none of them looks like anything you'd ever make with your own hands.  I went nuts over this thing and saved hundreds of them.  But again, as with fractals, I came to realize that the context they were created in was more creative than any static collection I could come up with myself.

Also by Stephen Ferguson is the "Plum08″ java applet that uses the Gumowski-Mira formula.  It runs all by itself, initiating when the web page loads, and draws before you an endless series of subtly colored algorithmic sand dollars, african shields and plankton.  The artist is the applet.  Or maybe Steve, the author, is the artist?  (An interesting note is that the applet has no save feature or even a pause button so you can take a screenshot, the applet is entirely something to watch although it's the most impressive implementation of the Gumowski-Mira formula I've seen.)

What fractal algorithms can do before your eyes is more impressive than the record of what they've done before someone else's.  And the saved images are in a sense, merely a recording of a live performance, and much less than the real experience of being there.  The interest in these programs has waned over the years because fractal enthusiasts have focused their attention on making "fractal art" rather than playing with it.  Fractals have become intellectualized and their mechanical programming origins downplayed because they trivialize the work of "artists" by showing how easy and fun the creative process is.]


Again, Tim seeks to weaken the work of others, by offering the above. The tools he uses are substandard at best. If your tools do not allow for creative freedom, you will feel stifled, and undoubtely, give credit to the programmers. I am pretty sure it was Tim who professed that ultra-fractal was too complex, that he wanted images out of the box, without having to do much work. Of course you are going to think that way if all you do is randomly hit buttons and take snapshots. The idea behind ultra-fractal, and programs like it, is to enable people to work with fractals in an aesthetic manner. The control he professes is absent is not. He chooses not to expose himself to it. Tim's argument is akin to saying Photoshop can't be used to make artwork, because MSPaint is a bad tool.

[The Grand Canyon is greater than all our snapshots of it.  But the nature photographers want you to look at their photos and buy them and talk about how great they are instead of looking at the canyon for yourself because then you'll be the same as they are.  Ultra Fractal artists even go so far as to copyright their parameter files because they think they actually own the fractal landscape themselves because "they made it" by they punching in numbers that no else had ever (thought) to do, and like Captain Kirk in Star Trek, boldly went where no man has gone before.  Fractal artists love to deny their humble origins and claim for themselves what are really the results of publicly owned, mathematical formulas.]

I've never heard a nature photographer say their photo of something is better than being there. Ever. Most will say things like, "yeah, but you had to be there." or "it was actually much cooler, but the picture comes kind of close" and the like. Just because something is larger than the tool being used to capture it, does not change the fact that a person walked away with a great picture of it. Whatever it's purpose, I think it's fairly well understood that a picture isn't going to capture the actual experience. Most people understand this, and it's incredibly funny that he treats this as some grand revelation.

[Anyhow, I'm getting ahead of myself.  That sort of stuff is for Part 2, where I intend to talk about the things that fractals fail to do.  It's kinda dark and gloomy because this pretense of "art" has put a shadow over the happy land of fractals.  But you can still visit that land just by sparking up almost any fractal program and playing around with those creative marvels called fractal formulas.  See for yourself what the best part of fractal art is all about.  You don't need a guide and you don't need to be an "artist".

You may already be an artist!]


It's fairly obvious from this article that Tim hasn't put much work into understanding his artform, or the art of others. He will be forever locked into the 'give me the easy way' of doing things and he is welcome to it. Riding the work of others is the lazy way of doing things, and yes, he should be upset that people do it. But he should not paint others with the same brush simply because he himself categorically falls into the topic at hand.

If this was supposed to be an article about what fractals were good for, it falls incredibly short.
This is a fun series of articles by Tim. At first, I thought perhaps he took a step off his soap box for a moment, ready to tackle an important question with some valid points. Unfortunately, getting past the insults and the logical fallacies will be just as hard as usual. I've never seen someone so dedicated to spitting in peoples faces.

The introduction article makes some fairly bold statements that I feel are a bit over generalized.


The opening paragraph:
[I look at da Vinci's Mona Lisa and I see something.  I look at just about any piece of fractal art and I don't see that thing.  What's fractal art missing?  Why does it always seem to be missing something that other art forms seem to have?

I use the Mona Lisa as an example because it's well known.  I'm not really a fan of it, in fact my favorite part of this famous painting isn't the woman's smile, it's the landscape in the background; that curvy snake-like road.  But even the background of the Mona Lisa has that "art" thing that fractal art seems to be missing.  It holds the viewer's eye and just seems to do –that something.

