Daily Fractal Feature for April 19th 2014
An Interview with the creator of the JWildfire Fractal Program
Andreas Maschke, Conducted by Tate27kh:
D.F.F: First could you tell us a bit about yourself and when you first became interested in Fractal art?
Andreas: I'm a 41 years old, married, and we have a son which is 11 years old. We live in Northern Germany. I have a degree in physics and work as senior software developer for a company creating software for our government.
I had always an interest in (computer) graphics, not only fractals. My first "real" computer was an Amiga which had powerful graphics-capabilities (those days). I created a graphics-software called Wildfire for this platform. Some of those old ideas from the Wildfire-software, for example motion curves, you may find even in JWildfire today
D.F.F: What was your inspiration for creating JWildfire?
Andreas: Initially, I just wanted to do some stuff related to computer graphics and started to play around with some development tools. Nothing serious, I just often did it to relax. But it started to grow, and finally I came "by accident" to flame-fractals. I was hooked immediately and wanted to play with them by myself, for convenience I used the existing JWildfire-platform (which could load/save/display images easily).
D.F.F: Did anyone else have any input or assist in the making of JWildfire?
Andreas: No, I remember, initially, I even sent notes to some people, but nobody seemed interested in what I did, and most people did not even reply. So, I looked at the paper of Scott Draves, and the source-code of both flam3 and Apophysis to understand the algorithm, and created my own implementation. The only guy who sometimes stopped to drop a comment, was lyc, the author of Chaotica.
D.F.F: How did you arrive at and choose the name JWildfire for your program?
Andreas: It is derived from Wildfire-software for the Amiga-plattform I created many years ago, the "J" stands for Java. And "Wildfire" corresponds to my own temperament
D.F.F: When did you release the very first version for public use?
Andreas: One of the earliest versions was 0.16 from November 2011, which could generate visually appealing random flames (basically the same algorithm is used until today). This was much fun, here is an example from those days: thargor6.deviantart.com/art/Ra…
D.F.F : The program has gone through many revisions and updates since it began did you ever imagine it would go this far when you started?
Andreas: No, simply, never
And I would never have expected such a positive resonance from users from all over the world.
D.F.F: What do you see in the future for JWildfire?
Andreas: I think a major drawback is the performance of my implementation of the flame-algorithm. Performance was always a side-topic, but in the main focus there were always three other things:
1. an intuitive user-interface
2. cool features which allow to create "different" stuff
3. to be able to render flames generated by the de-facto-standard-software (Apophysis)
So I want to create an alternative renderer using OpenCL which is able to render (at least most of the flames) at significantly higher speed.
But this is a goal for version 3.0, this year I want to finish version 2.0. It is still a secret which new major feature will be included
D.F.F: What are your thoughts on the critics that say Fractal art is not "True Art"
because it is done by random equations with much of the "work" being done by the computer and not the "Artist"
Andreas: I once read the simple statement "Art is what humans do" and share this opinion. Of course, in fractal art, a major part is done by the computer. But this is also true for more conventional art. Here the major part is "done" by nature/natural laws. The artist only influences/triggers things. This is true for both fractal art and more conventional art. For me, fractals, especially flames-fractals, are just another media.
D.F.F: Andreas if you would, I would like you to provide the link/thumbnail to some of your favorite JWildfire works, your own or any others.
Andreas: It is very difficult to choose favorites because I both see and create so much stuff. I provide three recent works from my own which I like much:thargor6.deviantart.com/art/Dr…thargor6.deviantart.com/art/Re…thargor6.deviantart.com/art/In…
D.F.F: Well thank you so much for sharing with Daily Fractal Features today Andreas, and also for providing the Fractal community with such a fine resource as JWildfire.
Best wishes to you from all of us at Daily Fractal Features.
Andreas: Best regards