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One of the last steps in creating a fractal is the process of rendering. What is rendering and why is it so important? Read on to find out.

What is Rendering?

Within the context of fractals, rendering is the process of plotting the pixels to the screen. Each fractal is made up of one or more mathematical formulas. These formulas are run over and over again and determine where each pixel is placed on the screen. The rendering process is the calculation of these formulas allows us to see what the fractal looks like.

Is the Process the Same for Every Fractal?

Every fractal is slightly different. Combine this with the plethora of fractal programs and rendering algorithms and it provides the artist with an overwhelming variety of options for rendering fractals. There are however, basic options such as the render quality and size that affect the overall image.

How Long Does it Take to Render a Fractal?

The length of time to render a fractal depends on the size of the image, the quality of the render, the formulas used and the difficulty of the calculation and the hardware used to render. A simple fractal image can be rendered in seconds. Higher quality fractals may take much longer. The longest render I’ve personally done was on an 8 core system with 32 GB of ram that lasted well over 1 month of continuous render time. This fractal is now on display at PONGS in Germany.

The majority of fractals that I render with the Apophysis fractal program or Chaotica (flame fractals) take about 38 hours with an 8 core system and 32GB of Ram. Fractals rendered in the program Ultra Fractal average about 12 hours for print size quality.

Why Bother With Apophysis if the Renders Take So Much Longer?

Apophysis isn’t the only program that takes so long to render fractals. There are others such as Incendia and Xenodream that take even longer to render print-quality images. I personally choose Apophysis because it allows me to create a large variety of fractals that I can’t make in other programs.

What Do Renders Look Like?

Comparison of low and high-quality renders.

The above image shows the difference between two renders. The top is a preview render and what I would normally see when working on a fractal. The lower image is the finished product when rendered at high quality. This is the same exact fractal parameters and highlights the difference render quality can make.

Rendering is an integral process to be able to see a fractal. While time-consuming, it is an essential skill to master in producing high-quality fractal artwork.