Previous News Archive
- If I hadn't been laid up the past couple of weeks I probably would have stopped my workstation in the middle of its epic re-rendering of "Enshrouded". Since I didn't have anything better for it to be doing I let it go.
The render finally finished this afternoon and I've posted it on the New Images page for your review. The clouds look more like fog to me now and that is what I was going for. Too bad my workstation isn't fast enough to render these sorts of effects more quickly.
I will set my other renderer going on a multi-screen render ASAP.
- As far as the site tweaking goes I think I am done for now. I've taken some of the advice given and I have dramatically shortened the links on the left. Access to the gallery is now through the "gallery" link (or the "Newest Images" link above) and once there you can browse my images in a number of ways.
I've removed the background image. The people who hated it really hated it a lot and the people who liked it were like "sure whatever". I've also added a comment form to the top of each comments page so you can more easily add your own.
Yes, this site is due for a majhor overhaul using the most modern technology. That will have to wait until I am on my new server though. To be honest, I'm thinking about bringing someone on to help with the web design part of the job. I would rather concentrate more on my artwork.
Anywyay, thanks everyone for the feeback thus far. Let me know what you think of the newest layout.
- Thanks for all the feedback! From what I can gather, the background will only work if it doesn't contain a focal point. Makes sense to me. I've replaced the Phraxis background with something a little more neutral. Somewhere down the line I will make it so you can choose to have a background or not (and maybe choose from a number of different styles).
I've made one rather large non-cosmetic change. I've removed the gallery links from the left hand list. Rather than go year-to-rear, you can now just hit up the "gallery" page, see them all, and go from there. I've removed the "Lightbox" script so clicking the thumbnail now takes you to the larger thumbnail with download options. I may tweak the navagation options on the gallery page a little (make it so you can download the size you want without clicking to the new page for instance). I'd like to hear what you guys think of the change.
- Late Update: After hearing from a number of Members I have decided to leave the "year" links in place.
- Time for an update. As you may have noticed, things have slowed down somewhat around here during the past month. The truth is that my medical condition has flared up again and I had to have surgery last Tuesday. The surgery was a "redo" of a procedure I had done originally in December, which turned out to be unsuccessful.
The recovery wasn't too bad last time so I assumed the same would be true this time around. My Doctor had other ideas though and added some hardware to the procedure to give it a better chance of success. I hope it works because the last week has really been hell on Earth for me.
I'm pretty much bedridden now (typing this on my laptop) and I don't know how long this will last. At least I am not in the hospital I guess. I sure hope this works (and I never have to go through with it again).
I have set my workstation rendering an "improved" version of "Enshrouded". The clouds look a lot more like fog and are less busy.Realism comes at a price CPU-wise though. It still has a couple of days left to go and I will try to post it as soon as it is done. I will get a multi-screen render going on another machine after that so I can get busy on a new wallpaper as soon as I can stand sitting at my computer.
I also have a few renders sitting around that I didn't think were "gallery-quality" but that some of you might enjoy checking out. I'll try to get those into the Pickle Jar shortly.
- One thing that has made the last week a little less terrible is that I finally got an iPhone. I've been exploring it the past couple of days and I can already see some DB-iPhone possibilies. My kids bought me an iTunes gift card for Father's Day so I've been raiding the AppStore. If any of you can recommend some apps/games that will help me take my mind off all of this please feel free to share. I've already downloaded "Enigmo" and "Flight Control" am they're both really cool.
- I hope to have my new wallpaper ready by tomorrow. As I mentioned on the Twitter feed and Facebook page, we took a little family trip last week to visit some friends in Austin, TX. I've been working on this project since Friday.
Lately, I've gotten a number of emails from folks alerting me to the fact that my work is being used by another designer in the "Firefox Personas" gallery. Personas are a way to apply an image to your web browser interface, kind of like a skin. Just so everyone will know, I haven't decided what to do about this MaDonna person. The Persona gallery doesn't really allow you to contact the designer and she/he doesn't have any links that I could find. Guess I will have to go through the site.
Anyway, the experience inspired me to create a few of my own "Personas" (while waiting for renders) and you can check them out here. If the response is positive I could see making a few more.
Look for the new render hopefully within the next couple of days. TGIF.
- Added the dual and triple-screen versions of "Beginning of the End" to the gallery this evening. I would have had them up sooner, but I chose to render each version separately. I chose to split the dual-screen version down the middle because it just didn't look right all shoved over onto one side. Hope it looks okay!
- I am currently putting the finishing touches on my latest render but this news couldn't wait. Zazzle is having a big sale for Memorial Day weekend. All posters (including mine) are 70% off!; Just enter code "MEMORIALSALE" at checkout. Get em while they're hot!
- A couple of things to mention. First, I've decided to experiment a little with my prices. Forthwith, or until I decide to change it back, the price for current (and former) members to purchase a Lifetime Renewal will be $49 (down from $99).
If the price is attractive to enough people, it will stay that way. Otherwise this may be a limited time offer. You guys are reading this right now because you enjoy my artwork. I want it to be affordable for more of you.
Secondly, work is progressing nicely on my latest project and I expect to have a render up shortly. Looking good so far!
- After looking at your comments and ratings I've decided to switch the versions of "Desert Dawn". The darker version will remain in the Pickle Jar and the brighter version will be available in the main gallery. dual and triple screen (all of the "Desert Dawn" sizes can be found here). Thanks for the feedback everyone!
- One of the byproducts of being laid up for weeks is that I've had a lot of time to watch TV (something I really didn't do that much before the surgery). A lot of "Good Eats", "Modern Marvels", and old movies on TCM. One of these old movies was "The Searchers" (watched this one on Blu-Ray) and it provided the inspiration for my latest wallpaper.
The wallpaper is called "Desert Dawn" and it is now up for your review. I would have had it up a couple of days ago but I decided at the last minute to change up the atmosphere. I version I settled on is up on the new images page, and the first version is available in the Pickle Jar. Which do you prefer?
Either way, I hope you enjoy them.
It looks like Zazzle is offering 50% off all poster prints. If you've been waiting to purchase one now might be the right time. Just enter the code "ZAZZLEPOSTER" at checkout to apply the discount.
- Lastly, I wanted to mention (in case you hadn't looked at my blog) that I trying to sell one of my Quadro video cards. If you are in need of a high-powered worksation class 3D card for (relatively) cheap let me know. See my blog post for more details.
- Lately I've been experimenting with Apophysis, the freeware flame fractal program, and trying to integrate the fractals into my 3d work. The comet in "Harbinger" is one example. My latest render, a planetscape I call "Phraxis", continues these experiments.
I would have had this one up a few days ago, but I did some attempts at using this scene as a backdrop for a Vue d'Esprit landscape render. I wasn't happy with any of the results so I've posted it as a pure space scene. I may play around with it some more in Vue, but I thought the scene itself made a nice enough wallpaper so here it is. I hope you enjoy it!
- I've added 360 x 480 and 480 x 360 images, designed to fit the BlackBerry Storm and Curve models, to the Mobile options. It took me a little longer to put the Storm wallpapers up because the "portrait" aspect ratio required me to do a lot of the cropping by hand to get a pleasing result. A zip file is available on the Downloads page. Hope they work for you BlackBerry users!
- Recovery Update (hope this isn't TMI): If everything had gone according to plan I should have been close to 100% by now. Unfortunately I came down with an infection in my incision a few days after my operation and we are still dealing trying to get it healed up. A few days ago my surgeon had to reopen part of my incision (not fun) and we may have to reopen more next week if things don't improve significantly.
Jessie has been great about changing dressings and keeping everything under control, but this is all going way to slow for me.
Just thought I would keep you all in the loop.
- I thought you all might want to know that I was released from the hospital last evening and I am resting comfortably at home now. My kids were thrilled to see me this morning, but didn't quite understand that I can't play like I used to. My two year old keeps putting things on my IV scars trying to fix my "boo-boos".
They gave me fantastic care at the hospital, but nothing compares to the comforts of home. I'm going to be going slow for the next few weeks, but I feel stronger every day and just being at home is an immense psychological boost.
Thanks again for all the great comments. They've really kept me going throughout this ordeal!
- I just wanted to thank everyone for the kind words you've left regarding my previous post. The operation, they tell me, was a success and now I'm dealing with the aftermath. I'm still in the hospital and don't really know when I will be released (they are waiting for my insides to start working again). It's difficult to do once simple things like get out of bed and walk around (though I managed to do both the day after my surgery). Yesterday they allowed me a couple of popcicles which were the first non-water food I've had in a week.
Each day I am getting a little bit stronger though and it is a great comfort to know that a malfunctioning part of me has been removed. Thanks again to all of you for your support. I've really enjoyed your encouraging words and even the jokes (though it hurts to laugh).
I also need to say a big thanks to Jessie for (among many other things) purchasing me an AT&T laptop connect card so I can still be online. You would think that a modern 21st century hospital would have wi-fi, but I guess that is not always the case. At least they have cable ;-)
Until next time...
