First I tweak the shape itself, usually in some simple metallic texture, until I like it.
Then I experiment with materials, surface structure, background textures...
When playing with light, I usually experiment with various kinds and levels of transparency: glass vs plasic, semi-opaque vs crystal clear, that kind of thing.
Or maybe something entirely wild and unexpected?
How about something made out of rock?
In the end I liked a mottled rock-like glossy texture best,
combined with a somewhat tarnished metal frame. The actual, final
"dragon" fractal looked like this reduced image and is not actually
available for download from this collection:
Some of these were created with a computer-desktop in mind, which is
why they're focussed to the right of the image center, to leave a
little room on the left for icons.
For many of these images, I have an appropriate parameter file
floating around or can easily create one - if you would like to see
how some particular effect was done or would like to render larger format
images for printing, drop me a line and I'll see what I can dig out of
Note, however, that a number of these images were quick
"throwaway" kinda things, where I played with some idea for a day or a
week or two and then dismissed it - and probably didn't retain the
actual parameters. In most of these cases, I ought to be able to
recreate something essentially identical to what you see here (as I
remember what I did originally); just be aware that I might not be
able to reproduce every detail of each of these images. They are
pieces of fractal art, and they are unique.
I have been asked, which of these is my favorite. Obviously, my actual favorite fractals are not displayed here; but of those depicted here I'd say that it is a toss-up between "eye of the storm", "cs2", "silently" and "lighting".
"Eye of the Storm" was pretty involved and took a good while to create. It was, in fact, the last image I worked on before a hard-disk crash took all parameter files up to letter "G" with it. What is shown here is the last render before that moment. I fear this one will not be recreatable -- there was too much work already spent on it.
"CS2" was named such because it was the second attempt to re-create an image that had been called "Chromium and Sapphire". I never really got the original glow back, but this one came pretty close. In terms of total number of hours spent to create an image, this one is probably the record holder in the gallery: weeks of tweaking and experimenting to get that exact look at the transition between the green and the silver, to get the background to be exactly just barely outside the limit of perceptible, to get the alignment of the spikes to be exactly as square as they are.
One of the earliest things I ever did, and quite possibly the oldest creation in this gallery. Like many other 2001-images, this one is a recreation after I lost the parameter file, but I think I got the "shiny, clean, quiet" look back quite nicely. True to form at the time, I was obsessed with shape and color and didn't even attempt to give the figure some kind of background.
Contrary to the following:
"Lighting" is an early result of the attempt to combine shape, color and light into a whole - and this means including some kind of background. I've done things since then that I like better, but I still enjoy the pure simplicity of composition using an infinitely complex shape.
This one was almost an accident - I was playing with these feathery shapes and suddenly realized that this almost looked like some kind of wings. Tweaking the colors to be blue white and golden and adjusting the shapes to give the whole thing the airy look that you see here was more a touch-up than a real "creation".
Computers make fractals but humans make fractal art - and sometimes the art is quite noticably inspired by the possibilities the creator sees in the products of the computer.
Another accident - I came up with this kidney-shaped structure and it happened to have some rather garish yellow-green colors in it. So I figured I might as well go all out, make it all rainbow-colored and call it "LSD" or some such. A quick little throwaway if there ever was one. In the end, I kinda liked the final title a little better. And now people stumble across this site because they were googling for "drugs" and this is the second-most downloaded image in the collection. Funny how that goes.
I am planning to have a public voting system up some day, where people can vote for their own favorite pictures and where the images can be sorted by public approval rating. Or maybe some system where you can vote an image onto a secondary "also ran" page. Or maybe vote an image entirely off the island .. err .. webpage. We'll see what I can come up with.