Programming for the Artist
Instructor: Lindsay Grace


Programmed Graphics: Fractals


"A fractal is generally '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,'[1] a property called self-similarity. The term was coined by Benoît Mandelbrot in 1975 and was derived from the Latin fractus meaning 'broken' or 'fractured'. . . [more from wikipedia]"


Fractals are an easy to udnerstand demonstration of how programming can create animation and still images that would be beyond tedious by hand. For that reason, our introduction to proecedural animation starts with fractals. To understand the iterative nature of Fractals, start with this activity in creating the Sierpinski Triangle from the math deaprtment at Rice. Follow it with the KOch snowflake, and finish with the introduction of self similarity.

A brief visit to the gallery of fractals (a fractal portfolio site) will help you understand how these concepts are applied on a wider scale to create interesting images. It also may give you some ideas for your own portfolio. It's also useful if you consider how fractals in nature, relate to the objects we model. You cn also watch a short video of examples of fractals in nature.

We will use a set of MEL scripts to create fractal trees, a 3D Sierpinski Triangle, and others.


Maya Iterative Cubes Animation

The same person's demonstration of their MEL script fractal tool