Good morning people! Welcome to the second volume of The Great Mandelbulber, a series of interviews to discover the Mandelbulb3D world with the eyes of artists who use it.
The wait is finally over, here it is the interview with =MarkJayBee! Please, have some time to read it, you won't regret!
Hello =MarkJayBee! Tell us some about you.
I live in the small seaside town of Largs, on the west coast of Scotland, which has some wonderful scenery and sea views. As a visual artist and photographer, living in this location has always acted as a great source of inspiration for me, and I count myself very fortunate to live here.
I've been producing artwork in one form or another for as long as I can remember and that goes back quite a long while!! My influences mainly stem from Science Fiction book cover art produced by the likes of Chris Foss, Peter Jones and Bruce Pennington in the heyday of hard SF; the late 1960's and '70's. The amazing otherworldly album cover art of Roger Dean has also influenced me greatly.
How did you discover fractal art?
I recall watching an edition of the BBC science series 'Tomorrows World' back in the early '80's which dealt with the Mandelbrot set and its infinite nature. The programme showed a too short! zoom-in which really captured my imagination! At that time however, I had no real interest in or aptitude for mathematics, or knowledge of computers, and so fractals kind of took a mental back seat for me for many years.
In early 2010, I came to deviantArt via an image I found on StumbleUpon, which consequently led to my discovery of Apophysis, and that program rekindled my dormant interest in fractals. Apo was great for producing wholly abstract images, but I found it a bit limiting when trying to create images with a more 'physical' feel.
When did you make your first fractal with Mandelbulb 3D, and how did it feel to reach this achievement?
I discovered Mandelbulb 3D when I joined FractalsForums.com in April of 2010. The 'Mandelbulb' and 'Mandelbox' 3D fractals had been discovered by a team of mathematicians and coders there only a few months earlier. I was completely blown away by some of the images being produced they were almost like landscapes; I just had to try it myself!!
Initially, I started using the excellent 'Mandelbulber' program, created by Krzysztof Marczak (~KrzysztofMarczak). In its earlier versions, the program didn't really require a very powerful computer to run, and produced the kind of 'fractscapes' I was looking for. But, as the program developed, I found it less and less usable on my machine something I've always found very frustrating, as personally I think Mandelbulber has a slight edge over M3D in terms of lighting and final render quality.
I started using Mandelbulb 3D at version 1.4.2, and produced what at the time! I thought were pretty reasonable images, but looking back; they look very basic compared to what can be made now!
Among all the fractal programs available, why do you prefer Mandelbulb3D to work with?
Ease of use, render speed and the vast amount of image control available! In the early days M3D had no 'Navigator' window, and finding the 'right' point of view was a very hit or miss affair. It really felt like groping in the dark, and I always had the sense that I was missing a wonderful location 'just around the corner'! As a long time photographer; for me the introduction of the 'Nav window' made the program much more intuitive to use, as you really get a sense of being able to wander around a fractal, precisely frame and take a 'shot' when you hit a sweet spot.
The introduction of features like positional lights, reflections, and just recently transparency/refraction have made the program even more flexible than ever. It just gets better with every new version. I think all M3D users owe a huge debt of gratitude to the programs' creator, the wonderful Jesse Dierks. It's incredibly philanthropic of him to produce such a brilliant tool, and then give it away for free!! I must also say a big thank you to Luca (~dark-beam) who has written, and is constantly adding, a wealth of additional formulas for the program.
What's your favorite formula?
I think anyone who is familiar with my work won't be too surprised to hear that I favour the more 'architectural' formula types: Amazing/Mandelbox, Menger, Sierpinski-Hilbert and the reciprocal functions. The addition of 'dIFS' formulas has also opened up some great new creative potential. I do occasionally dabble with some 'organic' forms, but I definitely feel most comfortable with the more 'constructed' looking forms; the hard SF influence again I guess?!
Do you use any other fractal program along with Mandelbulb3D?
All my fractal pieces are created using M3D now, I honestly don't feel the need to use anything else, as the program has become so familiar to me, and I'm constantly looking forward to seeing what tweaks Jesse is going to add next!
I've been dabbling in some 3D modelling programs, and will at some point I'm sure produce something SF-ish that will get posted here on dA, but don't hold your breath folks!
Is there any deviant or artist who is inspirational to you?
A lot! But a few of my main sources of inspiration are *bib993, *MANDELWERK, *Theli-at, ~Vidom, and of course Jesse himself who insists he is not an artist, but most would disagree very strongly with that!!
What would you recommend to Mandelbulb 3D newbies?
Experiment, practice, then experiment some more!! Read up on the basic principles of fractals to give yourself a deeper knowledge of what you are actually dealing with. The creative potential of M3D is virtually unlimited; so the more awareness of what fractals are about will give you more control over what you wish to portray. Follow some of the many M3D tutorials available here on dA particularly in the #mandelbulb3d group's 'Tutorials and Resources' folder; got to say that, as I'm a co-founder there! When it comes to creating you own pieces though, try not to just slavishly use the tutorial results regrettably, I see too many images here and elsewhere, that are really not much different from basic tutorial outcomes. Once again Experiment!!
Anything else you would like to say?
Some incredible animations have been produced using M3D and Mandelbulber, and at the rate technology is accelerating, I can see it becoming possible in the not too distant future, to actually fly or walk through these amazing, infinite worlds that have recently opened up! I have a strong conviction that fully immersive Virtual Reality is not too far away, and this type of software is going to be at the forefront of the creation of some of those virtual environments.
Just imagine; if the VR is convincing enough, we might eventually think it's real .??!
Hope you enjoyed! And many thanks to =MarkJayBee!
See you next month!
Any suggestion for the next volume of "The Great Mandelbulber"? Want to read the interview of your favorite MB3D artist? Additional questions? Send me a note with your opinion!
Don't miss the previous "The Great Mandelbulber" interviews!!!
The Great Mandelbulber - dark-beam