- Once again I find myself in the hospital. I've been pretty vague with you guys about my condition up until now for a couple of reasons. First, I was in some denial about the diagnosis. Second, the problems I was having were in a sensitive area that I don't like to talk about even to close friends. It's past time I gave you guys the scoop though, so here it is.
I was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in July. The problems started back in December 2007 when my doctors found a couple of infected areas near my rectum (TMI, I know but it's part of the bigger picture). The areas were opened, drained, and left open to heal. It was pretty painful stuff. If it had ended there things probably would have been ok, but my surgeon apparently didn't explore well enough because some infection was left behind which led to a wound which wouldn't heal.
Other doctors tried to heal me up using course after course of antibiotics, and I tried to keep my pain under control by taking far too much Advil (just so I could sit for more than an hour at a time), Taking all of these medicines over several months I started to develop stomach aches which lead to the (surprising) diagnosis of Crohn's in July. I've just recently had another surgeon do a procedure to finally root out all of the infection in my nether regions, but my intestinal problems have been increasing steadily over the last part of the 2008. Just since November I've had to run to the ER a number of times with uncontrollable stomach pain and vomiting which I've discovered is a result of a blockage in my small intestines. An area is literally swollen shut with scar tissue and inflammation. Even my good days were pretty painful, and my bad days sent me to the ER.
The most recent incident was the past Saturday and I've been in the hospital ever since. My GI doctor has advised me that my best shot of getting back to normal is to have to diseased part of my intestine removed. I am sitting here waiting for the operation now. They tell me the piece is a relatively small part of my overall supply so I should live pretty normally after this (though I will have to take medicine to keep the Crohn's at bay and get a monthly vitamin shot because I will no longer be able to absorb one of the B vitamins from food). I will be fine in the long run.
I will be in the Hospital for another week or so, and then resting at home for another couple of weeks. I won't be returning to work until I feel up to it, but I do have a rather cool new project at around the halfway stage which I should have ready to go in short order when I am back online.
Wish me luck everyone, I'll be recovering by the time you read this but I will accept retroactive good wishes. Things should return to full swing around here shortly and my doctors tell me that I should be in the clear for a long time to come. Just gotta get past these next few weeks.
- I've posted dual and triple screen versions of both "First Light" and "First Moonlight" in the gallery this morning. I would have had them up a day or two ago, but I got sidetracked working on a new project which popped into my head all of a sudden. Stay tuned for more on that....
- Late Update:I was working on the mulit-screen version of "First Light" today when I remembered one of the comments I had read in the feedback thread for that image. The jist of the comment was the person usually requested night versions of my daytime images, but this one was pretty good as is so a night version wasn't needed.
That got me thinking about what a night version would look like, so I tweaked the atmosphere and lighting a little bit and did a few renders. I thought the result was a pretty nice wallpaper in its own right so I've posted it up here for you. I call it "First Moonlight" (kind of cheesy, but it fit the theme).
I hope you like it. I have the multi-screen of First Light rendering now and should have it up soon (and a multi-screen of "First Moonlight" shortly thereafter).
- Happy New Year! First of all, I want to thank everyone who sent me kind thoughts and posted in this thread. Your support really helped me get through a tough time and I appreciate it.
As my post-op pain has started to ebb my itch to return to work has risen. I started on back in on something simple after Christmas and I've posted it up on the New Images page tonight. It's called "First Light". If you've followed my work for a time you'll know I like to follow up my Christmas/Winter images with an immediate trip to someplace warm. If I can't really be someplace warm I can do the next best thing and make a warm picture.
I hope you guys enjoy it. Still trying to figure out Vue's new water settings. Thanks again for all the kind words. I'll do my best to get things back to normal around here in 2009.
- I guess I should pop in here and let you all know what's been going on. I mentioned back on 10/12 that I was having surgery and that I hoped it would take care of the problem I was having once in for all. Unfortunately, it didn't.
I saw a new doctor last Monday and last Tuesday I was operated on again. This time it is a two step proces, with some temporary hardware inserted that must remain (painfully) in place for 6 weeks before being replaced by permanent hardware in a second (and, they tell me, final) procedure.
I was hesitant to even mention that I was having surgery again, since I had overestimated how bad the recovery would be back in October. I thought maybe I would be able to get back to work quickly and never mention it.
This time, I'm afraid, I am going to be out of it a little while longer. It's been almost a week and I am still in a haze of pain pills and not feeling up to doing much. To be completely honest, I kind of down in the dumps about the whole thing and probably couldn't come up with a cheery piece of Christmas artwork even if I could sit my computer long enough to create it.
I'm sure a lot of you are curious as to exactly what my problem is. All I will say is that it is a personal problem and I would rather not get into specifics. Just know that it isn't life threatening or debilitating in the long term but is having a major negative impact on my quality of life in the near term.
I can't really say when I will be able to get back to work. Hopefully soon. Thanks for understanding.
- I've added all of my 7680 x 1600 triple widescreen renders to the gallery this evening. Those of you lucky enough to be running three 30" monitors have some new wallpapers to enjoy. You'll find the appropriate links next to the images in the 2008 gallery or you can download them all in a zip file on the downloads page.
I had hoped to have all of the 2008 images rendered before the I posted them, but decided that I would just put up what I have and go back and work on the rest. There are twenty of them right now, representing the latest twenty images posted.
I haven't created split files for them yet, and to be completely honest, I am debating whether it is worth the effort on my part to offer split files. It would be a heck of a lot easier for me just to post a single file and let those who need to split it do it themselves. Why, oh why, doesn't the vaunted MacOS allow users to span a single image across two or more monitors?
I also haven't yet created dual-widesceen (5120 x 1600) crops of these images. If there is a great need for them, of if you have any other comments, please feel free to post below.
- A few items to mention this evening. First, I've posted a new wallpaper. It's called "At World's Edge" and it's basically a project did to familiarize myself with the new features in Vue 7. I hope you like it.
Secondly, I've added some new resolution choices. I've gotten many many emails from folks asking if I could provide 1680 x 1050 and 1440 x 900 resolutions and I've always just posted 1920 x 1200 images and hoped that folks would use their OSs scaling feature. Then I looked at my web logs and noticed that more people are surfing DB using 1680 x 1050 than any other widescreen resolution. Seems kind of silly not to offer it as an option. I've thrown in a 1440 x 900 option for folks using that resolution as well.
I've also added 480 x 320 images to the mobile resolutions (to support the new Blackberry Bold). I'd like to post 360 x 480 images in the future (to support the Blackberry Storm) but I need to see how much hand cropping and tweaking will need to be done in order for my images to look decent.
All of the new resolutions are available in zip files for easy downloading here. Enjoy!
- I've posted a new dual-widescreen version of "A New Dawn" this morning. The framing is now more in line with the other multi-screen renders. Hope this one works for everyone!
- I've made a change to my Gift Memberships which could save folks quite a bit of money this holiday season. Thousands of people have purchased gift memberships for friends and family over the past 10 years but now it's even more economical.
I've made it so you will get an increasing discount based on the number of gift certificates you buy. Buy 2 gift memberships and you will receive 10% off the total price. Buy 3 and get 15% off, 4 and get %20 percent off, up to 30% off if you purchase 6 gift memberships. You could get a Lifetime Membership for only $69 or a 1 year membership for only $17.50.
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "A New Dawn" to the gallery this morning. It was something of a challenge to reframe this one for multi-screen and I hope you guys approve of the solution I settled on.
- Those interested in purchasing "A New Dawn" as a poster print will find it here in my Zazzle collection.
- Ok, I think I'm done tinkering now. As I mentioned last time, I wanted to rework "A New Dawn" using some of the new tools available to me in the latest version of Vue d'Esprit (released just last week). The new version is up now (the old version will remain available in the Pickle Jar).
What's different? Most noticably, the water now has "real" waves rather than being a flat plane. Beyond looking more realistic, the new waves (I think) can be animated which opens up some new avenues for animated wallpaper.
I've also replaced the clouds with Vue's new cloud technology ("Spectral 2.0"). This took quite a bit of tweaking, but I think these clouds look a little less chunky than the old ones. The lighting is also a little better (IMO) in this version, with a bit of the left side of the cave visable.
All in all, I'm very pleased with the new version of Vue and I can't wait to apply what I've learned to some brand new scenes. Expect a multi-screen version shortly and then it's onward and upward.
- Just wanted to let you all know that I had to spend the weekend in the hospital for a nasty stomach bug. I'd been suffering from it all last week, but late Friday night it hit me hard and I had to seek treatment. I'm feeling a lot better now though and I'm back at the computer again.
I had a multi-monitor version of "A New Dawn" ready, but this morning I thought I would spend a little time and try to render the scene using some of Vue 7's new features. Vue 7 has better looking clouds and water and I think I can make some nice improvements to the scene before moving on. I'd also like to see if the new clouds handle the switch from single-screen to multi-screen (a bug in Vue 6 which I have mentioned before).
