For those of you interested in metaballs and replication, I’m reposting an old image. “Venus Comb:” an image composed entirely of metaballs and replication. (With the exception of the clouds, of course.) There’s an extremely precise level of control in the subtle movements of the plants, and the inputs for x,y and z in all functions (size, rotation, height, etc) closely represents the way in which many plant cells replicate and divide. There are many algorithms found in nature that can be applied to the replication process in Bryce - and for me, this makes Bryce such an ideal choice to investigate plant growth patterns.
If this is starting to sound a bit “scientific” for you, let me stress that I’m not approaching this subject as a novice, nor am I randomly experimenting without a plan; I’ve studied matters like this for years and have logged in a great deal of study in pre-medicine and botany at an ivy-league university. I take a lot of my inspiration from the likes of the 19th century naturalist Ernst Haeckel and his famous renditions of invertebrate creatures (“radiolarians”) and the vastly involving theories of Steven Wolfram, whose book “A New Kind of Science” is always open on my desk. He explains in great detail the beauty of the Golden Mean and the fibonacci sequences that almost all plants seem to employ, with breathtaking complexity. I was extremely surprised to see that I was unconsciously using these numbers and sequences in creating my own forms, and it came as a kind of revelation to think that there was a universal message operating on many levels, something that we all can tap into.
I think there’s a certain level of facility that one needs to achieve before really diving off the deep end; that is to say, one must put in the hours of experimentation in order to get a feel for what the replication function can really do. You (and I) can’t get this all overnight, nor can it simply be read about… there needs to be a physical interaction and experiment. I’m really pleased to see what people are achieving here. I’m eagerly anticipating the experiments that enthusiastic artists like yourselves are going to come up with!
By its nature, replication utilizes geometry and special number sequences and controls… and an awareness that every construction, whether spiral, radial or otherwise is also a fractal. You don’t need a fractal-generating program to build spirals… you can see this by working with your constructions. Technically, every object and motion in space is defined by fractal geometry; it doesn’t even have to be regular, smooth or self-generating, like the Mandelbrot or Julia sets. The more you experiment with replication, the greater feel you will have for the workings of Nature… and your place in it. You will have a new awareness for how geometry works (and fails, lol).
If you find certain formulas that give interesting results, write them down. Repeat the experiment and then alter it. Remember too what doesn’t work. Your notes will reinforce your memory and your habits, and then the experiments will come more naturally, and be more easily understood. This works for whatever you are designing, whether it be plant, architectural or abstract.
Click thumbnail to see full-size image