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Flash Fractal Maker

Daniel Gries

Daniel Gries
Merrimack College

This Flash applet creates fractals by means of a recursive algorithm, using a "generator" that you draw in the space provided. 

A generator simply consists of a few line segments connected together at their endpoints.  Each segment can be given a different "type": recursive, non-recursive, or invisible.  To change a line segment type, click on the line.  You may alter the number of segments in the generator with the increment buttons provided.

The fractal is created by drawing the generator on the paper, and continually erasing and replacing each recursive-type line segment with a smaller copy of the generator in its place.  The white arrow on the generator board and the arrows on the recursive line segments show you the orientation in which these smaller generators will be drawn. Theoretically, this drawing, erasing, and replacing should go on forever, and the fractal is the "limit" of these successive iterations.  In reality it must stop after a finite number of iterations, called the recursion depth. 

See the next page for complete instructions or click on the link below to get started making cool pictures. The instructions are also available within the applet itself.

Open the Fractal Maker  in a new window

Note: You will need Flash Player 9 or above to use this application.

Daniel Gries, "Flash Fractal Maker," Convergence (July 2007)