Inspired by the recent post on Skytopia, Tom Beddard created a 3D Mandelbulb Ray Tracer as a Quarz Composer and Pixel Bender plugin that will allow you to generate very similar 3D Mandelbrot fractals. Unlike many other 3D fractals the Mandelbulb continues to reveal finer details the closer you look. This implementation was written as a Pixel Bender filter then ported over to QuartzComposer as a GLSL patch to enable animation. The scripts run on the GPU which makes real-time interactive exploration possible.
There are quite a few controls including: power: the power n used in the fractal equation, maxIterations: higher values will reveal more detail when close to the fractal surface but increases calculation time, bailout: the ‘escape’ threshold for the fractal iteration, bounding: the radius of a bounding sphere around the fractal that is used to speed up the ray tracing, epsilon scale: increases the number of steps in the ray tracing process and will help bring out fine details, phase: change the θ and φ phases, and many more..
See images gallery and on Flickr.
For Pixel Bender open the Mandelbulb.pbk file with the Adobe Pixel Bender Toolkit or copy it into the Pixel Bender Files folder in your Photoshop CS4 installation directory (you will need to have installed the PB plugin for Photoshop first).
Posted on: 17/12/2009