Sunday, July 24, 2011

Interview with DavidMakin!

David Makin is another fractalnaut who frequently haunts the hallways of ... Here are his answers to my 8 question interview.

Pandora's Box ~ See more at David's dA page

What first got you into Fractals?

In April 1999 I had some free time and was just browsing the web and came across Fractint.
I had heard of fractals and vaguely recalled some psychedelic imagery being associated with the term but I had no idea what they were.
After using Fractint for around an hour or so I was well and truly hooked on both the Art and Math of Fractals - as with many programmers/mathematicians I was staggered by the (apparent) simplicity of the maths involved in producing such complicated and beautiful results.
In fact it was the second revelatory moment in my life - the first being when I read through a BASIC manual age 20 (1982) after never having been near a computer in my life before.
Almost immediately after trying Fractint (like many other programmers) I set about writing my own fractal software - the now rather outdated "MMFrac" (Makin' Magic Fractals).

In your opinion, which programs for both 2D and 3D fractals are absolute must-have's for any
aspiring fractalnaut?

Ultra Fractal (or ChaosPro if you're broke), Chaoscope, Apophysis, Fractal Science Kit(just 2D?)

Xenodream, Incendia, Mandelbulber, Mandelbulb3D

Subblue's work including the WebGL version
I confess I haven't really tried any others yet.

For export to standard 3D software (Bryce, 3D Studio etc.)
Xenodream and Terry Gintz' software e.g. QuasZ.

Any other programs worth mentioning?

Fractal Explorer, Fractal Extreme, Quadrium 1&2, Fractint, Mutatorkammer, Xaos, Fractalworks, various by Stephen C. Ferguson, Mind-boggling Fractals

Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Bryce, Gimp,, VirtualDub, Streamclip

How did you learn how to create such beautiful 3D fractal art?

Trial and error. I have no background in traditional art - I've been told that artistically I have a "good eye" but that never translated into drawing. painting or sculpting. Also I loathe the "pigeon-holing" that's used in the Art world (e.g. impressionist, abstract, renaissance......) - as far as I'm concerned anything goes and any Art has no need for a label of this type as long as it "works".

The only "rule" I tend to bear in mind in my work (2D or 3D) is the rule of thirds, but even that needs breaking from time to time.

My own "rule" is to try and create Fractal Art that is new and different (even as fractals go) with the simple aim of demonstrating the massive potential of the medium.

What do you know of the maths behind fractals? (Or are you only into the art side of it?)

Some I know quite well, some not so well. My aim is to catch up with the academics who are rendering with extreme realism using L-Systems or L-Systems converted to LRIFS and combine this with CSG trees in a way that can be presented as user-friendly software giving the maximum options and flexibility with the minimum complication from the user's point of view.

What goes through your mind now as you begin a new piece? Describe the creative process...

I initially work like a landscape artist or photographer - I seek the scene first and take it from there - I guess once I have the scene I then change to being a studio photographer dressing the set when I start choosing the colouring algorithms and colours for the various layers of the fractal - of course generally 2D images have more layers than 3D ones.

Do you earn any sort of income from your fractal art?

At the moment around £600 per year for the last 3 years (gross, net is quite possibly a loss), but as I devote more time to marketing myself I hope to eventually switch to fractal programming and fractal art being my "job" instead of my "hobby" and programming games and apps being my "hobby" instead of my "job".

The main problem is that marketing is not something that stimulates me like creating fractals or fractal algorithms - converting any enterprise from a hobby into a job can make the enterprise less appealing and I want to avoid that.

Any inspiring words of wisdom you could give to all fractal newbies out there (myself included)? :)

We are fractals. In fact IMO *Existence* is fractal.
To be very non-formal Fractal Math effectively means that one can have infinity in a singularity - maybe every point in the Universe contains a copy of the Universe!

From a Fractal Art perspective the most important thing is to learn to use the software tools that you choose, this is actually more important than knowing the math/programming "under-the-hood".

Generally (at least for 2D fractals) the only two "mathematical" things it is important to know are how changing the bailout value and max iteration count affect the rendering - but even then you can find this by simple trial and error, you do not need to know the math.

Of course if you are a programmer (at whatever level) and want to try your own code then the information you need is on the web - *I guarantee it*, every time I've been stuck for a solution then spending a few hours using carefully chosen search phrases in Google has brought a result - the most notable from my point of view being the way to get the "correct" probabilities for the transforms in an affine IFS rather than using Barnsley's approximation.

Thank you David! :) Most inspiring. I especially like the "We are fractals/Existence is fractal" idea. Worlds within worlds within worlds.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for doing these interviews - great idea !

    I would also suggest maybe doing a more extended interview with say Jonathan Wolfe of the Fractal Foundation - also maybe with the various fractal program authors (Frederik Slijkerman, Garth Thornton, Nicolas Desprez, Martin Pfingstl, Terry Gintz, Aexion at DA, Buddhi, Subblue and Jesse at ff etc.)

    For anyone reading this who prefers to be inspired by viewing rather than reading I'd suggest looking through the "favourites" galleries of the fractal artists you like on Deviant Art, here's my favourites gallery:

    In fact just tag the /favourites bit on the end of any DA member's DA homepage URL to look at their favourites.
    Of course this way you:
    1. look through the favourites
    2. check out any images you like
    3. check out the artists who did the ones you like if the artists are new to you
    Repeat until you find no more you like or you run out of time :)