Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

“Fractal” cat: artificial schizophrenia?

[“Electric Fuzz“, Copyright Steve Owen, (ozonephoto.US)]

A beautiful image… and impressive because it’s just a normal photo of a cat processed with an image filter. That is, just computer generated art, without that which those naked apes call “artistic soul” or something.

The image filter is “Fractalius” for Photoshop, that describes its effects as “based on extraction of so-called hidden fractal texture of an image”, whatever that means, as they won’t reveal the details of the commercial filter. Altering its parameters and depending on the source image, the end results can be inspiring as the cat above. It seems to work specially well with long fur animals.


I have the impression that it’s as if this computer image filter process the image much like our brain does. It extracts contours, but in a more sophisticated way in relation to the crude filters commonly used. But it’s just an intuitive impression.

Fact is the processed cat looks very much like the famous stylized cats of Louis Wain:


Wain’s art, and in particular, the different ways with which he portrayed cats in his paintings is commonly quoted as a textbook example of how mental illness affected his perception. He was, by the way, diagnosed ad a schizophrenic.

Reevaluations of his case suggest, however, that perhaps his diagnosis was not so precise. And more importantly, the progressive abstraction in his works is not well established.

Rodney Dale, Wain’s biographer, writes that “Wain experimented with patterns and cats, and even quite late in life was still producing conventional cat pictures, perhaps 10 years after his [supposedly] ‘later’ productions which are patterns rather than cats.”

One more fractalius cat for comparison and appreciation:


You can see more images processed with Fractalius here, or on Flickr.

UPDATE: The top image was used without permission, but the author has now kindly authorized its use, with credits added. If you own any image used in this post, please contact the editor, I will gladly correct the credits.

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Posted in Miscelaneous,Science | 11 comments

11 Comments so far

  1. pickover (Cliff Pickover) December 28th, 2008 6:46 am

    Fractal cats from higher dimensions penetrate our dreams. http://tinyurl.com/9fh3h3

  2. otisfunkmeyer (Otis Funkmeyer ) December 28th, 2008 10:49 am

    Checking out awesome fractal cat art! http://tinyurl.com/9fh3h3

  3. […] Info: Forgetomori […]

  4. Dr_Wolf (Dr_Wolf) December 30th, 2008 12:55 am

    Fractal plugin for photoshop http://tinyurl.com/9fh3h3 cool cat pics made with it

  5. Lauren December 31st, 2008 1:59 am

    There is not a fractilus for Mac versions. How sad.

  6. ionamerica (ionamerica) January 2nd, 2009 8:29 am

    Found fractalish schizophrenical pictures of cats: http://tinyurl.com/9fh3h3

  7. […] + “Fractal” cat: artificial schizophrenia? […]

  8. […] Fractal Cat: Artificial Schizophrenia? […]

  9. Steve January 28th, 2010 11:59 pm

    The first big image on this page was used without permission (it is copyrighted and you placed a large copy of the photo on your page without permission or attribution). It is my image and is located here:


  10. wally January 29th, 2010 2:49 am

    hey asshole, how about giving credit to the people who created those images…you asshole

  11. Mori January 29th, 2010 6:46 am

    My bad.

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