Plasma clouds ARE real live fractals, even though we didn't know it at first. They are generated by a recursive algorithm that randomly picks colors of the corner of a rectangle, and then continues recursively quartering previous rectangles. Random colors are averaged with those of the outer rectangles so that small neighborhoods do not show much change, for a smoothed-out, cloud-like effect. The more colors your video mode supports, the better. The result, believe it or not, is a fractal landscape viewed as a contour map, with colors indicating constant elevation. To see this, save and view with the  command (see "3D" Images) and your "cloud" will be converted to a mountain!
You've GOT to try color cycling on these (hit "+" or "-"). If you haven't been hypnotized by the drawing process, the writhing colors will do it for sure. We have now implemented subliminal messages to exploit the user's vulnerable state; their content varies with your bank balance, politics, gender, accessibility to a Fractint programmer, and so on. A free copy of Microsoft C to the first person who spots them.
This type accepts four parameters.
The first determines how abruptly the colors change. A value of .5 yields bland clouds, while 50 yields very grainy ones. The default value is 2.
The second determines whether to use the original algorithm (0) or a modified one (1). The new one gives the same type of images but draws the dots in a different order. It will let you see what the final image will look like much sooner than the old one.
The third determines whether to use a new seed for generating the next plasma cloud (0) or to use the previous seed (1).
The fourth parameter turns on 16-bit .POT output which provides much smoother height gradations. This is especially useful for creating mountain landscapes when using the plasma output with a ray tracer such as POV-Ray.
With parameter three set to 1, the next plasma cloud generated will be identical to the previous but at whatever new resolution is desired.
Zooming is ignored, as each plasma-cloud screen is generated randomly.
The random number seed used for each plasma image is displayed on the [tab] information screen, and can be entered with the command line parameter "rseed=" to recreate a particular image.
The algorithm is based on the Pascal program distributed by Bret Mulvey as PLASMA.ARC. We have ported it to C and integrated it with Fractint's graphics and animation facilities. This implementation does not use floating-point math. The algorithm was modified starting with version 18 so that the plasma effect is independent of screen resolution.
Saved plasma-cloud screens are EXCELLENT starting images for fractal "landscapes" created with the "3D" commands