Many Fractal Teapot projects were either built or prototyped within the TouchDesigner environment. TouchDesigner is a Python-based, live visual programming environment for OpenGL rendering and compositing, signal processing, device-software interoperability, scripting and much more. Touch natively supports a wide range of standard communication protocols, graphical APIs and external devices; making it an ideal platform for rapidly building / prototyping real time interactive multimedia content.
Resolume Arena is a standard video compositing and projection mapping package. Resolume adopts the popular FFGL API for loading graphical plugins and effects. By developing an in-house boilerplate for the FFGL API it has been possible to dramatically expand the functionality of this software. At present there exist over 30 (and counting) specialist Fractal Teapot FFGL plugins. The benefits of these plugins range from providing high fidelity real-time effects to ray-tracing complex mathematical forms to extending 3D mapping capabilities. The Fractal Teapot FFGL boilerplate includes functionality for multi-pass, multi shader rendering, flight simulation controls, spout integration, external image loading, Kinect support, fulldome support and much, much more.
Unity is a cross-platform game engine, developed by Unity Technologies, capable of being deployed to over 25 platforms. Unity’s combination of a powerful physics engine and the latest in real-time rendering technologies makes it an ideal solution for graphically intensive projects. Fractal Teapot uses the Unity game engine for large scale projection mapping projects, creating augmented reality installations, app development and for efficient rendering of various media assets.
Fulldome technology takes advantage of a spherically curved projection surface to create immersive projection environments. Since the viewer’s field-of-view is filled by the surrounding hemispherical projections, the effect of augmenting reality is extremely compelling. Whilst the technology was initially developed for use in planetariums, its applications are by no means limited to exploring the heavens. Immersive fulldome technologies can be utilised more generally to create extraordinary educational, storytelling and entertainment environments. Fractal Teapot has worked with the IVT fulldome and the Vancouver planetarium. Furthermore, all Fractal Teapot ray-tracing software can be set to render in fulldome mode at the touch of a button.
Photogrammetric techniques are an invaluable toolset that make it possible to generate digitalised 3D models of real-world objects and scenes. The constructed models are equally useful for calculating a suitable projection arrangement prior to a show, as they are for creating the artwork and content itself. For example, a game engine (such as Unity) can be used to manipulate and render a photogrammetric model, before projecting it back onto the real-world surface. As such, given an arbitrarily complex, non-linear surface, this technique allows for pixel-perfect mapping; creating a truly augmented experience.
The fractal flame algorithm, published by Scott Draves in 1992, is an extended iterated function system that’s capable of producing graphical representations of a vast family of nonlinear mathematical structures. Fractal Teapot has been using and assisting in the development of fractal flame software since 2010. The process of creating a desired flame pattern is akin to drawing with a hall of mirrors, only the mirrors can be arbitrarily complex. With practice, it’s possible to use this system to ‘sculpt’ order from the algorithm’s process of chaotic feedback to produce a desired result. The Fractal Teapot Etsy page is full of examples of this work, which were created through a combination of Apophysis, Jwildfire and Fractorium.