A property of many natural textures is that they retain their geometric character at various levels of magnification.
Thus, a piece of the object is similar to the whole object. For example, in this photograph, a little piece of Romanesco broccoli has the same “spiral-knobby” character as the whole broccoli.
Self-similarity is a property of fractal geometry, which has taken great leaps in the computer graphics arena. We recognize the forms of this “mystery cave” as being natural, even if we’ve never seen them before.
(Video Link) In this video, the principle is played out in mechanical looking forms. The camera can fly in and out of the forms, finding ever more intricate shapes, worlds within worlds.
In another video (link to video) using some of the same “Mandelbulb” software, the forms are more organic, but still self-similar.
These tools suggest interesting possibilities for generating bizarre and convincing landscapes that would be fun to explore in games and films.
LINKS for more goodies:
Here’s where the image of the “Mystery Cave” came from. The link takes you to a good technical explanation of the software and its potential.
Self-similarity on Wikipedia
Source for broccoli image
Below, the classic text on fractal geometry by one of its founders, Benoit Mandelbrot.
Previously on GurneyJourney:
Fractals, Reverie, and Biofeedback
Self-Similarity in Fractals