2018 News Archive
I set out initially to redo my Containment scene using Plant Factory. It turned out different enough, however, that I felt it needed a new(ish) title.
This will probably be the last render of 2018. I hope you've enjoyed the 49 images I added to the gallery this year!! If so please feel free to deliver your tangible encouragement via my TipJar ;-)
I vividly remember back in 2001 showing one of Jessica's friends my (then) recent "Ornament" render. She told me it looked nice but the ornament itself was "kinda plain".
For this update I used Plant Factory for the boughs AND to create the ornament itself. I used Lightwave to create a displacement texture for the ornament and that turned out to be the most time consuming part. I went through a LOT of different variations before I found one (a Flame Fractal) that I liked. Anyway I hope it looks more interesting now.
It's still kinda plain but a good wallpaper doesn't need to be too flashy...
Hopefully it isn't too early to post a Christmas wallpaper. This piece grew out of my attempts to create aurora using Plant Factory. That remains a work-in-progress but you can judge my early results here. The tree was modeled using Plant Factory and I used displacement to (hopefully) make the "snow spheres" look more natural.
Should I do more Christmas wallpapers or more "non-Holiday" winter scenes?
This scene was an exercise using Plant Factory to model hard surface, non-plant, objects. Normally I would have modeled and rendered a scene like this using Lightwave, but Plant Factory objects work so well in Vue that I may go this route from time to time.
I hope you enjoy it! I put this one together on Bucephalus while my new Christmas project finished rendering on Shadowfax. It should be ready very soon!!
I've created a lot of very different plants using Plant Factory and I've used it to create some interesting "non-plant" objects (tornadoes, aurora, and snow for example). This time I wanted to see if I could use Plant Factory to model a spiral galaxy.
The galaxy object was rendered in Vue (I also experimented using Lightwave) and then that was used as a background for the scene you see here. I hope you enjoy it!
"Three Moon Bay" naturally lent itself to a sunny daytime view. I tried something a bit different with the water in Vue with this one. Usually I set the water to absorb sunlight, resulting a darker and more reflective ocean. This time I set it to scatter the light so the water is a bit brighter.
Hard to believe that I've made at least one Halloween render every year since 1998. Sure, some of the early ones look pretty rough (as my boys have been reminding my lately) but I think looking at the whole collection shows a pretty good cross-section of my growth as an artist over the years.
If you look at my top Halloween images you will notice that the top rated renders can be used as wallpapers any time of the year. I've tried to go that route with "Harvest Moon", my (first) Halloween(ish) offering of 2018. I hope you enjoy it.
I may have one more Halloween render before the the trick-or-treaters come knocking. Stay tuned!
It seemed like a good idea to attempt an autumn version of "Sliver of Sun" even though it's a high altitude landscape and the trees aren't your usual colorful deciduous varieties. Honestly I think it turned out OK but it isn't really my favorite Autumn render. The camera is quite far from the trees here an I think the intervening haze mutes the colors a bit.
I hope you enjoy it regardless!Today happens to be my 16th wedding anniversary so it seems like a good time to mention that my wife Jessica has started a new business venture and could really use your support. If you are interested in taking great care of your skin please have a look at this page to learn more!
Remember that supporting her also supports DB!! We are partners 100%!
The original idea here was to create a "metallic flower" using Plant Factory. Tried rendering it using Vue but decided that Lightwave allowed me a bit more freedom to get the look I wanted. Of course I decided certain parts needed to glow :-)
After a few more natural-looking Autumn landscapes I thought it might be a good time to journey offworld for brief excursion. Like many of my planetscapes this one started life as a space only scene which I then used as a backdrop in Vue.
Perhaps I will release the "moons only" version in the Pickle Jar?
I thought it would be interesting to create a night version of Autumnal (2018) where the trees were lit from below rather than from above. The rocks on the shoreline make this possible :-)
What do you think? Gallery or pickle jar?
These tree models were created in Plant Factory to add to "Ethos (Autumn)". I put together this simple scene to test out how they look "close up" and figured it looked interesting enough to post in the gallery.
You can't have too many Autumn wallpapers right? :-)
I'd always planned to do a day version of "Ethos" and, looking at the calendar, it made perfect sense to set the scene in Autumn. In case you are wondering, I added some foliage to this version as I thought the original (while it worked for a night scene) was a little bare looking for this purpose.
Non-watermarked lossless 8K version available to Lifetime Supporters and Plus Level Members (and above). This scene has proved troubling to adapt as a multiscreen view. I AM still working on it folks!!
Playing around with the flower models I created for "Biome" here to create something more translucent, crystalline and colorful. I modeled the "crater" using Medium to give the blooms a dark neutral surrounding. I created three different versions (the other two are in the Pickle Jar) and asked my son Jason which he preferred for the gallery. This is the one he picked :-)
Non-watermarked lossless 8K version available to Lifetime Supporters and Plus Level Members (and above). Dual and triple-screen versions are in the works! I do realize that I have quite a bit of a multiscreen backlog to render. I promise to get on them ASAP!!
