The Mandelbulb is a three-dimensional analogue of the Mandelbrot set. In reality there are many natural fractal shapes such as clouds, trees, broccoli, and such.
The Mandelbrot set is two-dimensional. When it was discovered, computers weren't very powerful and so it wasn't possible to render three-dimensional fractals. But nowadays the computing power is thousands of times better. It has opened up many new possibilities.
By the end of 2007, a small group of people from Fractal Forums decided to develop algorithms and software for rendering 3D fractals. In the beginning everyone tried to expand the Mandelbrot set to three dimensions. But there were many different approaches and some of the firstexperiments were incredible. We were hooked. It's easy to understand why.
The rendering of first images took alot of time and was difficult because the first programs didn't have any graphical user interface. Fractals were rendered slice by slice; programs needed gigabytes of memory. After development of Distance Estimation algorithms, rendering became faster with less memory consumption.