Getting Started with Fractal eXtreme

Fractal eXtreme is a program that allows fast and easy exploration of Fractals. Our goal with Fractal eXtreme is to make it so that you can click, drag, and zoom your way through the beautiful complexity of fractal images, without waiting for calculations, and without having to learn cumbersome commands.

But what are fractals? Fractals are infinitely complicated images that arise from very simple steps. Just as a tree has a large trunk, branches coming off of the trunk, smaller branches coming off of those, and twigs coming off of those, fractals have similar (but not identical) details at many levels.

Understanding fractals can help scientists better understand the world we live in, but for our purposes they are pretty pictures with profoundly simple origins.

Exploring fractal images is all about seeing an interesting piece of detail and then zooming in to see it more closely. When you zoom in you may see another interesting piece of detail that you want to zoom into, you may want to pan over to a different area, you may want to zoom out and try somewhere else, or you may want to adjust the colours to bring out the details. These simple steps are all that you need to know to start having fun.

Using Fractal eXtreme is as simple as:

Selecting a fractal
From the File menu, click New to open the New Fractal dialog box, then click OK.

Zooming in on an area of interest
Zooming in is so crucial to fractal exploration that Fractal eXtreme provides several ways to do it. The most important methods are:

Panning (scrolling) around the fractal image
Click on the fractal image with the mouse and drag it around while holding down the mouse button.

Zooming out
Zooming is similar to zooming in. The main methods are:

Adjusting the colours
To adjust the mapping of calculated data to colours use the

These basic commands let you get started, but Fractal eXtreme has support for many more powerful ways of exploring, colouring, and animating fractals. For more ideas on navigation go to the How To section and look at the help topics in the Navigate Around sub-section.

The Fractal eXtreme help is available both in the installed help file and online at on the Cygnus Software website.