I know what art is: it's the life of the image.  It's easy to tell the difference between living and non-living things.  That's why I'm confident in saying that fractal art is missing something that the Mona Lisa has.]


I actually find the Mona Lisa very bland. Boring. At least we can agree there. What I disagree with is that this image holds anything more for me than some fractals do, or any other image I personally connect with. Fact is, I've been more astounded by some of todays fractals than I have by some of Davinci's work.  Some of his work gives me the wow feeling. Some fractals give me the wow feeling. Some of Davinci's work leave me opinionless, as do some fractals. I feel we differ here, because I view internal processes as real as external processes. They are as much a part of my world as anything else is, even if not directly visible with a camera lens.

[And yet fractals are fun and exciting and I think that's what keeps us connected to them.  But I've been "connected" for almost ten years now and I think that's long enough to ask: Why can't fractal artists do what other artists can do?  I mean, why can't they make art?]

Did he just use quotes around "connected" and expect us to place weight on his opinion? There's a thinker.

[I visited the Prado once.  It's a very large and famous art gallery in Madrid, Spain.  If you like art, any kind of art, you'll enjoy having a day or two just to wander around the Prado.  I can't imagine any piece of fractal art ever hanging in the Prado.  It just doesn't fit with those things.  But why?]

I know a lot of art that isn't in the Prado that should be. It's not there because the Prado is a museum. Mu-Se-Um. I think he may have to wait longer than ten years before fractals grace those particular walls. In the meantime, he'll have plenty of time to work on his dictionary.

[That's the big question and I think I can answer it.  That is, now that I've been looking at fractal art of every kind for a decade now.  It's the reflection that's important, not the length of time.  But reflection takes time and after ten years worth I've arrived at some conclusions.

I think most fractal artists are hopelessly deluded.  But I'm jumping too far ahead.  I've divided all this into a series of five blog postings; parts 1-5.  This first one is to simply introduce what I think is the perennial question that pops into my mind whenever I start to wonder where fractal art is going or if it's possible it will ever take any sort of place in the art world, meaning, will it ever be considered art by anyone other than those who make it and their devoted friends who cheer them on?]


This is where things get icky. I actually don't think most fractal artists are "hopelessly deluded". I think Tim is. Fact is, he is the one purporting to be a mind reader. He seems to connect the use of Deviantart, or Facebook with a fractalists mindset. The line by which he does this is so infinitely thin, that it may as well be non-existent.

Both Tim, and Terry alike, often attempt to cheapen others by connecting them with the use of these two web sites. I find it hilarious that they use a forum site for precisely the same purposes. The only difference between the two, is the g.u.i., or front end. It seems that because Deviantart is more functional than a standard message board, that it is different or somehow infinitely more evil. Sorry Tim, sorry Terry, Fractal-forums is precisely the same thing as Deviantart, with a default, out of the box, front-end. Same purpose, same kind of people, different user interface.

And since we are in the psychology business now, I'd say the level of anachronism being held onto here shows a definite aversion to growth. *cough*


[Why can't fractal artists produce anything with the same artistic merit as artists in other mediums like painting, drawing, sculpting and photography?  What is fractal art missing that those other mediums are able to provide?

Maybe some of you don't think it's missing anything and that artwork with a similar merit has already been made?  Sure, I'd expect that.  After all, I didn't say fractal artists were hopelessly deluded for nothing.  I know they are.  I once shared those juvenile notions about fractals until I began to wonder why it all looks the same and there's never anything significant ever made.  I mean, anything worth hanging in an art gallery.

I don't believe the hype anymore.  Rather, I've burst fractal art's bubble and now see it as it truly is and how, ironically, I saw it in the very beginning.  Fractals are fun, exciting and sometimes marvelously mysterious and a special world of their own.  But I firmly believe that no one has, or ever will, create a real piece of art just by using a fractal program.  Fractal algorithms just don't have what it takes to produce anything other than mere decoration or design.  As good as that can be, it's lifeless when compared to real art.  Not dead; just missing something.

So close your gaping mouth and sit down.  You'll get over it.  You can still call yourself an artist on Deviant Art.  Nobody will care.  (Or even know.)]


Tim's opinion is that fractals can not, and never will, connect the viewer with anything in the real world, and therefore, can not be classified as 'real art'. I am going to call him on this one. For two very logical reasons.

1) While it is difficult to produce real life objects with a fractal, or fractal resources, it is not impossible. You can cut and paste, clip, transform and modify as you would in any image editing program. The only difference between working with one application or another is whether or not that application can do what you want with the pixels. If you can make it in photoshop, you can make it in a fractal program. Neither tool holds any more merit than the other. I can say this because I was trained on photoshop long before I was ever exposed to Ultra Fractal.

