Intensely psychedelic "fractal" architecture animation

Welcome to the Mandelbox. Over at Dose Nation, the creator HömpörgÅ‘ says, "I wanted to go further too, but at the end part a single frame took 18 minutes to render, and the whole 1:27 minute video needed 12 days nonstop rendering. I felt thats more than enough at the time. It was just my first experiment with Mandelbulb 3D, a freeware program, I'm not a film director or something..."


  1. Eek, flashback!! Tell the Machine Elves that I liked their gifts, really I did, but I won’t be coming back to see them again.

    That was intense Pesco, thanks. :)

  2. How do you preview such a path through the object to find the ‘interesting’ parts without doing a full render? Am I correct in noting that there is no ‘textured’ portions, that the entire thing is structure? I guess you could turn the iteration level down a bit, but that’s were the interesting parts come from!

  3. if you like this, you should definitely check out the ‘mandelbox trip’ from a few months ago

    i think he used fogging to decrease rendering time

  4. “Hold up here and wait for my signal to start your run.”

    Simply gorgeous. I could stare at this all day.

  5. This brings TEARS to my eyes.
    The year I read the Scientific American description of the maths behind the Mandelbrot (1990), I commandeered a suite of proto-pcs and ran my home-brew mandelbrot generator on it. Several DAYS of computing power produced a handful or 320×240 16-color single-frame renderings of some mandelbrot slices.

    I petitioned my school to get a copy of “Nothing but Zooms” and will NEVER forgive my brother for taping over my copy with his cartoons.

    To see this production is – beyond-words.

    1. I too read the Scientific American article (I still have a photocopy of it) and wrote the algorithm in Basic on my Z80 computer. At least twelve hours later, if I was lucky, I would get a picture that was interesting.

  6. Oh wow. When I was in highschool I used Fractint (an ancient program running a windowless GUI) and painstakingly generated thousands of low-rez 2D images before stringing them, stop-motion style, into a clip. (Actually looked a heck of a lot like the Nothing but Zooms video dman linked to, which I hadn’t been aware of either until today.)

    To see this–amazing.

    1. i tried something like that in college, and i’m pretty sure i used Fractint, as well. I don’t quite remember the hardware I was using, but I do recall that the hard drive was too small to hold more than a handful of the finished images. so i used the next best thing we had laying around the photo lab, a super 8 camera. i sat hunched over this monitor, rendering images and snapping frames w/ the movie camera for nearly two days straight. when I got the film back, i discovered that the whole thing was out of focus.

      my entire creative career has been like this.

  7. I used to want to live in a house that would look like that, but now all I can think of is how hard it would be to keep clean.

    1. >all I can think of is how hard it would be to keep clean.

      It’s a heck of a job keeping an infinite surface dusted, f’sure!

      1. Where would all that dust – some significant fraction of infinity, for such to be noticeable – come from?

        Speaking of infinite dust, the spam attack on BB has re-commenced, judging from the “Recent Comments” page.

  8. I find it interesting how poorly the usually excellent Vimeo HD compression works when compressing Mandelbrot set visualizations.

  9. These fractal zoom things always make me feel that this stuff is just like out there (in there?) waiting to be found in some Platonic realm, probably with little Rudy Rucker stoner monsters jumping around them.

  10. All the interesting developments related to Mandelbulb and Mandelbox fractals happened on – check it out if you are interested in this subject matter.

    You will also find download links to the software used to compute this particular video there.

  11. Please, is there an HD version of this or a version that is not so much compressed? each time a keyframe snaps back to full sharpness hurts in the mind for all the detail you just lost.

  12. Maybe my understanding of fractals is wrong, but if you zoomed into a certain section of it and kept aiming for the smaller versions of that section, couldn’t you just render or animate a few seconds and repeat? I mean, as you zoom in, the smaller section could look the same as the larger section you just came from, so you could just repeat over and over. Wouldn’t be as interesting as moving the camera around I suppose.

    1. Maybe my understanding of fractals is wrong, but if you zoomed into a certain section of it and kept aiming for the smaller versions of that section, couldn’t you just render or animate a few seconds and repeat?