Thanks for your patience. Hopefully the results will be worth it.
- I've added "Cooliris" compatibility to the Members Gallery this morning.
I'm still playing around with it, but for now it loads the entire gallery in a nifty "flying wall" of images. If you see an image you like, click it and it will load a larger version. Look to the right of the title for an arrow. Click that and you will be taken to the image's place in my gallery where you can download wallpaper resolutions.
For now the 1152 x 864 images load when you click the thumbnails. If my bandwidth goes through the roof I may switch to the 640 x 480 images I use for the "See All" gallery.
Click here to try it out after you have installed the plugin. Drop a comment below if you have feedback or questions.
- I've added the dual and triple screen versions of "A New Playmate" to the gallery this afternoon. I've also uploaded new Zune and PSP versions to fix some problems with the earlier files.
- I know my doctor told me to take it easy, but I had an idea for a Halloween wallpaper and time was wasting. As I said below, the pain has been a lot better than I thought it was going to be so I was able to sit long enough to put together a new image. It's called "A New Playmate" and it's now up in the gallery.
Given all the stress I've been though recently, and what we've all been watching on the news every day, I thought it would be better to do something fun rather than something ghoulish. Hope you guys like it!
- I'm back home from the hospital now (they let me go home yesterday actually). I've been told that everything went smoothly and I am in a lot less pain that I was after the first operation last year. They still don't want me working or even lifting more than 10 lbs for the next week or so but I have a feeling that I will be back at work sooner rather than later. Thanks to everyone for the kind wishes!
- I've posted the dual and triple screen versions of "Niflheim" this afternoon. I hope you enjoy them!
I found out on Thursday that I need to have some surgery done. The operation is tommorow and, while it isn't anything life threatening, I do expect to be out of commission for a while (I'll know more about how long tommorow).
It's the same type of operation I underwent last November. I've been dealing with the lingering effects all year really. The first operation wasn't entirely successful so hopefully this one gets the job done.
Wish me luck!
- Added "Niflheim" to the gallery this evening (title explained here). This is the space project that I mentioned setting aside in my "Inspiration" blog post. I was torn on whether or not to come back to it, since being stuck on a project is not very much fun. I'm glad I decided to work it out though. It think it came out rather well and makes a nice addition to my space images. I also like that it is a complete 180 from my previous 3 pieces. I hope you like it too.
Next up is a multi-screen version and then I'd like to do something a little more seasonal. Either another fall image or perhaps a Halloween theme.
Speaking of Halloween: I've added links to all of my Holiday images (see just below the 1997 gallery link on the left hand side of the page) so it should be a little easier to find the images you want without having to dig through the main galleries.
- Just wanted to chime in a let you guys know that I am finishing up a new render (a space theme) and I hope to have it available sometime in the next few days depending on how long the render takes.
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Red and Gold" to the gallery this morning.
I've also added a poster version of "Red and Gold" to my Zazzle collection for those of you interested in having a hard copy on your wall.
Lastly, for those of you who have wondered where I get my ideas from, I made a blog post recently which addresses this oft-asked question.
- By popular request, I've added an autumn colored version of "Green and Gold" (titled "Red and Gold") to the gallery this morning. Normally, I would probably have something like this in the Pickle Jar but I think this one deserves a place in the gallery.
Technically, one of the advantages of composing the tree out of many seperate tree objects is that I am able to vary the leaf colors. This is something that I haven't been able to do before using single objects (you could use different colors but they would be evenly mixed throughout the tree).
I should have a multi-screen render up soon and then move on to other projects.
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Green and Gold" to the gallery this morning. I have to say right up front that the "Cloud Bug" that has plauged other multi-screen renders rears its ugly head here as well. The cloud bug, if you didn't read my post a couple of months ago, is a fault in Vue d'Esprit where the clouds change shape when I change the aspect ratio of the render. Basically, it means it is impossible to get the same clouds in the multi-screen render that I have in the single-screen version. They've told me that they are working on fixing this, but at this point I think the fix (if it comes at all) will be a part of Vue 7 rather than an update for Vue 6.
I've added a print version of "Green and Gold" to my Zazzle collection. I've also added a couple of new product categories; greeting cards and postcards. So far I've only added the top ten images (plus one or two of my personal favs), but if the demand is there I will add more. The greeting cards are blank on the inside. I would have added Christmas images, but I have an exclusive arrangement with a British company that keeps me from marketing my own Christmas cards. I can provide a link to them if anyone is interested.
I've been very pleased reading the comments regarding "Green and Gold" over the past few days. I'm glad most of you seem to have enjoyed it (and that some of you have found a bit of solace in it during troubling times). After 11 years making people happy never gets old.
- I've added "Green and Gold" to the gallery this morning. This project was an exercise for me to see if I could use Vue plants, along with the built-in Plant Editor, to create more complex and interesting models. I think it worked out pretty well in this case and I'm looking forward to trying more in the future. I hope you like it.
You may notice that I have added my "Recent Blog Posts" in a column to the right. I thought it would be better to simply list the recent posts here than make a post on this page whenever I updated the blog.
A big thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on my "Politcal Ad" dilemma. I think the consensus is pretty clear.
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Hidden Forces" to the gallery this morning.
- Zazzle is having a back-to-school poster sale until 8/18. My entire poster collection (including my brand new "Moonshadow" print) is 15% off. Simply enter the promo code "BACK2POSTERS" when you check out to get the discount.
By popular request, I've also added the "Fluorescence Triptych" to the Zazzle collection. They're exactly the same prints that I have hanging behind my desk, except that the blue one does not have the "digital blasphemy" text. They don't give me an easy way to link to the collection, so simply visit the front page for my Zazzle collection and look for the "Fluorescence Triptych" link on right hand side (under Product Lines).
I will also be adding more of my images as postage stamps. They should be up tomorrow. If you have a special request for a postage stamp (basically, any image that is already a poster or mousepad is fair game) feel free to post in the comments thread.
Lastly, I've added a 2009 Digital Blasphemy calendar. This time the calendar is printed by Zazzle and there are a host of customization options. It's a 15 month calendar (spanning Oct '08-Dec '09).
- Work on my newest wallpaper is progressing nicely and I hope to have it up by mid-week!
- The digital art community "Renderosity" interviewed me a short time ago. The interview is now up on their home page if you are interested. Here's the link...
- I've added a new abstract to the gallery this morning. It's entitled "Resonance" and it's my first "flame fractal" attempt in over two years. A member (Peter) commented on my "Episteme" image a week or so ago and planted the seed in my mind that I should revisit the "Apophysis" software and see if it had improved over the past coupe of years.
The short answer is, yes, it is greatly improved. Memory errors prevented me from rendering multi-screen renders before and those seem to have been fixed. In fact, I have dual and triple screen versions of "Resonance" up concurrent with the single screen version.
I have a few other "flame" abstracts that I am tinkering with and I hope to have them up before the end of the week as well. They don't take nearly as long to work on and render as the 3D stuff.
I've seen the harsh image ratings for my other fractals (and abstracts in general) and don't expect any of these to be in the top rated images, but they are fun for me to do (it's nice to take a break from 3D for a short time) and I think they're pretty. I hope you guys enjoy them.
- I've dropped the price for Lifetime renewals from $99 to $85. The price is also good for returning members. If you've purchased a Lifetime renewal within the past two weeks and would like the difference refunded please drop me a line and I will be happy to do so.
- Update: There was a problem with the triple-screen split file that I uploaded this morning. I've reuploaded the file with the proper images. Sorry about that!
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Pride (2008)" to the gallery this morning. In the end I had to cheat a little to get around the "Vue Cloud Bug" but I think the end result looks pretty good. Unfortunately this sort of cheat won't work with "Moonlit Citadel" so that is why I am holding onto that one until a software fix is released. The render has been completed but the sky needs to be redone before it can be posted.
I've read all of the comments regarding "Pride (2008)" with great interest. I knew it would be a polarizing image, and that not everyone would want to use it on their desktops. I was also well aware of the technical issues when I posted it. I'm glad that a lot of you enjoyed looking at it, even if you didn't use it as a wallpaper. I'm not going to make any thematic comments here, but rather let the piece speak for me.
As I said before, look for space and abstracts next!
- Added my latest project to the gallery this morning. It's a reworking of an piece I did back in 1999 called "Pride". I thought I could probably improve on the original given the advances in volumetrics in the last 10 years, but it proved to be a more challenging project then I had anticpated and I spent a few extra days tweaking things.
Anyway, it's up now and I hope you all think it worth the wait. I think this one burned me out on Vue d'Esprit for a little while so, as I mentioned last time, I hope to do some space and abstracts next.
- Status report time. Sorry I waited this long folks. I can see from some of the comments that some of you think I'm on vacation or dead or something if I don't post here on a regular basis. I'm still alive and I am currently on my second hi-res render of my new project.
