Great Fractal Software

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated:

This page lists some excellent software for Fractals, IFS, L-systems.

Mandelbrot and Newton fractal varieties

For a basic explanation of The Mandelbrot Set without complex numbers, see Mandelbrot Set Explained (no complex number needed).

These are a type of fractal that iterates a function and see if it converges.

Fractal Domain screenshot
Fractal Domain by Denis C De Mars. 1024×768

Fractal Domain is one of the best fractal program on the Mac as of 2003. It can plot Mandelbrot and Julia sets, but also arbitrary formula for Rational, Newton, Harley types of fractals. It has a color map editor, and also parameter adjustments such as dwell value and orbit. It comes with a comprehensive documentation that explains the basic math of various fractal types and the program details. Author is Dennis C De Mars. (2003-10,2011-02) OSX

Gnu Xaos screenshot
Xaos screenshot.

Xaos is a real-time fractal zoomer. GNU FreeSoftware. Download at: OSX Win Linux

MandelbrotOrbits2 screenshot
David Eck's MandelbrotViewer

David Eck's MandelbrotViewer A great java applet. The features are not as rich as some dedicated fractal apps, but this one is written in java, by mathematician and java expert. It contains all the basic features such as zoom, color palette, plot size, setting of max iteration. and show a point's orbit. It is also well documented, comes complete with java source code. Author is David Eck. Comes with complete source code. Use it at (2006-07,2011-02) Java

Here's a another Mandelbrot set applet, made with GeoGebra. This applet does just one thing. It shows the orbit of a point. Author is Šime Šuljić. Use it at (2011-02-04,) Java

Google Julia Map. 2011-02-05 Am delighted that Google made a fractal app. As with Google's software, it's extremely easy to use. It's also browser based, so you don't need to download anything. Just go to the website and start seeing fancy pictures. However, the app is very basic. There's no features. For example, you can't even show the axis. And when zooming in, the resolution becomes fuzzy; you don't get to see the crispy edges. Also, best used with Google's browser Chrome. (Internet Explorer 8 won't work.) Use at OSX Win Linux

MandelbrotHP This is a Java applet that draws Mandelbrot set to arbitrary precision. Author is David Eck. Get the program here: MandelbrotHP.jar Get the source code here: (used with permission) Java

Fractal curves and L-Systems

flowsnake L-Systems plant Cantor curve
Gosper's flowsnake, Plant, Cantor's plane-filling curve, modeled thru L-Systems.

L-system is a string-rewriting system that can model recursive processes such as recursive geometric transformation.

koch toy screenshot
Koch Toy by Jim Burgess.

Koch Toy by Jim Burgess is another excellent simple program. It draws simple fractal curves like that of Koch snowflake. User drag points on a line and immediately see its effects after n iterations. The number of kinks can be adjusted by dragging the nodes. Clicking on a arrow button increase or decrease recursion depth. Home page: Mac (2003-10)

Vectal screenshot
Vactal by Viktor Massalogin

Vectal draws simple fractal curves like that of Koch snowflake. User drag points on a line and immediately see its effects after n iterations. One feature of Vectal not in the mac Koch Toy is that user can change the sided-ness of the fractal on each line. Win (2003-10)