February 12th, 2011 - Of the Warping of Space, Pixels, and Time

Just a quick notation here to share what I have been working on recently (because I'm so computorily drained from it that I can't muster much more). Above is an example of um, a creation of mine. 
I've been calling the media 'fractal imagery' for lack of a better term. It came about as I was having so much fun generating fractals with this free fractal software I got a long time ago; "Apophysis". 
After I upgraded my graphics-card recently, (it went from banal to nothing special) I dug the program back out to test the card, and got this idea to take some of my more graphic digital photos and combine them with fractal generated graphics.

What has been happening is, I'll think about or come across an image of mine that I consider to be "the root of a graphic concept" and start considering how I would generate a fractal to um, accentuate it, and then try to do that with the Apophysis program. 
It is a cool program. Any program that cranks out that much math without me having to think about it is a cool program. On the other hand, it has a lot of knobs and sliders and values and functions and has taken a little practice to get a grasp of. On the other other hand, you can get cool stuff out of it by just blindly pushing buttons too.
The thing is, I don't think you can ever really GET a grasp of it totally, so a lot of what comes out of it is a bald-faced surprise, which is great. Chaos theory. Math that even mathematicians can't trust. This is what makes science great.
So I take my images and graphics and things and bring them into Paint Shop Pro, and go nuts layering, morphing, warping and smudging them together until I get what I want. 
Today I realized this is like painting and photography combined. That is a very satisfying thought. Unfortunately it also makes me wish I had a wall-sized monitor and a large graphics tablet with a super-computer hooked up to it so that I could take on the monster Salvador Dali type projects, the modern-day output of which would actually be about the size of a city in proportion to Dali's big stuff, and would dim the lights of the neighborhood when I clicked 'render'.
It is a little tricky to make them HUGE huge, as you have to have all giant images to start with, and you are only as big as your smallest image. Also of course, the bigger you go, the slower your computer becomes, especially when generating a good-sized fractal. But it's good to keep your CPU humble once in a while, so it get doesn't get an ego and go all HAL 9000 on you.
However a great thing about this media is that you can keep drilling deep down into it and find more and more detail and do so much to it, as there is so much information to work with while you blend all the images and layers together. It's a great way to learn PhotoShop/PaintShop. You find yourself going, "I want to do this..." and are forced to figure it out.
The first picture above is composed of two separate fractals, a digital image from my point and shoot camera, (of my Bajo Sexto) and a star-field fill I made from a NASA photo. 
The second image is two fractals (the eye is a separate fractal) layered with a large digital image of a golden eagle. Below is an image of a snake skeleton (yes, they do have bones) layered with a fractal background.

So if I sound excited about it, I am. But it's hard to get the true impact of this stuff through these little images. I would like to see them on a photo-canvas of at least 30 x 40 inches, or a large projection. Like on the side of a building or something. Heh. No, seriously.
So as I muddle along I am gaining foresight (I hope) about thinking ahead to my finished concept, (not an ordinary thing for me) and looking at and maybe shooting my images differently, which I think is always a good thing.

"Nature's great book is written in mathematics." - Galileo Galilei

Now put the keyboard down, and slowly back away...