'Tis the season... And it's about time I posed my first question on Mathematica Stack Exchange. So, here's an holiday quest for you Graphics (and P-Chem?) gurus.
What is your best code for generating a (random) snowflake in Mathematica? By random I mean with different shapes that will mimic the diversity exhibited by real snowflakes. Here's a link to have an idea: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/ , more specifically here are the different types of snowflakes: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/class/class.htm .
Physics-based answers are to be preferred, but graphics only solutions are also welcome. There already is a thread on generating a snowfall, here: How to create animated snowfall? and one of the posts addresses the problem of generating snowflake-like elements. In the snowfall post, though, emphasis is on efficient generation of 'snowlike' ensembles. The purpose of this question (apart from having some 'seasonal' fun) is to create graphics that details the structure of a single snowflake. Efficiency is not the primary issue here: beauty is. A very detailed snowflake rendering could even take several minutes of computer power, thus making it unsuitable to incorporate into a snowfall simulation.
Here we are trying to generate a single snowflake (possibly with different parameters to tune its shape), the more realistic, the better. Three dimensional renderings, for adding translucency and colors are also welcome. Unleash your fantasy, go beyond the usual fractals!
And if your fantasy is momentarily faltering, as Silvia pointed out in a comment below, on this website http://psoup.math.wisc.edu/Snowfakes.htm you can find a lot of information - and even a C program for the Gravner-Griffeath 2D Snowfake Simulator - on how to generate 'virtual snowflakes', even in 3D (have a look at the pdf files: "Modeling Snow Crystal Growth" I, II and III).