2) Tim's view of the world is horribly myopic.  Since he has trouble connecting to the abstract, he feels everyone else does too. Often, the strongest pieces for me, are the pieces that can get me to connect with abstract ideas and dynamics not readily apparent.  I believe there is more to the art world than reproducing a image; that there is more to the world than the visual. Internal processes and invisible processes are what lend weight to the very pieces he claims hold merit.

Real art is subjective. Anyone who has taken art to any level of seriousness will understand this incredibly simple dynamic. One man's trash is another man's treasure and I am just fine with that; Be it displayed on Deviantart, or in a gallery in Madrid.

I personally hope as an artist, to have my work viewed as it is, and not in the context of where it happened to be displayed, or by whom. I hope that my message is more important than the frame that it happens to hang in.

-Signing off
Chris.
Heya folks!

A new fractal generator has hit the web and you may be interested in giving it a try. Check out Ross Hilbert's Fractal Science Kit at : www.fractalsciencekit.com/

Written by Ross Hilbert :iconrosshilbert:

So far it looks like a good mix of fractal bases to work with. I will give a more in depth review once I have had a chance to play with it.

Enjoy and Happy Fractaling!
Chris.
The judges for the BMFAC have been announced, and surprise.. They aren't good enough for Orbit Trap.

You would almost think progress was being made... until again, you get to the meat of the article.

This year, there are no female judges on the panel, and Terry, (aka cruelanimal) has decided this is the perfect opportunity to illustrate how sexist the BMFAC is. Despite having Janet Parke on the panel in years previous, it seems that the BMFAC is now a woman hating monster.

The article itself (orbittrap.ca/?p=2817) is quite interesting, because it actually shows just how sexist Terry is. His gender lines are quite divided and he still hasn't quite stepped into the idea that we all, gender aside, have the same potential.

Since there were no women on the judge panel, Terry uses the opportunity to conjecture that the BMFAC feels mathematics is to hard for women. The BMFAC has never said that, or alluded to it. In fact, that is Terry's conjecture. A glaring one at that.

The end quote I believe says it all.
["Barbie quit advancing the women-are-bad-at-mathematics stereotype many years ago. BMFAC should definitely follow her lead."]

In fact, the entire article is Barbie themed. I am starting to smell a fox in the hen house.

Terry doesn't realize that he also said a few things without actually saying them. He alludes to the fact that men can't judge artwork. As he sees it, the fractal barbie dress, www.flickr.com/photos/ritwikde… he states, would probably not be considered because the judges are male.

Now, I'm still trying to figure out how Terry, who is male, thinks this fractal has merit, but would be overlooked by judges who were, male.  Perhaps he feels the judges aren't into dresses and Barbies as much as he himself is. Gender being equal, that is the only differentiating factor left to consider.

I am also wondering why the entire spin of the article was centered around women being too stupid for math. He could have easily alluded to the opposite. That women were too smart to be involved.

Fact is, the judges are not aware of who created a piece, let alone what gender they are. There is no opportunity for a judge to choose a piece based on gender, so it really boils down to how refined the judge's aesthetic is, and how versed they are in art technique and practice.

I wonder when they will finally let us know that aliens are actually running the show, that Elvis is the real honorary chairman, and that our prints are being sold to inter-dimensional art collectors without our knowledge.

On an aside, someone should probably let Terry know that most women don't like being compared to Barbies. It's considered sexist.

Signing Off,
Chris.
The fourth article, in so many days, has been posted by Orbit Trap. The article "Does the BMFAC get enough entries to be taken seriously?" is another example of Orbit Trap looking for nearly any way to fault the BMFAC that they can find (or apparently now, dream up).

The article actually doesn't even address this question. Rather, it's focus is on something rather petty and childish. The focus of the article is actually on whether placing the word "International" before "Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest" is valid or not. I wish I could make this stuff up.

The kind of logic used to illustrate the point is so riddled with holes that I am really left at a loss. I can't tell if he actually believes what he is saying, or whether he is just ruffling feathers.

Here is the opening paragraph to the article:
[ Dave Makin tacked the word, "International" onto the Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest 2011 in his announcement of this year's contest at FractalForums.com.  And while the contest could be said to span the globe, the word "International" suggests a status for the contest that is something of an exaggeration, even more of an exaggeration as the calling of the annual American baseball championship, the "World" Series.  Sure, the World Series is the world's biggest baseball championship and is probably world class in terms of athletic quality, but it presumes to take in the entire world and that (sorry fans) isn't true.  (Apparently, in some parts of the world baseball isn't even played.)

