Fractal Software Programs & Generators
There are many fractal generators, or software programs, to choose from if you are interested in making, or creating, fractal art. Each of these fractal programs have advantages and disadvantages, and often offer features which are unique to that individual program. Some of these fractal generators are free, others are shareware/trialware, where you can use them for a limited time, or with limited features available. I have given brief descriptions for these fractal programs, and also my "take" for the ones that I have used.
On this page you can download, or find links to download, most of the major fractal software available for both Windows & MAC operating systems. You will also find online fractal generators where you can explore fractals online and in real time.
I often get asked questions about software programs indirectly related to fractals. These questions are often directed at post processing images, converting image formats, how to unzip the downloaded programs etc., so I have also included several other software programs that you may find helpful.
If you have questions about the fractal creation process, which programs I recommend etc. be sure to check out my FAQ page, which should help answer many of your questions!>
Click on titles below for program descriptions and links to programs.
NOTE: Offsite links listed in the descriptions below will open in new browser tab, or window.
Free Fractal Screen Saver!
This was my first fractal screensaver, and it's free for you to download and keep, enjoy! This screen saver features my original fractal art images and has the following user configurable options: 100 selectable transition effects, resampling for different monitor resolutions, customizable music options, image display time delay options, multiple monitor support, full install/uninstall feature, and more. This screensaver has been updated for 2011 and is for use on Windows operating systems.
Click on image to the left to download!
You can also find another 13 award winning fractal screen savers at Seattle Fractals Digital Art.
Windows Fractal Software Programs & Fractal Generators
- Tiera-zon (& other Stephen Fergusons' Programs) (Shareware)
- Tiera-zon is my favorite fractal program & the one that I have used for years to create the majority of the fractals on this website. I have written several tutorials for using this program and and I love the type of fractals that this program produces. Special thanks to Stephen Ferguson for this great program! Stephen has many other fractal programs besides Tiera-zon that you may wish to try out, and which I highly recommend. These programs used to be offered free, but he now charges a very reasonable fee ($35.00 U.S.) to download all of his programs, over 30 different fractal programs. Well worth the price!
- XenoDream (Shareware with free trial)
- XenoDream. This amazing program is unique in that it allows you to create 3D IFS fractals. You do not use formulas as in most fractal programs, instead you work with visual building blocks called Holons, and conventional operations such as scale, rotation and position, creating what I call, "Fractal Scupltures". This program has an abundance of additional features including lighting effects, layers, metamorphs, filters, animations, and many other advanced graphics type program features. There is now a trial version of this software. A very fun and adictive program! You can see some of the fractals that I have created with this program from the Fractal Galleries page. I have also written a basic tutorial using this program, check out the tutorials page. Cost: $119.00
- Ultra Fractal (Shareware with free trial)
- Ultra Fractal is undoubtably the most feature rich fractal program available. A feature that set this program apart early on was the ability to produce layers with an image, which previously was only a graphics program feature. This program now features the ability to create animations, an advanced coloring system, excellent help files and a widely used support database. Because of the layering capability, virtually all fractals that you see from this program are not a "pure" fractal image, but a mosaic, or composite of many images. However, from an artitstic standpoint, this is a great feature, and opens new avenues for creativity. An excellent program. Cost: $139.00 for full version
- Fractal Explorer (Free)
- Fractal Explorer is an excellent and popular freeware program that generates fractal images and animations. With FE you can generate polynomial/iteration sets (Mandelbrot/Julia/Newton-like), orbital fractals, Iterated Function System (IFS), fractal landscapes and three-dimensional "strange" attractors. This program is probably the most feature rich freeware program currently available.
- Xaos (Free)
- XaoS is a real-time interactive fractal zoomer, and allows you to zoom easily and smoothly into the fractal. It displays many different fractal types, including Mandelbrot, Barnsley, Newton, Phoenix, and many more. This program produces excellent "classic" looking fractals. A fun program.
- Apophysis (Free)
- Apophysis is a free Windows program for creating the unusal Fractal Flames and IFS fractals. It can be used in conjunction with the Ultra Fractal program. Virtually no help files currently available within the program, but some tutorials available elsewhere. See my Resource page for tutorial & forum links.
