Not too long ago, while reading up on my blogs during my lunch break at work, I found out something truly exciting. Seems that Kai Krause, the godfather of Photoshop magic in the 1990s (along with 3D, fractals and just about everything else computer graphics related) is back from whatever castle in Germany he’s been held up in and publishing software again. It a fractal exploration program for iOS called Frax.
Well it didn’t take much convincing to get me to download it and give it a try. The basic version for the iPhone was $2.99 with an option to upgrade to a Pro version that has more features. There are also in app purchases that I’ll get back to later.
The program itself is gorgeous. Lots of attention to detail was given to the interface. Lots of gesture control and very fluid animations to navigate the fractals generated by the program. It even takes advantage of the accelerometer for navigation. Though, it would be nice to turn that off as a rather curious 6 month old can send your pixel perfect fractal zooming off into the ether, never to be seen again!
When you first open the program, you are walked through the entire interface where you learn how to navigate, zoom, colour, texture and light your fractals. Good thing too as this program, while clever, does use some pretty non-standard interface techniques. And what else can you expect from Kai Krause, creator of such wacky interfaces for Kai’s Power Tools?
In app purchases are made if you want to render your images at greater resolution than the screen of your idevice. Higher resolution, detailed images are rendered online on a server farm. Once rendered, you are emailed a link to download your image. You buy credits and render sizes are based on credits. The larger the render, the more the credits. And you can render pretty big sizes. Up to 50 mega pixel renders! Seems pretty huge to me, but if you wanted to print out a poster sized image with lots and lots of detail, I suppose you’ll need all 50 megapixels. Though I found the 5 megapixel render was drop dead gorgeous, and would easily fit a. 8.5 x 11 inch page at 300 dpi – pretty standard for most professionally printed pieces. Below you will find some examples of some test renders. The first one is a save from my iPhone 5’s screen (free), the second one is a larger render of 3.1 Mpx and the last one is the 12.6 Mpx render. Anything larger and I’d have to shell out cash for the Pro version. Just click on the image to see the full resolution images to judge the quality yourself. I normally don’t upload such large images, but for this, I will make an exception! The renders are very, very good quality. Even at the iPhone screen resolution.
While I haven’t purchase the Pro version, it seems to give you more options for controlling the fractal images. The basic version is mainly for exploration of fractals, the Pro version lets you get under the hood and really define what kind of fractal you get to explore.
There’s also some social media aspects to this program I haven’t had the time to explore yet. You can upload your fractal images for others to see and share.
All-in-all, a pretty good app. I’m curious as to what could come next. Kai always seemed to me that kind of guy who’d have a lot of different projects on the go. And he’s been very, very low key for quite some time.
Enjoy. [Frax for iOS]