Then there's Miss "Universe".  Well, considering that the planet Earth has a monopoly on human life in the universe,  I guess the name could possibly be considered accurate.  But can any beauty pageant have "Universal" proportions?" ]

In the very same paragraph, he argues the literal semantics of the Miss Universe and World Series title, but places the weight on the associative meaning of the word "International" when applied to the BMFAC. Which is it Tim? Literal, or associative? I think the funniest part of the whole comparison is that he is arguably wrong, in both cases.

Literally, the term International means:
1. Of, relating to, or involving two or more nations:
2. Extending across or transcending national boundaries:
3. Available for use by all nations

It does not mean all nations. It means two or more, or open to all nations. Whether or not you have participants from every country does not invalidate the meaning of the term. Using the titles of the "Miss Universe" contest and the "World Series" to illustrate it's validity is shady at best, considering the scope of the literal terms are not even congruent.

Is the BMFAC open to all countries? Yes
Does the BMFAC have practices like Entry Fees or Monetary Prizes that prevent anyone from participating? No
Does the BMFAC have any clauses in it's rules that preclude a particular nation or country? No

The literal meaning seems to be just fine.

But let's put down the dictionary for now, and focus on what Tim is really after. What Tim is attempting to illustrate is that the contest isn't worthy of the associative meaning of "International".  He doesn't feel the contest is worthy of his own interpretation of the word "International". A meaning which, apparently, is far more grandiose than a mere dictionary entry.

I don't subscribe to the dictionary of Tim, but it seems that he feels the contest needs to include each and every single nation on the planet for his meaning of the term to be validated.

My own associative meaning of the word "International" isn't as exaggerated, and I feel the contest actually does deserve the descriptor.On closer inspection, it's apparent that the organizers have worked hard to represent a much larger world picture than Tim let's on. But don't just take my word for it. Below, is a list of last years winners, and where they hail from.

Alexey Ermushev - Russia
Antonio Chiesa - Italy
Bill Beath - Australia
Christopher Oldfield - Canada
Cory Ench - USA
David Makin - UK
Elisabeth Thallauer - Bulgaria
Eric Prevost - France
Esin Turkakin - Turkey
Iwona Fido - Canada
Jimmie Josefsson - Sweden
Joe Zazulak - USA
Joseph Presley - USA
Kirsty Tudan - Canada
Maulana Randa - Indonesia
Nada Kringels - Germany
Natalie Kelsey - USA
Nicholas Rougeux - USA
Ramon Pasternak - Chile
Sammuel Monnier - Switzerland
Sandra Reid - New Zealand
Silvia Dunayevich - Argentina
Ulli Berhrendt - Germany
Victor Carbajo - Spain
Yvonne Mous - The Netherlands

In the next paragraph, he moves on to suggest that entering a contest bearing the moniker Benoit Mandelbrot is to have a self inflated view of ones own artwork. This is the kind of silly putty logic that riddles his articles. He suggests that entering is akin to comparing your own artwork to Benoit's achievements in the field of mathematics.

The quote:
[In fact, the use of Benoit Mandelbrot's name is itself rather presumptuous and something of an exaggeration when one considers the enormity of what Benoit Mandelbrot himself has achieved in the field of mathematics.  Benoit Mandelbrot has made major contributions to science while fractal art, albeit derived from his discoveries, is practically unknown if not irrelevant in the world of art.  Trying to suggest that fractal art belongs up on Benoit Mandelbrot's level of expertise and importance requires a rather inflated view of one's artwork.]

Tim would have his readers  believe that Benoit did not give his permission for his name to be used. Of course that would be presumptuous, if it were indeed the case. He conveniently leaves out the part that Benoit Mandelbrot was the honorary chairman of the contest and wrote the preface for some of the associated printed material.

I am actually still trying to compute how entering a contest means you feel your accomplishments are greater than the contest's namesake. According to Tim, any person entering this contest thinks they have accomplished the same thing or greater than Benoit, simply because the contest bears his name. It's some very backward, very twisted logic.

The International world of Tim, must be a very strange place indeed.

Signing off,
Chris
Emotions are an interesting subject. While emotions can serve a positive purpose, be it to sway our behavior, or indicate a physiological state, they can also work against us. When under their influence, it is important to recognize what that influence may be, or you may be unwittingly subject to their effects.

