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Author Topic: How do common programs render fractal surfaces?  (Read 208 times)
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Sandreal
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« on: August 13, 2017, 06:04:02 PM »

Hey everybody!

I'm a absolute newbie in the topic of fractals and ask myself how the rendering process in programs like Mandelbulb 3D and Mandelbulber actually works.

Rendering a 2D fractal seems pretty easy as you can simply calculate for each pixel of the plane whether it is part of the set or not and apply a color accordingly.

In 3D for the mandelbulb, however, you need a different workflow as 3D renderers certainly require meshes with textures and face normales that cannot be calculated directly from the applied fractal equation.

Consequently, my question is whether the common tools create a point cloud of surface points (= boundary of the set) that are triangulated afterwards in order to put textures on and calculate normals for the lighting. If not, WHAT is actually rendered?

Thanks,
Sandreal
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3dickulus
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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2017, 07:56:32 PM »

In Fragmentarium, an image is rendered to a simple plane using 100% GLSL and displayed via an orthogonal view of this plane that is equal to the size of the viewport. The methods used are known as raytracing, raymarching, bruteforce, pseudo montecarlo etc. but there is no point cloud, no mesh, no tessellation, the image is the result of distance estimation, for a vector from the camera, into the fractal math formula. Point cloud generation/output may be added in the near future for v2.0. The benefit of the DE method is that there is far less demand on memory and better surface detail than viewing a mesh object. Each program has it's own pros and cons so I suggest testing them all and using the one that fits for your needs wink
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Sandreal
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2017, 08:21:58 PM »

Thank you 3dickulus for your answer!

I am very interested in programming a simple fractal software for eductional purposes (fractals, rendering, etc.). Can you tell me where I could find some information on coding details for the calculation of fractals (2D/3D) and its rendering process?
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3dickulus
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2017, 08:50:24 PM »

https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Fractals has some very good information about programming, mathematics and other resources, there is a LOT of info here at FF too about usage, coding and different methods.
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Resistance is fertile...
You will be illuminated!

                            #B^] https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Fractals/fragmentarium
Sandreal
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2017, 10:04:07 PM »

Thanks!
I am really looking forward to explore the forum and feel like I there is still a lot of work to do for me wink

I just found a very good series that explains many topics concerning how to render a 3D fractal:
http://blog.hvidtfeldts.net/index.php/2011/06/distance-estimated-3d-fractals-part-i/
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3dickulus
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« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2017, 12:35:41 AM »

http://blog.hvidtfeldts.net/ is a priceless resource for anyone that wants to learn about path tracing, GLSL and fractals , I  should have mentioned that too wink
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Resistance is fertile...
You will be illuminated!

                            #B^] https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Fractals/fragmentarium
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