A Tour Through The Fractal Universe Part 2

Welcome to the second installment of my series exploring the universe of fractal landscapes created with the aid of the fabulous Mandelbulber fractal program.

(click on the images for a larger view)

Lost Valley

Lost Valley: A mysterious fog enshrouded valley. At night the landscape is lit by an eerie glow and hushed whispers are carried on the wind.

Desert Magic

Desert Magic: The wonder of an alien desert. Apart from its natural beauty there’s the decidedly Earth-like moon above the horizon and if you look closely, the gravity-defying stone hovering above a large boulder…

Sylvan Heights

Sylvan Heights: Imagine a world where forests of giant exotic plant life grow miles high. What would it be like to explore such a place?
Just make sure you don’t fall…

Organic Landscape

Organic Land-Shapes: Animal, mineral or vegetable? Your guess is as good as mine…

Dawn's Light


Dawn’s Light: A majestic view of a terrestrial planet rising over a bizarre twisted landscape. The beginning of a new day on an alien moon…

Thank you for joining me on my second trip to the fractal universe.  There are countless worlds to visit so I’ll be posting another tour very soon.

As Always, your comments and suggestions are encouraged and most welcome!!

Best Regards,

Eric

A Tour Through The Fractal Universe Part 1

It’s been a while since I posted to Eric’s Universe but that doesn’t mean I’ve been idle.  I’ve been travelling; exploring the endless worlds of fractal landscapes with the aid of the fabulous Mandelbulber fractal program.

So put on your travelling shoes while I take you on a tour of some of the places I’ve been…

(click on the images for a larger view)

Sentinels

Sentinels: I came across these massive towers at the end of a frozen mountain pass. At first glance they appeared to be made of stone but closer examination revealed organic shapes that pulsated with life. When the cold wind howled, they moaned like hollow air raid sirens. A doleful call to a desolate land, answered only by echoes…

Desert Rocks

Desert Rocks: An arid wasteland where wind and sand have sculpted twisted rock formations. One formation in particular points like a stone compass needle toward an unknown destination.

Pyramid Hills

Pyramid Hills: A rolling landscape dotted with thousands of natural pyramid shaped hills. The natives of this place speak in whispers of a mighty battle between the gods that shook the very foundations of the land. Not a single combatant survived. After the battle the earth healed and beneath each of these hills lie the remains of a fallen warrior.

Borderland

Borderland: What lies beyond the border where light meets darkness? Here we gaze into a cavern where glowing mist obscures huge symbols carved by unknown hands. The explorers who dared to enter this cavern have never returned. No others will take the chance. The mysteries of this borderland remain unsolved…

Highland Moon

Highland Moon: On our last stop we witness a glorious moonrise from a mountainside populated by glowing fungal growth. Special breathing masks are required to prevent infection from airborne spores.

I hope you enjoyed visiting these worlds from the fractal universe.  There are countless worlds to visit so I’ll be posting another tour very soon.

As Always, your comments and suggestions are encouraged and most welcome!!

Best Regards,

Eric

Creating On A Limited Budget Part 5 of 5

Welcome back to “Creating On A Limited Budget”; a guide to using low-cost and free software that can help you to create professional quality art without breaking the bank.

This is the 5th (and final) installment of this series and I’ll explore three images created using the free 3D fractal generator Mandelbulber .

Mandelbulber’s unique objects combined with the plug-ins featured in part 4 of this series can produce unusual and spectacular results. You don’t have to be a math genius to use Mandelbulber. I know I’m not. I learned it by reading the online documentation, a bit of experimental tinkering and some practice.

The way I see it…if I can learn Mandelbulber, anyone can.

Click on the thumbnail images for a larger view of each step.

MOONRISE ON CYGNUS 4

“Moonrise On Cygnus 4” was my first attempt to incorporate a Mandelbulber fractal into a space art themed image. One of the best features of this program is that it allows you to save a render along with an alpha mask of the object for use in an image editor like Corel PhotoPaint.  The base render for this image is shown below (figure 1).

Moonrise On Cygnus 4 01_base image

Figure 1: Moonrise On Cygnus 4
Mandelbulber Render

I imported the base render into PhotoPaint  and created a moon object layer with Lunar Cell. You’ll notice that I’ve kept the texturing of the moon’s surface to a minimum and set the layer property to “screen” mode to allow it to blend into the atmosphere (figure 2).

