While working on fractals in Fractint it was easy to fall into the habit of making color gradients for my palettes that mimicked metallic surfaces. Without the added flexibility of the tools now available, most of my fractal play was in the nature of ‘taking portraits’ or ‘macro-photographs’ of structure that was either striking or, as so often happens, reminded me of something. Eventually all that shiny surface gets kind of same-y and it’s time to consider some changes. In my last post, I put up a few fractals that were more or less monochromatic. For the images of this post, the palette was designed to look as if the fractals were done in colored pencil. By altering the gradient so that its peak color was white (instead of peaking at an intense shade of the color to create the illusion of highlights on a metal surface), and by limiting the colors to a main hue shading to white and adding a solid black for “drawing within the line”, the palette’s effect is pretty close to colored pencil shading.
As you can see in the next images, the limited number of colors in the palette for Fractint doesn’t work very well when the pixel values of the iterations (each time the formula is altered then solved for all solutions within the range and by the parameters being explored) don’t change enough to avoid ending up with bands of color rather than a smooth gradient. Sometimes, the banding that results can be used to effect in an image, but usually one wishes the gradient were smooth instead.
Coloring the same fractal with different color palettes is par for the course, as one looks for the best way to enhance the structure that interested the eye. With bilaterally and radially symmetrical fractals, this allows us to play with Paint Shop Pro, or some such, to assemble an image with different versions of the same fractal, for fun. With Ultrafractal, this is possible using the various tools within the program, in concert with special formulae that writers have given to the public collection for all of us to use.
Using Fractint and Paint Shop Pro; the last is a sort of vertical diptych:
(click on images in this post to view larger versions}
Messing about with the coloring can get you out of a rut. If everything one’s filing away looks like metal, maybe it’s time to try to make it look like plastic or a painted surface. Or even an organic object of some Nature not quite our own.
Radiating metallic efflorescence.
This one grew on me, eventually. though, I still call it the ‘organized liver’ when no one is within earshot.
Study the way light bounces off of things. Does the brightest highlight still exhibit a shade of the color of the surface or is it a straight reflection of the temperature of the light source? Does the highlight flare out over the surface or does it stay tight to the shape of the ilight source? Watching for characteristics of surfaces is a great aid to increased flexibility in choosing how to best exhibit whatever structure the math reveals while you explore the literally infinite world of fractals.