Valentin Albillo's HP Collection

Back Home

Assorted Miscellaneous

Miscellaneous Pictures

Introducing FractVal 1.0

I've always been fascinated with fractals since I read the cover article "Exploring the Mandelbrot Set" in the August 1985 issue of Scientific American. I knew nothing about fractals at the time so this article was kind of a revelation to me. I assimilated the underlying math and quickly wrote a program for the HP-150 Touchscreen computer in Turbo Pascal, which could render the Mandelbrot set in 9 ersatz shades as well as zoom into it. Then Windows 3 was introduced and I wrote a Windows program in C which did the same, but it was a real chore as I had to work at a very low level, calling the Windows API for everything (message processing, etc) in a pure text environment, no GUI for the C editor/compiler. Then VB was released and I wondered if using it would make a difference.

It did. The VB program ran 7x slower but developing it was 7x faster and much easier and convenient, real fun instead of real chore. That was it back then but 30 years later (2016) I found the VB program in an old HDD and tried it on my Windows XP. It ran, but it was extremely limited, rendering just the original Mandelbrot set in 16 colors with minimal zoom capabilities and that's it. I then decided it would be fun to try and relive the old times by writing a new, more capable fractal program just for my own use, and using the very same 30-year old, 16-bit programming language and 20-year old, 32-bit OS absolutely from scratch, beginning from a blank form and nothing else. The result is FractVal 1.0, which follows these guidelines:

A simple formula, a simple palette and a simple rendering algorithm.

And that's it. The images FractVal produces can be described and recreated with few parameters because they do not depend on artistic choices or techniques, they're renderings of mathematical objects mostly independent of who's generating them: the palette may be specified, it may be rendered with one simple algorithm or another but the resulting image will essentially depend on the fractal object itself. Last but not least, they're indefinitely explorable and you'll actually feel The Call of Discovery: "To eagerly find amazing locations no one has ever seen before". Literally (and if you don't record their parameters no one will ever explore them again. Literally.).

That said, I've also included many options to enhance ergonomy (navigation, scripts, mosaics, time estimations, multi-instancing with forking, persistent selective Copy/Paste across instances/sessions, ditto with RPN-like registers for instant STO/RCL-ing fractals at the press of a key, "Continuous Memory", "LAST Fractal", full backward compatibility with Versioning and Certification, ...) as well as some optional advanced algorithms I implemented just for fun, such as antialiasing and outliers processing, layers (doh!) with regulable translucency, texturing, extensive palette generation/editing, parameterized multi-Orbit Traps, boolean superpositions, Julia mapping, video generation and more, but that's just the icing of the cake, simplicity and explorability are still the main goals.

Below you'll find first a number of Tutorial images and videos showing off various functionalities, then you'll find the actual Image Gallery beginning at Misc Picture VA100 and featuring a treasure trove of carefully selected fractal images as produced directly by FractVal, no post-processing at all except for compression to a lossy format (JPG) to help save server space. The originals are crisper but this will do for now.


Tutorial images

Misc Picture VA001 - The First Fractal I Saw

This is an approximate FractVal rendition (from memory) of the very first fractal image I saw in the cover of the August 1985 issue of Scientific American. The palette and framing will surely be a little different from the original cover but the impression it made on me is the same, a sheer feeling of awe and fervent desire to do my own exploring of it.

The SA's article itself, "Exploring the Mandelbrot Set", was a fantastically enthralling read (look for it, it's freely available on the net), which gave lots of useful explanations that helped me to soon after write my very own program to render this most fascinating set. It was very primitive but it was a beginning and FractVal is just the latest step so far.

Misc Picture VA040 - Sample Mandel Types Mosaic

Misc Picture VA042 - Sample Mandel Type

Misc Picture VA044 - Sample Mandel Type

Misc Picture VA050 - Sample Julia Type

Misc Picture VA052 - Sample Monochromatic Palette

Misc Picture VA055 - Sample Palettes Mosaic

Misc Picture VA056 - Sample Palette Offsets Mosaic

Misc Picture VA057 - Sample Palette Offsets Mosaic

Misc Picture VA058 - Sample Palette Offsets Mosaic

Misc Picture VA059 - Sample Palette Offsets Mosaic

Misc Picture VA060 - Sample Zoom Mosaic

Misc Picture VA062 - Sample Zoom Mosaic

Misc Picture VA063 - Sample Overlaid Julia Mapping

Misc Picture VA064 - Sample Julia Mapping

Misc Picture VA066 - Sample Overlaid Julia Mapping

Misc Picture VA068 - Sample Julia Mosaic

Misc Picture VA072 - Sample Julia Mosaic

Misc Picture VA074 - Sample Overlaid Julia Mosaic - VF171021AU

Misc Picture VA078 - Sample No Antialiasing

Misc Picture VA079 - Sample With Antialiasing

Misc Picture VA080 - Sample No Antialiasing

Misc Picture VA081 - Sample With Antialiasing

Misc Picture VA086 - Sample Translucent Layers

Misc Picture VA091 - Sample Palette Offsets Mosaic

Misc Picture VA093 - Sample Textured Traps


Sample Videos

Misc Picture VA094 - Sample Video - Cellular Genesis

This is not an image but an example of one of the types of videos that FractVal can generate. Many fractal programs can generate videos, but usually they are of what I call the "static" kind, i.e: (I) the video will zoom into/out of the fractal object or it will pan from one part to another, or a combination of both, or (II) they will also generate videos where the palette is cycled or altered in some way or another, making the fractal object change colors or lighting continuously or after some other fashion.

