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With more and more people becoming aware of what fractals are and becoming interested in them as an artistic medium, the little niche community is really starting to grow and develop. However, every new medium is not with out its set backs. What people seem to almost always fail to understand is  that fractals are more complicated than just squiggly lines and polka dots. Fractal art is very much like another fairly misunderstood medium, photography. However, it seems like photography gets quite a bit more respect. This certainly is rather annoying to me and I know it bothers the piss out of a vast number of other people. Well, hopefully I will be able to explain a few things, enlighten some people about the greatness and the downfalls of fractal art and help other ruminate on how to protect their works from other people.

Let's begin with how fractal art can be compared to photography. Great photography can be set up or staged a certain way to get the effect that the photographer wants or it can be by pure luck that such a fantastic opportunity that events that moved the photographer somehow presented itself. So too with fractal art. The artist can come up with some sort of plan as to how they want their piece to look or they can happen across something completely by surprise. However, with fractal art, we use programs that create certain files called parameters. These tell the program what formula we used, what colors, specific numbers, etc. Parameters would be like a photographer jotting down the exact measurement of how far from the ground his camera was when he took a picture of some grass or how wide his aperture setting was, what lens he used, what film, etc. They are also pretty much like the negatives or undeveloped film. The only difference between the negatives and the parameters is that it appears to me that negatives are copyrightable where as parameters are not. The parameters are just math formulas and as such can not be copyrighted. Kinda lame to me. However, the images those parameters make are copyrightable.

During the past two years, it would seem that is incredibly easy for parameters to fall into the wrong hands. Back in 09 when I was the fractal art GM, people had come to me with something that I found to be incredibly concerning. Someone had sent them a trojan program that they had developed to take their parameters and had disguised as a program that could improve render times. (when you render a fractal piece, the program you are using actually makes the image pixel by pixel.) This gave the parameter thief access to countless amounts of parameters from many artists. This person would have been able to reproduce any image that the artists had created. But nothing could be done for these people unless their exact images or ones that were pretty close were posted. In fact, nothing was done. Now it is happening again, only in a different manner from before. It would seem that the person who had fished out all of the parameters previously had sent out an email with all of them to various different recipients across the spectrum of sites from here to renderosity. Some people have taken these parameters and instead of using them as learning tools, have just deleted a layer here or changed a color there and have posted the altered works. It's rather upsetting.

The cold hard fact of the matter is, Fractal Art is a budding medium and idea. People really don't understand it or at worst, don't consider it important or art. There's only so much we can do as a community to help progress the medium and movement, but there is a lot more we can do as individual artists to help protect our work.

Firstly, do some exploring of the community. Getting to know the artists and the programmers and developers will help you come a long way in knowing who you can trust with your work. Don't download any programs from an unknown source. If it's too good to be true ("This program will help cut down your render times by 50%!") it's most likely a trap.

Second, know your rights. Once that image is rendered, you own it. You made that piece, it's yours to choose what you do with it. if someone posts the same exact image, it doesn't matter how they got it, it's a copy of yours and you made it first. Report the copy. Also, this is where I would like to point out that this is not theft. It's copying.
(Enjoy this brief little video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeTybK… as pleasant as it is, it will hopefully help address how we handle situations.) I realize that we all feel like something is stolen from us when we see the exact same picture posted that we put our hard work into. However, the only thing that is being taken away from you is your recognition for creating the work. Cool down and approach the situation calmly and much more is likely to be done for you.

Finally, I would just like to say this: Accidents happens, mistakes are made. There is no use crying over spilled milk. All you can do is clean it up the best you can and work harder at not spilling anymore. We need to learn as a community and as individuals that there will always be some kind of negative force trying to undermine us or exploit us. Kick in the balls, tell it to fuck off, and move on. Sometimes it takes a while to learn this lesson, but once it's under your belt, you're set. Hopefully, if you're new to this sort of thing, you can learn from other people's mistakes. If not, as I said, just try to do the best you can with what you've got.
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:iconcooper1994:
Cooper1994 Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2011  Professional Photographer
I admit, I got frustrated when people paid more attention to my Fractals than my more 'labor-intensive' artwork. However, I've recently started exploring the little tricks of Fractals, (like last week I just discovered you could change more than the rotation of the gradients on Apophysis), and I now do cleanup work on them.

Working on Fractals is more than a 14 second work for me now, and I've begun to appreciate it.

--

Mind you, in an alternate form, some kid at school saw me processing my photography, and he asked me why I was doing this. When I explained it was 'for art' he questioned the artistic value of a photograph of a tree. (We live in a heavily wooded area, and most of my pictures of local landscape have trees.)

A few days later, he saw me working on a fractal. He thought that was pretty sweet, and I gave him the program name and a quick run down on how to get started on making them.
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:icon25percent:
25percent Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Very well put.
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:iconnaviretlav:
Naviretlav Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2011  Professional Artist
I love this part:
"If it's too good to be true ("This program will help cut down your render times by 50%!") it's most likely a trap. "

