High-Precision Deep Zoom

Technical Info

These pages describe some of the technical details of how I create the images and videos. There is also a little philosophizing about the meaning of the infinite.


Beyond E308Breaking the E308 limit with arbitrary precision floating point
Floating PointFloating point arithmetic, forced upon us by the Magnet Fractal
Camera TiltFinally a hint of something 3D
64-bit PortThe story of the port to 64-bit code and why it was all worth it.
Convergent FractalsA description of some of the types of convergent fractals.
BigNum ArithmeticSome aspects of big-num arithmetic, along with some implementation details and performance benchmarks for my software
Anti-aliasing techniques with demonstrations and comparisons of different methods
Stochastic SupersamplingClosely related to anti-aliasing, this technique is one way to reduce moire in deep-zoom images
ColorizingThe five main types of color mapping techniques I use and a description of fractional count generation
AnimationIssues specific to animation, including frame interpolation and dynamic color palettes
SoftwareSome additional details of my fractal rendering software not covered by other pages
Video EncodingDescriptions of the tools I use for editing and converting to compressed formats, as well as a discussion of video encoding formats
MusicWhere the music comes from
Fractal MathA short introduction to the mathematics underlying the Mandelbrot set and what its formal definition is
HardwareSpecifications of the computer systems used to generate these images, along with performance benchmark data
E-mailGetting the newsletter out is complicated enough to warrant its own discussion

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As you browse these pages describing the technology that goes into making the images and animations on this site, I would ask you to pause a moment and consider that within my adult lifetime, just only about 25 years ago, the images you see here, let alone the animations, were essentially impossible to create with any known technology. The most advanced multi-million-dollar supercomputers of 1980 were incapable of producing these animations in any reasonable time. In just 25 years we've come from a thousand dollars buying a 4-bit, 100KHz handheld calculator (remember the TI-59 and the HP-41C?) to buying more computing power than most governments could afford in 1980. My first computer system was an IBM PS/2 Model 50, with a 286 CPU running at something like 6 or 8 MHz, 1 MB of memory and a 20 MB hard drive. A $20 USB Flash memory stick these days has about 50 times the storage capacity of that hard drive. Computing technology has come a long way, and likely will continue to do so, and the animations you see here today will probably seem very primitive in just 5 years.

One other thing to consider is that this is an art form and hobby that, unlike many others (although very much like astronomy) benefits greatly from having large amounts of money thrown at it. For ten times as much money, I can work ten times faster (although faster does not necessarily equal better). Not so for something like painting or playing the piano, eh?