I get a lot of requests for information on how to get started fractaling. In case you don't already know, fractals are NOT painted in a paint program. They are generated by the computer through the solving and resolving of mathematical formulas. The solutions to the algorithms determine the colors and the pattern. Many of the available fractal generators on the web give you almost complete control of the image you are creating, so you can develop your own artistic flair. There are thousand of formulas, depending on which program you are using, and the possibilities are endless! Those who enjoy creating fractals soon find they are almost addicted to watching the patterns unfold!

In the world of fractal art, you can get as simple or as complicated as you like. Below is some of the info I send to people who ask me what my favorite programs are and how can they get started fractaling. This is by no means a complete list of possiblities! Just my favs!

If you have a PC, not a Mac, continue reading. If you have a Mac, I can't really help you, but you can take a look at Paul Lee's fractal links page There are some fractal generators for a Mac that you might like to try.

The fractal program I use most often is Ultrafractal. It allows for some very complex layering, using varying levels of transparency. It also allows for very simple stuff. It's probably the most versatile of the fractal programs I use, and my personal fav, but it also requires the most effort initially. It's a shareware program ($49 US), with a 30 day free trial period.

There are a couple of advantages to UF. One is that there is a mailing list to which you may subscribe. It's a great place to ask questions. And the list members share a lot of parameter files, too, so you have some tweakable "starts" already available. The other is that there are some great tutorials that you can download from Janet Parke's Resource pages. If you decide to try UF, download the program, download all the formulas referenced on the resource page, subscribe to the mailing list, and start working with the tutorials. Before you post to the mailing list, I suggest you lurk for awhile. And be certain you have read the information sent to you at the time you subscribed. There's some important stuff there, including stuff about the List's etiquette.

Some other great programs are freeware programs written by Stephen Ferguson. You can download those programs from his software pages (I particularly like TieraZon2-05.) Doug Harrington has written some great tutorials .

Fractint is a freeware program. I started with Fractint and I love it. Fractint also has a mailing list, and some tutorials. You can get the program from the fractalus pages. Visit Les StClair's and pick up some formulas and many, many par files with which to play! I have some tutorials on my pages.

Also, check out Jean-Pierre Louvet's Fractal FAQ page 1 and page 2 if you wish to subscribe to some of the mailing lists. I subscribe to the fractal-arts list (very little mail - mostly announcements), Ultrafractal mailing list (tons of mail!), and off and on, the Fractint List.

Finally, one other resource page that you might find helpful is at the Fractalus pages, hosted by Damien Jones.

Happy Fractaling!



Write to me at: gumbycat@allisonart.com.

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