Before I got serious about 3D modeling and game development, one of my hobbies was making abstract fractal flame art.  They’re fun to make because you can spend as much or little time as you’d like on them. I have a decent handle on making deliberate forms, and will probably do some more when my self study of Blender & Unity3D slows down.



Wikipedia has this to say about fractal flames:

Fractal flames are a member of the iterated function system class[1] of fractals created by Scott Draves in 1992.[2] Draves’ open-source code was later ported into Adobe After Effects graphics software[3] and translated into the Apophysis fractal flame editor.[2]

Fractal flames differ from ordinary iterated function systems in three ways:

  • Nonlinear functions are iterated in addition to affine transforms.
  • Log-density display instead of linear or binary (a form of tone mapping)
  • Color by structure (i.e. by the recursive path taken) instead of monochrome or by density.

The tone mapping and coloring are designed to display as much of the detail of the fractal as possible, which generally results in a more aesthetically pleasing image.




This 3600 x 2400 image was downscaled from 9000 x 6000. This resolution should approach the maximum dpi of common photo printers at a 20 x 30″ print size. In the future I may have to figure out how to segment these large format renders, as currently they limit the design of the fractal flame. It’s a balancing act between complexity, size, time, and computer memory. This flame is fairly simple and took about eight hours to render, but to achieve the same quality on a more complex piece could easily require over a hundred hours of render time.