fractal gold flower black and glowing blue background

Fractals

Here is a really useful element for creating images: fractals.

What are fractals? Well, here’s what Wikipedia says (among other things): “…fractal is a term used to describe geometric shapes containing detailed structure at arbitrarily small scales.”

From that comes fractal art, which “…is a form of algorithmic art created by calculating fractal objects and representing the calculation results as still digital images, animations, and media.” There’s lots more in the Wikipedia article.

If you go to Pixabay and key in “fractal,” you will be rewarded with a wealth of shapes and patterns. Some are beautiful, like the featured image. Some are weird. Many can be combined with other design elements to produce something unique, or at least make an ordinary image interesting.

fractal purple circles and swirls black background
I’ve used this fractal in a few of my creations…
Image #2 for Welcome to the Witch House story
…such as this image for one of the stories in Tales From the Annexe.
fractal gold circles and swirls
This conglomeration of gold circles and swirls was useful to suggest the supernatural in a couple of recent images.
Herbert West Series A plus image
SHE books info
Image for The Night Journey of F.D. story
This fractal, resembling an eye, was perfect for another of the Tales From the Annexe stories. All I had to do was add the title.

Here are a couple of fractals I haven’t incorporated into anything as yet, but I couldn’t resist downloading them from Pixabay.

fractal black background white circles
This would be perfect for a dark story.
fractal blue and green and yellow shapes suggesting tentacles
And this gorgeous one suggests a tentacle-bearing undersea entity.

I upload the fractal images to Canva and use it to assemble and adjust. (Canva also includes fractals in its photo library.) I do some cropping to size and fiddle with the degree of transparency. That’s one of the nice things about Canva–you can easily layer images and change transparency to make abstract shapes like these fractals into backgrounds or nearly transparent foregrounds.

A word of warning, though: messing around with images can eat up a lot of time.

53 comments

  1. Hi Audrey, I too…had never heard of a ‘fractal’ (love your book covers!). Our eldest son (lives in Denmark) probably knows of them as he’s a ‘natural/trained artist.’ Maybe not, as he has b een a copy-writer of late. Some beautiful effects! Perfect for Sci Fi and mystery tales… Cheers. Joy x

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Serendipity is strange…almost immediately after first reading the meaning of ‘fractal,’ I read a piece written by a writer, Antonia Angress, where she also mentioned ‘fractal.’ xx

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love fractals! Came across some on the Web years ago and use them for wallpaper on my iMac. Didn’t know Pixabay had any. Will go look. And have a good time browsing. Thanks, Audrey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lorinda. Yes, I had a look at that article and quoted from its first sentence in my post. It goes on to discuss the mathematical foundations of fractals, specifically the Mandelbrot set. The images I’ve found useful are examples of fractal art, which is created by computer programs. So it’s actually a subset of the topic. I do admit mathematics (beyond the most basic) isn’t really my thing.

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    1. I’ve found they can add a mood to an image, or pull together a number of assembled images. Not all authors want to design their own book cover images, but images are useful, and it’s possible to create them with Canva and similar tools.

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  3. Benoit Mandelbrot, the Father of Fractals, was where I first got introduced to fractals. He’s got a good book on market behavior. Consider that the stock market at the second level, looks strangely familiar to the minute the hour, the day, week, and month scales. Presented a axis-title-free chart of any financial instrument you would be hard pressed to determine the time increment.

    That and the Golden Ratio make fascinating, almost mystical inferences in how patterns emerge from chaos.

    Lovely images, yours.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I recognize the name Mandelbrot from the article about the math behind those pretty pictures. Thanks for the complete name; I’ll have to find out more about him, although I admit to math allergy. To me, it’s all mystical.
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

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    1. Well, I admit to total ignorance of higher (or even lower) mathematics, but I understand that many phenomena can be expressed mathematically. Have a look at Anonymole’s comment.
      I wonder if there might be a link to poetry, which does have repetition and iteration.
      (Exits quickly before getting into trouble.)

      Liked by 2 people

          1. I do know music and how you can adjust the rhythm of words to fit a melody, but fractals… I just looked up fractals and poetry. It explains how it could be done, but my style of poetry does not lend itself to such defined rhythms. “A fractal poem might start as an iambic pentameter and break then and disrupt it, allowing other forms to emerge. To be fractal a poem must be situated between dimensions which can be achieved through shifting linguistic densities. Fractal poetry is three-dimensional.”

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              1. Same as fiction written by artificial intelligence. Just check “AI writing fiction.” It’s a thing, apparently, but is it a good thing? And aren’t there too many humans cranking out fiction already?

                Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Janet. The math is beyond me, I admit, but I’ve figured out how to use the images. I put together the ones with the gold circles when I was making the Amazon “A+” content.

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  4. Thanks, Audrey, fractals are fascinating, aren’t they? I always think there’s something eerie, yet also familiar about them. After reading this, I looked up a few online fractal generators and had a play around with them. Book covers! Now there’s an idea.

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