Moonrise On Cygnus 4 02_moon

Figure 2: Moonrise On Cygnus 4
Moon Layer

Creating a new layer (also set to “screen” mode) I used Glitterato to introduce a soft foggy haze (figure 3).

moonrise-on-cygnus-4-03_haze1.png

Figure 3: Moonrise On Cygnue 4
Haze Layer

I inserted the alpha channel of the fractal render to overlay the scene and the image was complete (figure 4).

Moonrise On Cygnus 4 04_overlay_final image

Figure 4: Moonrise On Cygnus 4
Overlay Layer
Final Image

THE CYGNUS 4 ANOMALY

Cygnus 4 so intrigued me that I had to do a second image.

I didn’t want to do another landscape so I decided on a view from orbit.

This image was tricky because I had to isolate a “floating” element of a Mandelbulber fractal with an unusual shape and texture making it truly alien in appearance. I managed to find an interesting element, rendered it with an alpha mask and imported it into PhotoPaint (figure 1).

The Cygnus 4 Anomaly 01_base image

Figur 1: The Cygnus 4 Anomaly
Mandelbulber Render

I added a star field layer using Universe Image Creator (figure 2).

The Cygnus 4 Anomaly 02_star field

Figure 2: The Cygnus 4 Anomaly
Star Field Layer

Though Cygnus 4 had a “fossilized” landscape in the first image, I imagined it would look like an Earth-like planet from orbit. A third layer was added using a Lunar Cell planet (figure 3).  A 4th layer added a Lunar Cell moon (figure 4). I also duplicated the base render and applied it in “screen” mode to the top of the image as an aid in proper placement of the planet and moon.

he Cygnus 4 Anomaly 03_planet

Figure 3: The Cygnus 4 Anomaly
Planet Layer

The Cygnus 4 Anomaly 04_moon

Figure 4: The Cygnus 4 Anomaly
Moon Layer

I removed the duplicate layer of the base render, added an alpha channel overlay of the fractal and the image was complete (figure 5).

The Cygnus 4 Anomaly 05_overlay_final image

Figure 5: The Cygnus 4 Anomaly
Overlay Layer
Final Image

What is this object ?

Why does it orbit Cygnus 4?

Who (or what) put it there?

Your guess is as good as mine…

BY THE LIGHT OF A DISTANT MOON

And now for something completely alien…

The landscape of “By The Light Of A Distant Moon” is so completely unusual and exotic that only a picture can do it justice.

When I discovered this scene in a Mandelbulber fractal, I was amazed by the variety of shapes and textures. It was as if I was viewing a real alien world from my computer screen.

I rendered the fractal with an alpha channel and imported it into PhotoPaint (figure 1).

By The Light Of A Distant Moon 01_base image

Figure 1: By The Light Of A Distant Moon
Mandelbulber Render

I added a star field layer with Universe Image Creator(figure 2).

By The Light Of A Distant Moon 02_star field

Figure 2: By The Light Of A Distant Moon
Star Field Layer

Next I created a moon object in Bryce with a cracked. frozen surface and duplicated the direction of light to match the effects in the fractal image. I rendered the moon, created a mask of it and imported them both into the PhotoPaint image (figure 3).

By The Light Of A Distant Moon 03_moon

Figure 3: By The Light Of a Distant Moon
Moon Layer

Addition of the alpha channel overlay of the fractal completed the image (figure 4).

By The Light Of A Distant Moon 04_overlay_final image

Figure 4: By The Light Of A Distant Moon
Overlay Layer
Final Image

“By The Light Of A Distant Moon” is my favorite space art image using a Mandelbulber fractal.

It’s also an excellent example of how low-cost and free programs can be used to create visually striking images suitable for publication.

I certainly enjoyed sharing my creative process with you and I hope you found the information offered in this series useful.

As always, your comments and critiques are encouraged.

Regards,

Eric

Creating On A Limited Budget Part 4 of 5

Welcome back to “Creating On A Limited Budget”; a guide to using low-cost and free software that can help you to create professional quality art without breaking the bank.

