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Fractal Explorer Plugin

The Fractal Explorer plugin is a couple of Pixel Bender filters that will generate Mandelbrot and Julia set fractals to any power in real-time. The first filter is for standard fractal colouring whereas the second is optimised to use a technique called ‘orbit trapping’ to map an image into fractal space.

Mandelbrot mask

Quad JuliaButterfly danceGlynn JuliaStrawberriesJulia spikesBailout spirals4Bailout spirals2Flower squareSplodgeAstrophyton darwinium 3Haeckel Thalamphora 2Haeckel Eurypterid 5Haeckel Asteridea 1Haeckel Phaeodaria 2

Many more higher resolution images available on Flickr.

Animated fractals

Things can really become interesting when the plugins are used in AfterEffects as every parameter can be animated:

Download and installation

Download the Fractal Explorer plugin and the PDF user guide(3.6 MB).
See the Pixel Bender Toolkit page on Adobe labs for details on getting PBT up and running on your machine.

Pixel Bender Toolkit: PBT is a free download from Adobe labs that you can use to run the filters and generate fractals if you don't have Photoshop CS4.
See the release notes for installing the Pixel Bender plugin.
After Effects:
Just put the Pixel Bender .pbk filters in a folder within the Plug-ins/Effects/ directory of your installation then it will be available from the Effects menu.

User Guide

To get the most from the plugin download the user guide PDF (3.6 MB). There are a lot of controls to play with so it can take a while to explore all the options.

PDF user guide

If you have fun or success using these filters for personal or commercial projects then please let me know!

Changelog - last update 18 July 2009

1.0: Initial release
1.0.1: Fixed anti-aliasing issue on some graphics cards.
1.0.2: Added iterationColorBlend option that blends the backgroundColor based on the number of iterations taken for each point. It can generate an illusion of depth for the deeper parts of the fractal.
Also added a rotate option for the orbit trap filter and separated the alpha channel control into a separate slider for After Effects compatibility.

The Venetian mask image is licensed under the Creative Commons Share Alike-Attribution-Non-Commercial license as per the original thanks to Audringje.