- Fractal Science Kit - Fractal Generator (Shareware)
- Fractal Science Kit is a fractal generator that generates a fractal image from a set of properties that you can set to control the fractal generation process. Example properties include the type of fractal, the size of the image, and parameters to control orbit generation, data normalization, oversampling, embossing, smoothing, gamma correction, etc. I have not yet tried this program, but looks like it offers an extensive list of options.
- ChaosPro (Free)
- ChaosPro is a real time freeware fractal generator with support for many different fractal types (2D and 3D), true color support, animation support. Due to its integrated compiler it is quite fast even if you write your own formulas within ChaosPro. Excellent free program.
- Visions Of Chaos (Shareware)
- Visions Of Chaos is a professional high end software application for Windows. It is simple enough for people who do not understand the mathematics behind it, but advanced enough for fractal enthusiasts to tweak and customise to their needs. I have not tried this program but it looks very interesting. It can create animations, 3D modeling etc. Cost: $45.00
- Mind Boggling Fractals (Free)
- Mind Boggling Fractals LE. This is the free "Lite" version of the Mind Boggling Fractals program written by Paul Carlson. Paul is no longer selling the full version, but you can download the light version from this link: MBF Lite
- Chaoscope (Free)
- Chaoscope is a 3D strange attractors rendering software. This program creates 3D fractal forms.
- Mandelbulber (Free)
- Mandelbulber is a fractal program designed to help you render 3D Mandelbrot fractals such as the Mandelbulb and some other kind of 3D fractals like the Mandelbox, BulbBox, JuliaBulb, Menger Sponge, and Iterated Function Systems (IFS). Features include: Complex 3D shading, hard shadows, ambient occlusion, environment mapping, fog, Depth of Field, Key-frame animations. I have not yet tried this program, but looks very cool and similar to Incendia & XenoDream.
- Mandelbulb3D (Free)
- Mandelbulb 3D is a free software application created for 3D fractal imaging. MB3D formulates dozens of nonlinear equations into an amazing range of fractal objects. The 3D rendering environment includes lighting, color, specularity, depth-of-field, shadow- and glow- effects; allowing the user fine control over the imaging effects.
- Incendia (Free)
- Incendia is a 3D Multiprocessor Fractal Engine that allows you to explore the realm of the 3D fractals. Although I have not yet used this program it appears to be similar to XenoDream. The author of the program is offering the current beta version free.
- Fractint/WinFract (Free)
- Fractint was one of the first and most widely used fractal programs. It used a DOS format, but could generate some beautiful images, and the first fractals I saw were generated with this program. Winfract is the updated Windows version of the program.
- Sterling 2 (Free)
- Sterling2 is based on Stephen Ferguson's Sterling fractal program. Tad Boniecki took the core program and replaced the old formulas with new ones, which allows for new, interesting explorations of fractals.
- Fractice (Free)
- Fractice is a free, open-source fractal explorer/renderer for XP/Vista/Win7. It supports navigation, history thumbnails, previews, antialiasing, deep zoom, printing, posters, palettes, multicore and distributed processing, movie recording, undo/redo, color cycling, and job control. It also has VJ features, such as mixing, mirroring, origin motion, palette tweening, dual-monitor, and MIDI.
- Fractal Forge (Free)
- Fractal Forge, Uberto Barbini's freeware fractal program offering a number of nice features and also has a tutorial on site for it's use.
- Mandala Explorer (Free)
- Mandala Explorer. Russell Cottrell has written a small program, only 563 KB download size, that enables you to draw various fractal image types as well as produce animations.
- Mandelbrot Explorer (Free)
- Mandelbrot Explorer is free software, allowing the exploration of the Mandelbrot Set and the Julia Sets. With it, you can magnify selected areas of any of these fractal images - up to a massive magnification of 10 13 (that's 10,000,000,000,000)!
- Kaos Rhei (Free)
- Kaos Rheiis a program for rendering fractal images which can be used in as stand-alone images, textures or bump maps for 3D rendering. It currently supports more than a dozen different fractal types. 256 color mode. Link is to a software site that offers this program, the old site is no longer available.
- Gimp (Free)
- Gimpis a graphics program and not a true fractal generator, but it does have a flame plugin which enables you to make "very cool" flame fractals.
