Posted by: Gregoryno6 | July 14, 2012

Are You Receiving? The Discovery of Strange Telepathy.

Australians will recognise the name of former Queensland Premier Wayne Goss. Goss was a somewhat remote character; not aloof so much as distant. A tall serious man who was rarely caught in a smile. Dour would be a reasonably accurate description. Some years back I was listening to a radio story about Premier Goss, which opened with a description of the man and his spouse arriving at a Labor Party celebration. It must have been held in the wake of an election victory, because the reception for the Premier was very enthusiastic. ‘People are coming to their feet and applauding,’ the reporter said over the background of wild applause. ‘Mr and Mrs Goss are waving and shaking a few hands… the Premier’s receiving his dues.’ Obviously the reporter meant that the Premier was being rewarded for leading the team to the win. Receiving his ‘dues’. But I heard ‘jews’. And right there, standing at the sink with a dirty cup in my hands, I was confronted with a vision of lanky unsmiling Wayne Goss being mobbed by a horde of rabbis who squealed like delirious schoolgirls. ‘WAYNE! OY, WAAAYYYYNE! WE LOVE YOU, BUBBEE!’

I learnt a long time ago that I see the world at a different angle from other people.

It’s an ability that comes to the fore in my fractal art. Sometimes I have an idea for a title to guide me. Mostly I just shuffle the formulas and filters around until something catches my attention.

This was the starting point for my latest piece.

I use two freeware fractal programs: Mind Boggling Fractals by Paul Carlson, which produced this, and Tierazon by Stephen Ferguson. For editing I rely on Gimp, and Sterling2 right at the end. Now, the image itself – what do you see there? I saw six bodies sharing three heads, connected by a pulsing weave of thoughtwaves. Faceless entities from parts unknown. Immediately I had my title. But the six sharing the three was obviously too many. There’d be work required, I muttered, and filed the image for a future date.

Some months later I was ready to try it. Let’s jump ahead a few steps. Here’s the image with the superfluous elements removed.

There stands the faceless alien trio.

The editing here was far easier than I anticipated. Quite often the ‘cut’ is messy and jagged, but in this instance Gimp’s bucket fill worked very smoothly. The colours which appear uniform at this low resolution are in fact a series of segments that vary in very small degrees. The variations are enough to create distinct zones, as it were.

Some of these zones were very thin and getting the cursor in exactly the right place to execute the fill was tricky. Adjusting the View settings brought them up to a size where I could zap them with ease. My base image, incidentally, was 24000 pixels wide by 18000 high. In inches and/or centimetres that’s, er, big. Quite large at any rate. There was a reason for that which I’ll explain later, but it slowed the process to a point where patience failed me several times.

My three new friends whispered among themselves while I ruminated. The two in red were an annoyance. A trio could embrace three different colours. Back I went into the program. MBF is very flexible in its colour options. There are three levels: two colour, four, and eight. Mostly I work in four – it’s the Goldilocks option – but occasionally step up or down. I thought that the eight colour setting might provide three differently coloured aliens, but I was out of luck, and so resorted to Plan B. Again in four colours I created three new versions of the image, adjusting the settings to produce three separate aliens which I then isolated and merged into a single image. With fingers crossed I laid the new bodies over the first image and merged.

It worked perfectly. But my labours were not yet complete. In fact, a whole new problem was about to reveal itself.

Apart from wardrobe issues, the background bothered me. That expanse of black distracted from the blank faces; they lost impact. The picture became too serene. The faces had to be the focal points of stillness and emptiness. Another colour besides black for the background? White was too loud – and nothing else seemed fitting. This didn’t bother me. I have an insanely large archive of images, fractal also-rans you might say. A Tierazon fractal seemed an immediate winner.

The Threshold tool in Gimp produced this result.

Fantastic! A panoramic scattering of galaxies and stars. Job done. Well, no. Because the image was quite small. When I enlarged it to 24K by 18K it became, as far as Gimp was concerned, a completely different image. Visually the only difference was scale, but the data beneath the surface had been changed. No matter how I tried to sneak around this difference I simply couldn’t do it. I fiddled, I juggled, I tweaked. All in vain. I was not going to get what I wanted.

Damn, damn, buggery, DAMN!

Back into the archives, but sooner than I anticipated the voice of inspiration whispered Try this one.

Yeah. I was skeptical too.

But I gave it the Threshold treatment and this was the outcome.

Interesting. But lopsided. I flipped it this way and that, copied one half to produce a mirror effect, and shaded the white sections to a dull grey. So I had mild activity, but stability as well.

I was happy. Only one step remained before merging the two elements: anti aliasing, to eliminate any jagged edges. This is why I needed that monster base image. With all the swirls and curves, a high resolution start would ensure a smooth final result. Sterling2 anti aliases better than any other program I’ve found. Once again it delivered the goods.

And so, finally, say hello to Strange Telepathy.

 

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Responses

  1. […] her first view of my latest fractal masterpiece, a friend […]

  2. […] Strange Telepathy, the most complex of my fractal artworks, is in the annual Fractal Forums Fractal Art Competition. […]

  3. Interesting piece. I remember Wayne Goss and dour most definitely describes him. I am not generally a fan of fractals, however I do like this one… perhaps it is the alien thing lol

    • No ordinary aliens, either.


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