Simplicity to Complexity
One can create complex renders from very simple scenes using raytraced reflections. Here are some examples from my presentation. The scenefiles for these are included below. Much of the work is to get good specular color values. In some cases values greater than 1 are useful where one can increase brightness each bounce rather than simply always getting darker.
Sphere inside tetrahedron (click to enlarge)
Sphere inside sphere (click to enlarge)
Setup used for tetraSphere (below)
tetraSphere (click to enlarge)
Four spheres at cube vertices inside cube with 3 cylinders
Dynamic Soap Bubble Film
One can easily simulate the effect of swirling colors on a soap bubble film with a 2d fluid texture. By controlling specular color with texture density one can also simulate the way variation in film thickness results in rainbow colors due to constructive and destructive interference of light from reflections from the inner and outer membrane. (scene file included below)
Obital Debris Chain Reaction
The Kessler Syndrome is an effect where collisions between orbiting debris can cause a runaway chain reaction where in the end all bodies are broken into fine debris and it becomes impossible for man to launch into space. This is simulated here with colliding nParticle systems. (scene included below)
MakeLoopy MEL Script
MakeLoopy applied to a poly torus with smoothing applied.
MakeLoopy is a fun little script that can generate random tubes using the bridge tool. Put makeLoopy.mel in your scripts folder. Then select an object(s) and type makeLoopy with a desired number of iterations, for example "makeLoopy 20". It will then run the bridge tool on random pairs of faces. The result looks best when smoothing the mesh (3 key).
Many of the scenefiles from my talk are included here. The mandelbrot ones are all available in the previous Mandelbrot Madness post.