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Authors: Peter Francis, Keir Lockridge
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Iterated Function System Fractal Generator

The fractal approximations that can be generated here are fixed points of contraction mappings, more specifically, sets of affine linear transformations T:R2R2T:\mathbb{R}^2\to\mathbb{R}^2, each of the form T(x)=Ax+bT(\vec{x})=A\vec{x}+\vec{b}, where AA is a 2×22\times2 matrix and x\vec{x} and b\vec{b} are vectors in R2\mathbb{R}^2. Each transformation from R2(R2×{1})\mathbb{R}^2(\cong\mathbb{R}^2\times\{1\}) to itself can be represented as a block 3×33\times 3 matrix, in the form [Ab01].\begin{bmatrix}A& \vec{b}\\0 & 1\end{bmatrix}. The composition of transformations corresponds to the multiplication of these block matrices.

Method of Iterating Figures: Given a set of transformations and a set containing one initial figure in R2\mathbb{R}^2, a fractal approximation can be obtained by repeatedly replacing the figures in the set with the result of applying each of the transformations to the figures of the set. Through an infinite number of iterations, the plot obtained by plotting the contents of the set of figures will approach the fractal. Numerically, if there are tt transformations, after the nnth iteration, there are tnt^n figures in the figure set.

Method of Iterating Points: Given a set of transformations and an initial point in R2\mathbb{R}^2, select a random transformation from the set, apply the transformation to the point, and plot the point. An approximation of a fractal can be obtained by repeating this process with the point that was previously plotted since successive points will be closer to be in the fractal. We can also introduce an array of weights that correspond to the probability of selecting of each transformation in the set. Different weights will producing differently shaded approximate images of the fractal. Numerically, regardless of the number of transformations, after the nnth iteration, there will be n+1n+1 points plotted.

While both methods will produce the fractal after infinite iterations, the method of iterating points is generally much faster.

Using this IFS Generator

Import the generator library ifsFractals

from ifsFractals import *

Define some contraction transformations as 3×33\times 3 matrices (as numpy arrays) or compose some of the built-in transformations using numpy array multiplication @. The following are built-in transformations:

  • Scale(s) : (x,y)(sx,sy)(x,y)\to(sx,sy)
  • Translate(h,k): (x,y)(x+h,y+k)(x,y)\to(x+h,y+k)
  • Rotate(theta): (x,y)(xcosθysinθ,xsinθ+ycosθ)(x,y)\to(x\cos\theta-y\sin\theta, x\sin\theta+y\cos\theta)
  • ShearX(t) : (x,y)(x+ty,y)(x,y)\to(x+ty,y)
  • ShearY(t) : (x,y)(x,xt+y)(x,y)\to(x,xt+y)
  • ScaleX(s) : (x,y)(sx,y)(x,y)\to(sx,y)
  • ScaleY(s) : (x,y)(x,sy)(x,y)\to(x,sy)
  • ScaleXY(s,t) : (x,y)(sx,ty)(x,y)\to(sx,ty)

Remember, the order that when composed, the transformations will be applied from right to left

T1 = np.array([[0.7, 0., 0.15], [0., 0.7, 0.3],[0., 0., 1.]])
T2 = Translate(0.35,0) @ Rotate(np.pi/4) @ Scale(0.35*np.sqrt(2))
T3 = Translate(0.3,0.35) @ Rotate(-np.pi/4) @ Scale(0.35*np.sqrt(2))
T4 = Translate(0.45,0.2) @ ScaleXY(1/10,3/10)

Create a list of the transformations.

T = [T1, T2, T3, T4]

Use check_transformations(transformations) with transformations the list of transformations to verify that each of the transformations in the list is in fact a contraction mapping. More documentation on this here: OpNorm.pdf, written by Prof. Keir Lockridge of Gettysburg College.

check_transformations(T, mode)

If mode is set to 'pretty', will print the response in colors and if set to 'quiet', will return a boolean value, True or False

I. Creating a Fractal Image

A. Iterating Figures

Define a 33 by ww numpy array whose columns are points of the form (x,y,1)(x,y,1), where (x,y)(x,y) is in R2\mathbb{R}^2, and whose consecutive columns define line segments in an initial figure. The following figure is built-in.

Box = np.array([ [0, 0, 1], [1, 0, 1], [1, 1, 1], [0, 1, 1], [0, 0, 1], [1/8, 1/8, 1], [1/8-1/16, 1/8+1/16, 1] ]).T

rect(n) will return ScaleY(1/n) @ Box.