- Terry Gintz Programs (Shareware)
- Terry Gintz has written a number of fractal 3D modeling programs. He offers several "packages" that combine different sets of his programs, or they can be ordered individually. Cost: Programs range in price from around $45.00 to well over a hundred.
- Mark Eggleston Programs (Freeware)
- Mark Eggleston has written two fractal programs, Saturn and Titan, used in conjunction with each other. Saturn is used for fractal exploration, the saved Saturn images can then be opened by Titan which is used to produce much higher resolution images up to around 700 Megapixels. I have not yet tried these programs, but looks promising. Mark has additional fractal information on his blog.( Available for both Windows & Linux operating systems )
- JWildfire (Freeware) is an image and animation processor written in Java, creating 3D and Flame fractals.
MAC Fractal Software Programs & Fractal Generators
Disclaimer: I do not own a MAC and have not used most of these programs. Some of the programs listed here are programs that have been around for a long time, and may not work on newer versions of MAC. Programs toward the top of the list are newer programs. Some of the links are to direct file downloads, some are to the authors webpages, use at your own risk! I cannot offer any advice, or help with these programs, unless they are also Windows based, like Xaos.
You may also be able to run the Windows fractal programs listed above on MAC computers using Apple's Boot Camp.
- Gnofract 4D (Freeware for Linux & MAC)
- Gnofract 4D looks like a very feature rich, modern program. It features an easy to use interface and also supports Fractint and UltraFractal formulas and coloring algorithms so you can use the many thousands of formulas written for those packages. It runs on Unix-based systems such as Linux and FreeBSD, and can also be run on Mac OS X
- Mandelbulber (Free)
- Mandelbulber is a fractal program designed to help you render 3D Mandelbrot fractals such as the Mandelbulb and some other kind of 3D fractals like the Mandelbox, BulbBox, JuliaBulb, Menger Sponge, and Iterated Function Systems (IFS). Features include: Complex 3D shading, hard shadows, ambient occlusion, environment mapping, fog, Depth of Field, Key-frame animations. I have not yet tried this program (It is also for Windows systems) but looks very cool and similar to XenoDream.
- MandelZot (Free)
- MandelZot Draws both Mandelbrot sets and Julia sets.
- Fractal Domains Generator (Shareware)
- Fractal Domains can generate color images of the most popular fractal, the Mandelbrot set, and also generate images of the associated Julia sets. You can also generate an unlimited variety of fractal types based on rational functions, including fractals based on Newton's method and Halley's method. Cost: $20.00
- FractalWorks (Shareware)
- FractalWorks Fractalworks is a high performance, universal fractal rendering program for Macintosh. It is multithreaded, which means it takes advantage of all the cores in a multi-processor machine. Available in the MAC App store. Cost: $9.99
- Spangfract (Free)
- Spangfract This link will take you to the user group on Yahoo where you can post questions, share info etc.
- Oxidizer (Free)
- Oxidizer is a free open source fractal flame editor for the Apple Macintosh, running OSX 10.4 or greater.
- Xaos Fractal Generator (Free)
- XaoS, ported to MAC & Windows, is a real-time interactive fractal zoomer, and allows you to zoom easily and smoothly into the fractal. It displays many different fractal types, including Mandelbrot, Barnsley, Newton, Phoenix, and many more. This program produces excellent "classic" looking fractals. A fun program.
- Gerry's Mandelbrot Set (Free)
- Gerry's Mandelbrot Set features Julia Sets * Iterated Functions Systems * Fractal Trees * The Lorenz Attractor * The Feignbaum Bifurcation Diagram * The Newton's Method for finding the roots of a polynomial fractal (up to 16 roots) * Martin's Mapping (Hopalong) & creates Quicktime movies. OS X version too.
- Easy Fractal (Shareware)
- Easy Fractal Zoom into the Mandelbrot set, check out the corresponding Julia set, play with the colors, try a different function. Comes with a collection of preset parameter files, some of which are interesting and rather unusual. Available in German and English versions for both the Classic OS and OS X. Cost: $30.00
- Aros Magic (Free)
- Aros Magic With Aros Fractals you can explore some classical fractal images at extremely high resolutions (physical size and color depths).
- MandleAcid 2.0 (Free)
- MandleAcid is an older freeware fractal program for the Mac platform.
