Editor’s note: This post is part of our weekly In the NVIDIA studio Series celebrating featured artists, offering creative tips and tricks, and showing how NVIDIA Studio Technology accelerates creative workflows.
The marriage of art, mathematics, and computers in the mid-1980s created a new genre of digital media: fractal art.
In the NVIDIA studio This week, computer graphic (CG) artist, educator, and curator Xueguo Yang shares his insights behind fractal art — which uses algorithms to artistically represent calculations derived from geometric objects as digital images and animations.
The internationally renowned artist shows his extraordinary fractal art series, into the void, and its process for creating it. Yang’s artistic collaborations span major publishing organizations and global entertainment companies, and his artworks have been selected for international A-class CG galleries and competition shortlists.
A fractal art master class, courtesy of NVIDIA Studio
Yang started each into the void Piece in Daz Studio or Autodesk 3ds Max, create a very simple 3D shape and carefully extract its dimensions. He then used one of his favorite fractal art applications including Chaotica, Mandelbulb3D or more recently JWildfire.
Traditionally, these 3D-heavy apps ran exclusively on CPU architecture, with limited speed and unbearable slowdowns. Newer technologies featuring NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs and the OpenCL programming framework greatly speed up the creative process, so complex fractal geometries can now be generated, previewed, and modified in seconds—a boon to Yang’s efficiency.
Yang then began creating mathematical formulas to create the fractal artworks. The formulas, ever-changing patterns expressed in 3D, required random trial-and-error combinations until Yang achieved a satisfactory result.
Next he added some stylish 2D effects before importing the raw files into NVIDIA Omniverse, a 3D design collaboration and world simulation platform.
Using Omniverse’s NVIDIA vMaterials library, which is derived from physical, real-world materials, Yang built cosmic voids with photorealistic details such as pieces of glass and metal.
Yang further refined textures using the Adobe Substance 3D Painter Connector. He applied Smart Materials – a feature that automatically adjusts the scene to display realistic surface detail – tweaking the piece until the perfect combination presents itself.
The Omniverse Create app allowed Yang to adjust lighting and shadows in original quality for final compositing and rendering. Its GeForce RTX 3080 Ti laptop GPU powered the onboard RTX renderer, unlocking hardware-accelerated ray tracing for fast and interactive 3D modeling.
Yang then turned to the NVIDIA Canvas app to quickly create a variety of sky and space backgrounds. This process only took a few minutes and was far more efficient than searching for backgrounds or even creating several from scratch.
In Photoshop, Yang applies the canvas backgrounds and adjusts the colors to his liking. Final exports were quickly generated, and the into the void masterpiece was completed. Upon entering In the NVIDIA studio Spectators can now enter the void.
Yang noted that his entire creative workflow is accelerated by GPUs, with his ASUS ProArt Studio laptop being a necessity rather than a luxury.
“You can’t imagine doing without real-time ray tracing and AI acceleration from RTX GPUs,” Yang said.
For Yang, fractal art manifests the purest form of his introspective view of origins. “The world was originally empty,” he said. “Everything from simple particles to real matter came out of the void. No one knows when, where, and how things appear in the known world.”
Yang hopes to instill a sense of déjà vu in audiences as his art deconstructs and reconstructs places, scenes, memories, or any form of beauty that can often be taken for granted.
The series is a journey through time and space that traces an origin in the void, he said.
Yang intentionally inserts human consciousness into the void when creating fantasy worlds.
“Without physical mediums, all creation begins from nothing,” Yang noted. “The whole essence is just the electrons and the energy oscillating in the machine and in the human consciousness.” Chinese culture calls this Tao or the search for meaning in the unknown world, which is what Yang tries to express.
Check out more of Yang’s work.
Learn more about NVIDIA Omniverse including tips, tricks, and more on the Omniverse YouTube channel. For additional support, explore the Omniverse forums or join the Discord server to chat with the community. Look at the omniverse TwitterInstagram and Medium page to keep up to date.
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