In this 4th installment of the series, we’ll have some fun with the plug-ins Lunar Cell, Glitterato, Solar Cell and Universe Image Creator.
I’ll highlight three images using these plug-in tools within Corel PhotoPaint.
Click on the thumbnail images for a larger view of each step.

THE BIG BANG

“The Big Bang” is featured as the first panel in my recent post In My Dream… as a representation of the birth of the universe.

First I rendered an explosive flash as the central element of the image using Solar Cell.  I used the flat texture setting with a bright white center, prominent spikes and a halo effect (figure 1).

The Big Bang 01_the explosion

Figure 1: The Big Bang
Explosion

Looks pretty cool by itself but there’s more to come.

Next I used Glitterato to render clouds of heated gas expanding outward from the central explosion and added this as a layer set to “screen” mode so the central explosion would show through (figure 2). I made sure to set Glitterato’s textured settings fairly high because the cloud effect must be visible in the final render.

The Big Bang 02_expanding gas cloud

figure 2: The Big Bang
Gas Cloud Layer

Now for the finishing touch.  Again, using Glitterato I rendered a softer, less textured background cloud layer, also set to “screen’ mode allowing all elements to be seen (figure 3).

The Big Bang 03_background glow

Figure 3: The Big Bang
Background Glow Layer
Final Image

With image complete we have “The Big Bang”!!

Or at least, my interpretation of it…

IN THE SEA OF STARS

“In The Sea Of Stars” actually started as a test render combining Glitterato’s nebula effects with the textured star and star field effects of Universe Image Creator. There were seven layers all told and here’s how it looked when the layers were combined (figure 1).

In The Sea Of Stars 01_nebula_stars

Figure 1: In The Sea Of Stars
Nebula and Star Field

Look at the colors of the clouds, the varied brightness of the stars!!

I was so impressed with the results that I couldn’t leave the scene empty.

Turning to Lunar Cell I created a terrestrial planet, making sure to set just the right amount of texturing for the continents and cloud cover.  I added the planet as a masked object in a separate layer using Lunar Cell’s “composite” setting (figure 2). If you look closely, you’ll see the lights of cities on the dark side of the planet (another of Lunar Cell’s many cool features).

In The Sea Of Stars 02_planet

Figure 2: In The Sea Of Stars
Planet Layer

I decided that this planet needed a moon and not just any cold, barren moon.  Within Lunar Cell I created a rust colored Mars-like moon with a thin atmosphere and sparse cloud cover, adding it in a separate layer using Lunar Cell’s “composite” setting. After some positioning of planet and moon and the addition of my signature, the image was complete (figure 3).

In The Sea Of Stars 03_moon_final image

Figure 3: In The Sea Of Stars
Moon Layer
Final Image

“In The Sea Of Stars” is one of my all-time favorite space art creations.

VIOLENT NEIGHBOR

“Violent Neighbor” was a self-challenge project for me.

How would I create a convincing irregular spiral galaxy using Universe Image Creator?

Using Universe’s galaxy tools I created a dense spiral galaxy.  I combined many layers of blurred spiral gas, added several layers of blurred stars  and finally a layer of non-blurred stars.  Happy with the galaxy, I set out to use Universe’s nebula tools to create jets of exploding gas radiating from the galaxy’s center. After a lot of trial and error (and liberal use of the “undo” button) I came up with this (figure 1).

Violent Neighbor 01_galaxy

Figure 1: Violent Neighbor
Galaxy Layer

This was a pretty good representation of an irregular spiral galaxy based on the many resource photos I viewed on the Hubble Space Telescope website.

Next I added a layer of textured stars (figure 2) and a star field layer (figure 3).

Violent Neighbor 02_textured stars

Figure 2: Violent Neighbor
Textured Stars Layer

Violent Neighbor 03_star field

Figure 3: Violent Neighbor
Star Field Layer

I added a Lunar Cell moon to the image… (figure 4).

Violent Neighbor 04_moon

Figure 4: Violent Neighbor
Moon Layer

And a terrestrial planet (figure 5).

Violent Neighbor 05_planet_final image

Figure 5: Violent Neighbor
Planet Layer
Final Image

Now this planet’s inhabitants will be able to view this unique galaxy with me (at a safe distance, of course).

