This Pioneering Fractal Artist is Returning to VR with a New Album Soon


It’s been a while since we last wrote about Julius Horsthuis, a visual effects artist who authored a series of fractal 360 videos for VR which are simply mind-blowing—both now and back in the good ol’ days of the Oculus Rift DK2 when we first experienced them. Now the Dutch artist announced a new album is coming to VR headsets sometime this year that’s slated to throw us head-first back into his contemplative fractal worlds.

Called ‘Recombinaton’, the VR album is set to fractal visuals created in Mandelbulb3D—par for the course with Horsthuis’ pareidolia-inducing creations that recall alien worlds, life, the universe, and everything.

The experience isn’t real-time rendered—that simply wouldn’t be possible given the level of detail. Instead, it’s been pre-rendered and captured in 180-degree, stereoscopic 3D video, which features 4,096 × 4,096 pixels per-eye at 60fps.

Back when Horsthuis announced the project in December, he said it was taking “a hell of a long time to render,” which is no surprise considering the level of detail and overall length. Recombination is set to be his longest VR experiences to date, clocking in at “well over 30 minutes.”

But what does it all mean? Horsthuis says Recombination explores “various themes in Physics, Math and Biology.” We’ll just have to wait find out more than that, it seems.

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Horsthuis published his first fractal video back in December 2013, however we’re more familiar with Foreign Nature from 2015, which was his first 360 fractal video made especially for VR headsets. Since then, Horsthuis has published nine VR shorts, ranging from five to ten minutes.

There’s no firm release date yet on Recombination—just “2022”. In the meantime we’ll be keeping eyes glued on the artists YouTube channel and Twitter.

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  • David Wilhelm

    Looks nice. If you enjoy psychedelic experiences be sure to also check out Bombyx, which is fully realtime with both Zero-G and Gravatar locomotion, sandbox shmup zones, and also features fractals, color cycling, point clouds, and procedural geometry in every single frame. Edge Alpha is live on Steam now!

    • xyzs

      Hum, that’s not the same level…
      The article is about beautiful fractals, this is N64 graphics with missing textures.

      • David Wilhelm

        Everything is textured, you’ll just have to look closer. It’s a game, rendered in realtime, not prerendered movie files.

        • xyzs

          Then the textures are ugly (to me).
          When the Matrix Awakens exists for free, this is hard to think this not.

          • David Wilhelm

            Have fun playing Matrix Awakens in VR!

          • xyzs

            Between eyesore vr and feature film flat, I choose flat 10 times indeed.
            VR is amazing, but only if the content is amazing too…

          • David Wilhelm

            Then you know that some experiences translate to screenshots easier than others. Of course there is no need for everyone to like the same thing. Fractals are awesome but as a big fan of both old school games and VR interactions like Echo Combat, Bombyx is rooted in interactivity at the heart of the experience. Just trying to share since there is some conceptual similarity in the window dressing. Hope you are well!

  • VRFriend

    good. better than gorilla stupid games

  • sfmike

    Really looking forward to this experience!

  • David Wilhelm

    How do you block people who always type in bold?

    • guest

      Maybe he’s a brother from another mother. I like these kind of apps.

  • Oh wow, this looks cool!

  • sntxrrr

    Can’t wait to see this one, it has indeed been a while.