The End of an Era

Up until today I have always called myself VFX designer and Fractal Artist. After tomorrow, I will drop the first part of that title.

In my early twenties, I was working in film for several years, but quickly realized I would never be able to create what I wanted to do with the budgets that I could lay my hand on. I started out in the VFX industry because I felt it was another way to create worlds. Instead of having to build expensive film sets, I could create digital film sets myself, for only a fraction of the costs.

Tomorrow morning, I will go to my work at Hectic Electric for the last day as an employee. A place I have called home for a very long time, a place that helped me grow. The place where I rendered my very first fractal.

Back in 2004, when my life was working on film sets and VJ-ing, I met an unlikely and colorful character. Joe Broadbent was a talented creative director from the UK. He worked for a motion graphics company in Rotterdam and saw something in me. We agreed to work together, and he quickly taught me all the tricks in the 3d software 3Ds MAX.
He was quite direct but extremely eloquent – two traits that make for perfect critique. Looking at your own work though someone else’s eyes – seeing what’s wrong with a picture and why, is very valuable. Communicating ideas internally and to clients is another thing he excelled at. Although we haven’t worked together for about 6 years, I see him as my primary mentor.
He founded Carbon Media back in 2006, which was incorporated by Hectic Electric in ’09.

I feel I don’t need 3D Studio MAX anymore, as fractals have become my primary way to create worlds now, and I have decided to take the leap and see if it’s possible to make a living as a Fractal Artist. Realizing this is somewhat of a gamble: the software I use is not in development anymore and starting to become pretty outdated. And I haven’t yet seen anything new on the horizon that does what Mandelbulb3D does. I’m not worried about the future though. I want to keep exploring worlds, and the amount of encouragement I’ve had from many of you has been a blessing for me.

I will miss many things from my job as VFX designer, such as working on films as a VFX supervisor – something that I was very fortunate to have been asked to do. Most notably the Dutch fantasy road movie Koning van Katoren. But also, the internationally acclaimed drama Manchester by the Sea.
But more than that I will miss the people I have spent so many hours of my life with. The company’s founder, Marc Kubbinga of course, whom I owe so much gratitude for the many opportunities he’s given me. We will keep working close together in the future I'm sure.

But most significantly, I’ve had the immense pleasure to call two people my friends and colleagues for a period of no less than eleven years: Guido van Rijbroek and Lars Snelders, two extremely talented designers/models. Guido has always had a keen eye for anything to do with graphic design, and the variety of fresh styles that he seems to pull out of nowhere has commanded nothing but respect. Lars was my 3D buddy for a long time. We both worked in 3Ds MAX, and where I started looking at fractals, Lars focused on simulation software such as FumeFX and RealFlow.  He’s a wizard with fire and smoke simulations, but mainly known for his exquisite water simulations.

Guys, it’s been an honor to work with you and be a part of the solid and diverse skillset that we collectively developed together.

After I go home tomorrow evening, and close the door of that beautiful studio on the canals behind me, what shall I do?
Like I mentioned, I plan to focus on fractal art entirely.
Fulldome shows, VR films, festival exhibitions are pretty cool things to work on. But I will also take on other work: for ad agencies who have the balls to use fractals to sell a product – (car commercial on a fractal planet anyone?)

I really don’t know what the future of fractal art looks like, but if it looks like anything, I wouldn’t want to miss it for the world.

Julius Horsthuis