It seems extraordinary to me that it is almost twenty years since I first came across the concept of fractal art. It has remains something that holds a fascination for me, almost to the point of obsession!
The late nineties and early noughties saw the internet gradually arriving in people's homes, including ours. Getting on-line in 1999 quite literally opened things up to a whole world of possibilities - something my children cannot really understand!
One of the things I came across early on when looking for a screensaver was Fractal Art, something I'd never even heard of before, let alone seen for real. For some reason I found it fascinating, these weird psychedelic abstract shapes and spirals jumping out of my screen at me, so I sought out some free programs and had a go myself.
The first software I used was mostly written by Stephen Ferguson - free programs like Tierazon, Sterlingware and a few others I can't even remember the names of now.
I was helped initially by some on-line tutorials written by Doug Harrington, a fractal artist based in Seattle. I'm pleased to find that his website, Amazing Seattle Fractals, is still going strong and his excellent tutorials are still available.
These programs were relatively unsophisticated, allowing the use and combination of only a limited number of formulae and just a single layer. Computers themselves also lacked the power we are used to twenty years later, and the pixel size of the fractal images tended to be on the small size - not really big enough for any type of printing.
For examples of the images created with Tierazon and Sterlingware, and where to find these programs, please take a look at my Year by Year --> 1999 Gallery.
So, while these programs were interesting to use for a while, the artistic value of the fractals created was low and it wasn't long before I started looking for other software. Ultra Fractal, written by Frederick Slijkerman and based on the open source program, Fractint, was in its infancy back in 1999 but has continued to evolve and is now on its sixth version. Sice that time it has been my go-to fractal software, and the one I pretty much exclusively use today. More on that in my next journal entry.