--FractaSketch 2.03 now available as FREEWARE--

Graphic design inspired by fractal geometry

FractaSketch: a graphic designer's tool


FractaSketch (patented) is a drawing tool for Macintosh based on linear fractal geometry. FractaSketch lets you, the graphic designer, design and colorize stylized natural and geometric shapes of great complexity and subtlety. FractaSketch is the first program that gives you full control by direct manipulation (no equations!) and it is fast. Selected parts (such as fixed point arithmetic) are written in assembly language for speed. You have control of all aspects of the drawing: the shape, its complexity, and its colorization. FractaSketch takes the drudgery out of complex designs while giving the biggest possible freedom to your creativity.

FractaSketch is not based on the Mandelbrot algorithm or other point-centered computationally-intensive iterative techniques. The program gives much more variety than the globular shapes generated by Mandelbrot programs. FractaSketch was developed by Peter Van Roy. Version 1.0 was first commercialized by Dynamic Software in 1988.

Version 2.03 greatly extends version 1.0 by adding powerful color control, editing, linking, and many beautiful royalty-free images. The last missing link, the manual, is now in a reasonable (although not perfect) state. Version 2.03 is available as freeware (see below).

The designing, drawing, and colorization technologies of FractaSketch are protected by U.S. patent 5,831,633, granted in 1998. This patent protects (among other things):

This patent does not limit your use of FractaSketch in any way, commercial or non-commercial. However, if you are interested in commercial use of the technologies underlying FractaSketch, for example to make a plugin, then please contact the author.

Full release of FractaSketch 2.03 (FREE!)

The following are available: These are both Stuffit SEA 3.5 archives (self-extracting archive); they can be opened by running them or through Stuffit Expander.

The program was developed with Think C 5.0 for MC680X0 Macintosh. I am looking for someone to port this version to a PowerPC. I am also looking for someone to update the program so that it will run natively under Mac OS X. If you are interested, please contact me and I will send you the source files.

FractaSketch Flyer (in French)

FractaSketch 2.0 Manual (Draft in HTML Format)

How Others Use FractaSketch

Local copies in GIF format of some of the designs in the three Fractal Galleries and the Fractal Playshop are here. My favorites are Sarah's and Nick's designs.

Some Sample Designs

Here are a few examples among hundreds of images created with FractaSketch. These images can be created in seconds with just a few mouse clicks. The drawing of these images is completely deterministic. The design of the shapes and their colorizations were done interactively with immediate feedback of the results. The images can be drawn by FractaSketch to any level of detail. For best results, the images should be viewed on a screen with at least 16-bit color depth, or 24-bit if possible. Higher color depth really makes a difference.

If you make your own designs using the program, I strongly suggest that you use the maximum resolution and color depth possible. Even on a fast PowerPC, some of the most striking and beautiful drawings can take several minutes to draw. It seems to be an unfortunate law of nature that the most beautiful images take the longest to draw. But we're lucky compared to five or ten years ago: what now takes a few seconds to draw took minutes back then. It's just that we're spoiled now: we demand more intricate images than before!

These images are in Adobe PDF and PostScript formats. I suggest you download the program (see above) and create the images on your own Mac--they're all in the release.

These images are copyrighted but can be used royalty-free for any purpose, commercial or otherwise. I require only that you mention clearly ``Image by Peter Van Roy, created with FractaSketch'', and that you send me a letter (to the university; see my home page) explaining how you use the images and a copy of the publication in which they appear.

This page is under construction: more images and formats are on the way! Please send all comments to Peter Van Roy.