Editor’s Note: This post is part of our weekly In the NVIDIA studio series, which celebrates star artists, offers creative tips and tricks, and shows how Nvidia Studio technology accelerates creative workflows.
The coming together of art, math, and computers in the mid-1980s created a new genre of digital media: fractal art.
In the NVIDIA studio this week, computer graphic designer (CG), educator and curator Xueguo Yang shares his insights into fractal art – which uses algorithms to artistically represent calculations derived from geometric objects as digital images and animations.
The internationally acclaimed artist presents his extraordinary series of fractal art, In the void, and its creative process. Yang’s artistic collaborations include major publishing organizations and global entertainment companies, and his works have been shortlisted for international Class A computer graphics galleries and competition shortlists.
A fractal art masterclass, courtesy of NVIDIA Studio
Yang started each In the void part in Daz Studio or Autodesk 3ds Max, generating a very basic 3D shape and carefully extracting its dimensions. He then used one of his favorite fractal art applications, including Chaotica, Mandelbulb3D or, more recently, JWildfire.
Traditionally, these 3D-heavy applications ran exclusively on CPU architecture, with limited speed and excruciating slowdowns. Newer technology using NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs and the OpenCL programming framework dramatically speeds up the creative process. Now complex fractal geometry can be generated, previewed and edited in seconds – a boon to Yang’s efficiency.
Yang then began constructing mathematical formulas to create the fractal art pieces. The formulas, ever-changing samples expressed in 3D, required random combinations of trial and error until Yang reached a satisfactory result.
Then he added some slick 2D effects before importing the raw files into NVIDIA Omniverse, a 3D design collaboration and global simulation platform.
Using Omniverse’s NVIDIA vMaterials library, derived from real-world physical materials, Yang constructed cosmic voids with photorealistic details such as glass and metal pieces.
Yang further refined the textures with Adobe Substance 3D Painter Connector. He applied Smart materials – a feature that automatically adjusts the scene to display realistic surface detail – tweaking the room until the perfect combination presents itself.
The Omniverse Create app allowed Yang to adjust lighting and shadows, all in their original quality, for final compositing and rendering. Its GeForce RTX 3080 Ti laptop GPU powered the built-in RTX Renderer, unlocking hardware-accelerated ray tracing for fast and interactive 3D modeling.
Yang then turned to the NVIDIA Canvas app to quickly generate a variety of sky and space backgrounds. This process only took a few minutes and was much more efficient than finding backgrounds or even creating several from scratch.
In Photoshop, Yang applies the Canvas backgrounds and adjusts the colors as he pleases. Final exports were quickly generated and the In the void masterpiece was finished. By entering In the NVIDIA studio, viewers can now step into the void.
Yang noted that his entire creative workflow was accelerated by GPUs, with his ASUS ProArt Studio laptop being a necessity rather than a luxury.
“You can’t imagine how to do this without the real-time ray tracing and AI acceleration of RTX GPUs,” Yang said.
For Yang, fractal art manifests the purest form of his introspective views on origins. “The world was originally empty,” he said. “Everything, from basic particles to real matter, comes from the void. Nobody knows when, where and how things appear in the known world.
Yang hopes to give audiences a sense of deja vu as her 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, tracing an origin in the void, he said.
Yang intentionally adds human consciousness into the void when creating fantasy worlds.
“Without physical support, all creation begins in a vacuum,” Yang noted. “All essence is just the electrons and energy shuttling through the machine and human consciousness.” Chinese culture calls this Tao, or searching for meanings in the unknown world, which Yang seeks to express.
Check out more of Yang’s work.
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