Math + Making

A student blog for Math 189AH: Making Mathematics at Harvey Mudd College

Fractile in PIL and Pinhole Cameras

Ashrit Panditaradyula
Jonathon Roberts

In this blog, Ashrit and King swap projects and learn about each other’s.

What I learned about Drawing Fractile in PIL by Ashrit Panditaradyula: 

While working with King, he introduced me to the Mandelbrot set fractile. I read up on it online and it was very interesting. A short overview of it is that Mandelbrot set is a set of complex numbers, c, that may seem complicated, but can actually be defined simply to make elegant pictures that can be very complex. They can also be a tool that can make beautiful landscapes or potential scenery that can be modified to look very realistic. It has even been coined as “The Thumb of God” as like a thumbprint, each generation of the image is slightly different, however, each image is somewhat similar to the other images such as thumbprints. 

The program I ran in my VS-Code can be seen below:

As we can see, it uses the PIL library that allows us to save different images, tkinter that allows us to make GUI’s, numpy that allows us to make cool arrays, and colorsys that allows us to design different colorways.

This was a really cool project, and a few of the images I created I shown below:

If we zoom in, we can see how even the most intricate patterns get even more complicated: 

As shown, each generated image is a bit different from the other, but we see that they all create similar patterns with similar colorways or with similar growing patterns 

What I learned about Pin-Hole Camera making by King Osei

The goal of Ashrit and Jon’s project was to make a pinhole camera. A pinhole camera is a simple camera without a lens but with a tiny aperture (the so-called pinhole)—effectively a light-proof box with a small hole in one side. Light from a scene passes through the aperture and projects an inverted image on the opposite side of the box, which is known as the camera obscura effect.wikipedia-pinhole camera

Pinhole cameras can be handmade by the photographer for a particular purpose. In its simplest form, the photographic pinhole camera can consist of a light-tight box with a pinhole in one end, and a piece of film or photographic paper wedged or taped into the other end. A flap of cardboard with a tape hinge can be used as a shutter. The pinhole may be punched or drilled using a sewing needle or small diameter bit through a piece of tinfoil or thin aluminum or brass sheet. This piece is then taped to the inside of the light-tight box behind a hole cut through the box. A cylindrical oatmeal container may be made into a pinhole camera.

The interior of an effective pinhole camera is black to avoid any reflection of the entering light onto the photographic material or viewing screen

 Their first step was making the main pinhole camera box. They decided to use a box printed out in a puzzle piece to make a rectangular prism at the makerspace.

  The next step was to make sure the box is light-tight. This is an important step to taking pictures as any light that gets into the box can ruin the image. The easiest way to do this is by making the interior of the camera all black. For a proper image to be cast, they needed to make sure that the box is light-tight, and the only source of light getting into the box is through the pinhole camera. To do this, they decided to spray paint the box in the spray paint booth at the Makerspace. They ended up using dark brown sprays as they could not ge black paints from the makerspace.

 Next step in the process was to design the pinhole for the camera. Naturally, to create a reflective surface for light to bounce back, and only through the pinhole, they  wanted to use scrap metal or something like a part of a soda can. Unfortunately, they could not find any metal thin enough to poke a hole through using a small pin and decided to engineer something using vinyls.

The final product is underway, as they have had to compromise on a lot.


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