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Best New Apps: Frax HD

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Frax HD is intimidating at first. It's all about fractals; visualizations of complex mathematical equations that twist and turn to create beautifully strange images. The technical explanation is enough to make your head hurt, but thankfully you don't really need to understand any of that. All you need to know is that Frax HD is an incredible tool for crafting bizarre and fun landscapes. There are 42 different landscapes you can interact with — and close to 200 if you splurge for the "pro" upgrade — and you can alter them by playing with their color, lighting, and texture to create something new. Meanwhile, the familiar pinch-and-zoom lets you explore their massive scale.

The touch controls mean that you don’t actually have to deal with any numbers of formulas. Instead, they let you put your fingers right into the image to tweak things like color and texture manually, and by working with several different characteristics you have a lot of flexibility to customize things how you want. The result can range from a beautiful work of art to a dark vision of horror to a seizure-inducing light show, and the app makes it easy to share and save your creations (they can make for some excellent iPad wallpapers). Frax HD might not make you better at math, but it will definitely show you it can be beautiful.

You can grab Frax HD now on iOS.