I started this scene around the same time as "Ethos", again using objects that I modeled using Oculus Medium. The plant life was all custom modeled using Plant Factory. For some reason this scene took an obscenely long time to render but I hope you guys feel it was worth the wait.
More work with Oculus Medium creating a cave opening. There's actually quite a bit in the background but for now I've chosen to hide most of it in a dense mist. Hopefully the bits that show through are enough of a hint at what lies beyond. Maybe I will show a bit of more of it if I do an autumn version...
I've read out-loud to my boys nearly every night since they were born. It's just something we've kept up even as they have become teenagers, always finding a next book to read. Over the years we've moved from Dr. Suess and Margaret Wise Brown to L Frank Baum and Brandon Mull, from Lloyd Alexander to Neil Gaiman. The past few months we've been enjoying Brandon Sanderson's "Mistborn' and "Stormlight Archive".
We've been reading "Oathbringer" lately and a description of the "cognitive realm" called "Shadesmar" really got stuck in my circuits. Without giving away too much, it's a dark land of black obsidian with colorful crystal trees (and lots of spirits). I thought it would make an interesting challenge to render. Learned quite a bit in Plant Factory about wind and controlling leaf color.
I don't know how many more books Ian and Jason will want me to read as they get older. I'll keep at it as long as they want me to. When they finally do move on I will have this scene to remind me of our bedtime ritual.
We recently returned from visiting Jessie's family in beautiful Little Rock, Arkansas. Her brother's family lives by a pond and we all walked over one afternoon so the boys could go fishing. While they fished I wandered off and noticed this bright white bird (some sort of heron) standing in red watergrass against a green background.
I thought it was a striking scene so I snapped a mental picture of it for later. I hope you like my version.
Thanks to my son Jason for helping me think of a proper title!
Before I move on to something brand new I thought it would be worthwhile to create a night version of "The One Light".
Gallery or Pickle Jar? Let me know what you think!
Looking through my creations this year it occurred to me that (with some exceptions) the colors have been rather muted. With this render I just wanted to create something colorful and minimal that would make for a nice background. I thought about adding something in the foreground but I think it stands pretty well on its own.
I'd considered "Morning Has Broken" for the title, but since the sun is still below the horizon here (thanks to Vue's "spherical scene" mode) I chose another line from the hymn instead.
Let me know what you think!
Following on the Cascadia theme I decided to reposition the camera in that world and take a closer look. Unfortunately I found the terrain geometry, which looked great from far away, sort of broke down a bit when zoomed in so I added some higher resolution rock formations created in Oculus Medium.
Not sure why I started out "Cascadia" as a winter scene (other than the fact that I wanted to try something a bit different) but I had always planned on doing at least one more seasonal variant.
Here's the "summer" version. I'd considered using the same light angle from the Winter version but I think this turned out pretty well.
Let me know what you think!
Another experiment using Oculus Medium to create rock formations. I really think VR is the way of the future (at least for me) when it comes to modeling. So much more intuitive...
Getting back into learning how to use World Machine/Geoglyph here. For a while it was a bit too buggy to use but the recent versions have been nice and stable. Should I do a summer variant?
I've also added a 3D 360 Panoramic version for those of you with a VR headset (preview here).
If you've been following my work you know I love a good mandala. I created this one using some of the funky tori I modeled using MathMod (rendered using Lightwave). It's a pretty amazing program and makes me glad I took all that advanced math in college.
I originally created this is a much more abstract piece using mathematical meshes from MathMod but I decided to dial it back a bit and go somewhat more conventional.
The rocks were modeled using Oculus Medium. The main cave structure was a collaborative effort in Medium between me and my son Jason :-)
Two extra views of the the "Caerulea" system I created using Vue. Vue's "planetary" mode really means you can explore many different points in the world you have created. I thought it would be fun to use that functionality to create a series of images from the same planet.
Some of these may end up in the Pickle Jar eventually but I will start them all out in the gallery for maximum visibility.
I've been learning a program called "MathMod" which allows you to create crazy 3D shapes out of parametric code. I have a few irons in the fire right now in a similar vein, but this one should make for a nice introduction.
Sticking with the planetscape theme here. I wanted to see if I could use Oculus Medium to create icebergs. The planets are a mix of Vue rendered "planetary landscapes" (spherical terrains) and one that I created in Lightwave. I hope you enjoy it!
I'm still learning how to fit Oculus Medium into my workflow. One immediate application is creating different rock formations and this new render features several practice pieces. The landforms in the background were created using World Machine and the sky was created using Lightwave. I hope you enjoy it!
As some of you know Santa Claus brought me an Oculus Rift System for Christmas (I was a good boy last year). By far my favorite application for it so far is the VR sculpting program called Oculus Medium. I've been playing with it for the past few months and have used some bits of pieces of geometry in my renders so far.
This piece is my first where all of the geometry (except the water plane) was modeled using Medium. I expect it to be a major part of my toolbox going forward.
Where I live it seems like Winter has held on long past when it should have ended. It's cold, the trees are still mostly bare and only a few tentative blooms have popped up here and there. You get a warm(ish) day and a few rays of sunlight, however, and life seems ready to burst forth. This piece is my expression of that hope.
