Frequent Asked Questions (FAQ’s) about FRACTALS and some other subjects related to this site and its images

(Last updated June 24th, 2010. A small part of this text was taken from this site)

Fractals, Fractal softwares and Fractal Art

Q: What is a fractal? What are some examples of fractals?

A: A fractal is a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be subdivided in parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced-size copy of the whole. Fractals are generally self-similar and independent of scale.

There are many mathematical structures that are fractals, like the Sierpinski triangle, the Koch snowflake, the Peano curve, the Mandelbrot set, and the Lorenz attractor. Fractals also describe many real-world objects, such as clouds, mountains, turbulence, and coastlines, that do not correspond to simple geometric shapes.

According to Mandelbrot, who invented the word: “I coined fractal from the Latin adjective fractus. The corresponding Latin verb frangere means “to break”, to create irregular fragments. It is therefore sensible – and how appropriate for our needs! – that, in addition to “fragmented” (as in fraction or refraction), fractus should also mean “irregular,” both meanings being preserved in fragment.” (The Fractal Geometry of Nature, page 4.)

Q: What is Fractint?

A: Fractint is a very popular freeware fractal generator. There are DOS, Windows, OS/2, and Unix/X versions. The DOS version is the original version, and is the most up-to-date. There is a new Amiga version. More information here.

Q: What is UltraFractal?

A: Ultrafractal is a very powerful fractal generator for Windows. It expands the capabilities of the regular fractal softwares by allowing you to make images with millions of colours (Fractint for instance only allows 256 colours), layering, and the option to render your images in very large sizes and also in several image formats.

Q: What is Apophysis?

A: Apophysis is a fractal flame editor and renderer for Windows. It was created by Mark Townsend by translating Scott Draves‘ original C code into Delphi and adding a graphical user interface. It has since been improved and updated by Peter Sdobnov, Piotr Borys, and Ronald Hordijk (the SourceForge project developers). It is open source, licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Q: Where can I get more information about other softwares used to create fractals and information about fractal art?

A: Try this link.

About my fractal site(s)

Q: How do I find out what’s new since my last visit?

A: As it’s a blog format, entries are done chronologically. Just start browsing from the last post you read. A few posts might have minor updates, if the updates are important (like adding more images to a specific gallery), it will be reported.

Q: Is there a chronological sequence in the images, being the first images you ever did posted in the first pages, or should they be viewed following a specific order?

A: No. I have them all mixed. Of course the newest posts may include just newer images after all the old ones were posted. There are some of my old images that are still amongst my favourite images, after all this time, so they deserve the same treatment as new ones. The galleries aren’t software-related, they contain images done with all the fractal generators I use or have used. Also there is no theme-related gallery, all galleries can have any kind of image.

Q: Are your images public domain, open source, freeware stuff?

A: No, no and no. Despite some of the fractal generators used to make my images being open source/freeware (2 different things, BTW), the images are all copyrighted. The images can be saved in your computer and have no restrictions of viewing or downloading, but please respect the copyrights and if you are going to use any image in some commercial project, please ask for permission. All the images have a watermark (carefully placed to not mess up the image but to keep them from being misused), which should be kept at all times and won’t be removed. Images without a watermark may or not be furnished for certain projects, you should ask first for approval. The images have varying degrees of JPEG compression, I tried to keep them with a quality level that won’t affect their display on screen but will not let you print them with full quality. For a quality print, you’ll need much better rendered versions than these on the site.

Q: I can’t see any of your images. Why?

There is no restriction to any browser or operational systems that I know of. Maybe if your javascript is turned off, there can be some problems, also can happen if you have an outdated Flash plugin or something like that.

Q: Why your watermarks display a different URL than the current domain I’m viewing? Aren’t these your images?

A: I have hosted my images in a lot of sites and domains over the years, so older images can still have the watermarks pointing to their first URLs (http://www.baco.nu/fracts or http://www.baco.nu/fractals for example – these links are now gone).

Q: Can I use your images in my site?

A: Well… yes and no. There are two different situations regarding the  use of the images: You liked one of the images and want it to be your new wallpaper. Fine. Go ahead (I can’t control this anyway). The other situation is: You liked the image etc. and you try to make profit out of it, or sell printed reproductions as if it was your work. Or you want to use it in your band’s CD cover art as if it is YOUR image. Or you want to make a nice and big website about fractals using MY images. This is illegal, these images aren’t public domain. If you don’t know what a copyright is, or worse, if you don’t care, stop reading here. Or you can be nice and do like these guys (R.I.P. Scott!), who wanted to use one of my images in their new CD artwork, and asked for permission to do that (of course, after paying a small fee :P ). Asking for a permission doesn’t hurt. If you are for example an art teacher, I might just let you use the image in one of your classes or something – several times I was asked for permission in situations like this.

