Mandelbulb3D Animation: Sylph Symmography

Yes, this brief slice of Celtic rhythms and colors has a weird name.

As described by

A sylph is a lovely, slim young woman or girl. You could describe a row of graceful ballerinas as sylphs.

A sylph is always young, female, and slender, moving with an almost otherworldly lightness and grace. The original meaning of sylph was a mythical fairy-like creature, an air spirit that’s mentioned by the poet Alexander Pope and appears in several Shakespeare plays as well.

As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary:

Symmography is an art form using yarn, wood, and nails as the media

Or in other words, string-art.

I married these two phrases together because this video reminds me of a stringy, yet gracefully ethereal entity dancing on high (and as fractals are “self similar” by nature, the word-play was too serendipitous to avoid).


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A Downbeat of Concrete Coral

Reminiscent of a giant block of concrete spinning quietly in space, this morphing 3D Koch fractal is slow and meditative.

Sit back, relax, and veg-out.

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Vitric Visions Series

Vitric Visions is a three-part series of Mandelbulb 3D animations where I experimented with animating transparent fractals.

About the videos:

VV #1 was an initial test, and as such came out kinda bland (at least in my humble opinion). But it was an eye-opening proof of concept that said “hey, this can be done, and relatively quickly too.”

VV #2 added some depth-of-field blurring, giving the fractals a somewhat more realistic presence. I really like this one. The morphing shapes remind me of those heavy glass ashtrays that occupied every room of my childhood.

VV #3 brought it all home by mixing a “standard” escape-time dodecahedron 3D fractal with a dIFS “dodecatubeIFS” fractal. The initial spinning dodecahedron reminds of a Jack-in-the-Box, waiting to pop its weird little head out.

And some technical stuff:

For those of you who aren’t aware, rendering transparency can be extremely time consuming (uggh!!). To minimize the overall length of rendering time, I chose to limit transparency to only “dIFS” fractals. So what the heck are “dIFS”? Well, oddly, there’s no official definition of “dIFS” in the Mandelbulb 3D program documentation, nor have I been able to find a solid definition on Turning to Google however, I found two possible answers: “Discrete Iterated Function System” and “Deterministic Iterated Function System”. My money is on the latter. Here is an excellent Powerpoint presentation that describes this type of fractal: Basically, it’s a primitive shape that is repeated over and over again, with some type of consistant modification applied to each instance of the shape. In the context of these animations, dIFS fractals rendered extremely quickly due to the ability to reduce the maximum iterations of each formula to an extreme minimum. Trust me, this saves soooooooo much time!

These three projects were all rendered during roughly the same time period of just over a month, with a final total of 31345 source frames rendered at 1920×1080. The completed videos were then rendered at 60fps.

That’s all folks. Enjoy.

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In Silico – a posse ad esse

Kind of a odd name for a video, huh? So what’s it mean? Well, the definition of the Dog-Latin phrase “In Silico” is: “done or produced by using computer software or simulation”. The definition of the Latin phrase “a posse ad esse” is: “from possibility to actuality”. Put them together and well, you get the picture.

And hey, thanks for your patience! As usual, this video took a significant amount of time to put together. I won’t bore you with the details, but just know that this is not an undertaking for the impatient! I hope that you’ll agree with me that the final product was worth the wait though.

On a technical note, this video marks my first attempt at rendering at 60FPS (frames per second).  The standard frame rate that I’ve rendered to in the past has been 30FPS. Doubling the rate makes for an exceptional viewing experience as details stay crisper in motion.  So if you have the bandwidth, I highly recommend watching the video at 1080p60 or 720p60. Most browsers should support 60FPS on YouTube now.


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Mandelbulb3D Animation: Dark Folds (2014)

After way too much procrastinating, TV watching, and just general laziness, I finally decided to put the finishing touches on this short animation this prior weekend.

Regarding this video: the hardest part was finding the right music to accompany the animation. I literally spent months listening to one sample after another of royalty-free music, looking for the one with just the right feel. Hopefully, you’ll agree with me that the time spent was well worth it. As usual, props to Kevin Macleod for his generosity.

Actual rendering of the animation took about three months, generating 14,200 frames that were ultimately squeezed into two and a half minutes at 29.97 frames/sec by way of Premiere’s time-remapping facility.

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