Monday, April 22, 2013

Exploring Fractal National Park

I was introduced to 3D fractals a few years ago via the iPad and iPhone app, Mandelbulb HD, by Angisoft. These apps enable the user to explore the fractal geometry of the mandelbulb. It has often struck me that exploring this fractal landscape is akin to hiking through a national park and photographing the sights.

The iPad app is somewhat limited by the processing power of the iPad itself. To this end, I discovered Mandelbulb 3D (MB3D). MB3D is written for Windows, but can also run on OS X and Unix without having Windows installed, thanks to WINE, a compatibility layer that duplicates the functions of Windows. MB3D is capable of much higher resolution rendering than the iPad app, which is necessary to achieve high quality imagery.

Below are some recent renderings I've done while exploring "Fractal National Park". Be sure to click on the images to get a high rez view.

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The amount of variation found within the mandelbulb—which is nothing more than a mathematical formula visualized with computer graphics—is nothing short of mind-blowing. And this is only one formula, many of which that can be explored.

Using MB3D, you can even hybridize various formulae to synthesize new worlds to explore. Imagine taking Rocky Mountain National Park and hybridizing it with Grand Canyon National Park. You'd end up with a new national park that exhibits features of both!

I have a feeling I'll be hiking through these parks for some time to come.

Monday, April 15, 2013

C-47 Interior

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I just noticed that this Boston Globe photo, showing a runner that collapsed near the initial terroristic blast, was serendipitously taken at the moment of the second bomb detonation (original photo published by the Boston Globe).

A tragic day for Boston.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wacom Essential Training released on

I'm pleased to announce my latest title for, Wacom Essential Training.

Here's the course description:

Wacom tablets are a popular alternative to the mouse for painting, drawing, and navigating your computer in a more natural position.

In this course, artist and teacher John Derry shows how to get up and running with a variety of Wacom tablets (Intuos, Cintiq, and more), covering everything from setup to stylus selection. He then shows how to speed up your workflow and enhance your command of the drawing surface with ExpressKeys, the Touch Ring, and other controls. Plus, learn about tablet ergonomics—which makes your Wacom even more compatible with your working conditions—and follow a few exercises to warm up your drawing arm.

Topics include:
• Drawing freehand
• Tracing existing images
• Determining the correct tablet size for your work
• Understanding relative vs. absolute positioning
• Working with control surfaces like the Touch Ring and control keys
• Selecting the right stylus
• Working with the Bamboo, Intuos, Cintiq, and Inkling