- Julia O' Matic (Free)
- Julia O' Matic draws Julia sets and the Mandelbrot. You can click on the Mandelbrot to see the corresponding Julia, as well as magnify them both.
- FractalAsm (Free)
- FractalAsmA fast, generalized fractal exploration program that lets you explore any 2D dynamical system. The above image was created in FractalAsm. Currently written definitions are Mandelbrot, Julia, Newton's method on polynomials, magnets, Henon dynamical plane; adding your own is also quite simple. Also can create movies.
- Fractastic - Fractals Program (Free)
- Full screen fractal drawing program for the Macintosh that can draw the famous Mandelbrot, Julia and Newton equations among others. It allows you to zoom in real time, change the colors and save images. Classic only, no MAC X version.
- Object Mandelbrot (Free)
- Object Mandelbrot Zooms into the Mandelbrot set and can draw the corresponding Julia set. Reported to be fast with dynamic zooming.
- MandelBrowser, Mandella, MicroMandella. (Free)
- MandelBrowser, Mandella, MicroMandella. Mandelbrot sets, Julia sets, Newton's method, and a few others. Over 50 different sets and numerous color schemes. Fast, PPC native code. Mandella is an older 68k version that also draws strange attractors. MicroMandella is a stripped-down version that requires an FPU. Mandella was once sold with a book (now out of print) called Fractals for the Macintosh published by Waite Group Press (now a part of Macmillan Computer Publishing).
- Julia's Dream (Free)
- Julia's Dream generates real-time images of Julia sets as you roam around the complex plane with your cursor.
- MandelBrain (Free)
- MandelBrain Explore the Mandelbrot set. Comes with more preset color palettes than many other program.
- Floating Fractals (Free)
- Floating Fractals Zoom in and explore 11 different fractals. Fast and easy to use.
Online & Misc. Fractal Generators
Online fractal generators are a great way to quickly explore fractals for free, and without installing any programs on your computer. Check these sites out!
- Fractalia is a very cool online fractal generator created by Ladi. Check it out! Note: This requires Microsoft's free Silverlight Plug-In for your web browser in order to work.
- The Fractal Microscope
- Fractal Microscope Another very cool online generator, with many options to experiment with.
- Black Saturn Mandelbrot Set Explorer
- Black Saturn Mandelbrot Set Explorer Another nice online fractal explorer. This one requires Java to be installed which is usually installed already on most computers.
- Julia Sets Explorer
- Julia sets explorer is a great way to easily see what julia sets are gereated within the mandelbrot set.
- Mandelbrot Explorer
- Mandelbrot Explorer A simple explorer that allows zooms into the Mandelbrot set.
- Mandelbrot & Julia Set Explorer
- Mandelbrot Julia Set Explorer This is a nice little online generator which instantly displays a Julia Set for any area in the Mandelbrot set. It also has some additional paramters that you can set.
- Mandelbrot Deep Zoom (Freeware for Linux)
- Mandelbrot Deep Zoom is a Mandelbrot Set explorer and image renderer. Unlike other similar software for Linux, mdz is the only application that allows you to zoom in deeper than your hardware's native floating point support allows. MDZ uses the GMP and MPFR libraries for multiple-precision floating-point computations to allow deep exploration of the M-Set beyond where ordinary precision floating-point calculations fall apart.
I will list programs (non-fractal) here that I think are useful and may be of interest!
- Irfanview is a very fast, small, compact and innovative FREEWARE (for non-commercial use) graphics program for Windows 9x, ME, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7. This small program can be used to save image files in different file formats, resize, change gamma, color, contrast etc. It can also use Photoshop plugins to expand the graphic editing potenial for this program. In short, it will preform many basic graphics editing functions that come in handy when you are working with fractal images. Highly recomended for a lightweight, easy to use, free graphics program.
- Pixia is a free drawing and image editing software program. If you wish to do more extensive image editing this program supports unlimited layers, 10240*10240 pixels layout, effect plug-ins(also accept Photoshop's plug-ins), undo 100 times. Also can working with your TWAIN devices (eg. Scanner or Digital Camera and Digitizer.) NOTE: The link will take you to CNET to download the program. I have not used this program, but looks like a great alternative to more costly programs.