Sci-fi short's epic visuals generated by computer at random

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Mar 26, 2021, 2:03 PM EDT (Updated)

At first glance, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this computer-generated sci-fi short, Fraktaal, was created by a long-suffering animator hunched over in a studio using 3D software. But in reality, it was a lot simpler. Well, sort of.

VFX supervisor and designer Julius Horsthuis posted the short on Vimeo earlier this week and revealed that he left all the hard work to a computer that was able to conjure the alien world thanks to employing complicated mathematical fractal patterns.

“It so happens that I’m a lazy animator,” Julius Horsthuis confesses in the vid's description. “Using fractals, I can conjure up entire worlds without having to draw or model anything. These shapes hide in the formulas, they exist in a mathematical reality, all I need to do is explore those worlds and make them reveal themselves.”

The film is billed as a “fantasy sci-fi short without a story,” but who needs a story when you’re still busy wrapping your head around the very concept that what you’re seeing is the result of a part-man, part-machine collaboration?

The sprawling landscape looks as though it could be the backdrop to an up-and-coming sci-fi epic, and as Horsthuis says himself, the discovery of this technology “has become one of the most thrilling aspects of digital filmmaking.”

Let us know below what you think of these stunning visuals, and their futuristically freakish origins.