I rendered the triple-screen versoin of "Moonlit Citidel" last week (a 50 hour process) and after reading the comments I've decided to keep it and re-render the sky when E-on releases their software update. If it looks like it will be more than a couple of weeks I will probably just post what I have, but I would rather not as a lot of you thought the cloud bug ruined the images.
I've been working on my latest project for the past week or so. All I can say about it is that I haven't seen anyone try this with Vue d'Esprit before (though I could be wrong) and it's a tricky render. I hope to have it up in a few days, but I will post here if it's going to be longer.
I've been getting a lot of requests for abstracts and space images so perhaps I will try some of those after this project. They usually don't take a long to develop and render as my ever-more-complex scenery images. Thanks for being patient. I've created a comments thread below if you have questions or feedback.
- I've added the moonlit version of "Citadel (2008)" to the gallery this morning. I call it, simply enough, "Moonlit Citadel" and you'll find it on the New Images page. It took a couple days longer to get a result that I was happy with, but I think the extra time was worth it in this case.
I had a render finished on Tuesday but right before I posted it I decided to add some extra lighting to the Citadel itself (inspired by the original 1998 version).
I should have a multi-screen render up in a couple of days. Last week I contacted the developers of Vue d'Esprit regarding the issue with the clouds in my mulit-screen renders looking different (and worse) than the clouds in the single screen version. I just received an answer from them this morning. Here it is (typos left intact):
we found out what the problem was.
It's linked to te aspect ratio that's different.
And atmospehere are calculated based on one aspect, and the changes a bit (usually not that much) if you change the aspect ratio.
But in your case, it changes a lot, so the atmosphere looks realy weird (in fact the math function behind it is stretched.
We will try to correct this for the next software update, until then I hope this info will help you finalize your render.
Let me know how it goes.
Hopefully they can fix the problem and I can then redo some of the multi-screens which show the problem. Should I hold off on the multi-screen version of "Moonlit Citadel" until the issue is fixed? Leave your thoughts in the comments thread if you have any.
A happy and safe Independence Day to all my USA Members!
- I've added the dual and triple screen versions of "Citadel (2008)" this morning.
I'm starting to suspect that Vue d'Esprit has some sort of bug regarding the rendering of clouds at extreme FOVs. The clouds lose a lot of detail when I widen the FOV for the multi-screen versions. It took me an extra couple of days of rendering to figure out that it's impossible to replicate the original clouds. I've tried to compensate but the simple fact is that they don't look the same as the single-screen version. I'll continue to experiment, but I wanted to post what I had before I did any more tests.
I'm still planning to try a moonlit version, but I wanted to have the mulit-screens up first.
- I've adapted Lokesh Dhakar's "Lightbox" script for use on the "Gallery-at-a-Glance" page. Clicking the small thumbnails now will load the large version "lightbox style". Click the caption below the large image to be taken to the page in the gallery containing the download links. I might be able to simplify this even more (add download links to the caption) but this is what I have so far.
- I've posted my latest project on the New Images page this morning. I've titled it "Citadel (2008)", implying that it is an update on my 1998 "Citadel" image.
Actually I didn't set out to update "Citadel" image, but when I was looking to see if the "Citidel" title had been taken I saw that I had used it 10 years ago. The themes are sort of similar so I kept the title for this one. When you produce over 600 images, you are bound to reuse a title once or twice I guess.
I've placed in the image in the "Day Scenery" gallery (though it could go in either gallery) because I think I might try a moonlit night version. I hope you like it.
- I'm waiting for my latest project to finish rendering (hopefully sometime tonight) so I took the time to tweak the "Gallery-at-a-Glance" page. Clicking the "Year" links will now take you to a page dedicated to that year with larger (100 x 75) thumbnails. Thanks to whoever suggested that one. I've also removed some of the revisions from the 1999 and 1998 galleries and placed them in the Pickle Jar where they belonged.
- I've added the dual and triple screen versions of "Untouched" to the gallery this evening. A lot of people have suggested that I try a night version so I may give that a go before moving on to something new.
- I've added an updated version of "Untouched" to the gallery this morning. The original will remain available in the Pickle Jar. I've strengthened the volumetric light in this one and hopefully this will counter some of the grain from the original.
There really isn't much else than can be done about the grain I'm afraid, I think it's just a result of all the millions of leaves in the background.
I made a few other additions as well which I will leave to you to discover. I hope you like it.
I'll work to have a multi-screen version up ASAP.
- I had a wallpaper ready to post this morning but I decided that it needed a few adjustments and one more render before I would be happy with it. I hope to have it ready by tomorrow or Thursday at the latest.
- I was waiting for some test renders to finish this morning when I surfed over to Inga Nielson's web gallery. If you aren't familiar with her work, she has some samples in my User Gallery and was recently featured on NASA's popular Astronomy Picture of the Day site. Anyway, I clicked through to her Zazzle collection and noticed that she had some of her work available as mousepads. This got me thinking that perhaps it was time I offered the same.
I used to offer mousepads through Cafepress, but to be honest I wasn't that satified with their quality and I haven't added any new ones in years. Last year I teamed with a company to offer "hi-tech gaming surfaces" but they stopped paying me royalities and I'm in the middle of figuring out how to work that out.
Zazzle has always treated me well and I think they do fabulous printing work. I went ahead and added around 12 of my most popular designs as mousepads this morning. If your favorite isn't there and you are interested in purchasing a mousepad, please feel free to comment below or on my Zazzle comment wall.
Work on my latest image has been a little slow this week. It's Ian's last week of preschool (he starts kindergarten in the fall) so there's been a lot of activities that I've had to attend. Still, I've made some progress and I hope to have something posted soon.
- I've posted a new animated wallpaper this morning on the Animations page. This is the one I've been rendering for the past month or so and have mentioned from time to time. The animation is based on my "Dispersion" wallpaper which I posted last year.
In the animated version I have the colors cycle slowly through the spectrum such that it appears the individual colors are moving from bottle to bottle. It's a pretty simple animation really, but each frame (out of 720 total) took around 30 minutes to render. I've tried to minimize noise as much as possible but some still remains. I could refine the frames for another two weeks but I don't think the improvement would be worth the time. Anyway, I hope you like it.
A question for you all. For future animated wallpapers would you rather see my stills animated (which will cause the rendering to take a very long time) or would you rather see animations designed from scratch? If I designed animated wallpapers from scratch the rendering won't take as long, but I don't think a still frame from the animation would hold up next to the stills that are in my gallery now.
Basically, would you rather see ultra-high quality animations (but only a few) or more simpler animations? Feel free to post in the thread I've set up below.
- More mobile wallpapers added today. I've added PSP size versions to all the files going back to 2003. Someone mentioned that I hadn't updated the PSP collection since 2005 and I decided it was time bring them up to date. I will be posting 480 x 272 versions of each new image from here on out and the zip file will be updated with each new post.
I've also added 320 x 320 images to the list of mobile options and a 320 x 320 zip file is available.
I've replaced the links for each mobile resolution with a dropdown list. Simply select the resolution you want and it should load for you. I would have rather had text links so you could right-click and save, but I also wanted to list some of the devices which used each resolution so people would know which resolution to pick.
The only way to do this without taking up too much space was to use a dropdown list. Hopefully this doesn't cause too much confusion.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to post in the thread below which deals with the new mobile wallpapers.
Now, if no one minds, I'm going to put aside my "mobile conversions" for awhile and get busy on a new project.
- A little family news to report. Jason turned two years old yesterday. Here he is enjoying a piece of cake and some ice cream. They grow up so fast! It seems like only yesterday that he looked like this.
- I've added 240 x 320 versions of all the mobile wallpapers that were posted on 5/20. The zip file containing these files can be found here.
- I've added the dual and triple screen versions of "Cloud Terrace (Night)" to the gallery this morning.
I've noticed some of the comments about the day version centering around the barrel distortion evident at the edges of this one. Once again, I wish there was something I could do about this. This is just how the Vue renderer handles extreme wide-angle frames. I thought that I had figured out how to get around the problem earlier but it turns out that the distortion is unavoidable no matter what settings I use. Short of not doing triple screen renders, there just isn't anything I can do about it. Sorry!
- While waiting for this last multiscreen image to render, I decided I would tackle a job that I have been meaning to do for a long time. Ever since I started posting my images formatted to fit the iPhone I have had Blackberry (and other handset) users asking me if I would post images formatted for their screens. Well, if you check the galleries you will notice that I have added three new available resolutions for images going back to 2003.
You can now download 320 x 240, 240 x 260, and 240 x 160 images for use with your Blackberries and all other handsets that support these resolutions. I have also added iPhone wallpapers for the 2004 and 2003 galleries.
You can either download the images you like individually from the gallery links or you can download zip file collections of the size you need from my downloads page.
