Tuesday, June 20th, 2023 Posted by Jim Thacker

Machina Fractals plugins create 3D fractals in UE5

Originally posted on 5 June 2022. Scroll down for news of the new Machina Fractals: Mecha plugin.

Machina Infinitum has released Machina Fractals: Essence, an Unreal Engine add-on that enables users to generate and render animatable 3D fractals inside Unreal Engine 5.

The add-on provides nine individual fractal material ‘formulas’ of varying computational complexity, for uses ranging from abstract animations and live visual performances to games and VR environments.

Generate and render animatable 3D fractals in real time inside Unreal Engine 5
Founded by VFX artist Jesper Nybroe and computer scientist and VJ Matteo Scappin, Machina Infinitum creates tools for generating 3D fractals for use in motion graphics and visual effects.

Having initially focused on offline rendering – the firm’s other products are for Cinema 4D and OctaneRender – it has now moved into real-time workflows with Machina Fractals: Essence.

The add-on enables users to generate and render 3D fractals in real time inside Unreal Engine, using a set of nine customisable fractal materials.

The material formulas trade customisability against interactive performance, with six ‘Lite’ formulas optimised for real-time rendering, and three ‘Uber’ formulas aimed at offline rendering.

Each can be customised by adjusting parameters governing colour and form, or applying readymade colour palettes, triplanar textures or emission textures, and can be animated using Unreal Engine’s Sequencer.

The fractals can be rendered using Unreal Engine’s hybrid ray tracer, but currently, not the path tracer.

Suitable for use in motion graphics, live visuals and even as 3D environments
Potential use cases range from abstract animations, motion graphics and live visuals to game environments – although, obviously, the resulting forms are pretty stylised.

Some formulas are even fast enough to be used in VR environments: Machina Infinitum says that the Bulb Lite fractal runs in real time in VR on a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080, and others will work in VR “with some lag”.

As of Update 2, the plugin can convert the fractals it generates to actual 3D meshes, which can be used as collision objects inside Unreal Engine.

Updated 20 June 2023: Machina Infinitum has now released its second Unreal Engine fractal plugin, Machina Fractals: Mecha.

As well as providing six different fractal formulae, the new plugin includes a couple of more advanced features, including the option to generate PBR texture maps using the metallic-roughness workflow.

Unlike in Machina Fractals: Essence, it is also possible to loop parameters, enabling users to generate fractals that evolve continuously in real-time, for use in live projections and VJ sets.

The plugin ships with three VJ example levels and two Blueprint templates for VJ projects.

As with Machine Fractals: Essence, it can also be used to generate collisions meshes for games, and is designed to integrate with both Houdini and the free Houdini Engine plugin for Unreal Engine.

Pricing and system requirements
Machina Fractals: Essence is compatible with Unreal Engine 5.0+, Machine Fractals: Mecha with Unreal Engine 5.1+. Machina Infinitum recommends at least a Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Ti GPU and/or 8GB VRAM.

Machine Fractals: Essence now costs $99.99. Machine Fractals: Mecha costs $119.99.

Read more about the Machina Fractals plugins on Machina Infinitum’s website