## 3D Fractals (Ray-traced with Flash)

// February 8th, 2010 // Experiments, Flash 3D, Generative art, Source code & tutorials

I guess every developer has to play with fractals sooner or later. Now it was my turn.

I didn’t feel much for creating an other flat Mandelbrot set. So I decided to make it a little more challenging for myself and try something in 3D.

There are already many amazing renders out there. But instead of copy/pasting formulas, I tried to find my own. And to my surprise, I found some very strange and interesting stuff, especially if you consider they are just mathematical defined volumes.

To render those volumes I made a very simple (and very slow) ray-tracer which follows the ray and start checking points to see if they are in the fractal. A normal ray tracer would just calculate the intersection of the ray and the volume, but I don’t know if that is even possible with this kind of stuff?

If I found a point, I looked near that point for 2 other points so I could calculate the normal and ‘setPixel’ a normal map of the volume.

#### » a live example (low quality)

After that, I used a Pixel Bender filter (from Stok3D by David Lenaerts) to add phong shading to the renders.

Some of the renders (click to enlarge):

I found a lot of these things and I should have made more images, but it takes many hours to render them in a high quality. I guess I really should start learning C++…

I included the source code so you can start looking yourself for those amazing volumes out there. If you find something cool, let me know

source code: fractal_raytracer_src

C++ is indeed a good option but why not try HLSL ?

I rather go for OpenGL-C++ combo, I think that leaves more doors open at the moment. Thanks for the tip

Nice ! For some reason I find a slight resemblance to some 2d shapes on the cs3 packaging. Really cool shapes!

Wow. this is awesome! Very nice. I mostly dislike mandelbrots, most of them have ugly shapes+colors, but I really like this kind of 3d mandelbrots with nice colorings. It almost looks like stills of splashing fluid. Can you make an animation of these things too?

Yes you can animate them.

They sometimes transform really cool if you change the parameters in tiny steps + you can move your camera position, it is real 3D.

But its gonna take a long time to render them (some of the renders above took more then 12 hours to complete).

i think even with c++ (Alchemy?) it should be too slow for animation, but you it looks realy nice.

Welcome to the world of 3D fractals and raytracing, it can become quite addictive

Adaptive sampling should be much faster…