Hope these work for everyone who can use them. I plan on adding mobile versions of all of my new images as they are released. If you have any comments, questions or want to request a different resolution please feel free to post below. No technical questions about your handset though please, I can barely work my own cell phone!
- I've added my newest render, "Cloud Terrace", to the gallery this evening. I've been tinkering with it for the past couple days and, while there are one or two things I may yet change, I think it's ready for showing. I hope you enjoy it!
- Once again I've paused the animation render to work on a new still image. I was a little slow getting started because I caught whatever bug my son brought home with him from preschool last week. Ian brought it home, then Jason got it, then me. We're all on the mend now thought and I hope to have a new render up in the next couple of days.
- I'd posted a picture of my workspace on Facebook last month, but some of you without Facebook accounts asked that I post it here. I've posted the pictures here if you are interested. Please pardon the mess!
- I had hoped to have my newest "Dreamscene" animation ready to post this afternoon, but after rendering all of my stills into a movie it looks like it needs still more work. My Fprime software allows you to "refine" your renders to higher quality so I don't have to go back and start from scratch. I can just refine them further, but it's still a lengthy process.
The problem is noise, which in a static image isn't really noticable but when the animation is running produces irritating shimmering effects in areas of the image which should be still. I'd hoped that rendering at a "medium" quality setting would result in a quick render, but the noise is unacceptable to me.
I will probably shelve this for the time being and start working on another wallpaper this weekend. I can't say when it will be ready because I haven't started it yet, but hopefully sometime next week. Sorry for the delay though. Creating animated wallpaper is new to me and I am still learning how to do it well. I'd rather wait and post something excellent than post something substandard.
I also wanted to draw your attention to the links on the left hand side of the page. I've replaced the long list of galleries with expandable menus. Just move your mouse over the "year" links and the "collections" link to see further options. Hopefully this will make navigating the gallery a little easier, or at least clean up the page a little.
- I did some calculations after I made my last post and discovered that my animation render wouldn't be finished for at least another week. If I let the render go and waited until it was done to start working on a new "static" wallpaper, it could be in the two week range before I updated my gallery.
I decided to pause the animation render and spend this weekend working on something new. My latest project, "Island Time", is now up on the New Images page for your review. The title refers to the somewhat hazy definition of time that comes from dwelling in paradise. I hope you enjoy it.
I plan on restarting new Dreamscene render as soon as I figure out how to widen "Island Time" to span multiple monitors.
- Time to pop in an give you all an update on what I'm working on now. I'm currently putting together a new animated wallpaper and trying to get it to render efficiently. It's a whole new set of challenges different than rendering stills.
I have scenes which can take up to 48 hours (or more) to render a single frame, so I am limited to quick rendering scenes when I want to do animations. The animation I'm working on now has 720 frames so getting them to render in minutes rather than hours is very important. I'm using Fprime (the essential Lightwave renderer) so frames take a lot less time to render than normally. The downside is that I have to render them on my main machine (since Fprime doesn't support network rendering).
During the render I plan on putting together my secondary box and trying to get some of my other programs to work on it so I can hopefully do some work while rendering other projects.
That's what I have on tap now. Hopefully the new "Dreamscene" will be ready sometime next week. I hopefully it's worth the wait!
- Sorry it's been so long since I've posted here. Jessie and I just returned late Friday from 5 wonderful days (without kids) on the Mexican Rivera. This was the first time since Ian was born in 2003 that we've been able to get away together and it couldn't have come at a better time. I've really had a pretty rotten winter (still recovering from my surgery in November believe it or not) and I really needed a recharge.
We had a great time in Mexico. We visited the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza (wow!) and tried scuba diving (WOW!!). I'll try to post a picture or two later on. We ended up missing the kids greatly and are glad to be back home now.
I had started a project before we left and I've spent the weekend putting the finishing touches on it. It's called "Starbirth (2008)" and is now up for your review. This is one that probably would have been a lot simpler to make if I was using 2D techniques, but was very complicated using 3D. Still, it was a nice test of my newly upgraded machine (see post from 3/19). It took around 2 hours to render at 2560 x 1600.
I hope you enjoy it. Look for multi-screen versions in the days ahead.
- Late Update: I've added a Pickle Jar version without the foreground figure. Personally I don't think you get the same sense of scale without the person, but I'm all for providing options. Which do you prefer?
- Added "Moonshadow" to the gallery this morning. Sometimes working with clouds in Vue d'Esprit is easy and sometimes it can be very frustrating. I've been tweaking these for the past few days trying to get just the right look. At least the render times weren't too bad (see my post below about hardware upgrades).
Hope you like it!
- Since I asked people to post pictures of their computer setups on the DB Facebook page, it only seemed fair that I post my own. If you are interested in where I work you can check out a photo here.
- The DB on Facebook page has been a real eye opener. All these years I've been looking at emails and comments from people, a lot of text, and now I can see human faces. While I know there are real people behind all of these emails I get, this makes it all seem more personal and real. Very cool.
I had an idea that might make my Facebook page a little more interesting. I'm sure a lot of you out there have some wicked multi-monitor setups running my wallpapers. For a long time I've wanted to have a place where people could share photos of their workstations and it looks like the Facebook "Fan Photos" sections might fit the bill.
I personally run only one monitor but I would love to see some of the multi-monitor (and cool single monitor) setups out there. If you would like to share your desktop with the world please feel free to post a photo of it in the "Fan Photos" section of the Facebook page. Thanks!
- Based on my experience rendering "Promise of Spring" (see post from 2/12) I've decided that I need to upgrade my hardware. Here's my plan: I've purchased two Xeon 5365 (quad-core 3 GHZ) processors and 16 GB of RAM. These will go into my current machine, upgrading it from from 4 cores to 8 and 8 GB of RAM to 16. My dual-core processors and RAM will go into a new box that I am building from scratch on which I hope to use to render projects while I work on new stuff on my main machine.
Back to work on my new wallpaper now...
- Wanted to post an update here since it's been some time since my last wallpaper. I am currently working on something new which I hope to have up before the end of the week.
Last evening Jessie, Ian and I had dinner with an old friend of mine from High School that I've only recently gotten back in touch with. We got to talking about how he had used Facebook to find some our old mutual friends and that got me thinking that maybe I should get with the times and create a profile for myself.
So while waiting for some test renders to finish this morning I went ahead and posted a profile for myself and one for Digital Blasphemy on Facebook. Hopefully this will give me some new ways to touch base with some of you who enjoy my work. Feel free to stop by and leave a comment (perhaps tell me some ways I can make better use of my profile page). I've been online for more than fifteen years now but this is my first crack at "social networking". We'll see how it goes!
- Last year I was approached by New Age star David Helpling about using one of my images for his latest album cover. He wanted to use one of my favorites, Cathedral. The album, "Treasure", was released last summer and was a big success.
I just learned this evening that it won the NAR Lifestlyle Award for Best Cover Art of 2007, beating out some really incredible work. Believe it or not this is the first time one of my images has won any kind of award.
Even though they don't credit me on the web site (I'm credited in the CD) I'm still pretty proud of it and wanted to let you all know.
- I've added the dual and triple screen versions of "Lone Tree" to the gallery this evening. Thanks everyone for the wonderful feedback. I knew Jessie is usually (almost always) right and the bulk of the comments bore that out. I'm glad that so many of you seem to enjoy the piece!
- I've posted a new wallpaper, "Lone Tree", on the new images page this morning. This one started out as a simple experiment with the Vue d'Esprit plant editor (trying to make an interesting looking tree) and I think it turned out nicely.
I've posted two versions. The version in the Pickle Jar contains a figure reclining under the tree enjoying the view. Jessie and I had a brief debate on which version should be featued. I thought it added a sense of scale to the image and a little drama. She thought that the figure distracted the eye from the background. I went with her decision (being the good husband that I am) but thought you all should have a say as well.
Check them both out and drop in a comment if you have feelings one way or another.
- It seems that many of you think the orange version of "Axiomatic" I posted yesterday is superior to the blue version. That's fine with me (I like it better too). I've swapped the orange version into the main gallery and the blue version will remain available in the Pickle Jar.
Onward and upward now...
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Axiomatic" to the gallery this morning. I've also added a version with a different color scheme in the Pickle Jar (multi-screen versions also available) for those of you who wanted a little variety.
- Added a new abstract, "Axiomatic", to the gallery this morning. This one (and "Colorwheel" for that matter) continues a theme, Mandalas, that I have had a lot of fun with over the years. Something about them just fascinates me for some reason.
After my last project hogged my machine for nearly 3 weeks, one of my goals with this one was to create a detailed and interesting piece that rendered in under an hour. I'm happy to report that "Axiomatic" renders in only 6 minutes on my machine. The entire image is composed of cubes.
As with most of my abstracts, I know some will like it and others will not. It was fun to make however (after the frustration of my last piece) and I think it makes a nice wallpaper. I hope you enjoy it.