Most emotions, especially those tied to instinctual function, serve the useful purpose of increasing the speed of your mental processes so that you can make decisions quickly. This is especially the case when feeling threatened, or angry, when physical response times outweigh the need for complex thought. It's a universal truth that the more upset you are, the less details you will process. Emotion literally encapsulates thought.

My last journal entry reviewed some of the logical fallacies that Orbit Trap has been using to discredit the Benoit Mandelbrot Art Contest. Since my last entry, two more posts have surfaced that are equally rife with statements that run contrary to their already proposed views. Views that have been used in the past to generate hits to their blog, and discredit the contest itself.

The article "Will the Old-Timers at the BMFAC accept the new breed of 3D fractal artists?" is a prime example of how letting your emotions run you, (instead of the other way around) can lead you to make mistakes and contradict yourself.

In the article, Tim suggests that the previous judges would not have the competence to judge the new breed of 3d fractals that have surfaced since the last contest. He goes on to suggest that some of the best and most qualified people to do so, would be the software authors, Jesse Dierks (Jesse) (MB3D author) or Krzysztof Marczak (buddhi) the author of Mandelbulber.

This statement runs contrary to the half decade of whining OT has done regarding software author Frederik Slijkerman being a judge. In my last journal, I stated to beware the accuser. This is a perfect example of why. They state on multiple occasions that Frederik would lack the ability to choose artwork not created in Ultra-Fractal, and that his association with the contest is unethical because he authored the software that many of the entrants use.
Is this not precisely the case with Jesse and buddhi? While I would love to see them as judges, I haven't yet been able to find the reason Orbit Trap have no problems with them, but they do with Frederik. So far, the only exclusionary principles I can find are personal, as both Jesse and buddhi would be later in the position to profit from the position of being judges in the same way Frederik presumably is currently. I personally don't feel this to be the case, but it is the same logic that has been used to discredit Frederik, on a number of occasions.

In the following paragraph, he again postulates that the mathematicians involved shouldn't be, and should make way for someone in the art profession, suggesting that "Mathematicians are the celebrities of fractal art". and have no place in the judging.

It's an interesting statement that again, leaves out some very important details. In his passion, he forgets that some of the judges are indeed artists. Many of them have a highly refined aesthetic AND an understanding of fractal art . This dichotomy is key. Some of the judges are exactly WHAT he says he wants, just not WHO.  Artists who have the capacity to understand both sides of the equation. In fact, he later postulates that 'bib' is a good example of this kind of judge.

I agree, that a refined aesthetic can only aid in judging an art contest. I also feel that bringing someone aboard with no knowledge of the medium can have an equally negative impact. In the past, a number of traditional artists have attempted to downplay the work involved in making fractal art. In many cases, the negative comments stem directly from misunderstanding the medium. This is precisely why, I believe, judges are chosen from this crop of both artists and mathematicians. This is precisely the dynamic that choosing a multi-disciplinary judge works against.

Signing off,
Chris.
The time is again upon us. The Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest 2011 , is open for entry.

If you are interested in entering the contest, or interested in learning more, please visit: www.fractalartcontests.com/201…

Normally, I would be quite enthusiastic, but there have been a number of issues raised regarding the contest that I feel need to be addressed. Specifically, the smear campaign started, and perpetuated by a little blog called Orbit Trap.

Normally, I don't place too much weight on what a few uninformed individuals have to say, but in light of recent events, I feel it would be less than proper not to offer my own perspective. As many of you know, Benoit Mandelbrot recently passed away, in mid October of last year. He was the Honorary Chairman of this contest.  Many blanket statements made by Orbit Trap include Benoit in their scope, and I don't feel it pays proper homage to the man who literally spent his life on that which they claim to be defending. They have openly insulted him, others in his field, and anyone involved in the contest. What is worse, is it seems to be a perfectly good price to pay for a few hits to their blog. They ride the BMFAC keyword like a tardy messenger, on a fresh horse.

The BMFAC has not, as of yet, listed it's operational model, nor it's judges, and yet, Orbit Trap is already out in force. Closing with remarks that suggest that, simply to enter, would require you to put your ethics aside, or "Have no moral scruples whatsoever."

There have been a number of issues raised regarding the contest rules, that I feel are completely baseless. Rather than simply say they are wrong, I will try to explain why I think there might be more to this picture than meets the eye.

1) Image size requirements.
Orbit Trap constantly tries to tell it's readers that the contest is 'rigged'. One method they use to do so, is alluding that the image size requirements are far too high for the 'average' fractalist to achieve, and thus,  are purposefully designed to dissuade entries. They go even further beyond this, to suggest that the image size requirements can only be met by specific software programs, and use this as a way to call into question the moral standpoint of the judges and organizers.