In the 5th (and final) installment of this series I’ll explore images created using the Mandelbulber 3D fractal generator.  Mandelbulber’s unique objects combined with the plug-ins featured in today’s post can produce unusual and spectacular results. You won’t want to miss it!!

As always, your comments and critiques are encouraged.

Regards,

Eric

Creating On A Limited Budget Part 3 of 5

Welcome back to “Creating On A Limited Budget”; a guide to using low-cost and free software that can help you to create professional quality art without breaking the bank.

In this 3rd installment of the series, I’ll demonstrate how I use Bryce, Lunar Cell, Glitterato, Universe Image Creator Plug-in and Corel PhotoPaint in my creative process.

MEMORY OF EARTH

Recently I posted a short fiction piece titled MEMORY OF EARTH and I thought it would be interesting to share its development with you. Click on the thumbnails for a larger image of each step.

First I rendered a rocky landscape with an astronaut standing on a ridge in Bryce (figure 1). I made a render of the scene with a black background.  I also made a mask render for layering the scene in PhotoPaint.

Memory Of Earth-Bryce terrain render

Figure 1: Memory Of Earth
Bryce Render

Next I imported the scene to Corel PhotoPaint and added a layer titled “Nebula”.  Using the Glitterato plug-in I created a neutral color layer of interstellar gas and setting the layer to “screen” applied the effect (figure 2). You’ll notice that the nebula layer appears on top of the terrain layer but we’ll fix that later in the process.

Memory of Earth 02_base_nebula

Figure 2: Memory Of Earth
Nebula Layer Applied

Creating three new layers (all set to screen) I use Universe Image Creator  to render some textured stars (figure 3), a star cluster (figure 4) and a star field (figure 5) to complete the space elements.

Memory Of Earth_textured stars

Figure 3: Memory Of Earth
Textured stars added.

Memory of Earth 04_star cluster

Figure 4: Memory Of Earth
Star Cluster

Memory of Earth 05_starfield

Figure 5: Memory Of Earth
Star Field

Now, I use the mask image from my original Bryce render to overlay the effects added with Glitterato and Universe Image Creator. (figure 6)

Figure 6: Memory Of Earth Overlay Layer

Figure 6: Memory Of Earth
Overlay Layer

To complete the image, I use Lunar Cell to render an Earth-like planet to place in the sky above the terrain (figure 7). This part is tricky because the planet’s dark side must match the lighting effects set up in the original Bryce render. The planet is rendered on a new layer using Lunar Cell’s composite setting which creates a solid masked object with no background.

Memory of Earth 07_planet

Figure 7: Memory Of Earth
Planet Layer

In the final step, the text is added on a separate layer within PhotoPaint and the project is complete. (figure 8)

Memory of Earth 08_text

Figure 8: Memory Of Earth
Text Added

RED SUNRISE

One of my favorite space art images is Red Sunrise.  This was a milestone for me in that it featured a sun object, created within Bryce using advanced texturing and a radial light at its core allowing the object to light a scene without using Bryce’s internal sun feature. The only light source in this scene is the red sun object rising above the horizon.

For those of you that use Bryce this sun object is available for free download at my ShareCG model gallery.

I began Red Sunrise as a Bryce render.  As with Memory Of Earth, I rendered a mask image as well for editing in PhotoPaint. (Figure 1)

Red Sunrise 01_base

Figure 1: Res Sunrise
Bryce Render

Using Universe Image Creator Plug-in I created a layer of textured stars (set to screen mode). (Figure 2)

Red Sunrise 02_textured stars

Figure 2: Red Sunrise
Textured Stars

I created a second layer and inserted my mask render of the original Bryce image. (figure 3)

Red Sunrise 03_overlay

Figure 3: Red Sunrise
Overlay

Addition of my signature as a text layer and the image is complete. (figure 4)

Red Sunrise 04_final

Figure 4: Red Sunrise
Finished Image

In the 4th installment of this series I’ll highlight some images created using Corel PhotoPaint and a combination of the Universe Image Creator, Lunar Cell, Glitterato and Solar Cell plug-ins.

As always, your comments and critiques are encouraged.

Regards,

Eric