- I've posted a cleaned up version of the original "Promise of Spring" wallpaper (without blooms) in the Pickle Jar for those of you who prefer that version. I will go back in a couple of weeks and see which one has a better rating and move that one into the main gallery. Now onto something new...
- Thanks to everyone for being patient while I got my latest render sorted out. It's finally done rendering and I've posted it up on the New Images page. There are a couple of rendering errors that I will be cleaning up in the next day or so, but I felt it was "finished enough" to post tonight. Please judge it on the "big picture" as I will be replacing this render with a cleaned up version shortly.
It's called "The Promise of Spring" . I'll leave its inspiration up to you.
Was it worth a nearly monthlong wait? Only you can decide. I made some mistakes which made it take longer than it should have. I know now that soft shadows + volumetric lighting = ridiculous render times when using Vue d'Esprit, so I will endeavor to find a different solution in the future. Beyond that, I hope that you enjoy it and it serves to remind you that winter cannot last forever.
- I had wanted to post my new wallpaper this morning, but instead I have to post another sad update on what has become a cursed project. The long render that I had referred to way back on 2/1 finished last week but in the end it didn't look like something I could post. It just didn't turn out right.
I should have stopped it sooner, but I kept hoping that the render was simply dealing with a particularly "hard" part of the image and would eventually speed up (as I've seen happen often).
Once it finally finished I decided that I needed to rework a couple of things and try to do a render that would take a lot less time (especially since I was going to have to work up a multi-monitor version in the future). I promise to never let a render go that long again folks.
The new version started rendering on the 8th and I woke up this morning fully expecting that it would be ready to post. Instead I found that Vue had crashed (most likely as it was working to display the final render) and I am going to have to do another 2-3 day re-render.
If my head wasn't already shaved I would be pulling out my hair at this point.
I know you all have been waiting a long time, and I am sorry. I wanted it to be done this morning. The re-render should only take another couple of days and (unless it crashes again) I will post it straightaway.
Once again, I'm very sorry about all of this! No one wants this project to be done more than I do.
- After reading all the feedback and checking the ratings for the two images, I've decided that the orange sun version of Maya will remain in the gallery. The blue version will remain in the Pickle Jar. I hope to have mulit-monitor versions of both completed shortly. Thanks everyone!
- For some reason I've had arches (or openings) on the mind for a while now. "Circumpolar" was my first effort. Continuing that theme I offer "Maya", new in the Members Gallery this morning. There will most likely be more later this year. I hope you enjoy it!
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Colorwheel" to the gallery this morning.
A lot of you have been asking about multi-monitor versions of "The Astronomer". I wasn't able to produce a multi-screen version that did not exhibit extreme disortions of the planets on the far right and left side of the frame. Rather put out a substandard image, I chose to skip doing a multi-monitor version. If you feel strongly about seeing one anyway, please leave feeback to that effect.
I haven't abandoned dual and triple screen users, I will always try to create multi-screen versions when possible. I just don't want them to be lower quality than the single screen versions.
- Happy 2008 everyone! I hope you all had a safe and wonderful holiday season. I'm happy to report that I am ready to get back to fulltime work now and will start in tomorrow on a new project. Thanks to all the kind thoughts and wishes that have been sent my way!
- I just wanted to again say thanks for all the kind wishes I have received regarding my healing process. I am healing faster than my doctor expected by still way too slow for my own liking.
I posted an updated version of "Yuletide" in the gallery this morning. I wanted to do a Holiday wallpaper, but had to be a little less ambitious than in years past (since I'm still not 100%). I hope you enjoy it though and I look forward to getting back to full steam in 2008 (if not sooner).
Jessie, Ian, Jason and I wish you all happy holidays and wonerful new year!
- Time for an update on my condition. The healing process is going slower than I would like, but it is progressing normally. I visited my surgeon on Tuesday and was told to expect another two weeks of recovery. I'm visited by a nurse daily to change dressings and am still on pain medications (though I am tapering that off). Basically I just need to take it real easy for the next few weeks in order for all this to heal up (though I didn't let that stop me from lifting Ian up for the first time this morning).
I am at least thinking about my next wallpaper however and am looking forward to getting back to work as soon as possible. I haven't decided if I will do a Christmas image or a more "generic" winter scene. Either one will probably be of limited use to folks, as I imagine neither Christmas nor Winter scenes stay on the desktop much past the 25th. Maybe I should just do an abstract...
I will admit that I am not feeling the least bit of holiday spirit at the moment (I've only left the house once since returning from the hospital) but it tends to fill you when you least expect it. One thing that has really made me feel better is all the warm comments in regards to my last post. I can't thank you all enough for the kind wishes.
Just wanted you all to know what was going on healthwise. Bottom line: I'm healing up.
- One other item to mention: Since last year I've had a contract with a company called "Wireless Developer" to offer my images as cell phone wallpapers. It's been their job to market my images to the various outlets for cell phone images (my "Yuletide" image, for example, is a top seller on the AT&T Media Mall site).
Wireless Developer contacted me last week saying that they've put together a storefront for my graphics. So if you are interested in downloading my graphics directly to your T Mobile, Sprint, or AT&T handset you can text "digiblas" to 32852. A nominal fee applies (I'm not sure how much they are each, but I get 50% of each sale).
I wish I could offer you all a way to get these for free (since you are already Members) but they've put a lot of work into the store (formatting the images for all the different displays) and provide all the bandwidth. Besides, you are all welcome to download my work directly from the Members Gallery and upload it to your phone. The wireless store just makes it very simple.
Anyway, give it a shot if you are interested. That's it for now, I hope to post more soon!
- I just wanted you all to know that I had to go into the hospital for surgery on Wednesday to alleviate a painful condition that had been effecting me since last weekend. I would rather not get into specifics except to say that I was in a great deal of pain from Sunday until Wednesday. I went to the ER Wednesday and they put me under Wednesday evening to fix me up. I spent the night in the hospital and returned home yesterday evening.
The doctor tells me that it is going be another week before I can return to any semblance of a normal life. I'm not allowed to even sit at my desk. I am on the mend however and am supposed to get a little better every day.
I know some of you are waiting for the multi-screen version of "The Astronomer". I'm going to have to put a hold on that, and any Christmas wallpaper plans, until I am better. Sorry about that. Really, I'd like nothing more than to be able to get back to work but I have to wait until I am better.
I will post more when I am able. Thanks for being patient while I work this all out.
- Afternoon update: I've made a couple of changes to "The Astronomer" and have posted a new version. The clouds are a little softer in the new version and I've changed the color of the lights on the platform. The first version is in the Pickle Jar. Let me know which you prefer and I will keep that one in the gallery.
- After posting "Song of the Sky" earlier this month I immediately set about working on a new "planetscape" wallpaper. I really wanted to have something done in under a week.
It didn't turn out that way though. Every night I would set it to render thinking that I would post the wallpaper in the morning, and each morning I found something that I wanted to change. Art is like that sometimes I guess. I just didn't want to post it until I was completely happy.
I'm as close to "completely happy" as I am going to get so my new wallpaper is now up for your review. It's called "The Astronomer". Sorry it took so long, hopefully it was worth it.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating!
- I'm sure some of you are wondering if I will be posting a new wallpaper soon. I am working on it right now actually and I hope to have something up in the next couple of days. This one has been something of a challenge, for reasons that I will elaborate on when I post the image. Thanks for being patient!
- I've posted a revised version of "Song of the Sky (2007) on the new images page. I had really not planned on doing any revisions to this one. It seemed that most of you liked it the way it was.
Unfortunately I was bit by a nasty Vue d'Esprit bug whereby saving my file actually wiped out some of my work. Most of it was still there but my trees were all messed up. The end result being that I won't be able to render the image again exactly as I had posted it on Friday.
So I set about repairing the file and (and trying to avoid the bug). Other than the trees (which I was forced to change) I decided to change the aurora a little. It's a little softer now and I've added more green tones. I've also tapered it a little at the top to more closely match the original (2000) render.
Not much could be done about the reflections in water. The angle and proximity of the trees keeps the aurora from being reflected.
Hopefully the new render will be as well received as Friday's (since there's no going back to it). Next up: Multi-monitor versions.
- I've added the multi-monitor versions of "All Hallows Eve" this morning. Enjoy!
- We've been watching the developments in Southern California with great concern. Jessie and I (and a 3 month old Ian) were living in North San Diego county during the Cedar Fire back in 2003 and can remember vividly packing our belongings to make a quick evacuation. I had even removed and packed the hard drives from my computers.
Luckily the evacuation order never came and the fire bypassed us, but we know how scary the situation can be. The experience definitely influenced our decision to move back to Illinois (we lived in a very dangerous "high fire danger" area with only one road leading in and out).
Any of you in the SoCal reading this, know that you are in our thoughts. Stay Safe!
- I've been getting requests for a new Halloween wallpaper for nearly a month now. I wasn't able to come up with an idea I liked until just recently though.
