Thankfully, in the age of computers, we don't have to do this by hand. Of course, this means you'll need software for creating fractals. Most of the images you will see on the Infinite Fractal Loop were created with one of the following programs:

Ultra Fractal
This new fractal program is one of the most flexible and capable fractal programs available for Windows. It is easy to use, produces true color images, and supports layering, a fast formula compiler, importing of FractInt parameters and formulas, and many other features. It is shareware ($35).

FractInt is "the" program for making fractals for a lot of artists. It's fairly fast, it has lots of different fractal types, and if you run out of fractal types, it has a good formula parser that lets you write your own. However, FractInt is not easy for the novice user to learn, and it is limited to 256-color images. The DOS version is most current, but Windows and UNIX versions are also available. FractInt is free.

Fractal eXtreme
Fractal eXtreme (FX) is a very easy-to-use program for Windows. Learning to use the program is a snap. It's also very fast, but it doesn't have nearly as many features as FractInt, is also restricted to 256-color images, and it's shareware ($34.95).

Tiera-Zon, GrafZViZion, and SterlingWare
These are a collection of free DOS and Windows programs that have a lot of options not found in other fractal programs. The programmer (Stephen Ferguson) releases new software frequently. Several of these programs produce images in 24-bit color.

This program's most interesting feature is its real-time zooming. XaoS is excellent for getting a feel for the exploration of fractals—and it's just cool (and fun!) to zoom smoothly. It also contains a lengthy, animated introduction to fractals. XaoS is available for many different computer platforms, and is free.

This is the latest software from Terry Gintz. It runs in Windows, and generates fractals in 24-bit color with a wide range of options and a formula parser. It is notable for its extensive support of hypercomplex and quaternion fractals, its smooth shading, and its support of FractInt parameter and formula files.

Fractal Domains
This program (formerly called FracPPC) for Power Macintosh systems is fast and friendly. It will automatically anti-alias fractal images, too. It's shareware ($20).

This list is by no means exhaustive—a more complete list is kept in the sci.fractals FAQ. There are a lot of other programs out there.
         Once you've selected some software, you'll need to learn how to use it, and start exploring. There's plenty of territory yet to explore, places that people have never been, images that people have never seen. Most people start out with the Mandelbrot set, the most common fractal type.

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