Algorithmic: Drawing by design

Download parameter file wrk26.loo

The machine, unthinking but teachable, an idiot savant that never tires of carrying out our instructions, makes an excellent artistic tool.

The help of my electronic Igor means I merely adjust parameters, watch the results unfold, and then wander through the newborn panorama photographing whatever has interest.

Download parameter file sewsaw01.loo

And while walking down endless spirals and examining foliage from the fourth dimension, I’ve never concerned myself with questions like, “Is this art?”

You shouldn’t either.

March 3, 2006

Two bit color

The digital silhouette

Download parameter file zipper03.loo

There aren’t too many people who would want to download a fractal program that rendered fractals in black and white. Not these days, that is.

Back a while, any fractal image was exciting. Then it was anything with color. Now it has to be true color or even layered before it gets much attention.

Download parameter file zipper02.loo

But sometimes the simpler methods can have great effect and a style all their own.

Perception is a funny thing. Art or beauty or whatever it is, can sometimes be made with simple tools and a lot of talent.

Download parameter file zipper04.loo

Movies, for instance: Look at how many great movies were made back in the days of black and white or even before sound?

Or how about back when there was only the stage and actors?

Actually, that might be somewhat of an advancement since a stage play has sound, color and is even in 3D, something you don’t see much with movies. It’s interactive too; the cast often responds to comments or applause from the audience.

Forget theater, it’s ruining my argument. There’s nothing simple about it.

Download parameter file zipper05.loo

Anyhow, it’s always intrigued me how some neanderthal methods can still compete with space age ones. Maybe it’s the simplicity of those plain styles that appeals to us. Today’s layered images with 32 bit color and awesome detail have become common and we want more variety.

Hey, that’s what simple folks like me are here for.

March 1, 2006

Fractal Falls

Twister Weed + Sine Trap 4 = Seriously twisted fractals.

Download parameter file shaver46d.loo

Like an explorer sighting land in uncharted waters, there’s a real thrill in discovering new fractal territory.

That is, new fractal territory that looks appealing. There’s plenty of formulas and rendering methods, but only a few pay off.

In Sterlingware, I’ve found good imagery only in these: the first two orbit counting renders, fractal dimension, sine trap 1 and 2, x/y y/x stalks.

Download parameter file shaver54a.loo

That’s enough to keep one busy for a long time, but I’m always wondering what other island are waiting out there in the fractal sea.

I’ve come to realize that if you want to see something new and different in a fractal program, you’ve got to do something new and different.

It’s hard thinking outside the box because sometimes we are the box.

Download parameter file shaver52.loo

Finally, I suceeded in producing something interesting with the fourth sine trap render. The third one is still a challenge, although it often looks promising.

Unlike the first and second, the fourth doesn’t respond to changing the stalks and bubbles radius parameter. Adjusting this parameter does some very interesting things for the first two sine traps.

It was the combination of the bright color numbers (1-12) and the twister weed formula that made the sine trap 4 render work. The other formulas don’t combine to make anything that looks too exciting.

Download parameter file shaver54b.loo

The water fall part of the twister weed formula is where I found all these images. Without the twister weed formula this render method would still be unprofitable.

The images have a torn paper, machine gun bullet belt or electric shaver look to them. Or the feathers of some exotic bird. Just a few simple structures, but when grown together and colored just right they produce something refreshingly new.

Like Sindbad, will you have trouble convincing people back home that you saw a bird with feathers like this? For that matter, can you really talk about fractal land with people who’ve never been there?

February 27, 2006

Excuse me,

but I’d like to do something Modern for a moment

Download parameter file label03.loo

Ironically, the answer to the question, “What are fractals?” has a fractal quality itself.

Fractals are many things, and as such the answer to the question is really determined by how closely you want to look.

Download parameter file label01.loo

For some people fractals are a source of imagery, just as natural scenery is a source of imagery for photographers.

The math from which fractal imagery is constructed is not terribly important to some people, just as the geographical processes which produce landscapes may not be of much concern to photographers.

Download parameter file label02.loo

In fact, the mathematical principles behind fractals could even be irrelevant to answering our question because our interest in fractals may be just with the images they produce (their graphical rendering) and what looks good could have no correlation with any particular mathematical feature.

Which brings me to the images displayed here: There’s really nothing fractal-ish about them, although they have been produced by a fractal formula.

Download parameter file label05.loo

Imagine a machine used in ways it was never intended, like painting a picture using a hammer instead of a brush.

Lying in a tool box we would say a hammer is a tool for nailing pieces of wood together. But that same hammer, lying beside an artist’s palette… hmmmn, what now is that “hammer?”

Download parameter file label04.loo

In the same way, looking at these images here… hmmmn, what now is that “fractal?”

February 24, 2006


The sacred images of Fuludu! (“foo-loo-doo”)

Download parameter file fuludu01.loo

Prepare! For the inconsequences of Fuludu!

Action! Toward the inescapable conclusions of Fuludu!

Cling to power! Rage against the enemies of Fuludu!

Subvert! The evil schemes against Fuludu!

Run and tumble! Before the crashing rage of Fuludu!

Our weapons are useless! Against the power of Fuludu!

Shock, terror! Behold the registered trademarks of Fuludu!

Download parameter file revere01.loo

Don’t forget to pick up milk! Breakfast cereals are the allies of Fuludu!

Put your head in a box! Contemplate the corrugated-ness of Fuludu!

Bounce your head off the wall! Fuludu is not found in empty gestures!

Substantiate text and mechanism! Fuludu pre-eminates with precision and responsibility!

February 22, 2006


Where cartoons are made.