This is all very well and very nice, and of course FractVal can also generate those kinds of videos, but notice something important: the fractal object is static, it does not vary at all while the video runs. You see different parts of it at different zoom levels and/or with different palettes but the fractal object does not essentially change, it might be distorted or a false perspective might be added but it stays put, it doesn't evolve, it's absolutely static, frozen in time for the video's duration.

ValFract, on the other hand, can generate a Type III kind of video, where the fractal object itself isn't static but evolves as the video goes on, it doesn't remain the same, it changes or moves on its own, it's alive. While other fractal programs show you just pretty pictures of an instant in the life of a fractal, static pictures, FracVal allows you to explore The Secret Life of a Fractal and see what it does and what happens to it. And of course, you can mix this fractal activity with zooms, pans, palette changes and whatever for incredibly beautiful and truly amazing results.

In this particular Sample Video, titled "Cellular Genesis", you can watch a few scattered figments of DNA beginning to slowly evolve, to combine and form ever-complex cells, true evolution in a mathematical fractal universe. And remember, each frame is a static image which can be indefinitely zoomed, potentially having all the infinite detail of the fractal object it renders.

For filesize and server space reasons this sample video has frames about 16 times smaller than the original I made, and it runs at 10 fps instead of 25 fps, plus other size-related limitations, but it will certainly give you a very good idea of what's possible. Video details: 12.8 Mbytes, 40 seconds long, 320x240 frames at 10 fps, DivX format in an .avi container).

Misc Picture VA095 - Sample Video Type I - Zoom

This is an example of one of the types of videos that FractVal can generate, Type I, the variant where the video features a fractal object being zoomed-in or out at some speed. In this particular video the original Mandelbrot fractal is zoomed-in at a very fast speed.

For filesize and server space reasons this sample video has frames about 4 times smaller than the original I made and it runs at 20 fps instead of 25 fps, plus other size-related limitations which affect quality, but it will give you a good idea of what's possible. Video details: 5.08 Mbytes, 12 seconds long, 640x480 frames at 20 fps, DivX format in an .avi container).

Misc Picture VA096 - Sample Video Type II - Palette

This is an example of one of the types of videos that FractVal can generate, Type II, the variant where the video features a fractal object whose palette is being rotated or altered in some way at a certain speed to generate a number of effects, such as ever-changing lighting and such. In this particular example a cute denizen of the fractal universe changes looks fast.

For filesize and server space reasons this sample video has frames about 4 times smaller than the original I made and it runs at 14 fps instead of 25 fps, plus other size-related limitations which affect quality, but nevertheless it will give you a decent idea of what's possible. Video details: 3.3 Mbytes, 16 seconds long, 640x480 frames at 14 fps, DivX format in an .avi container).

Misc Picture VA097- Sample Video Type II - Lighting

This is an example of one of the types of videos that FractVal can generate, Type II, the variant where the video features a fractal object whose palette is being rotated or altered in some way at a certain speed to generate a number of effects, such as ever-changing lighting and such. In this particular example a fractal tunnel undergoes fast rotating lighting.

For filesize and server space reasons this sample video has frames about 4 times smaller than the original I made and it runs at 16 fps instead of 25 fps, plus other size-related limitations which affect quality, but it will give you a fair idea of what's possible. Video details: 1.06 Mbytes, just 4 seconds long (blink and you'll miss it!), 640x384 frames at 16 fps, DivX format in an .avi container).

Misc Picture VA098 - Sample Video Type III - Evolution

This is an example of one of the types of videos that FractVal can generate, Type III, the variant where the video features a fractal object which isn't static but actually evolves as the video goes on, it doesn't remain the same, it changes or moves on its own, it's alive ! (well, sort of).

In this particular example, you can watch a number of scattered sprouts in a hazy fog which quickly coalesces to evolve into a frog-like being, which continues evolving further into an octopus-like being that eventually separates into a big brain and a host of smaller bodies, with a hint of additional subdivision by the time the video ends.

For filesize and server space reasons this sample video has frames about 4 times smaller than the original I made, and it runs at 10 fps instead of 25 fps, plus other size-related limitations, but it will give you a nice idea of what's possible. Video details: 4.76 Mbytes, 40 seconds long, 640x480 frames at 10 fps, DivX format in an .avi container).