Use the function generate_figures(n, figures, transformations) with n the number of iterations, figures a list initial figures, and transformations the list of transformations, to generate a list of figures (numpy arrays).

figuresToPlot = generate_figures(5,[Box],T)

Use the function plot_figures(figuresToPlot, size, width , colour, path) with figuresToPlot the figures to plot, and optionally the size, width of the line, color and path, to display and save the plot. The default value for size is 5, width is 1, color is 'blue', and path is 'TRASH.png'.

plot_figures(figuresToPlot, size=10, width=.8, colour='red', path='Saved Fractals/leafFractal.png')

B. Iterating Points

Optionally, define a 'weights' numpy array with the elements corresponding to the probability of selecting of each transformation in the list of transformations. Be sure that the elements of the weights array sum to one and is the same length as the list of transformations.

WT = np.array([0.64,0.12,0.12,0.12])

If a function has a weights array as an input, and none is given, the default is an evenly distributed array with the same number of elements as the length of transformations. The function to create such an array is make_eq_weights(n). For example,


returns array([0.25, 0.25, 0.25, 0.25]).

1. Using the Fractal class

Create an instance of the Fractal class for the list of transformations, and optionally the weights, size, and color. The default is for evenly distributed weights, size = 10 and color='blue'.

leafFractal = Fractal(T, weights=WT, size=10, color='green')

To add points to the fractal image, implement add_points(n) with the n the number of points to be added. This does not save point coordinates once they have been plotted onto the image. (See 2. Pre-Plotting Calculation for a method to save point coordinates).


Optionally, add points only in a specific frame by implementing add_points(n,frame) with the n the number of points to be added and frame=np.array([Xmin, Xmax, Ymin, Ymax]) a numpy array with the bounds of the frame.

leafFractal.add_points(500000, np.array([.3, .7, .2, .4]))

To save the fractal image, use save_pic(path) with path the path of the image to be saved.


To display a small scale of the fractal image, implement display_pic(). This not guaranteed to work in a command line Python interface.


To see the developement of the fractal (how many points have been plotted) call the developement attribute.


To calculate the fractal dimension, implement dimension(n, startSize, endSize, samples) with n the number of points added, startSize the initial size and endSize the final size. The default values are 3_000_000, 2, and 100 respectively. Samples defaults to (the maximum number of) exponentially-spaced integers between startSize and endSize including startSize + 1. For more information on fractal dimension see 3b1b video on fractals here.

To return the number of dark pixels in the fractal image, implement dark_pixels().


2. Pre-Plotting Calculation

If needed it is possible to calculate and save the coordinates of points before plotting them. This might be helpful if a very large number of points is being computed but an optimal size to plot them is unknown. However, this requires more memory to be used. To do this, use generate_points(n, transformations, startingPoint, weights, frame), where startingPoint, weights, and frame are optional. startingPoint must be a numpy array of the form np.array([x,y,1]) where (x,y)(x,y) is in R2\mathbb{R}^2. This function returns a 2-tuple with the x and y coordinates of the n points generated.

points = generate_points(100000, T, startingPoint=np.array([1.,1.2,1.]), weights=WT, frame=np.array([.3, .7, .2, .4]))

To load the points into an instance of the Fractal class, use load_in_points(externalArray, frame), where externalArray is the array of points previously generated and frame is optional.

leafFractal.load_in_points(points, frame=np.array([.3, .7, .2, .4]))

To display the points generated without using a Fractal, use plot_points(points, size, colour, path) similar to plot_figures. This will display and save the image.

plot_points(points, size = 15, colour='green', path='Saved Fractals/leafFractal.png')

To save the plot of points without displaying it, use save_points(points, size, colour, path) similar to plot_points.

save_points(points, size = 15, colour='green', path='Saved Fractals/leafFractal.png')

II. Application Projects

A. Word Fractals

Use word_fractal(string) to create a list of transformations for a word fractal of string. Note that string will default to uppercase.

T = word_fractal('NAME')
Name = Fractal(T)

B. Creating a Zoom GIF

Create an instance of the Fractal class. Use make_gif(name, n, zoom, frames, zoomPoint) with (optionally) name the filename of the GIF file that will be saved, n the number of points in each frame of the GIF, zoom the maximum zoom level, frames the number of frames in the GIF (note that the GIF will have 10 fps), and zoomPoint the point on the fractal that will be zoomed into. The default value of name is 'GIF', n is 100_000, zoom is 2, and frames is 7. zoomPoint will default to the center of the fractal image. Make sure there is a folder 'Saved Fractals' with a subfolder 'For Zoom' in your working directory.

leafFractal.make_gif(name='GIF', n=100_000, zoom=2, frames=7, zoomPoint=None)