And now we have to think about flam4 or any GPU renderer and Chaotica project.
They all are fast as hell, sometimes even more than 50%. :lmao:
But they are real !!
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:iconphoenixleo:
phoenixleo Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2011
:clap:
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:iconyeahgirl11:
yeahgirl11 Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Honestly, I don't even know what fractals are. :o
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:iconplatinus:
Platinus Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Come into the chat #Aposhack sometime and we'll all be more than happy to tell you :D
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:iconyeahgirl11:
yeahgirl11 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Haha, will do. :) And cute avvie. :D
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:iconnamenotrequired:
namenotrequired Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2011  Student Interface Designer
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:iconyeahgirl11:
yeahgirl11 Featured By Owner Jan 26, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
:laughing: That's still not a definition.:XD:
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:iconnamenotrequired:
namenotrequired Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2011  Student Interface Designer
Nope, but gives you a fairly good idea :dummy:
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:iconyeahgirl11:
yeahgirl11 Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Not really. ^^; I don't know jakshit about computer art. :(
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:iconnamenotrequired:
namenotrequired Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2011  Student Interface Designer
Me neither, but at least you get to see some examples :D
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:iconyeahgirl11:
yeahgirl11 Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2011  Student Traditional Artist
Yeah, thanks for that! :D
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:iconnamenotrequired:
namenotrequired Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2011  Student Interface Designer
:iconepichighfive1plz:
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(1 Reply)
:iconpaddlin-maddlin:
Paddlin-Maddlin Featured By Owner Jan 25, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
A very considered and well put piece. Thank you. As you say, it's really awful this is happening, but it should make us all think before we jump in he deep end every time.
Maggi
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:iconsynthetamine:
Synthetamine Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
I better do my homework
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:iconpica-ae:
pica-ae Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011  Professional Interface Designer
a lot of people still think anything created on a computer is created BY the computer. you just need to click a button and voilą – a new masterpiece.
they do not understand it is a tool, much like a brush or pencil.

it will still take some time still digital art will be recognised. i personally have no idea how fractals work. but i know, that it is not just "hitting a button" but much more.

nice article :clap:
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:iconlithmyathar:
LithMyathar Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great article!:thumbsup:
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:icontheaver:
theaver Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011
Thank you very much Travii, it is a really good article and I absolutely agree. :hug:
One more thing to add: the fact that there are people trying to steal and make plagiations of fractal art also means that they see it as ART, and not as something you dont any skills for to do. So in a way it it is a form of recognition, sad as it is.
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:iconann-mclaren:
Ann-McLaren Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks.:hug:
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:iconcoffeetoffeesquirrel:
CoffeeToffeeSquirrel Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011   General Artist
Thanks for this article :happycry: It's balanced and I love the parallell between fractalists and photographers. Nothing annoys me more than when people call fractal artists 'button-pushers'.
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:iconmario837:
mario837 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011
Unusually deep article on a couple of serious subjects. Your definition of Fractal Art as such deserve you add it to Wikipedia to better spread the understanding beyond our community.
As for the second part, the plagiarism is not uncommon in mostly all other art forms, so we have to be alert and protect our work as much as possible. However, they can steal you a work but not your brains and creativity which will allow you to make so many others quite different from that!
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:iconpatogyn:
patogyn Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great article, thank you! 2
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:iconiuliasan:
iuliasan Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Great article, thank you!:clap:
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:iconpiethein21:
piethein21 Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
it's always good to point this stuff out.
be aware is the best message you can give people about this.
good job on writing the article ;)

ps. what about the course xD
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:iconanjaleck:
anjaleck Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Terrific article. I wasn't going to read it because I'm tired, but you did a really good job of catching my attention and keeping me here. Thanks for writing the article. I had not idea this kind of stuff was going around. What a crock! But you're right. We need to learn from our mistakes and go forward. There's no going back.

Thank you.
Hugs,
Anj
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:iconxyrus-02:
Xyrus-02 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2011  Professional Digital Artist
Good article! Let me add one thing: there are no good tools spread via note or mail. Period. Unfortunately there are individuals who are willing to use peoples trust in the internet to spread grief and misery which is sad :|
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:iconaereol:
aereol Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Very well articulated. Absolutely agree.
:icongivemesmilesplz:
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:iconguagapunyaimel:
guagapunyaimel Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2011
:iconthumbsupplz:
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:iconfiery-fire:
Fiery-Fire Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Very very well said Travii :)
Protecting the artwork is a great idea, all images are copyright protected and you can get them deleted, if they surface on an art website by contacting the mods of that site.
And one very IMPORTANT point is - "DO NOT ACCEPT SO_CALLED GIFTS" from people, who you don't know well, or trust well.
I have had received the same note back in '09 from 'debra' and the text in it was lucrative & applied admiration of the "your artistic works" and then the link for the
download was attached. The whole thing was planned very very sly & carefully, I disregarded the note, and I forgot that I ever received did.
After the similar renders got posted on da - and everybody caught in, someone is stealing params, many journals were posted and to my surprise I found out ,
what incredible volume of artists the same note was copied, posted and send. I would say about 50 at least.
I send the link for the file to =Xyrus02 and he run a virus check on it, which confirmed the program has a trojan build in, to access the uf-software on your computer
and copy out & email the parameter files :| that was quite a shock.

What can be done at this point? nothing - the damage is done ...the params are in the hands of a dishonest person and he/she is re-posting them publicly :|
That is sad, but it's also a lesson for the future ......don't trust strangers :) pleeeeeeaaase you will save yourself & the community a lot of grief :nod:
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:iconsuicidebysafetypin:
SuicideBySafetyPin Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:clap: thank you!!!!!!!!!!
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:iconastralseed:
Astralseed Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2011  Professional General Artist
That's really sad that people feel the need to steal others parameters :(
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:iconplatinus:
Platinus Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
But it happens. And aside from just protecting ourselves and being misers with them, there's nothing we can do about it.
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:iconastralseed:
Astralseed Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2011  Professional General Artist
indeed, it's a real shame.
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