      Well, fractal self-similarity doesn’t necessarily imply that the stuff at smaller scales is visually indistinguishable from stuff at larger scales. Certainly there are fractals where an infinite zoom can be represented as a simple cycle.

      However, while of course everyone has their own idea of beauty and so generally speaking, people who spend a lot of time looking at fractal zooms tend to like structure that exhibits both variety and self-similarity such that exploration provides the kind of interesting tours seen in the video.

      I’d love to see some of these Mandelbox videos in anaglyph 3D.

    2. It depends on the fractal that you are talking about.

      For example, the Sierpinski triangle is mostly just triangles within triangles within triangles – you could get a similar infinite-zoom effect doing what you described. It’s not nearly as interesting though.

      However, the Mandelbrot set is far more complex, and the further you zoom in – the more complex and varied the patterns get, and zooming in on different parts of the set gets different results. It’s not just the same patterns repeating over and over. Maybe look at a view 3D-zooms of the set and you’ll see how varied the patterns actually are.

      When combined with 3D exploration of the set – the structures get even more interesting and varied.

  13. Ahhh, Fractint! Loved that one on my Pentium II 90Mhz, as well. Nice work on the video here, regardless.

  14. It looks like what M.C. Escher would produce if asked to design a cathedral in a higher dimension.

  15. ie:

    – is a nice Mandelbrot zoom, it goes on for quite awhile and you see a nice array of patterns – it’s not just the same few seconds looped over and over.

  16. I am fascinated, attracted, and repulsed by the Mandlebulb all at the same time. At times I find the complexity beautiful and inviting, but at other times, I find that it gives me, for lack of a better word… the heebie jeebies. Like something out of a Lovecraftian world – staring at the face of infinity given form. It seems that exploiting this form visually could potentially empower the renderer to drive his viewers mad.

    1. I know what you mean! I’ve never gotten spooked by a flat fractal zoom, but seeing it projected into a space that I could imagine myself also inhabiting… it’s intensely unsettling.

      I’ve always imagined that if I ever saw a demon, it would have a fractal nature to it, appearing into a 3D ‘slice’ of space-time in order to make itself visible to me. Blame that Larry Niven story.

      A julia-set based dragon, on the other hand, would be totally cool, projected into 3-space.

  17. Nice, but warn people to turn OFF their speakers first, dammit! The audio track is pure obnoxious even if the visuals are stunning.

    1. Funnily, I think anyone that has had a full-blown psychedelic experience would say that the audio track could not be more apt for the visuals.

      1. Agreed, and while I enjoyed this video, it reminded me of a god awful experience I had with Salvia Divinorum, only without all the grandeur. Never doing that again.

  18. Did anyone else feel nauseated from watching/listening? Not a comment on the film, which looks great, but a real physical reaction. Or maybe it was those Cheese & Bacon Balls I just ate…

  19. Sweet…you might want to look up BrainPaint which is an EEG Biofeedback machine that converts your brainwaves into fractals as the algorithm integrates them into electric sheep for feedback.

  20. A rather sinister rendering of the Mandelbox:

    Whoever said these 3D fractals have a Lovecraftian feel was spot-on…if they ever make a big-budget version of “The Call of Cthulhu”, I think they should use this fractal for the “non-Euclidean” city of R’lyeh!

  21. When i was a kid i used to have dreams, which i thought were nightmares, about infinite zooms into different objects or boxes. Seeing this gave me instant flashbacks, and i now realize my dremas were mandelbrots. Strangley uncomfortable, yet intrigued.

  22. ugh gave me an ayahuasca flashback. Very cool, very true to form (audio included) but made me nauseous as hell and I swear the LCD screen is swimming a bit.

  23. Out of interest, why does the title have “fractal” in inverted commas? That implies that the video is something like a fractal, that somebody maybe said was a fractal, but which isn’t actually a fractal.

    Except, as far as I can see, it IS a fractal.

  24. this should be electric sheep’s successor! the awesomeness warrants the collective cpu power of many systems

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