The technical standpoint is far too easy to prove, so let's look at it from the moral standpoint. Anyone on Deviant Art knows that high quality prints require high quality images. We are not living in the 80's anymore. Following this link: help.deviantart.com/132/ and (scrolling down to the 24x36 inch print line) will show that an image 2 feet, by 3 feet, will require 7200x10800 pixels for excellent quality, and 3600x5400 for minimum (poor) quality. The contest asks for 8000 pixels on the longest side to produce prints of the same size. What do these numbers show?  Well, if you subtract the minimum size requirements, from the maximum, you get a requirement difference of 5400 pixels. Half of this is range, is 2700 pixels. If you add that to the minimum quality requirements, you reach the midpoint of 8100 pixels.  It can only conclude that the organizers have opted for the mid-range, even though they probably could have pushed for better.

2) Ultra-Fractal Bias
Orbit trap also attempts to discredit the contest organizers by alluding to a bias towards Ultra-Fractal. They have, on a number of occasions, accused contest organizers of choosing pieces simply because they are made in Ultra-Fractal. Because the creator of the software was asked to serve as a judge for the contest, they often call into question Frederik Slijkerman ability to place a vote ethically. The slight of hand going on is fairly obvious if you know how the contest is set up. Frederik is but one judge... of many. The competition is weighted, and it would be fairly hard for Frederik to get away with doing something like that, even if he was the marketing monster Orbit Trap claims him to be. They further postulate that because many of the judges are ultra-fractal users themselves, that they do not have the ability to choose a piece that isn't made in their software of choice.

This is a logical fallacy in the extreme. It is no different than saying an artist who uses oil paint lacks the ability to judge a mixed media art contest. It's no different than saying a Photoshop user shouldn't ethically be allowed to judge a contest that allows gimp, or paintshop to be used.

Want in on a little secret? Chaos Pro Understands up to Ultrafractal 3.02 and can replicate most of it's features, including understanding it's formula database. From a technical side, there are many fractals that could have been made in Chaospro that mimic precisely the look and feel of an Ultra Fractal setup. (It's also available free at: www.chaorpro.de )

Want in on another? Images like Polychromic: fav.me/d1e3pzk are rendered a layer at a time, and assembled in Photoshop. I discovered something amazing really. Seems Photoshop allows you to work in layers! Seems the inability for other fractal programs to work in layers doesn't carry much weight now that Photoshop has been invented.

But why leave it there? Another 'secret' to fractal art is that your renders are mathematically precise. This means that if you are intelligent enough to operate a calculator, you can divide your render into chunks. This means, I could render a piece at 80,000 pixels wide if I really wanted too. No matter what the render limits on your fractal software, if you understand simple things like render bounds, you can alter your workflow easily to accommodate billboard size images and beyond.

3) Marketing Failure
Orbit trap also faults BMFAC for marketing their images in the real physical world, rather than online. Stating with unequivocal certainty that marketing online is the only way to operate, and that physical world endeavors are a paltry waste of time. Yes. They said that. About Art. I really wish I were kidding. Seems if you are interested in making art, it is a waste of time to commit it to paper. Looks a lot like they are already whipping that aforementioned horse.

4) Cliques and How Unwelcome You are
The writers over at Orbit Trap are a very peculiar, very paranoid pair. You wouldn't be able to win a spitting contest without them accusing you of cheating. One of the ways they accuse people of cheating is by grouping them together into imaginary cliques. If you win the Benoit, you are obviously part of the group, and your work holds no merit. This is another assumption that fuels much of their hate laced articles. They don't realize that their blanket statements alienate people, leading them to the very feelings they are experiencing.

I have personally entered twice, and both times I was lucky enough to have an entry chosen. I never exchanged emails with any of the judges or organizers before the event, and was only in contact with Javier Barrallo when dealing with the contest particulars. I worked very hard to make my entries and it certainly was not a cursory endeavor. I made almost fifty pieces last time the contest was run, before I finally chose the two I would enter. If I had known all I had to do was buddy up, I could have saved myself some time. At least the insults would be warranted and would probably sting a bit less.

Fact is, even I have been accused of being part of this imaginary clique, from people who know nothing about me, or who my friends are. I wish I were unique in this regard.

