You will soon be a master of Sterlingware...

Don't be put-off by all the Formulas or the rocket-science terminology like Actan or "sin()+cos()". If you can write your name and telephone number, you've got the Right Stuff to be a master of Sterlingware. It requires absolutely no understanding of math or fractal math ( I don't have any! ) and is so simple I believe everything you need is in this short tutorial.

When I discovered Sterlingware in August of 2002 I learned to use it just by experimenting with different menu options and watching what happened. This is my usual method for learning to use new software. This must be the way everyone else has learned to use Sterlingware because it has never had any help files or other documentation.

I like this program alot and think it is one of the best Fractal Generators ever made. I decided to write this tutorial because I thought that without the guidance and confidence which a tutorial can give, some people might pass Sterlingware over and miss out on its wonders. I also thought that the superb user-friendly design makes Sterlingware an excellent program for people who are just discovering fractals, as was my own case.

Why do I think Sterlingware is such a good fractal program? Here are some reasons:

  • Photographic-like Realism, sometimes you won't believe you're not looking at something real.
  • Rich detail, just like a microscope, zooming in reveals a world that seems endless.
  • Countless new combinations of fractal parameters so there's always something new to experiment with and explore.
  • Point and click zooming for easy exploration of fractal worlds.
  • Simple interface yet powerful capabilities. One click can change a formula or color mode and you start to see the results immediately.
  • It's almost freeware. To download Sterlingware you will need to pay a $25 fee to access the download page for all of Stephen Ferguson's fractal programs.

I've used Sterlingware to create images for illustrating books of the Bible. It's been a project of mine to make illuminated html versions of Bible books and display them on my website, Tim's Illuminated Bible. Sort of a space age Illuminated Manuscript. Several times I've thought I had squeezed all the good images out of Sterlingware and started looking elsewhere, only to come back and try something different and make more discoveries.

Fractals are so amazing that one doesn't need an excuse to make them. Most of my best images I found while just exploring something that just looked interesting and caught my curiosity. So whether you want to make awesome fractal art or are just curious about fractals, Sterlingware is going to impress you, and show you why some people become obsessed with fractals.

Tim Hodkinson,
November 2003 (updated Nov 2004)