My Halloween offering for 2007, "All Hallows Eve", is now up on the new images page. This one is pretty dark so it may be best enjoyed in a dark room or you may want to adjust your monitor brightness.
Anyway, Ian thinks it's pretty cool and I hope you like it too. Happy Halloween!
- Added "Indian Summer" to the gallery this morning. Around this time of year I usually like to do Fall scenes and/or Halloween images. I started a couple of Halloween projects last week, but didn't feel they were progressing so I decided to do an Autumn scene instead. I will go back to the Halloween projects later this week and see if I can work one of them out.
Users with large monitors might notice a bit of grain in the "Indian Summer" render. There really isn't a way to render volumetric clouds and light in Vue without having some grain present. I did try to minimize the grain as much as possible, but outside of using ridiculously high quality settings (such that the render takes 4 to 5 days to complete) I'm not sure there is anything that can be done about it.
- I've posted a new revision of "Haiku (2007)" on the new images page. I've lowered the camera angle a little, changed the ripple pattern, and I've brightened the water and rocks a little. I didn't want to add too much brightness however because I liked the contrast of the bright leaf on the darker surface. The version I posted on the 24th will remain in the Pickle Jar.
- I've been receiving a lot of requests lately to post a widescreen or updated version of "Haiku". No problem, right? Actually, yes. Haiku was created back in 2000 with an older version of Lightwave using a water shader that from a company that is no longer updating their software. Long story short, I couldn't seem to render it and have it look exactly like the 2000 version.
So I decided to do a new version. This was a tough call for me though. The original "Haiku" is probably my favorite image out of all that I have done and I didn't want to redo it unless I was certain it could be improved. Whether or not I have succeeded is up to you now. The 2007 version is up on the new images page.
I've added some reflected trees and sky to the surface of the water and for these reflections to be visible I've darkened the rocks under the surface.
It's always tricky messing with an old favorite (as I found when updating "Chamelea" earlier this year). I hope you like the new version at least as much as the old one.
- I've added dual and triple-screen versions of "The Shrouded Desert" to the gallery this morning.
- I got the distinct impression, from both reading the comments and looking at the ratings, that "The Shrouded Desert" was not a favorite. Ok, they can't all be winners I guess. Still, I didn't want to leave it as is so I went back and changed it up a little and rendered a new version. The camera angle has changed, as has the atmosphere. I've removed a lot of the extra peaks and I've added some vegetation to help with the sense of scale. All in all, I like this one better than the original (which will go to the Pickle Jar). I hope you agree!
- Thanks for all the kind birthday wishes! My Mom watched the kids so Jessie and I could go into Chicago and spend the day. It was a great birthday!
- It's been a while since I posted so I thought you all might like a status report. Last week I decided to take a few days off to work on some non-art related projects and rest my brain a little. I started back in on another project this week but it's not quite ready yet (I have a render completed but it's not gallery-worthy yet). I'm going to be working on it through the weekend though and hope to have it early next week (hopefully before my birthday Tuesday) if not sooner.
- A couple of months ago I was looking for some new music to listen to while working and I came upon a band called "State Radio". The more songs I listened to the more I liked them and now they rank as one of my favorite bands around.
Why am I telling you this? I was just looking at their website and it looks like they are giving away free downloads of all their previous albums (to celebrate their upcoming release). Wish I had known they were going to do this before I bought them on iTunes. Oh well. If you only download one, I recommend "Us Against The Crown". Enjoy!
- A number of folks mentioned that the dual-monitor version of "Dispersion" posted yesterday did not split well across two screens (one of the bottles was cut down the middle). I've rendered a new version of the dualscreen which fixes this problem. Thanks for the feedback!
- I've added dual and triple-screen versions of "Dispersion" to the gallery this morning. There's been some wonderful suggestions for improving the image in the comments, but I think I'm happy with it as is. Thanks for the feedback though!
- I mentioned last time that I was at a loss as to why my abstracts are rated lower than the scenery images. I've been thinking about it though and I've come to the conclusion that scenery images, even though they are art, are more likely to be judged objectively than abstracts. In other words, there is a "right answer" with sceneries and the ratings will tend to be on one side of the scale or the other depending on the merits of the image. Abstracts, however, are judged subjectively. Some people are going to like them and some people aren't. There's no "right answer". Thus the ratings are more spread out and the average is always going to be lower.
I don't think this means that abstracts are worse than the sceneries, just that less people agree on what makes a good abstract.
That's my two cents any way. What do you think?
- After doing a number of scenery type images I thought it would be fun to change things up a bit and try something different. My latest wallpaper is called "Dispersion" and it's now up on the New Images page for your review. It's based on a science photo I saw a while back.
I've classified it as an abstract, but only because it doesn't easily fit into my other categories. Since I started having people rate the images, I have noticed that my abstracts are consistently rated lower than my scenery images. Can't say why. I will continue to do them though because every so often I need a change of pace and I enjoy letting my mind wander.
I hope you enjoy it!
- Thanks for the comments everyone. I think I have enough to see which way the wind is blowing. I've included "River Valley Dawn" in the main gallery. Dual and triple-screen versions are also available.
- I've posted a "sunrise" version of "River Valley". It's in the Pickle Jar for now. I've had it sitting on my desktop for the past couple of days and haven't decided whether to add it to the gallery or leave it as a Pickle Jar image.
I've decided to leave it up to you all. Leave a comment and/or give it a rating and let me know what you think. If you guys think it's worthy I'll add it to the gallery otherwise I'll leave it in the Pickle Jar.
I probably won't make any changes to it though, as I plan on starting something new in the week ahead.
- I also wanted to mention that my son Ian turns 4 years old tomorrow. Those of you who have been Members for a while probably remember when I announced his birth. It doesn't seem like it was all that long ago, but little kids change a lot in just a few years. Before long I will have to start teaching him how to use Vue and Lightwave...
- I've added dual and triple-screen versions of "Rive Valley" this afternoon. You may notice that the top and bottom of the frame are a little tight in this version. It seems there is no way in Vue to widen the frame without also clipping the vertical so I wasn't able to keep the river in frame.
- I've gotten a number of emails asking if I could make it possible to puchase "multiple year renewals". This morning I've gone ahead and added 2 and 3 year options to the renewal form. There is a $2 discount if you choose to renew for 2 years and a $5 discount if you choose to renew for 3 years. The 1 year renewal is still $15.
- I've posted an updated render of "River Valley" this morning. I decided this new version was stronger than the first so I moved the original to the Pickle Jar. I tried to improve the mountains in this version and I've softened the cloud layer. I was happy with the foreground so that remains unchanged. Which do you prefer?
- Added a new wallpaper, "River Valley", to the gallery this afternoon.
Jessie and I took Ian to the Field Museum in Chicago earlier this week to see the dinosaur bones and "River Valley" was inspired by a mural I saw in one of the nature exhibits. I wasn't attempting to recreate the mural per se, rather I was inspired by the composition (close elements on the right expanding to a wide vista). I hope you like it.
- I've added a new animated wallpaper to the collection this morning. The animation is based on my "Campfires" wallpaper and depicts a spinning globe with city lights on the night side.
- I've added dual and triple-screen versions of "Of All Places". I spent a little extra time on this one trying to make sure the cave walls on the right and left of the screen weren't completely black.
- I've posted one more revision of "Of All Places". I've changed the ripples back to how they were in the original (but sharpened the reflections) and removed the wayward tree root.
- I've registered my RSS feed with Feedburner (which is now a part of Google). Part of their service is they will provide an email notice when I update my RSS feed. Now those of you who miss my email update list can register an email with them and get an email delivered to you whenever I update my RSS feed (which is basically whenever I post a news item here).
I really like the simplicity of running an RSS feed, and I never liked the pitfalls of running large email lists (hundred of bounced emails, unintentional spam blacklisting, etc) so I think this is a good compromise. Post below if you have any questions or comments.
- I've added 1920 x 1080 versions of all the 2005 images to the gallery this morning. I've also added a zip file of all the 1920 x 1080 images to the downloads page. I should also mention that the 1920 x 1080 images will scale down perfectly to fit 1366�768,1280 x 720 and other 16:9 widescreen resolutions.
How do you tell if you are running 16:9? First get your screen resolution, then divide the width by the height. If the quotient is ~1.78 then you are running 16:9 and should use the 1920 x 1080 images (tell your OS to "Stretch" the image if your screen width is smaller than 1920). If the quotient is 1.6, then you should use the 1920 x 1200 images (or 2560 x 1600 if you have a 30 inch widescreen monitor).
Along the same vein I want to clear something up regarding the image sizes in the gallery. It's true that the 640 x 480, 800 x 600, and 1024 x 768 options are gone. It may interest you to know, however, that I never actually offered files with those resolutions. I used HTML height and width elements to display the 1152 x 864 images at the lower resolutions. Now that I am not using a separate HTML page to display the files, I can no longer offer the lower resolution viewing options.
