Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A quick fractal Christmas Tree in Illustrator

Step 1: Make a thing. 
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I went with a leaf shape.

Step 2: Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform.  Make sure to preview, then make some copies of that leaf and scale ‘em down.  Add a reflect X, scale dimensions down to 90%, and put some Move Vertical, and with some tweaking you should get a fern-looking thing.
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Why does this remind me of the geometric series elves?

Step 3: Object > Expand Appearance so that the effect becomes materialized.  Select all, right-click and group that sucker.
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Step 4: Now for the fractal part: iterate!  I rotated my tree-looking thing 90º clockwise so it resembled the initial leaf.  Then I repeated the transformation to make a bunch of these tree things with a scale factor of 90%. 
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With 50 copies of a shape made of 50 parts, you’ll notice your computer start to slow down a bit.  I decided to stop while I was ahead… not a perfect fractal, but good enough for your Christmas card.

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