14 March 2008

Photos in Fractals

Photographs in fractals is a technique that can be fun to play with. I'm not sure who first had or implemented the idea. I first played with the technique when Kerry posted a couple of images that he did to a mailing list several years ago. He published a article describing his method. His technique involved creating an image using a carefully designed gradient that allowed an external program to map an image onto the generated fractal using the colors in the fractal as coordinates of the image. This provided the ability to generate an image suitable for printing at a large size.

I used this technique to overlay a picture of one of my kids onto the fractal. The shape of the fractal is shown in this image,

This technique is a bit limiting because you have to have an external program to overlay the image onto the fractal. Kerry wrote one for his use. I wrote one that I used. But, as far as I know, there is no publicly available program for general use.

Another technique is to take an image and convert it into a coloring formula for Ultra Fractal. Two such program exist. One is Sprite, and the other is BringItIn. Both will take an image and create a coloring formula. BringItIn provides some basic convolution filters and some other options that Sprite does not. I'll leave to you to experiment to figure out which one works best for you.

The biggest drawback of this technique is that the size of images that can be converted into a coloring formula is limited to fairly small images. This is due to the size of data arrays that must be created to hold the image data. Ultra Fractal just can't deal with the large arrays needed to hold the image data for a large image. The obvious solution is to provide a native capability within Ultra Fractal for using images in coloring formulas. Hopefully, a future version will include this capability.

Here are a couple of images using Sprite.

The clownfish is from a photograph that I took during a diving trip to the Red Sea many years ago. It's always been one of my favorites.

This image and this one are examples of very nice images using BringItIn, if I recall correctly. One of the best images that I've seen created using this technique is this one.

Edit: There are several examples of using Sprite here.

There is a stand alone fractal program that was specifically designed to use images as colorings. It is wmPHoto. I have not experimented much with this program.


WelshWench said...

Inspired idea to use the clownfish pic: the result is effective and great fun :)

kymarto said...

Ken, are you a diver? Me too, for more than 40 years now. I never got to the Red Sea, but remind me to tell you sometime about the Galapagos Islands :-)


Ken said...

Toby, yes, but I haven't done any diving for many years. After our trip to the Red Sea, cold water diving lost it's appeal.

I saw some pictures of yours on PhotoSig a while back from the Galapogos. I'd like to get back into diving, but the trips are expensive to where I want to go.

Keith said...

Thanks for the links :-)