The Name

 

At Fractal CG we love meeting new people and providing an insight into our brand. One of the most popular questions asked is "Why the name?", so here is a quick explanation of what fractals are and what they mean to us.


What are fractals?

A fractal is an infinitely self-similar mathematical set. Simply put, this means that if you "zoom in" on a fractal you will see similar patterns no matter the scale. This is known as expanding, or evolving symmetry.

The simplest way to demonstrate this is by taking a vertical line, and branching it into two shorter lines. Then repeat this process with each new line infinitely. The result is a fractal tree that will look similar if you were to view it at any scale, demonstrated in the fractal images below. This branching phenomenon is similar to the forked path of a lightning strike.

Fractal Tree Animation

Fractal Tree Animation

Fractal Tree

Fractal Tree

Fractal Thunderbolt

Fractal Thunderbolt

Origins

The word fractal is derived from the Latin "frāctus" which means "fractured" or "broken".

The term was first used by Benoit Mandelbrot in 1975, one of the first to use computer graphics to create fractal geometric images. He also discovered the Mandelbrot Set, which creates a particularly complicated fractal that we won't attempt to explain here!

 
Fractal CG Fractal Mandelbrot Set
 

Fractals in nature

This behaviour is also observed in natural objects, for example snowflakes and ferns. The following image isn't a tribute to a certain kiwi rugby team, but is The Barnsely Fern, which shows how repetitive use of mathematical formulas can build beautiful natural structures.

Fractal Fern Animation

Fractal Fern Animation

Fractal Fern

Fractal Fern

Fern

Fern

Why they're important  to us

Fractals represent a link between mathematics and the visual world.

Many of the softwares we use to create content rely on fractal-inspired algorithms when performing complex calculations. This allows computer generated content to simulate real-world forms and patterns, allowing us to create realistic CGI visualisations and more.



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