Fractal attraction

Coral Cave – the Mandelbulb,the first 3D fractal to be discovered, is full of holes! By zooming deep with the software Mandelbulb 3D, we find an infinite level of detail that recalls the complexity of life forms
Coral Cave – the Mandelbulb,the first 3D fractal to be discovered, is full of holes! By zooming deep with the software Mandelbulb 3D, we find an infinite level of detail that recalls the complexity of life forms

Last Updated on March 29, 2024 by Divernet Team

A French diver is using a new artform to explore the underwater world from his computer – and reckons there are no limits to ways in which that world can be extended.

STEVE WEINMAN gets his mind stretched.

WHAT IS A FRACTAL? It’s a geometrical shape that divides up into parts that each appear to be a smaller copy of the whole, a process that can continue to infinity.

Nature doesn’t always need complicated formulas to create complexity and diversity: Teknautilus is a simple variation of the sphere
Nature doesn’t always need complicated formulas to create complexity and diversity: Teknautilus is a simple variation of the sphere

Mathematicians have long engaged in expressing this property of “self-similarity” through equations, but it was only in the 1970s that French-American practitioner Benoit Mandelbrot came up with the term “fractal” (from the Latin for broken).

It’s an area of considerable complexity, but fractals are found all over the place in nature – ever looked closely at a cauliflower and its florets, for example, or certain corals or sponges?

The Mandelbrot jellyfish reminds us that nature is symmetrical, and fractal
The Mandelbrot jellyfish reminds us that nature is symmetrical, and fractal

Scientists seem to find the theory useful, and so these days do artists, one of whom happens to be a French diver based in Marseille.

Francis Le Guen is a man of many parts, though they all seem to cross over.

Now 50, he comes from an artistic family and started out as a photo-journalist and documentary film-maker, but he also writes for TV and has edited two French diving magazines.

One way and another, the underwater world informs many of his activities.

As the part played by computer graphics in film-making became more important, Francis kept abreast of emerging techniques, which eventually led him to add “3D graphic designer” and “fractalist” to his CV.

Spanish Dancer is ’a tiny animal, probably poisonous
Spanish Dancer is ’a tiny animal, probably poisonous

AFTER DISCOVERING ALL THE EXOTIC software available to 21st century digital artists, packages with names such as Ultrafractal and Mandelbulb 3D, Francis started turning out work based, among other things, on his underwater photography.

Cancun was inspired by Jason De Caires Taylor’s sunken sculptures in Mexico
Cancun was inspired by Jason De Caires Taylor’s sunken sculptures in Mexico

“It's diving, and especially cave-diving, that first inspired me to make images,” he says.

“I made my first photos in flooded caves. The underwater landscapes I discovered were so unreal – and I now realise that this was because they were fractal. Natural forms come under the laws of fractal mathematics.”

Flooded City – Orcas swimming through New York as a result of global warming? They are in this fractal
Flooded City – Orcas swimming through New York as a result of global warming? They are in this fractal.

“When I decided to make digital paintings I chose the underwater world, because it's my world. I know the feeling, the texture of water, the way the light plays in the composition.“

“And I discovered that the software could generate quite easily the underwater mood I love. There are other fractalists but no one, as far as I know, making underwater scenes.“

Coral 2 – this algorithm offers a close-up of a reef
Coral 2 – this algorithm offers a close-up of a reef

“I’ve always explored,” he goes on.

“I practised scuba-diving and cave-diving for two decades at the highest level, discovering fabulous worlds.”

He reckons an explorer’s instincts are needed “to get lost in the jungle of algorithms” on which fractals are based.

By transforming the equations that govern natural structures into points in space, he explains, visual representations emerge that feature the same patterns at any scale.

Inside a Bahamas Blue Hole.
Inside a Bahamas Blue Hole.

Working with fractals in 3D became possible only with the emergence two years ago of Mandelbulbs. With the latest software, he says, “it is possible to combine different fractals with each other and to explore in depth.” (Still with us? Frankly, I’m struggling).

“These fractals give us a better understanding of the world around us,” he says.

“I try to understand nature in its fractal dimensions. Often a detail catches my eyes that later becomes an illustration.“

“The goal is not to reproduce reality but to create new parallel worlds with other organic rules. A small variation in the initial parameters can cause a ‘butterfly effect’ and completely change the appearance of the created world.“

“The trick is to try to steer the chaos. Given the complexity of the tools, this means learning to sculpt water!”

