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A ray-traced image of the 3D Mandelbulb
for the iteration zz8 + c.

The Mandelbulb is a three-dimensional analogue of the Mandelbrot set, constructed by Daniel White and Paul Nylander using spherical coordinates in 2009.[1]

A canonical 3-dimensional Mandelbrot set does not exist, since there is no 3-dimensional analogue of the 2-dimensional space of complex numbers. It is possible to construct Mandelbrot sets in 4 dimensions using quaternions. However, this set does not exhibit detail at all scales like the 2D Mandelbrot set does.

White and Nylander's formula for the "nth power" of the 3D vector \langle x, y, z\rangle is

\langle x, y, z\rangle^n = r^n\langle\sin(n\theta)\cos(n\phi),\sin(n\theta)\sin(n\phi),\cos(n\theta)\rangle

\phi=\arctan(y/x)=\arg (x+yi), and

They use the iteration z\mapsto z^n+c where z^n is defined as above and a+b is a vector addition.[2] For n > 3, the result is a 3-dimensional bulb-like structure with fractal surface detail and a number of "lobes" controlled by the parameter n. Many of their graphic renderings use n = 8. The equations can be simplified into rational polynomials for every odd n, so it has been speculated by some[who?] that odd-numbered powers are more elegant. For example n = 3 is simplified to:

\langle x, y, z\rangle^3 = \left\langle\ \frac{(3z^2-x^2-y^2)x(x^2-3y^2)}{x^2+y^2} ,\frac{(3z^2-x^2-y^2)y(3x^2-y^2)}{x^2+y^2},z(z^2-3x^2-3y^2)\right\rangle

Quadratic formula[edit]

Other formulae come from identities which parametrise the sum of squares to give a power of the sum of squares such as:

(x^2-y^2-z^2)^2+(2 x z)^2+(2xy)^2 = (x^2+y^2+z^2)^2

which we can think of as a way to square a triplet of numbers so that the modulus is squared. So this gives, for example:

x\rightarrow  x^2-y^2-z^2+x_0

y\rightarrow  2 x z+y_0

z\rightarrow  2 x y +z_0

or various other permutations. This 'quadratic' formula can be applied several times to get many power-2 formula.

Cubic formula[edit]

Cubic fractal

Other formulae come from identities which parametrise the sum of squares to give a power of the sum of squares such as:

(x^3-3xy^2-3xz^2)^2+(y^3 - 3 y x^2 + y z^2)^2+(z^3 - 3 z x^2 + z y^2)^2 = (x^2+y^2+z^2)^3

which we can think of as a way to cube a triplet of numbers so that the modulus is cubed. So this gives:

x\rightarrow  x^3 - 3 x (y^2 + z^2) + x_0

or other permutations.

-y^3 + 3 y x^2 - y z^2  + y_0

z^3 - 3 z x^2 + z y^2 + z_0

for example. Which reduces to the complex fractal w\rightarrow w^3+w_0 when z=0 and w\rightarrow \overline{w}^3+w_0 when y=0.

There are several ways to combine two such `cubic` transforms to get a power-9 transform which has slightly more structure.

Quintic formula[edit]

Quintic Mandelbulb
Quintic Mandelbulb with C=2

Another way to create Mandelbulbs with cubic symmetry is by taking the complex iteration formula z\rightarrow z^{4m+1} + z_0 for some integer m and adding terms to make it symmetrical in 3 dimensions but keeping the cross-sections to be the same 2 dimensional fractal. (The 4 comes from the fact that i^4=1.) For example, take the case of z\rightarrow z^5 + z_0. In two dimensions where z=x+iy this is:

x\rightarrow x^5-10 x^3 y^2 + 5 x y^4 + x_0

y\rightarrow y^5-10 y^3 x^2 + 5 y x^4 + y_0

This can be then extended to three dimensions to give:

x^5 - 10 x^3 (y^2 + A y z + z^2) + 5 x (y^4 + B y^3 z + C y^2 z^2 + B y z^3 + z^4) + D x^2 y z (y+z) + x_0

y^5 - 10 y^3 (z^2 + A x z + x^2) + 5 y (z^4  + B z^3 x +  C z^2 x^2  + B z x^3 + x^4) + D y^2 z x (z+x)+ y_0

z^5 - 10 z^3 (x^2 + A x y + y^2) + 5 z (x^4  + B x^3 y + C x^2 y^2  + B x y^3 + y^4) + D z^2 x y (x+y) +z_0

for arbitrary constants A,B,C and D which give different Mandelbulbs (usually set to 0). The case z \rightarrow z^9 gives a Mandelbulb most similar to the first example where n=9. An more pleasing result for the fifth power is got basing it on the formula: z\rightarrow -z^5 + z_0.

Fractal based on z->-z^5

Power nine formula[edit]

Fractal with z^9 Mandelbrot cross sections

This fractal has cross-sections of the power 9 Mandelbrot fractal. It has 32 small bulbs sprouting from the main sphere. It is defined by, for example:

x^9-36 x^7 (y^2+z^2)+126 x^5 (y^2+z^2)^2-84 x^3 (y^2+z^2)^3+9 x (y^2+z^2)^4 + x_0

y^9-36 y^7 (z^2+x^2)+126 y^5 (z^2+x^2)^2-84 y^3 (z^2+x^2)^3+9 y (z^2+x^2)^4 + y_0

z^9-36 z^7 (x^2+y^2)+126 z^5 (x^2+y^2)^2-84 z^3 (x^2+y^2)^3+9 z (x^2+y^2)^4 + z_0

These formula can be written in a shorter way:


and equivalently for the other coordinates.

Power nine fractal detail

Spherical formula[edit]

A perfect spherical formula can be defined as a formula:

(x,y,z)\rightarrow( f(x,y,z)+x_0, g(x,y,z) + y_0, h(x,y,z) + z_0 )


(x^2+y^2+z^2)^n = f(x,y,z)^2+ g(x,y,z)^2+h(x,y,z)^2

where f,g and h are nth power rational trinomials and n is an integer. The cubic fractal above is an example.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]