Fractals are images created with specialized mathematical formulas and feature self-similar shapes that repeat at different scales throughout the image. One of the ways to explore fractals is to choose a small area and “zoom” into it. This zooming can be done infinitely, without ever running out of structure.
To really appreciate this phenomenon, I have utilized a Google-map-type tool that allows viewers to zoom into and explore a few of my works. The first image is a deep zoom into the Mandelbrot set’s “Seahorse Valley”:
Vielle. Copyright © Janet Parke.
If the original Mandelbrot fractal from which Vielle came was printed the size of a 10″ x 17″ print, this particular section would be smaller than a hydrogen atom. Conversely, if the entire structure was magnified and printed at the same resolution as that print, it would be wider than four times the distance to the Moon and back. The self-similar repetition of spiral shapes is easy to see here, both in the foreground and in the lacy background shapes. See the zoomable image here.
Unlike photography, which can only be enlarged a certain amount before resolution is compromised and details become grainy or fuzzy, fractals are generated mathematically and can be enlarged to any size without losing details. In fact, the larger the render or print, the more clearly the details of the fractal structure can be seen.
Florishen is another very detailed fractal image, with a modern, pop art feel:
Florishen. Copyright © Janet Parke.
Fractal art is ideal for large installations because the work is stunning when viewed from a distance but also invites inches-away inspection. Explore Florishen’s incredible detail here.
In Birdejo, it’s the small details of the textures that are best viewed in a high-resolution render:
Birdejo. Copyright © Janet Parke
This image uses a fractal formula based on “Perlin Noise,” for which Ken Perlin received an Academy Award for Technical Achievement in 1997. The award reads “The development of Perlin Noise has allowed computer graphics artists to better represent the complexity of natural phenomena in visual effects for the motion picture industry.” Explore a high-resolution version of Birdejo here.