Meet the Fractal Community #16
Hello and welcome to a new edition of Meet the Fractal Community, a forthnightly series of interviews that highlights a member of our community. The series will go back and focus on fractal artists.
Today, let's have a closer look to Swoopswatkill.
Hello Swoopswatkill! How are you today?
Can you introduce yourself to the community?My name is Alex, and I am a 27-year-old, independent dude living in the United States who just happens to love fractal art! My current residence is Portland, Maine, which is the biggest city in the state. I live in the heart of the Downtown district, which is bustling with antiquated charm, and artistic inspiration can be found at almost every corner. To support myself, I work 12-hour night shifts at a semiconductor plant. It's definitely not a career, and it's not the most glamorous job either, but it pays the bills (barely). Maine has been home to me all my life, and it's treated me exceptionally well thus far! I'm just waiting on the next big chapter in my life to take shape. I think also growing up in a small town has made me into the person I am today; I'm humble, fairly reserved, and I am a rather eccentric individual it would seem, but I wouldn't have it any other way!
When did you discover fractal art? What made you become passionate about it?Good question! I first started to fall in love with computer graphics back around the turn of the century when our family got its first computer. I've always kind of had an eye for drawing, doodling, and picture taking, even though I was never really that good at any of it. I think that's what turned me on to the digital side of things. I found it was much easier to use programs like Bryce 3D, 3D Studio Max, Cinema 4D, Photoshop, ect., to create abstract illustrations that I otherwise would have never been able to transpose from my head to paper or would never even have thought of for that matter. I just fell out of interest with it all, and I didn't return to the "scene" for over a decade. Nine months ago when I joined dA and discovered a flame fractal program called JWildfire, my interest for the digital arts was in full bloom again, and it has been ever since! I discovered my love and joy for 3D fractals a few months later when I found out how stunningly awesome Mandelbulb 3D really was.
As a Mandelbulb3D artist, which (in your opinion) are its best perks? What would you change about it?I think Mandelbulb really peaked my interest because it combines a relative ease of use with a meticulous complexity that allows one to create some seriously cool scenes, albeit with a serious amount of patience! I want to touch on the word "artist" too if I may. Until recently I never really considered what I do an art form. I think there are some general misconceptions about what we as 'bulbers do compared to other members of the digital art community, even misconceptions I used to have myself. What we do more closely relates to that of the photographer I feel, but the big difference is that we have to create the scenes that we capture our images from! It all starts with finding the right forms (healthy dose of luck + basic knowledge of formulas) and capturing that perfect perspective, and this to me is what separates a good piece from a bad piece. The coloring/shading and lighting then need to be added and adjusted depending on the scene. This is often the most difficult part of using Mandelbulb 3D. I will often spend countless hours on this part, as it is one of the most crucial aspects for conveying a theme and atmosphere. Rendering choices such as anti-aliasing, additions such as fog effects/volumetric lighting, and post processing features like hard shadows and DoF are all very important too for a final and relatively realistic render. There are indeed many intricate steps that accompany the images you see us 'bulbers producing. We have almost an infinite amount of choices after all!
My inspiration and artistic vision comes from within the program itself. I owe everything I do to those who came before me and to those who have spent countless hours of their time developing this software, namely Jesse of FractalForums.com for the creation of this software and dark-beam for his formula contributions. Unfortunately this software is no longer in development. As for changes, it would be nice to see it as a 64-bit application with GPU based implementation like that of Fragmentarium with also the all-in-one rendering/navigation system; Of course with the 3D Navi controls of Mandelbulb 3D! Post processing features such as exposure, levels/curves, and saturation control would all be nice to see as well. The Monte Carlo rendering system within the program itself is the most accurate vision I would like to see become of Mandelbulb 3D in the future, but currently it takes roughly 100x longer to render than the standard rendering system.