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Freeware Fractal Programs

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Jenn enjoys photography and digital art, and has been pursuing these passions since 2007.

freeware-fractal-programs

Fractal Art is Fun!

I have been creating fractal art for quite a while now and have used a variety of programs, some free, some I paid for. I want to focus on the free ones. Fractal art is colorful, fun, creates unique images, and you can learn a lot from them, too.

Fractals may be visual math problems, but there are a ton of fun to create and you don't have to know much about them to make them in these freeware programs I am going to describe below. This is by no means an exhaustive list of freeware fractal programs, but rather ones that I myself have used.

Give it a try! Download one of the free Windows programs I am going to be describing here and take a look at the examples of the fractal art I have created with that particular program. My hope is that perhaps one will spark your interest and you will give a shot.

All images are created by me!

freeware-fractal-programs

Fractal Explorer 2.02

Fractal Explorer is the first fractal program that I ever tried out and is still one of the programs I go to first if I want to create fractal art. It's like playing the guitar: easy to play, hard to master. I do not claim to be a master, but I have learned a trick or two in the program. It creates a different variety of fractal images, runs fairly quick on a PC, depending on the size of the image, and gives great results.

Unfortunately, the program is no longer updated, but there is still a huge community of users out there on different art sites. Many of these places offer great tutorials and gradients that you can use to create your own fractals.

Download Fractal Explorer

  • Fractal Explorer - Home
    Fractal Explorer is a project which guides you through the world of fractals. Not only can you use the software to plot fractals but there is also mathematical background information about fractals on the website.
freeware-fractal-programs

Sterling2

Despite being a new player on the block in the terms of fractal programs, this program is based on an older program called Sterling. This one is a little harder to use the Fractal Explorer, but it still is fun to do and yields wonderful results. There are some tutorial out there for the program, and I recommend using them if you plan on using the program.

I will say that this is not an easy program to use, so start slow and work from there. Definitely read the tutorials. You will learn a lot from them and they will unlock the mysteries of the program.

Download Sterling2

WinFRACT

freeware-fractal-programs

WinFRACT is based on the granddaddy of all fractal programs, and that FractINT. This is not an easy program to use because it has aged. Still, with a little patience and experimentation, you can get some great images out of it.

Download WinFRACT

  • BR's Fractal Worlds
    This site has some great examples of WinFRACT fractals and tutorial on using the program. Scroll down down to the bottom of the page to get details on where to download the program.
freeware-fractal-programs

Chaoscope

Chaoscope is a strange attractor program, which includes fractals, but also includes formulas that aren't quite fractals, but close. Still, this program is a loads of fun to play with, especially if you use the Animate setting. It's easy to download and the web page included tutorials.

Don't be daunted if your images don't have a type of pizazz that you would like them to have. Keep on trying by playing with colors and gradients. There are a ton of of free gradients out there on different art web sites where fractal art is popular.

Download Chaoscope

freeware-fractal-programs

Apophysis

Apophysis explores a range of a realm of fractals called flame fractals. I have been using this program for a long time and it is still one of the most popular fractal art programs with fractal artists out there. It is pretty easy to get a cool image just playing around, but with a few tutorials and learning a few tricks, you can create amazing images. Plus, being and open source program, people have created tons of plug-in add-on for the program.

Download Apophysis

  • Apophysis.org
    This web site includes where to download and where to get tutorials. Give it a shot!
freeware-fractal-programs

Incendia

Incendia is the new kid on the block, and this kid is cool. This program allows you to render fractal in 3D. Again, not the easiest program to use, but with anything, a few tutorials and playing around will give you some awesome results. The more powerful your PC, the better your results will be, as a note. It is written for a multiprocessor PC, but there are versions out there for single processor machines.

I have actually beta tested this program and have seen it since the beginning. It's come a long way and well worth it.

Download Incendia

Going to give it a shot?

Are you going to give fractal art a try?

freeware-fractal-programs

ChaosPro

ChaosPro has a special place in my heart because it is where I first got to create layered fractals. Not as powerful as Ultra Fractal, which you must purchase, this program can yield some beautiful images is you want to look into creating fractals that have layers upon layers of images. It sort of work like Photoshop, in the sense that you can layer images in that program. It's worth a look, but it is a computer memory hog.

Download ChaosPro

Web Sites with Great Fractal Art Communities

Connecting with people who have the same interests and could offer help is a great asset to someone who is learning a new art form. Don't get discouraged! Visit these web sites and look for communities within them that use the program you are using. You may be surprised at what you may find!

Many of these places will also allow you to display and even sell your fractal art. They are worth looking at.

  • deviantART: where ART meets application!
    Art - community of artists and those devoted to art. Digital art, skin art, themes, wallpaper art, traditional art, photography, poetry / prose. Art prints.
  • ArtWanted.com
    Similar to deviantART, this site will allow you to upload and sell your work.
  • Imagekind
    This is another place to display and sell your art. A great plus here is all the framing options.
  • RedBubble
    Online art community featuring wall art, design, photography and t-shirts by artists worldwide. Buy cool art & t-shirts or sell your art!

Leave me a note!

fibonacci1123 on June 26, 2014:

Can you tell us how to go about doing the fractal art? Thanks for this lens!

fibonacci1123 on June 26, 2014:

@buteoflyer2: I feel the same way. I want to get into it because it looks really cool, but it's hard (for me)!