Another very frequent situation is the “hotlinking”, where you have a link in your site or post a link somewhere (like in a weblog or public forum for example) to an image that is located in someone else’s server. This is a bit controversial, some people actually like these kind of links (it’s free promotion anyway), but this way you’re stealing someone else’s bandwidth, which is something they had to pay for, not you. This is also wrong and it is called “bandwidth theft”. Yes, theft. I have a hosting plan that gives me unlimited (nearly) traffic and bandwidth, so I don’t really have to care much about this anymore. Linking to an image is now allowed, but any kind of abuse will be fixed with a manual block of your site and its link, as the hosting company still can take my site offline if there is some kind of heavy traffic peaks.

More on copyrights: according to modern copyright laws, everything one produces is already copyrighted as soon as it’s published, whether it has a copyright notice on it or not (of course, adding a © helps a bit, some people can’t understand things if they aren’t explicit!). That means things cannot legally be used without permission from the authors, to any purpose, or at least this is how it should be. All my artwork is copyrighted (yours too, if you have a website – even the ugliest animated GIF you did is your property). I also hold copyright for ALL my graphics, text, and HTML, except when noted. It doesn’t matter whether the person who uses someone else’s work would profit from that use or not (some people when taken to court claim that they didn’t want to make profit from that work, and that is sometimes true), using someone else’s work without permission is already a copyright violation, what matters is whether or not it is used with permission from the person who did it. There is a legal permission for that kind of non-profitable use (fair use), which doesn’t require a fee or a finantial compensation for the usage, or things can just be discussed and an agreement can be made – again, ask me if you want to use anything. I’m not that evil, if you follow the rules.

Q: Can I add a link to your site?

A: Yes of course. Use the  link to the main page, using the following code (replace “your text” with any text you want to describe the links):

<A HREF=”http://www.fractalland.com”>your text</a>

<A HREF=”http://www.mundofractal.net”>your text</a>

Perhaps in the future I’ll make a banner if you just want to make a graphical link.

If you want to have your gallery page to be linked in my fractal links page, just send me an e-mail with some basic info about your site and its URL.

Q: I am interested in getting some printed versions of your images, how can I do that if I can’t save them to my computer in high quality?

A: All the images in the site weren’t done thinking (at first, at least) of printing them, they were created for being displayed at the Web only, thus they have some degree of JPEG compression, size restrictions, etc. But they look great when printed in large sizes. But for doing that, they need to be re-rendered with the proper settings for printing.

Images that are made for being displayed in a computer screen only have a much lower resolution than images that are prepared for professional printings (they have 72 D.P.I. while professional prints require at least 300 D.P.I. – although you can get some good results with a little smaller values), plus they have been most of the time converted to JPEG format, that is a format that causes some varying loss to the quality of the images. In some cases, the images were heavily compressed, or to make them load faster, or to intentionally downgrade the printing quality.

Due to the nature of these images (they weren’t produced using a paint program like Microsoft Paint or Corel Photopaint or Photoshop or any other, but they are done by processing equations in the fractal generator software), it is possible to recreate most of these images to be professionally printed, at (almost) any size, in (almost) any resolution, using these same equations (this is called a “parameter set” – each image has its own, it’s like a recipe of a cake). If you are interested in purchasing a printed version of any of my images, just send me a message. I am able just to provide you with a printed version in a quality paper (glossy/photo), but I cannot do the framing/matting for you. Prices may vary depending on the image and the required size, plus the shipping costs. I even have a colour laser printer, but this can only make A4-sized prints. In this situation, the watermark will be removed.

Q: Will you be making any of these “recipes” to recreate the images available?

A: No, no and no. If you want to share/get parameter files for Ultrafractal or Apophysis, I suggest you trying to join the UltraFractal Mailing List or some other community. More info about the list in the Ultrafractal resources page.

With Fractint, a fractal generator (still for DOS), it’s possible to edit/rebuild the image if you load the image if it is in original .GIF format, but not in the GIF format that is currently used for Internet, Fractint uses an older GIF format to create the images (I open all my Fractint images in UltraFractal to render the images there). I still have a few GIF images, but if you try to load them in Fractint, they can open and be displayed but you won’t be able to edit them because they were saved in this newer GIF format and lost their “fractal” editing capabilities.

Q: Do you have any set of formulas for UltraFractal or other fractal softwares, written by you, that you could share with us?

A: No, I don’t have a clue about how to make these formulas neither I have any knowledge about the math involved. I’m not a formula writer. There are some links in the Ultrafractal resources page, linked above.

Q: Have you been in any art exhibition?

A: Yes, I was just invited to my first exhibition, in Spain, some time ago. And I’ve also participated in another exhibition at the Lincoln Center NYC promoted by MOCA (Museum of Computer Art), which started January 3rd 2004. This art show was also extended to the city of New Jersey, for more 15 days. More info about it in the galleries entry page (some links to the exhbiitions might have been removed).

Q: What are these flags at the top of the right column?

A: This is some auto-translation plugin for WordPress. Click the flag of the country that corresponds to the language you want it translated to (click the Portugal flag for a Portuguese Translation, as it doesn’t have the Brazilian flag) and it will open a translated version of the page you’re in. It uses Google Translator, and as usual it’s not 100% accurate.

Q: Who is this Julia that appears here and there? Why do you talk so much about her?

A: She’s not a real person.