5) The Organizers are Self Serving
Orbit trap would have us believe that the contest organizers and judges are no more than self serving ,attention mongers; whose only interest is in the sale of their own prints and software. Often making statements like "Because, like self-publishing, self-produced art exhibitions of yourself and your friends tend to be less respected and even frowned upon in most professional circles." I doubt very much they are anywhere near a professional circle, nor have ever been. This type of exhibition is commonplace, and I personally believe that Orbit trap is a bit disconnected on the matter.

I can tell you from experience that I was never approached by a contest organizer regarding print sales as part of this competition. It would be very difficult indeed to place some pieces up for sale, while making others unavailable. That being said, I would imagine that if there were any sort of leverage being used to sell prints, the winners would be asked where print inquiries could be directed, and as a general rule, some sort of commission agreement would be in place. I was asked if the BMFAC could display my images, not if they could sell them.  

6) That anyone who defends the BMFAC is working in concert with the BMFAC and being rewarded for it.
Make no mistake, anyone who attempts to discuss these matters with Orbit Trap is a "propagandist".

There is a rule in life. Beware the accuser. Some people hide behind accusations to deflect negative personal attention, and the most effective tact  is to accuse others of that which you yourself are guilty. This is, I believe, the case with Orbit Trap, who are quite good at propaganda themselves. It is a pretty harsh judgement to make, I agree, but it isn't without merit. If you visit their blog, you will notice they have worked very hard on the format. Keywords are everywhere. It's one of the main themes of the blog. Rather than mention the BMFAC when it is relevant, they work very hard to mention it time and time again, at least twice a month. Experienced bloggers will recognize this technique immediately.

7) Mathematicians do not have the ability to Judge art.
One of Orbit Traps favorite arguments is that Mathematicians don't have the ability to judge art. That "Mathematicians are boneheads when it comes to art.  That's why they aren't in an arsty profession, they're mathematicians –academics and theorists."

If you are an artist, don't do any math. Better, don't read anything math or physics or science related for the rest of your life, because it may have the life altering effect of removing your ability to appreciate beauty. This is a common argument made by people who don't understand math or physics. Learning something about the inner workings or mechanisms of an object or process can only lend it more beauty.

The list literally goes on and on.. and on.. and on...

-----------------

So, why take the time to write all this? Well, not so much that I really care about what OT has to say about me. I am here, and able to defend myself against their stupidity. Benoit however, is not. What I care most about, is that when you go to a search engine, and type in BMFAC, you get article after article, literally upwards of two a month or more, attempting to smear the competition. It has gone from a cursory heads up, to an all out campaign, and I simply can't sit idly by while they spread lies so soon after Benoit's death. I personally view it as the lowest form of attack and I believe Benoit deserves better.

Even before the competition existed, the Orbit Trap bloggers were attacking Damien Jones, and it has only escalated since it was first publicized. It seems that the Orbit Trap bloggers have a personal dispute with the contests creator, and have used the guise of being gallant to continue it. In doing so, they have unwittingly offended multitudes of people, and cast doubt on one of the last projects Benoit was associated with.

I will close with the following Orbit Trap quote,
"Benoit Mandelbrot might have had a (passing) interest in the artistic application of fractal geometry, but that was years ago when fractals were fresh and revolutionary."

Followed by the preface from the last BMFAC written by Benoit Mandelbrot.
[  As a young man during a dreadful period of history, I found safe refuge in very ambitious plans and hopes. I wished to devote my life to the picture deprived fields of mathematics or science. But I also wished to keep aside enough time for something different - namely, enjoyment of plastic art and music. Not as a creator, but as an active amateur. Now that I am an old man, it is wonderful to observe, not only that those plans have been fulfilled well enough, but have been fulfilled with an unanticipated and wonderful wrinkle. Fractal geometry - my life's work - has managed to combine very difficult mathematics, very useful science... and also a dash of a new flavor of art. A menage a trois has arisen between elegant thoughts, directly applicable thoughts, and plain pleasure of the eye. Could it really be that such an intimate coexistence has not been seen since the early Renaissance?

How did all that begin? Very modestly, when my first "solo" book of 1975 introduced the word "fractal" and outlined a new geometry. A great privilege had been granted to me, since I was the first to recognize a feature that had been - since time immemorial - common to many bits of knowledge, but had remained scattered all over and kept being forgotten and being rediscovered. What I recognized was that those nameless bits of knowledge were - in fact - as closely related as peas from one pod. Together, they provided a foundation on which I, and soon many others, could start building a brand new and extraordinarily belated theory for broad and practical properties of roughness.