Misc Picture VA099 - Sample Video Type III - Unstable

Another nice example of one of the types of videos that FractVal can generate, again a Type III where the fractal object itself isn't static but changes as the video goes on, it doesn't remain the same, as if it were alive.

In this particular Sample Video, titled "Unstable", you can watch a slowly-descending section of a fractal undergoing splitting and recombination while a stream of incandescent "lava" steadily flows upwards till it reaches the surface and burns everything on its way, turning black portions of the fractal into bright, curling smoke. And again remember, each frame is a static image which can be indefinitely zoomed, potentially having all the infinite detail of the fractal object it renders.

For filesize and server space reasons this sample video has frames about 2.5 times smaller than the original I made and runs at 15 fps instead of 25 fps, plus it's been heavily compressed but all the same it will give you a good idea of what's possible.


Image Gallery

Misc Picture VA100 - The One and Only

Misc Picture VA102 - Mandel Nursery

Misc Picture VA103 - Mandel Burst - VF170703AF

Misc Picture VA104 - Cataclysm

Misc Picture VA105 - Infernal Galaxies

Misc Picture VA106 - Burning Armada

Misc Picture VA107 - Jovian Storm

Misc Picture VA108 - Black Hole Merger

Misc Picture VA109 - The Starry Night

Misc Picture VA110 - Corcovado

Misc Picture VA112 - Aztec City Guardians

Misc Picture VA113 - Splitting

Misc Picture VA114 - Mandel Fireworks

Misc Picture VA115 - Mandel Fireworks Detail

Misc Picture VA116 - Worshipping

Misc Picture VA118 - Maasai Shield

Misc Picture VA119 - Narya The Ring of Fire

Misc Picture VA120 - Ground Zero

Misc Picture VA121 - Centrifugal Fury

Misc Picture VA122 - Orographic Winds

Misc Picture VA123 - Eye Candy

Misc Picture VA124 - Chameleon

Misc Picture VA125 - Tentacle

Misc Picture VA126 - Alien Priest

Misc Picture VA127 - Alien Venus

Misc Picture VA128 - Filigree Jewelry

Misc Picture VA129 - Warp Speed

Misc Picture VA130 - Mandel Nest

Misc Picture VA131 - Blast Furnace

Misc Picture VA132 - Burning Web

Misc Picture VA133 - Colorful Petals

Misc Picture VA134 - Zen Brooch

Misc Picture VA135 - Clockwork Gear

Misc Picture VA136 - Clockwork Gears

Misc Picture VA137 - Lava Scorpion

Misc Picture VA138 - Burning Niagara

Misc Picture VA141 - Firestorm

Misc Picture VA142 - King of the Dark Sea - VF170710AT

Misc Picture VA143 - CPU Blueprint

Misc Picture VA144 - CPU Generations

Misc Picture VA147 - Lava Falls

Misc Picture VA148 - Sunset UFOs

Misc Picture VA150 - Neurons

Misc Picture VA151 - Whith Vader

Misc Picture VA152 - Supergalaxy

Misc Picture VA154 - Agate Cameo

Misc Picture VA156 - Monolith 2019

Misc Picture VA157 - Gateway

Misc Picture VA158 - Nanodigger

Misc Picture VA159 - Mining Field

Misc Picture VA160 - Fractal-powered Rotor

Misc Picture VA162 - Embroidery Factory

Misc Picture VA164 - Erythrocytes

Misc Picture VA165 - Dyson Galaxy

Misc Picture VA166 - Amazon River Cities

Misc Picture VA168 - Abyssal Creatures

Misc Picture VA169 - Frosted Glass

Misc Picture VA170 - Fracturtle

Misc Picture VA172 - Alien Sowers

Misc Picture VA174 - Strawberries

Misc Picture VA176 - Blood Nanomachines

Misc Picture VA178 - Ivory and Ebony

Misc Picture VA179 - Mother and Child

Misc Picture VA180 - Gold Leaf

Misc Picture VA182 - Perched Birds

Misc Picture VA184 - Flowing in the Wind

Misc Picture VA186 - Soundwaves

Misc Picture VA187 - Curtains

Misc Picture VA188 - Bass Guitar

Misc Picture VA189 - Space Prison

Misc Picture VA196 - Tibetan Highway at Night


The Icing of the Cake

Misc Picture VA226 - Flame

Misc Picture VA230 - Icy Clouds

Misc Picture VA268 - Plastic Lifeforms

Misc Picture VA288 - Striving for Light

Misc Picture VA292 - Linked Universe


COPYRIGHT NOTICE

These articles, programs, pictures, their descriptions and other materials created by me are (c) Valentin Albillo, and can be used freely for non-profit purposes as long as (1) the contents aren't modified in any way and (2) the copyright is acknowledged.

In plain words, you can download them and use them for non-profit purposes but do not include them in any media and/or site for which you're asking money, do not tamper with their contents and do not say or imply that you created them or that you don't know who created them, you must always give due credit to the copyright holder (that's me).