Strange Attractors Tech Notes

Posted on March 17th, 2010 in Strange Attractors, Tech Notes. 1 Comment.

Ice (detail) by Nathan Selikoff

I first generate my strange attractor artwork with a custom program written using C++, OpenGL, and GLUT. The basic algorithm I use for generating the attractors is set forth in Clifford Pickover’s Chaos in Wonderland; the equations I use are iterated functions that plot between a hundred thousand and a few billion pixels, depending on the final size of the artwork. I colorize the attractors using gradient mapping in Photoshop (the initial renders are 16 bit grayscale images). The appearance of the attractor is determined by its mutation (which equations it uses) and its two to four coefficients.

I have structured the program so that it is easy to explore various forms of the strange attractor in real time by moving sliders, clicking buttons, picking different color gradients, and rotating, panning and zooming the view. When I find an image I like, I save its parameters and render it later at high resolution. I then bring the images into Photoshop to adjust color, composition and contrast.

Special thanks goes to Marty Altman, Scott F. Hall, Matt O’Connor, J. Michael Moshell, Lorraine Lax, and Paulius Micikevicius for their suggestions along the way.

At this point I don’t have a version of my program for public release, but please let me know in the comments what other details you are interested in!

One thought on “Strange Attractors Tech Notes

On July 9, 2011 at 12:21 pm, Strange Attractors Category Description « The Art of Nathan Selikoff said:

[…] Have you ever seen a pendulum swinging over a pit of sand, tracing patterns as it moves? The results can be simple or complex, depending on the forces generating the motion. In a truly chaotic system, a strange attractor represents this final state, and can be visualized using surprisingly simple mathematical equations. Initially inspired by Clifford Pickover’s Chaos in Wonderland, I have been experimenting with chaotic attractors since 2001. I call this series Aesthetic Explorations of Attractor Space. For more technical and mathematical information, view the Tech Notes. […]

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