On the technical side, I was excited to try out the new "flower" nodes available in Plant Factory. I used them for the tree blooms here and I think there are some exciting possiblities!! I hope you enjoy it!
There was a lot that I liked about "Oceana" but there was a lot that (I felt) didn't work out. Some of the geometry was broken (due to excessive displacement), it wasn't as colorful as I would like, and it took so long to render that I couldn't really make revisions or a multiscreen version.
Consider this scene to be something of a "do over". For starters it only took less than a tenth of the time to render on Shadowfax so I should be able to create a multiscreen version (maybe even a VR panorama) without difficulty.
BTW, It started as an exercise learning Oculus Medium but most of that geometry is covered up with undersea life :-)
You probably suspected something like this was coming. I would have had it finished sooner but the first render attempt crashed near the end and I had to rework a few things. Hope you enjoy it!
Applying some of the techniques from "Stasis" and "Nascence" to a more traditional landscape scene. Can you believe I've never attempted a "bayou" render in all these years?
Like "Stasis" before it, this render was a learning exercise exploring new shading/modeling techniques using Plant Factory and Vue. I'm specifically interested here in learning Vue's subsurface scattering and getting it to render somewhat economically. Of course, my primary goal is always to create striking and thought-provoking images for your desktop and I hope you feel I've succeeded here :-)
This one is a 3D doodle of sorts; working on different shaders in Vue and modeling in Plant Factory. The techniques I'm working on here will factor into at least the next two renders that I post. As for this one, it may or may not stay in the gallery long term.
Thought it looked interesting enough to share though:-)
I created these blooms using The Plant Factory for an upcoming landscape project. I thought they would make an interesting Lightwave macro render however. When I showed it to Jessie the first thing she said was "oooh Nightshade!" and that sounded like a great title to me. It's not your garden variety that's for certain! Stay tuned for the landscape (rendering now on Shadowfax)!
The original "Painted Sky" from last year sits at #2 on my all-time Top Rated list so it seemed natural to create a night-time scene. My night version dials back some of the clouds which gave the original its title but I think it still works. I hope you enjoy it at least as much as a "day" version!
Since I created "Strathwood" to render relatively quickly I can be a bit more nimble with making variations. I thought it would be fun to create a winter version but also at the same time have it be a little more colorful than the mostly earth-toned original. Let me know what you think!
Glad to finally be able to post this one! The Vue scene took so long to render that I feared that Shadowfax had hung more than once. It actually did crash one time and I had to restart the whole thing. Regardless, I persisted and I'm happy to be able to share it with you. I used Lightwave 2018's new texturing model for the background planet. Hopefully it was worth the wait.
The scene will need a major rework if I am going to be able to produce multiscreen versions however. The whole thing is set up for 360 rendering but we shall see.
It's been a few months since I've done a "BIG" landscape and some of you have been requesting them. My recent scenes have been more on the intimate side. To be honest I've gotten myself into a bit of trouble using Vue lately in that the scenes I've been dreaming up have been taking far too long to render.
For this scene I wanted to concentrate on keeping the render time manageable (on Bucephalus even) while still keeping the WOW factor. I hope you think I've succeeded with "Strathwood".
EDIT: I've posted a revised version on 2/28. The original will remain in the Pickle Jar if you would like to compare. You will also notice that (by popular demand) I've added wallpapers sized to fit the iPhone X.
Here's something colorful if you are getting tired of winter greys. This render is the result of my experimenting with Plant Factory to create interesting floral patterns. I rendered the scene using Vue but I think I might try a version with Lightwave so I can have a bit more control over the geometry. Let me know what you think!
It's been a while (8 years!) since I've attempted a Valentine's Day wallpaper. My rule for them has always been this: Don't make anything that I wouldn't use myself. This project was one of those rare blessed instances where I had the finished image in mind before I started working on it. I hope you enjoy it!
I'd intended to create a winter version of "Dapplewood" before the Christmas holiday but got a bit sidetracked. I hope people are still in the mood for Winter wallpapers in February :-)
I finally upgraded my Lightwave to the 2018 version (after skipping the 2015 upgrade) earlier this month and a LOT is different. This render is a texturing exercise, inspired by re-rendering the original Organelle from 2002 for VR. The geometry here was modeled using The Plant Factory rather than Xfrog though. I still have a lot to learn but I thought I would share my progress...
It's been a while since I attempted an underwater render so I felt the time was ripe to dive back in. This time I wanted to use Plant Factory to create my undersea flora and fauna. I wasn't trying to model any real life organisms here, but rather create something fanciful and colorful.
I'm not 100% happy with how everything turned out (after MANY days of rendering at 8K on Bucephalus) but I do think it looks nice enough to share while I consider revisions. Let me know what you think!
My first render of 2018 was built using trees that evolved from both "The Standing Stones" and "Animus". It also contains plants that foreshadows my next render. I guess it has a foot in the past and a foot in the future. Truly a passageway :-)
last updated 10/23/21