POVRay Fractal Raytracing Contest

Final Results

Maintained by Paul Bourke


The aim of this competition is to create a visually compelling image of a 3D fractal form using the POVRay raytacing program. Since fractals in general can only be approximated by computer graphics, the emphasis is to create as faithful a geometric representation as possible.

This is intended to be a friendly competition between POVRay aficionados and fractal enthusiasts. Over and above the respect and awe of her/his peers a prize will be awarded to the winner, namely "The Loom of God, Mathematical Tapestries at the Edge of Time" by Clifford Pickover.

Important dates

  • Entries may be submitted up to: midnight of the 17th April 2004. Closed!

  • Voting open to the public: from the 18th April 2004. Voting closed

  • Voting closes: 24th April 2004. Voting closed

  • Results released "soon" afterwards. Final Results


  • A valid entry will consist of a single text file less than 10,000 bytes in length. Entrants are encouraged to make use of the programming capabilities in POVRay rather than using datafiles.

  • Entries are limited to two per person, this is intended to encourage high quality entries rather than quantity.

  • The POVRay scene file entered must be totally self contained and not rely on any external files (eg: #include files or TTF files). This is mainly for the benefit of the entrants who therefore need not worry about the exact configuration of the machine the entries will be rendered on.

  • The image to be judged will be rendered using POVRay 3.5 running on a reasonably well endowed Linux machine, eg: dual processor 2.8Ghz P4 with 2GB RAM. The rendering process must take less than 10 hours on such a machine and use less than the 2GB or memory. If you think your entry may come close to these bounds then it is suggested you review your entry.


An entry to the contest will include the POVRay model, a title, and some optional comments. The only compulsary part of the entry is obviously the POVRay text, it is this file that will be rendered by POVRay at 800x800 pixels to form the image to be judged. The comments may include a description of the image, the motivation, any tricks employed, references, etc.

Each entry will be rendered with the default POVRay settings along with the following ".ini" file. The image will be rendered by POVRay to a TGA file and converted to ".jpg" using the UNIX "convert" program with the quality option set to 95%.


Voting is open to anyone, and there will be three prizes awarded based upon the number of votes received. Each person voting will choose their three favourite images in order of preference. A first choice will get 3 points, the second will get 2 points, and the third choice 1 point. The voting process will be made as transparent as possible, however the coordinator (me) exercises the right to decide upon any matter in dispute.

In addition to the above, a small panel of critics with either a professional digital arts background or with extensive fractal experience will be invited to vote independently and comment/critique entries they find notable. The members of the panel will be announced in due course.

After the winners have been announced, the top ranking images, source code, and any additional information provided by the entrant will be included on a WWW page in the form of a gallery.