Download parameter file egypt02.loo

Have you heard about the recent discovery of a tomb in the Valley of the Kings?

Even my 7 year old son was excited. Does he understand what three and a half thousand years is?

I really don’t think so, but even still he’s intensely curious about it.

I read several articles on Google News hoping that one of them would have something the others had left out.

When the story actually dropped off the main news page I searched for it, hoping there might be something, new about it.

Then, I found photos. I mean a photo. They cut a hole about 1 square foot through the doorway and took a photo. My son ran to the computer when I told him.

It’s funny that something so incredibly old should be “news.” Of course the news story is partly the discovery itself, which is a new thing.

Download parameter file blast02a.loo

Haven’t we seen enough of these dried up things from Egypt?

Sure, and there may not even be anything unique or historically significant in this tomb. Ancient Egypt has got to be one of the most studied parts of history. It’s cliche.

The beauty and style of the ancient Egyptian stuff is what I think appeals to my son and me. It’s old, so what? That’s nothing compared to the dinosaurs.

I love those wall cartoons and coffin characters. Who cares about the kippered kings? The artwork is the real treasure. Leave the bodies in the ground.

February 20, 2006

The big picture

Every now and then I accidently zoom-out.

Download parameter file zoom.loo

When I was little, I remember contemplating the fact that the moon, which I knew was very large, could be blotted out entirely by my hand.

Later on, probably the teen-aged years, I realized that small things look big when you’re right up close to them. Similarly, other people’s lives look small or irrelevant because we see them from a distance.

I think any study of history should eventually lead one to conclude that the larger part of human experience dissipates into nothing after a few years and that beyond the influence we have on the tiny group of people around us like family and friends, our existence is imperceptible.

Forgot where I was going…

The big picture. Zooming out. Okay, that’s my point, we’re not in the big picture. Actually, no one is.

And yet, we appear so large and dominating in our own eyes. Yes, because we are so close to we. I mean, you are so close to you.

But zoom out… Aha! You see what historians will probably see, and write about, and hypothesize about. And it has no faces.

Even the famous are forgotten. What remains even of Caesar?

If we went back in time how would we recognise him? By his face, the sound of his voice? No, by his name or title or the emblems he wears.

History is a residue.

Caesar, the public figure, lives on in the encyclopedias. Caesar, the man, is as forgotten and lost as his servants and neighbours are.

Only the fossilized husk remains, anonymous and empty.

February 17, 2006

Fractal Guthrie

Ever thought of running wild with the buffalo?

Download parameter file notation01.loo

Come on, sing with me…

This land is your land
This land is my land,
Get off my land
Get back on your land,
From California
To the New York islands,
This land was made for only me

Woody Guthrie never sang it like that, but he sure had a sense of humour.

Maybe he did sing something like that once. He was quite the creative guy and didn’t just sing “folksy” stuff.

Or maybe, back in the thirties, folk music, or whatever he wrote, wasn’t just about squirrels and cutting trees.

If you had to sum up the last several decades and gather together what’s been worthwhile, wouldn’t it be just a handful of songs?

We sit in our cars, we stand in the checkout lines. We wait in front of the microwave.

Off to work, back home, back to work. Monday slides into Friday and the weekend is a just a long evening.

For most of us, life is something that happens waiting for the traffic light to change or when we’re using the telephone and put on hold, or when the power goes out. Accidental moments.

Whoever said, “When I grow up I’m going to be a money-chewing Zombie?”

Bling-Blang hammer with my hammer,
Zingle-zangle cuttin’ with my saw.

Woody wrote all those songs during the Depression. When I hear one I feel rich.

February 15, 2006

The private club of winter

Most people think it’s just not their place.

Download parameter file petal.xpf

If you live down south or in the tropics, try to imagine a forest in a freezer.

Up here where the snow falls, I get the feeling that most people really don’t like winter and consider it a worthless time of the year.

They are not members of winter’s club.

Download parameter file lungs2.xpf

It’s at times like this I think of the old, sage-like philosopher who from his wise and aloof perch over the busy anthill of our nation sums up our anxious struggles with some idle comment.

“Grasshopper, have you felt the joy of winter?”

For instance, the cold makes the house feel warmer and richer.

Also, look how the city hides indoors and leaves the sidewalks and parks empty for us, as if we were emperors and now the city is forbidden to them.

The cold has laid siege to them, but we stroll about like diplomats.

Download parameter file lungs.xpf

The most peaceful place in the world is not in a desert. It’s out in the forest, at night, in the winter. Only the winter.

I’ve been there. There’s a strange kind of quietness. A Grand Canyon of silence. No birds or bugs or people, or any sign of them.

Just you and God, and time.

February 13, 2006

The plastic dream of outer space

Why does space no longer look inviting?

Download parameter file spacestation01.loo

Is it because we no longer believe in cosmic Treasure Islands?

Now we know that Jupiter is just big and full of nothing.

Pluto may even be down-graded from planet status. That makes it an asteroid. An asteroid is a fancy word for a rock.

Venus is worse than uninhabitable. Venus looks toxic. There’s nothing romantic about acid rain.

Mars: what a disappointment. Think of all the books and movies the “red” planet has inspired. Worlds of charm and spectacle and mystery.

Truth is, it’s just a hard to reach gravel pit.

But maybe there’s water, and you know what that could mean? Yeah, give it up.

The moon still has something going for it. That “dark side” still captivates us.

Maybe that’s it. The unknown, or what you can’t see, is a lot more exciting than anything we can study.

We can think anything we want about the dark side of the moon and no one’s going to pop our balloon or call us childish.

February 10, 2006