IT ALL STARTS WITH a general idea of the scene and atmosphere. “Depending on what’s wanted, we combine various changes and get a ‘world’.“

“Then the exploration begins. I navigate inside the fractal to appreciate its possibilities – the correct ways, and how to generate variations.“

“Then it’s the tasks of a photographer or director: I choose the angle, the focal depth of field, set the lighting, shadows, effects and camera movements. Then comes the final stage of rendering.“

Alcyon has no beginning and no end. This figure is made using a genetic algorithm
Alcyon has no beginning and no end. This figure is made using a genetic algorithm

“Each stage of the process may require days of development and often the goal is never achieved! Detailed as it is, the 3D world has its limits, but with fractals, it’s endless. The level of detail increases as you approach, and new worlds go on appearing.”

Navigating within the 3D fractal gave the feeling of a real dive. Swimming along the reef, I saw this silent hot eruption threatening the rest of the group of divers down into the fault
Navigating within the 3D fractal gave the feeling of a real dive. Swimming along the reef, I saw this silent hot eruption threatening the rest of the group of divers down into the fault.

Francis Le Guen is currently working on an interactive 4D book or tablet in which the reader will be able to navigate within the images, and foresees the making of an underwater fractal movie.

In the meantime, back at good old 2D level, you can buy posters, prints and greetings cards featuring his fractal designs through his company Artflakes.

Francis Le Guen
Francis Le Guen
This week, it looks like DPV manufacturer ScubaJet has begun insolvency proceedings. PADI has distributed half a million dollars in their Project Aware campaign. Dorset coastguard have called off the search for a missing diver. And the Pearl Fleet has commented on a viral video of a shark-dive that didn’t go so well
https://taucher.net/diveinside-insolvency_proceedings_at_scubajet-kaz9246
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This week, it looks like DPV manufacturer ScubaJet has begun insolvency proceedings. PADI has distributed half a million dollars in their Project Aware campaign. Dorset coastguard have called off the search for a missing diver. And the Pearl Fleet has commented on a viral video of a shark-dive that didn’t go so well
https://taucher.net/diveinside-insolvency_proceedings_at_scubajet-kaz9246
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/conservation/padi-aware-distributes-500k-in-mission-hub-grants/
https://www.scubadivermag.com/raid-launches-ots-full-face-mask-programme/
https://www.scubadivermag.com/dorset-coastguard-call-off-search-for-diver/
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/health-safety/search-for-diver-off-dorset-stood-down/
https://divernet.com/scuba-news/health-safety/pearl-fleet-hits-back-as-maldives-shark-dive-slammed/
Diving Into The Darkness Link:
https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/mzsd


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Missing Diver Search Called Off #scuba #news #podcast

@preethasebastian8921
Sharks and Yum Yum Yellow. What are your thoughts? #askmark
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@preethasebastian8921
Sharks and Yum Yum Yellow. What are your thoughts? #askmark
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@emilyZA460
#AskMark hi! I was hoping you could help me understand the interchangeability of a DSMB and a simple SMB if I only plan to use it when I deploy it during my safety stop at 5 meters. I used the simple version for this purpose during my last liveaboard and despite occasionally having to reinflate at the surface due to some air escaping while being deployed underwater, it didn’t seem to be too problematic and so I was wondering if it’s necessary to have a DSMB for this purpose? The issue for me is that somehow I tend to end up misplacing my SMB quite often and so the price difference between the two makes it a more acceptable loss when it’s replacing the SMB regularly rather than the DSMB at double the cost
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Diving Into The Darkness Website:
https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/mzsd

@emilyZA460
#AskMark hi! I was hoping you could help me understand the interchangeability of a DSMB and a simple SMB if I only plan to use it when I deploy it during my safety stop at 5 meters. I used the simple version for this purpose during my last liveaboard and despite occasionally having to reinflate at the surface due to some air escaping while being deployed underwater, it didn’t seem to be too problematic and so I was wondering if it’s necessary to have a DSMB for this purpose? The issue for me is that somehow I tend to end up misplacing my SMB quite often and so the price difference between the two makes it a more acceptable loss when it’s replacing the SMB regularly rather than the DSMB at double the cost
#scuba #scubadiving #scubadiver
LINKS

Become a fan: https://www.scubadivermag.com/join
Gear Purchases: https://www.scubadivermag.com/affiliate/dive-gear
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Website: https://www.scubadivermag.com ➡️ Scuba Diving, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Scuba Gear Reviews
Website: https://www.divernet.com ➡️ Scuba News, Underwater Photography, Hints & Advice, Travel Reports
Website: https://www.godivingshow.com ➡️ The Only Dive Show in the United Kingdom
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We partner with https://www.scuba.com and https://www.mikesdivestore.com for all your gear essentials. Consider using the affiliate link above to support the channel.

The information in this video is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional SCUBA Training. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace training from a qualified Dive Instructor.

YouTube Video UEw2X2VCMS1KYWdWbXFQSGV1YW84WVRHb2pFNkl3WlRSZS4yOUY5MUNBMTM5RDMyREQ5

What's the Point of Fancy dSMBs? #askmark #scuba

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