In addition - miracle! - even that was not all. Not all by any means. In order to explain the wide acceptance of the word "fractal" and of my scientific ideas, one may recall the ancient theme of The Beauty and the Beast. When scientists perceive most of science as beautiful, they use this last term metaphorically. To the contrary, first I, then colleagues at work, and soon later many witnesses, felt early on that my scientific work brought out pictures that are beautiful in both usual and unusual meanings of that word.

How come? This question can not be discussed here in any detail. But let me make a wild guess about the world as perceived by humans. Flat planes and cubic buildings had easily been integrated into the familiar elementary geometry. But mountains, trees, and old buildings had not. More generally, real objects are so complicated that standard geometry fits them very rarely. The very belated next step beyond Euclid is represented by fractals.

Thirty five years after my book of 1975, my early pictures have become antiques. Fractals have grown like topsy and the web brings us an ever fresh flow of increasingly sophisticated and independent art.

To the aesthetic side of my implemented dreams, the organizers of the Fractal Art Contest - Javier Barrallo, Damien Jones, and the Selection Panel Members - have added an exhilarating contribution. We are fortunate that the burden enjoyed of selecting of some of today's best should reside in their good eye. The third exhibit of fractal art is coming close, and it has been a delight to provide a brief preface to the present striking catalog.  ]
   --Benoit Mandelbrot

Signing off,
Chris
An enjoyable video for those who have not seen it yet. :www.youtube.com/watch?v=9pmpDV…

Enjoy!
If you are interested in playing with some fractals, directly in your browser... visit the fractal lab. fractal.io/

It's quite a toy, allowing you to explore some of the newer 3d fractals in real time. Snazzy, and quite addicting. Don't say I didn't warn you.

And if you're really technical, you can pop the hood and tweak/create the formula yourself.

Good luck, and happy fractaling!
-Chris
It's that time of year again. Earth hour starts tomorrow, March 26th, at 8:30pm, your local time.

There is really no better time to kill the lights, shut down all the appliances, and go for a walk or visit a friend. I personally like going out for a walk and seeing how eerily silent everything is. I was pleasantly surprised last year at the number of people who took part. Entire blocks were blacked out.

For more information, visit www.earthhour.org

Cheers!
Chris
I am sure, by now, you are aware of the tragedy unfolding in Japan. I will spare you further iteration and simply ask you click the link below.

jasonkelly.com/helpjapan/

I found it to be a more personal way of sending aid, and thought you may as well.

Chris.
If you are Canadian, like me, you enjoy unlimited access to the internet. Listen to music, watch the occasional video. Like me, you probably play some sort of online, multi-player game, or engage in similar multi-person activites, such as skyping with loved ones, or playing games on yahoo.

It's a small thing, but it's one of the things I've come to enjoy in my life, and it's being threatened. If Bell Canada has its way, internet will soon be paid "by the byte" and internet usage will all but plummet.

Do you want to consider if a link is worth clicking? Do you have enough money to read that next page? Is that kind of thought process something you want invading your online activities? How will you know the volume of data that will be served to you? Will you now have to pay for ad's streamed every 5 seconds while you read a pages content? Would you stop creating videos for others if the cost of doing so quintupled?

If you are concerned, and you should be, please visit openmedia.ca for more information, and stopthemeter.ca to sign the petition.

You do have the right to choose. But no one will come to your door to ask your opinion.. you gotta go knocking on theirs and give it.

Click the link, save the Canadian Internet.

Chris.
  • Listening to: My modem whirring
Hey folks!

Ultra Fractal Express is going on sale, for $19.00 US on bitsdujour this friday. If you ever wanted to get into UF but the price tag was out of budget, this may be of interest.

Check www.bitsdujour.com this friday, November 5th. The sale is for one day only.

Hope all is well,
Happy Fractaling,
Chris.
  • Mood: Joy
  • Listening to: Ace Ventura
Welcome to my gallery. Feel free to note me if something catches your eye, or if you have any questions about my work.

I have noticed a general trend towards the pairing of fractal imagery with modern music CD's. I am making my preexisting images available to those that wish to use them on their commercial CD's, royalty free. If you are in need of some wild imagery, but are having trouble cooking something up, look no further. I am a big fan of progressive trance, techno and goa, and I would love to see my works being used for this purpose.

I am also taking commissions. The majority of my work can be printed at any size, and adapted for many purposes. If you think fractal imagery would fit into your next project, please let me know. I am more interested in sharing fractal art than profiting off of it, so if you are on a tight budget, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Contact me at milleniumsentry@hotmail.com for more information before use. I like to support the projects I am involved with!

Cheers!
Chris.
  • Mood: Neutral
  • Listening to: Shpongle