Fractals are objects in which the same patterns occur again and again at different scales and sizes.
In nature, such structures can be found everywhere. Trees, rivers, coastlines, mountains, clouds, seashells, hurricanes are all fractal systems.
The term "fractal" was coined by mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot in 1975. He was one of the first to use computer graphics to create and display fractal geometric images.
Driven by the continuously growing computer power over the last 40 years, the first simple Mandelbrot graphics have evolved into highly complex worlds with an enormous level of detail and depth.
All visuals of The Mirage Project are based on the fundamental concept of fractals.
Fractal formulas are short yet extremely powerful. Half a page of code contains a whole world, including all the amazing tiny details of an almost bottomless microcosm.
But, you never know what you get when you dive into one of those fractal spaces. Their behaviour can be rather chaotic - or stunningly beautiful.
So how are those pictures and movies created?
Each of the Mirage videos started with a set of fractal formulas. We tested several hundred formulas until we had identified a selection that created interesting visuals.
As a next step we decided which visuals we wanted to animate and started the rendering process.
One second of video consists of 25 individual frames. A complex frame might take up to 30 minutes of rendering time - which means that a machine runs for 24 hours to produce just 2 seconds of video.
And the output might not even be usable, as fractals are known for their unpredictable behaviour!
Therefore we used a rendering farm of laptops which were working day and night for 18 months to create the basic visuals of the Mirage Project.
Curious how these animated fractals look? Have a look at some examples.