I remember playing around with Fractint on my DOS box some long years ago. It sometimes took hours to generate those Mandelbrot and Julia images, but it was somehow fascinating. Fractint seems to be dead now. I have no idea why it died and when exactly it died. Anyways, other programs have taken the place of Fractint. One of them is Ultra Fractal. It does all Fractint did and several things more. Another program is Apophysis
Apophysis is different from Fractint and Ultra Fractal because it generates a wholly different world of fractals. It generates fractal flames. I haven’t looked into the used algorithms and I really don’t know why they are called flames. To me they really don’t look like flames. Mandelbrot and Julia images aren’t surprising anymore. They all look similar because they are only parts of the same never changing things. You can choose nice colors, use other tools to generate landscapes of them, but they stay what they are and people who have seen many of those images in the past recognize those fractals in new images. Fractal flames seem to have far more variations. Ok, I have seen many Apophysis images up to now. So when I see one I know that it is one, but they aren’t getting boring yet and again and again I see new ones that really look great. Maybe it’s because the used algorithms are far more complicated and many things can be changed. At the generation of Mandelbrot images you can only specify which part of it you want to zoom into. When creating fractal flames you can specify of what components they will be build and each of those components has again a great number of properties to play with.
BTW: Don’t let the quality of the preview put you off of playing with Apophysis. You have to render the images. The preview is only a preview. Rendering takes more time, but the generated images are really great.
One of the greatest artists when it comes to Apophysis is Tom Wilcox. I call him an artist because though it’s technically only choosing the right numbers, IMHO it is a kind of art to choose the right numbers here.