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Author Topic: Evaluation of Fractal Art  (Read 2545 times)
Description: Request for help
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Okavanga
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« on: November 27, 2010, 03:25:40 PM »

Hi Guys - F-l-a-r-k (Stan) of DeviantArt has directed me to this site as a possible source of help. Let me first say, as a newbie to the forums, that the fractals in the galleries are astonishing - variety, impact, colour.

However,  I'm interested in finding out how people in the fractal art world assess fractal art. What criteria can be applied in making judgements? What would be a "good" fractal? Further, I'm interested in knowing whether such criteria have changed over the short time computed fractal art has been around. I note that you use a star system to rate fractals in your galleries, but is this based on a purely subjective reaction to an image? It may well be that these questions have been posed already, thus, if you know of any other web sites, books, articles and so on that I could consult I would be very grateful if you could pass them on. Nevertheless, as I see matters, at the moment, there may not be any clear views on the issue of artistic evaluation of fractals. It seems to me that there could be scope for development and collaboration to produce, perhaps, a document pulling together current ideas.

Perhaps I should say, briefly, a bit about my background, given that this is a serious enquiry. I'm a scientist and consultant (retired) with a strong interest in art and art history. I used to play with UltraFractal and Bryce when they were much younger. I've come back to the fractal world to find it much changed with powerful software as Apophysis and Chaoscope for all to use. I'm currently attempting to learn Apophysis, but it's quite a challenge. I'm also a photographer and some of my work can be seen under Okavanga on DeviantArt.

I've asked a few others at DeviantArt, including Platinus and Ideviant and several other fractal artists for their views (some received as of date) and the fellow who runs Orbit Trap.


Many Thanks for your time and attention.

David aka Okavanga
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Sockratease
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« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2010, 04:59:17 PM »

Hello and welcome to the forums!

Sorry, but your question cannot properly be answered!

"What makes good art" has been debated forever, and will be debated forever!

For me, the same criteria apply to all art, be it fractal, photography, painting, drawing, or even the Naughtier Art Forms   devil

I like the stuff that evokes a reaction!  There is no way to quantify what will or will not evoke a reaction, and often no way to describe why a certain image evokes the reaction it does.

Just follow the same guidelines I suggest to everyone - Make stuff YOU like!  Develop a style based on what pleases you, and don't worry about what others think!

Then you can refine your questions to ways of achieving the result you desire.  Those more specific questions can easily be answered.

I doubt that was the answer you wanted, but when others start offering contradicting advice it may become clear why I feel this way.

Enjoy the forum, and feel free to post some of your work in our gallery.
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cKleinhuis
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« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2010, 07:46:02 PM »

i am not an artist, but i like fractal art as well, what swizzles me always is a great color set up,
beside of that, i am always fascinated with the not so common fractals, e.g. untransformed, standard mandelbrot
images do not interest me very much, on the other hand i am fascinated about some of the really deep zooms you can
find here, those are interesting because it is a very huge area to search for interesting patterns

in the 3d world is much the same, a good color set up, a good perspective, and a decent use of depth filtering makes an image
astonishing, in the last halve year i was most fascinated with tree like structures or embedded mandelbrot images in completely
different fractals ...

and last but not least, a broader format e.g. 16:9 makes what an image gives depth or feeling

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jehovajah
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« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2010, 09:33:13 PM »

I think this place is different because it is not the fractal art world. If anything it is the fractal artisan world! a place where people can become mates, admire each others work collaborate and learn. The star system denotes subjective reaction and is a market force system.

The competitions are the same, and as no money is involved subjective evaluation is a mark of influence and technical skill and the delight factor.

Because the artisans here are passionate that quality shines through, but it also means interest waxes and wanes with passion.

Certain topics have become dead because of lack of interest.
In the end this place and its art survives because it creates an atmosphere that welcomes and applauds innovation, supports artisans with friendly technical advice, allows freedom of expression of passion and loves, delights in the fractal universe at its most meaningful,beautiful and irridescent expression.
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Okavanga
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2010, 01:24:27 PM »

Hey - Thanks for the replies so far. I've obviously not made one point clear. I'm not asking these questions so that I can make "good" fractals. I'm asking in order to find out what others think are the important issues. What makes "good" art has certainly been debated in the past and continues to be debated. However, that is one mechanism whereby art progresses and flourishes - debate leads to discussion and development.

In summary so far, you believe the same criteria may apply that apply in other areas of art, and that reaction and passion are important along with technical skill, good colour, good perspective, good depth and an appropriate format (16:9). Competition and collaboration are seen as contributing to a good working environment.

What about the following: given that fractal images normally have very high visual impact, should they try be more than their face value? That's really following up on the reaction idea. What types of reaction could be evoked?

Anyway, some food for thought perhaps.

Thanks again for all your help. More replies would be most welcome.

