V for Vertex

To create a simple fractal, take an equilateral triangle and divide it into four more equilateral triangles. Remove the middle triangle. Repeat the process with each new triangle and go on repeating it. You’ll end up with a shape like this, which is known as the Sierpiński triangle, after the Polish mathematician Wacław Sierpiński (1882-1969):

Sierpinski triangle

But you can also create the Sierpiński triangle one pixel at a time. Choose any point inside an equilateral triangle. Pick a corner of the triangle at random and move half-way towards it. Mark this spot. Then pick a corner at random again and move half-way towards the corner. And repeat. The result looks like this:

triangle

A simple program to create the fractal looks like this:

initial()
repeat
  fractal()
  altervariables()
until false

function initial()
  v = 3 [v for vertex]
  r = 500
  lm = 0.5
endfunc

function fractal()
  th = 2 * pi / v
[the following loop creates the corners of the triangle]
  for l = 1 to v
    x[l]=xcenter + sin(l*th) * r
    y[l]=ycenter + cos(l*th) * r
  next l
  fx = xcenter
  fy = ycenter
  repeat
    rv = random(v)
    fx = fx + (x[rv]-fx) * lm
    fy = fy + (y[rv]-fy) * lm
    plot(fx,fy)
  until keypressed
endfunc

function altervariables()
[change v, lm, r etc]
endfunc

In this case, more is less. When v = 4 and the shape is a square, there is no fractal and plot(fx,fy) covers the entire square.

square

When v = 5 and the shape is a pentagon, this fractal appears:

pentagon

But v = 4 produces a fractal if a simple change is made in the program. This time, a corner cannot be chosen twice in a row:

square_used1

function initial()
  v = 4
  r = 500
  lm = 0.5
  ci = 1 [i.e, number of iterations since corner previously chosen]
endfunc

function fractal()
  th = 2 * pi / v
  for l = 1 to v
    x[l]=xcenter + sin(l*th) * r
    y[l]=ycenter + cos(l*th) * r
    chosen[l]=0
  next l
  fx = xcenter
  fy = ycenter
  repeat
    repeat
      rv = random(v)
    until chosen[rv]=0
    for l = 1 to v
      if chosen[l]>0 then chosen[l] = chosen[l]-1
    next l
    chosen[rv] = ci
    fx = fx + (x[rv]-fx) * lm
    fy = fy + (y[rv]-fy) * lm
    plot(fx,fy)
  until keypressed
endfunc

One can also disallow a corner if the corner next to it has been chosen previously, adjust the size of the movement towards the chosen corner, add a central point to the polygon, and so on. Here are more fractals created with such variations:

square_used1_center

square_used1_vi1

square_used1_vi2

square_used2

pentagon_lm0.6

pentagon_used1_5_vi1

hexagon_used1_6_vi3

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