Leah J. Hileman from East Berlin, PA, USA on September 28, 2013:

I'm learning about fractals for the first time; I never knew that's what early screensavers were or how they were made. I had no idea that so much software's available for people to try.

Jenn Dixon (author) from PA on September 08, 2013:

@buteoflyer2: The place I got started was at deviantART.com. There are tons of tutorials to get you started there. Plus, people are generally willing to give feedback, too. Just searching for a specific program tutorial on the Internet will yield a lot of sources, too. Take a look at this link and see if anything there will get you started: http://www.deviantart.com/?qh=&section=&am...

Kathie Miller from Southern California on September 08, 2013:

I've tried doing fractals in the past, but t I get so frustrated trying to get something that looks even remotely like art I end up giving up. How does one get into this? Where can a newbie get good info? What is the best community to learn from? I'm not a computer geek by any stretch of the imagination and it seems like you have to be a bit in order to write scripts.

mcstacy on June 21, 2013:

Thanks for sharing....I would definitely want to learn more about it.

anonymous on May 19, 2013:

I definitely want to give this a try. I guess I will download one of the simpler programs for now and then as I get better with it, I can upgrade to a more difficult program with more features. Thanks for the great info.

soaringsis on May 18, 2013:

Thank you for sharing. I must give this a try.

anonymous on May 17, 2013:

I've never seen any of these programs but I think I'm going to give a couple a try. Your art is amazing.

SteveKaye on May 17, 2013:

Beautiful images.

Cynthia Haltom from Diamondhead on May 16, 2013:

You have some amazing fractal art. I was unaware there were programs that did the calculation for fractal art, in the olden days we used to make them by doing the calculation ourselves, and then paint or color them.

Jenn Dixon (author) from PA on May 13, 2013:

@Pat Goltz: I believe I have seen some of your work over there, actually. We may have crossed paths at some time or another at deviantART. I would be jennabee25.deviantart.com, but I haven't logged on there in quite a while.

Pat Goltz on May 12, 2013:

My biggest fractal collection is on deviantART, where I am patgoltz.deviantart.com .

Jenn Dixon (author) from PA on January 15, 2013:

@JeffGilbert: Thank you, and wonderful! If you post any of your art online, let me know!

JeffGilbert on January 14, 2013:

Just wanted to let you know, I got Incendia. This is so cool!!!! I am getting magnificently cool work without even trying.. :) I never would have known this existed if not for your lens. Thanks very much for putting out this info. If I was a giant squid or something, I'd give 9,000 points or whatever... :)

JeffGilbert on January 14, 2013:

Hey, thanks for making this great list. I've been out of the loop for a while, and this is a great update about free programs. I've also been tempted to try Ultra Fractal, but some of the free stuff is so great, I say, why go there... :)

SadSquid on December 06, 2012:

I was looking in Google for a free fractal program and found this page! Extremely useful list and great images. From your pictures I think I would really like to use chaoscope the most, although it sounds like I might need to put some work into it. Blessed.

Totus Mundus on October 18, 2012:

I love these images, they are quite unusual. Thanks for the info.

coldsore lm on April 19, 2012:

Fractals are incredible. Excellent lens and thanks for the info about free software download

SimplyTonjia on April 01, 2012:

Great lens. You introduced me to a couple of programs I did not know about. Thank you.

Ram Ramakrishnan on March 24, 2012:

Fractal art is so beautiful yet so overpowering.

IngridA1 on February 14, 2012:

Thank you for sharing! Your fractal art is beautiful and I cannot wait to try one of these programs!

curious0927 on February 11, 2012:

I cannot wait to try this! Thanks for your hard Work.and Of Course...Blessed!

curious0927 on February 11, 2012:

I cannot wait to try this! Thanks for your hard Work.and Of Course...Blessed!

sweetstickyrainbo on January 26, 2012:

some cool fractal art

anonymous on January 05, 2012:

I have just become a massive fractal fan - and will be downloading some form of freeware to have a go - am absolutely no Maths genius - so hope I can work it out - do you know of any programme that allows you to combine or work with other works of art ? Ie could you upload a photo or work of art into it to work it in somehow ? Many thanks - fantastic stuff x

wutz4tea on November 07, 2011:

This is a great "lens"! I love fractals, too. I also have a "zazzle" and a "redbubble". Thanks for putting this up. Your fractals are terrific!

javr from British Columbia, Canada on July 08, 2011:

You have really shown some very inspiring fractal images.

anonymous on May 30, 2011:

Hi jennabee25, nice article! Another fractal program to consider is the Fractal Science Kit (http://www.fractalsciencekit.com/). Check out the fractal gallery (http://www.fractalsciencekit.com/gallery/gallery.h... for examples of what it can do. It's not free however ($30).

Jenn Dixon (author) from PA on May 18, 2011:

@LabKittyDesign: Absolutely! There are some great Mac applications out there for fractals. I have some friends who do lovely work with them.

LabKittyDesign on May 17, 2011:

You can do fractals on Grapher (comes free with OS-X) albeit in a sort of charming DIY fashion. Just adding something for the Mac crowd...