Cheers

David

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twinbee
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2010, 05:11:54 PM »

I tend to think that fractal art (and all art generally) can be given a universal rating (and sub-ratings), and that often disagreements in the quality of a given piece are down to any potential meaning extracted from the picture and how that relates with a person's past experience. However, fractals have little of this often fickle 'meaning' thing (relying instead on pure intrinsic beauty and detail), so people are more likely to agree on how good or bad a particular fractal is than most other types of art.

I also tend to think that the best supposedly "non-fractal" art will have many fractal-esque elements in them, because we love patterns, and repeating patterns, and repeating patterns which change in subtle ways at different zoom levels. And as well as judicious use of colour, shade, and general variety, that's what will make a piece of art good, bad or anything in between.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2010, 05:15:07 PM by twinbee » Logged
Madman
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« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2010, 05:44:51 PM »

Hi David,

If I read your post correct it seems that you are looking for a way to review art in an objective way. That reminds me of my university days, where some of my friends were studying architecture. One of them had been to the expo in Seville and we were watching the pictures he took. When I remarked that I liked one of the buildings, all the architecture students looked at me as if I was crazy... How could I say that something looked nice when it was in fact ugly?? Contrary to my beliefs that the appreciation of art was something personal and driven by one's emotions and views, these guys had been properly brainwashed that beauty apparently was measurable and quantifiable.

Which brings us to the question: Is beauty -or art for that matter- measurable? Although there seem to be common factors that define beauty, well, at least factors that define what most people find beautiful, there is no universal truth. If we define art, should we look at the few that consider themselves experts, or should we take into account what the majority of people enjoys?

After all these years, I still think that the definition and appreciation of art is highly personal and not measurable at all, although I do agree with Sockratease that it has to touch your emotions in one way or another. For some that may be a picture that has "more then face value", but for other it may be just the combination of certain colours and forms..

In my opinion there's only one way to value art: Enjoy what appeals to you and skip the rest!

Regards,

Marco
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The Rev
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« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2010, 09:49:41 PM »

Whenever we try to put a consensus standard on something subjective, a conflict is created between what a person experiences, and what they know.  This promotes doubt.  In Madman's example above, this conflict is easily resolved, however, for someone who has the group standard put on them from a younger age, doubt is more difficult to overcome.  Gourmet food is better than fast food, for example.  Many people honestly like the taste of a big mac more than, say, duck l'orange, but when they eat the big mac, the figure they're eating crappy food, and when they're eating the duck, they figure they're eating good food.  See the problem?  The eater's judgement is subverted by the arbitrary group standard.  S/He can't just say "I like it, therefore it is good"  Just like saying, "The Flintstones are better than Shakespeare", a conflict with the group is reasonably expected, and most aren't even remotely comfortable standing against the group.

So, it's my thought that art, like all subjective things, is a personal experience; it's just the beauty and the beholder, and whatever it is, good or bad, is between them.

The Rev
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Jesse
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2010, 11:08:26 PM »

I am no artist, but i have some thoughts about art from my point of view:

Maybe art is somewhat related to the entropy, what determines how possible the current state of a system is
in comparison to all states it can be in (hoping this is more or less physically correct).
Noise and randomness is a very common state, so systems tends to become more randomly.
The "highest" state is the most impossible state, what is seen very seldom is therefore something very uncommon and special.

So putting an image to its highest state, all changes can put in only to a more common and "non-art" like
state.  Azn

The ultimate art would be to describe the most essential parts of the universe with a minimal system, like a single pen stroke.
 wink 
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reallybigname
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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2010, 11:41:54 PM »

I like stuff that mirrors objects in the "real" world.  Does that make me a realist though?  I think not.

I don't see how the proportion of a peice of art (ie. 16x9) has anything to do with it's artistic merit.  And, colors shouldn't matter, since I've seen black & white pieces that I loved, and color pieces that I hated.

Although, I think one factor does usually make for good fractal art, and that's rendering time/effort.  If a fractal is very noisy and/or small in resolution, its obvious the person didn't care as much.  Its bad when I think "they could have re-rendered that and they didn't"....  So, maybe we look for how much intention the person has who's making the art?  But, I usually just chalk those up to experiments, and wait for people to make other stuff.

PS:  Don't listen to jesse when he says he's no artist.  He's the best artist in the bunch!
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Jesse
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« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2010, 01:23:01 AM »

Although, I think one factor does usually make for good fractal art, and that's rendering time/effort.  If a fractal is very noisy and/or small in resolution, its obvious the person didn't care as much.  Its bad when I think "they could have re-rendered that and they didn't"....  So, maybe we look for how much intention the person has who's making the art?  But, I usually just chalk those up to experiments, and wait for people to make other stuff.

Yes, i think the good things need normally more time, but i have in mind that not all have the latest quad or higher core machines and/or the time to do better.
Nevertheless the creativity shines often through and inspires, what is more than worth it.
On the other hand, if one spends much time and archives something technical perfect but not very inspiring, it is maybe no artist like me  wink 

Quote
PS:  Don't listen to jesse when he says he's no artist.  He's the best artist in the bunch!

