This is the monthly newsletter for my fractal animation site, HPDZ.NET. I am sending you this because I think you might be interested. I realize this almost qualifies as spam, so if you would like me to remove you from the distribution list for this newsletter, please send a reply to this e-mail. Please also let me know if you would like me to update your e-mail address if you get a new address.
– Mike Condron
Volume 1, Number 5
Metaphase Variation 1 – Finally!
The much-anticipated (at least by me) Metaphase Variation 1 video is uploaded to the web site and is being uploaded to my YouTube channel as I write this. Greatly increased demands on my time from regular life, as well as Hurricane Ike, set the post-production work on this video back quite a bit, but it is finally complete.
Origin of the Name
Metaphase is the name of an image discovered by Paul Derbyshire in the 1990’s. I previously published a video zooming into this image, which is located in the seahorse valley of the largest mini-brot on the main antenna of the Mandelbrot set. The same basic strategy of zooming can be applied to other areas, and I’ve found quite a few attractive locations that I will be zooming in to over the coming months.
This animation also demonstrates the newest improvements to my adaptive coloring scheme. This puts colors to the fractal data in a way that adapts to the widely varying range of numbers that this animation generates. The details are pretty technical -- more than most people will want to read about, and more than I have time to write about. I describe a bit of the basic problem on the web site’s page for this animation. If time permits, eventually, I’ll write a full mathematical description of what I’m doing.
The music for this video is also pretty cool. It is a composition using Acid Pro 6 loops. This is the most elaborate such project I’ve done so far, with 22 separate tracks combining to make the final music.
News about News
This newsletter itself is the subject of itself this month. I have noticed that several recipients have been having some trouble receiving it in the form I have designed it. Needless to say, this is very disturbing, as I want everyone to enjoy this newsletter in the optimal formatting that I work so hard to achieve.
Sadly, after doing some research into this problem, I have learned that there is a real problem with HTML email, and the problem may be larger than I am equipped to handle. Indeed, it is more than one problem. Let me explain.
This newsletter is composed in Outlook as an XML document and sent by Outlook in the MIME protocol. XML and MIME are well-established standards that have been around for many years. HTML is the document format of all web pages.
Unfortunately, many email viewers do not process the XML formatting information the way Outlook provides it. Outlook generates it own peculiar set of formatting information that works well for others with Outlook but not so well for the rest of the world. Just as unfortunately, Outlook itself doesn’t display basic HTML documents properly as a web site browser like Firefox or even Internet Explorer would. So there is no good way to distribute a nicely formatted document like this to everyone’s email with any assurance it will look as intended. Web-based email services like Gmail and AOL are particularly bad at handling what the Microsoft Office package (i.e. Outlook and Word) generate, so much of the nice font selection and coloring is lost.
It was a real rude awakening to me to learn how badly most email clients display even the most basic HTML. For those who can’t read this properly, or receive it looking kind of weird, I am very sorry; I had no idea.
I am looking in to how to manage this, but I’m not optimistic. I have read information from several major commercial email sites that make money by sending newsletters or ads (spam), and they are also stuck on this problem. So with my own meager resources I am not likely to find a solution.
Rendering of raw data for Canyon2 will start October 5. I expect the full 640x480, 4800-frame rendering to take about 22 days.
The next thing that will be published is a moderately deep zoom into a 5-spoke area of the Mandelbrot set, along with some cool 5-beat music. This has been nearly ready for several months, but I haven’t quite got the music right. While I have the quad-core system rendering Canyon2, I’ll work on finishing this one up. Look for it in late October.
As I mentioned last month (well, two weeks ago) I have been exploring some other fractals besides the Mandelbrot set. I’ve added several classic fractals into my software and am exploring them to see if something emerges that’s both technically feasible and esthetically worthwhile. The “Nova” fractal is my latest addition. Hopefully, something good will emerge. I’ve made a few other animations with some other fractals as well. Unfortunately, many of these objects take vastly greater computing resources to render, and creating nice-looking videos may be outside the scope of my temporal or financial budget, but I’m persisting in the search.
Five-beat rhythms in music are uncommon but not totally exotic. For example, the theme song to “Mission Impossible” has a five-beat rhythm (ten, really, as 1-2-3 1-2-3 1-2 1-2), as does Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”.
I hope you enjoy receiving this. If you’d like me to stop sending it to you, or if you have a new e-mail address, just let me know. Comments are also welcome.