Here is a small explanation of how I came up with "the Phoenix" image which you can see in the general gallery here: http://www2.ambientdesign.com/forums...ad.php?t=16476
First I used a free opensource app called Apophysis which you can download here: http://sourceforge.net/projects/apophysis/
- make sure you have the latest version (2.08). If I remember correctly, its less than 2mb (well worth the download IMHO).
Apophysis is used for creating, editing and rendering so-called "fractal flames". For more info on the math behind the app and a few tutorials googling apophysis will do.
The nice thing about Apo is that you can render out PNG images with a transparent background, which you can easily import into AR and manipulate.