You are kidding  smiley, my only advantage is that i know the program functions i am using and how to avoid artifacts.
That surely makes me not an artist.
There are some very good ones, more on deviantart because of the higher filesize and resolution possibilities over there.
Thank you anyway  smiley
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Tglad
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« Reply #11 on: November 29, 2010, 01:57:49 AM »

"Maybe art is somewhat related to the entropy"
Interesting ideas, it makes me think, what would the lowest entropy object look like?
In some ways the opposite of white noise, or randomly distributed dust.
You might think something ordered like a cube... but cubes occur in nature, e.g. salt crystals, and are very common in human designs, and I'm sure equally developed animals would also create cubes for various reasons. Man's 'artificial' creations are no less natural than a bird's nest or termite mound, we're just another animal.
So for that reason anything we design wouldn't be minimum entropy as it exists in nature, i.e. made by human hand.

They say that entropy increases with time... so maybe the minimum entropy object is the first thing that ever existed.
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visual.bermarte
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« Reply #12 on: November 29, 2010, 02:37:20 AM »

maybe it's a little bit off topic..http://www.ted.com/talks/denis_dutton_a_darwinian_theory_of_beauty.html
Thanx to Wonderwhy-ER for the link. smiley
« Last Edit: November 29, 2010, 02:40:46 AM by visual » Logged
Okavanga
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« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2010, 02:48:57 PM »

Hi Guys - I've just been reading the latest postings and as the old UK advert used to say, "We're cookin' with gas!" Well, maybe it didn't say that exactly, but I'm sure the sentiment is correct.

While it's fresh in my mind, I've looked at the Dutton video. To my mind, there is a considerable number of fallacies in the gentleman's arguments, although I would agree that there is probably a hard-wired component to our response to certain types of image.

I try to be careful on blogs not to inadvertently offend anyone, by missing them out or appearing to "diss" a comment. Please take it from me that I appreciate all replies and if I highlight one or two it's because they make points that cover all views. In that spirit, Marco has summarised what I think is a key issue. I have to say that I am not trying to review art in an objective way, but I do think that sometimes there can be a more rational view (not necessarily totally rational) of what  is going on in an area of art. Almost everyone points out the subjective nature of fractals as art and I don't disagree. The "beauty in the eye of the beholder" feeling is a strong determinant in art. And yet... Would you not say that the nature of the software and the effort put into making a fractal and its rendering (as per "reallybigname") might be a factor in deciding that one fractal or one type of fractal might have more to it or something different to it than another? For example, I'm stuck trying to work with Apophysis, but I can make a fair stab at images with Chaoscope.  Suppose that we were to agree that Apophysis was a very powerful and difficult piece of software to master compared to Chaoscope, would that not imply that we should regard images produced by those two methods in a slightly different way, much as we do oil painting and water colour painting? If we did agree that (I know there's a lot of "ifs" or as we say in the UK "It's a bit iffy.") then we would be moving to a somewhat less subjective view of fractals.

The Rev makes a good point highlighting the difference between what we experience and what we know. You can apply the Big Mac argument to Egyptian Art - but that's another story. In the end, the story of art tells us that we cannot completely divorce what we see (experience) from what we know.

The most intriguing comments are those about entropy by Jesse. I've not come across this idea expressed this way, but there seems to me to be something worth exploring, especially with respect to fractals where chaos and entropy are closely related to the random nature within the images. The nearest idea from the other worlds of art that I can think of at the moment is annotated Japanese calligraphy. The fewer and more expressive the pen stokes, the "higher" was a piece valued.

Anyway - I've gone on too long on this today. Thanks again to one and all, there are some ideas forming, but any more contributions are most welcome. Entropy..... well....

Cheers

David
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Jesse
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« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2010, 06:59:27 PM »

"Maybe art is somewhat related to the entropy"
Interesting ideas, it makes me think, what would the lowest entropy object look like?
In some ways the opposite of white noise, or randomly distributed dust.
You might think something ordered like a cube... but cubes occur in nature, e.g. salt crystals, and are very common in human designs, and I'm sure equally developed animals would also create cubes for various reasons. Man's 'artificial' creations are no less natural than a bird's nest or termite mound, we're just another animal.
So for that reason anything we design wouldn't be minimum entropy as it exists in nature, i.e. made by human hand.

They say that entropy increases with time... so maybe the minimum entropy object is the first thing that ever existed.

Maybe the minimum entropy idea is a bit to simple, if you define the system by an image and its beholder then a good image would bring only this system to a "good" state, what is now very subjective again, of course.
And what is a "good" state, maybe it gives the information the beholder needs to feel well or gives him ideas... etc whatever.

For the whole universe, the state of the beginning (and it is not clear if entropy makes sense here?) should be the minimum entropy one.
But if this beautiful or not makes maybe not sense, or just of a beholder that is not related to the universe, what makes no sense again.

We can bring sub-systems to a minimum entropy state, but this is not really art.. a waterbasin that molecules are totally seperated in warm and cold is simple, but no art.
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