Maths can be beautiful – yes I find it hard to believe too but the world of fractals has convinced me. The word ‘fractal’ might frighten the wits out of anyone who hasn’t got a head for numbers, but they do allow your PC to create some rather pretty pictures. A fractal is basically a mathematically generated geometric shape made up of separate parts that, when broken down, is an exact reduced sized version of the whole. The important things for viewers is, they look amazing.
Apart from making psychedelic images that may resemble some kind of LSD trip, fractals can also be used to enhance existing images. One of the best examples of this application of fractals is Genuine Fractals, a plugin for Photoshop which allows you to blow-up images by up to 600% in stunning quality. The complex mathematical algorithms used mean that there is far less loss of image quality than if you use a normal size enhancement tool.
It’s the weird and wonderful images that attract me though and there are several programs out there designed to help you create your own unique images. Ultra Fractal is a classic example of a program that takes beginners by the hand and guides you through your first tentative creation attempts. What’s really cool about this program though is that it allows you to connect to other PC’s running the program, thus allowing you to harness their processing power and produce some really stunning fractals. Meanwhile an open source solution is the excellent Fractal Forge, written in Delphi, which allows you to print poster sized versions of your creations and even add filters for even greater psychedelic effect.
If you can’t be bothered to create your own however, or just simple don’t want to go near anything mathematical but like the pictures, then why not choose a fractal as your screensaver with Amazing Seattle Fractals. You can choose from a number of stunning fractals and configure them with basic controls to enhance the parts you like the most.