If you are using 800 x 600 or 1024 x 768, please allow the 1152 x 864 image to load and set it as your wallpaper. If you are using Firefox, select the "Stretch" option. If you are using IE you will need to set your Display Properties to Stretch the image to fit. I'm sure there are similar settings on other OSs as well. The images will have the same quality you have been used too (since you were actually downloading the 1152 x 864 file all along).
I hope this all makes sense.
- I've made a few changes to the gallery pages this morning. I was in the process of uploading my first batch of 1920 x 1080 images (I've only completed the 2007 images so far) when I decided that it would be a lot simpler if I removed the "viewing page" step and instead link directly to the image files.
Now you can right-click on the size link of your choice, select "Save As" and download the graphic without having to load it into your browser first. The main reason for the change is so I can more easily add different resolutions to the gallery in the future without having to rework a lot of code. There might still be a few bugs around so let me know if you see anything strange.
I'll be adding more 1920 x 1080 images (suitable for use on HDTVs, and as background for our Xbox360 and PS3 consoles) in the weeks ahead.
- I've added pages so you can see the Top Ten rated "Day Sceneries", "Night Sceneries", "Abstracts", ,"Planetscapes", and "Interiors". In case you're curious, the "Night Scenes" the most highly rated (on average).
- I've created an "Animations" page with Quicktime previews of the "Singularity" and "Fluorescence" animations I posted this week. Hopefully having the smaller previews available will help those who were unable to view the hi-res files (and keep folks from downloading a 40 MB without knowing its contents).
- I've added another animated wallpaper this afternoon. This one is based on my "Fluorescence" image. Specifically it is inspired by all the folks who written me over the past five or so years asking if the little Flash animation on the Members Login page could be used as a wallpaper.
As with the Singularity image, this one is available as a MPG file. I would rather not upload a because I want the video to play across a number of different platforms, not just Windows.
You can download the video here. It is a 45 MB file. These are big files!
Speaking of which I will most likely have to order more bandwidth from Rackspace if I am going to continue to host these files. I've purchased 500 GB per month but all the downloads of my Singularity video yesterday alone added up to around 30 GB. I can't imagine what the bandwidth bill would be if I hosted, say, 10 of these animations.
Anyway, I hope you like the new video!
- Added "Circumpolar" to the gallery this morning. I spent far too much time working on this one (as Jessie has been fond of reminding me these past few days). The reason is threefold. two of the my fault. I was learning a new modeling program (Zbrush) and I was learning to use Vue's subsurface scattering. My knowledge of both is still pretty rough at this point, and I have much to learn, but I think the knowledge will pay big dividends down the road.
The last problem was beyond my control. It seemed whenever I tried to do my final render it would always come out blocky and smeary looking as if I was using the lowest quality settings. So I would jack up the render settings and try again, causing the next render to take even longer but with the same results. I went through this for about 5 days when I finally found a newly released patch for Vue fixing, you guessed it, blocky renders when using global illumination. Long story short, my program had a bug which caused me to waste 5 days.
I applied the patch last night and the render finished this morning. I could probably keep fiddling with this image for the rest of my life, but I think it's time to move on to other projects. Thanks for your patience!
- If you haven't been to the gallery for the past week or so (and you own an iPhone or similar device) please check out the posts directly below. Also, I'd like to mention that I've placed a permanent link for adding "Member Testimonials" (it had fallen down the page and out of view recently). Thanks!
- I've added a zip file containing all of my iPhone wallpapers to the downloads page.
- I had hoped to be posting a new wallpaper this morning, but I just wasn't happy with the latest render. Since adding the ratings and comments I guess I have wanted to hold onto my work until it is as close to as perfect as possible. I hope you guys will continue to be patient as I am trying to learn some new software/techniques that I think will pay off big time in the future. I will keep working on the new wallpaper today and hope to have a render done by tomorrow or Saturday.
- While I was waiting for this latest (failed) render to complete, I set about converting my wallpapers for use on the trendy new iPhone (I've gotten a great many emails about this) I've added iPhone versions of the 2007, 2006 and 2005 wallpapers (look for the "iPhone" link in the resolution choices). The links say "iPhone" in the galleries, but they should work on any device with a 320 x 480 screen. I'll post zip files as soon as they are all up (I haven't decided how far back in my collection I will go).
You may have already made your own conversions, but I would ask that you have a look at these. I tried to do an interesting crop on each and they are all sourced from lossless originals.
I don't have an iPhone to test them on (and won't until it supports 64-bit Windows) so if you have any comments on the iPhone versions please feel free to send them directly to me.
- This new wallpaper is taking me a little longer than I had anticipated. After about a weeks worth of work I basically scrapped most of it and started over yesterday. I'm happy with what I have now though and when the render is complete (either sometime tonight or early tomorrow) I hope to have it up for you.
- I've gone back and made a few changes to my new "Tropical Moon". The planet rings are more distinct now and I think the clouds look better (less like fog). Some of you asked that the foreground be lightened, but I really want the foreground to be silhouette. In fact, this version may be a shade darker than the first.
Anyway, it's now up on the New Images page while the original version resides in the Pickle Jar.
- Some folks have written me regarding wallpapers for the iPhone. My phone is slowly falling apart so I was in the ATT store the other day looking for a replacement. I played around with an iPhone and it looks like a cool little gadget. I couldn't figure out how to download an image from the web and use it as wallpaper, but I hear it is possible to do so.
I'll be happy to post some iPhone wallpapers once I figure out what size (and orientation) they need to be. I must say though, that it is tough keeping up with all the gadgets and screen sizes out there!
- I was looking at "Tropical Moon of Thetis" the other day (I have a print hanging in the room where my kids do most of their playing) and it occurred to me that I could make some nice improvements with my new software.
The original was really a quick and dirty attempt to compose a Vue scene in front of a Lightwave generated background (it may have been the first time I tried such a thing). I was quite surprised that the image became so popular.
Anyway, I've composed a new version and it's now up on the New Images page. I hope you like it.
Those of you looking for a festive 4th of July wallpaper can have a look at "Happy 4th" or "The Emblem Of". Hope you have a safe and happy holiday!
- I've added dual and triple-screen versions of "Outpost". After reading all the feedback I've decided to switch the versions in the gallery. The orange neon stays. Thanks to everyone for the feedback!
- I was looking through "Full Moon" with Ian last week when the idea struck me to create a wallpaper featuring the Moon. I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do, and the idea took a few days to get started, but I think I'm happy with the end result. The render is called "Outpost" and it is up now for your review.
- Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments on "Biodome". I'm glad that most of you seem to like it!
Quite of a few of you asked if I would post a night version. I actually had one planned from the start, and modeled the "Dome" with lights accordingly. I had to get the atmosphere the way I liked it though, so it took a couple of days to work out. The "sunset" version is now up on the New Images page.
I've also posted a revision of the original "Biodome" which fixes an issue with one of the tree models.
- Added "Biodome" to the gallery this evening. Sorry it took so long to post something new, but I hope it was worth the wait!
- A number of you have asked that I add links to the full-size images on the "Most Recent Comments" page. I'm waiting for a render to complete this afternoon so I took the time to code them in. Thanks for the feedback!
- Just wanted to update you all on what's been going on. We've had an eventful week in the Bliss household. . .
Last Wednesday Jason celebrated his first birthday! Hard to believe it's been a year already, but he's now toddling about like a little boy. Here's a couple of pictures from his party: one with me and one with his Mommy (looking rather tuckered out).
Shortly after that we packed up the kids and drove 600 miles to attend Jessie's brother's wedding in Arkansas. We had a great time and the kids really enjoyed being with Jessie's family. The driving part was a little tough though. 10 hours of driving with small children is not for the faint of heart. We got back late last night and only now is my sanity starting to return.
Now I'm setting my sights on getting back to work. I've been working on a multi-screen version of my "Chamelea" update, but I've not been happy with the results. I may have to table it for a brief time and come back to it after I've worked on another project.
- I was looking at the new "Latest Comments" page and saw "Chamelea" up near the top. "Chamelea" has always been a favorite of mine from my early days, but looking at it now I couldn't help be see a few things which I thought could be improved. I put together an updated version which is now up on the new images page. Definitely don't judge this one by the thumbnail (the thumb doesn't look very good). It needs to be seen in hi-res.
Perhaps I should have left well enough alone, but I thought it was an effort worth making. Let me know what you think.
- Late Update: Some of you thought that the face could use a little more definition. Easy enough. I've posted an updated render.
I should also mention that the figure in this image is nude (as she was in the original) so you might not want to view the image if you are at work. I've tried to be as tasteful as possible, but I don't want anyone to get into trouble!
- Well, it looks like "Siteadvisor" is in the process of retesting my site. According to them it will take six weeks for the test to complete. During that time my rating has been changed from "Red" to "Yellow", hopefully it will be green ASAP. Thanks again to everyone who spoke up on my behalf. I'm quite sure it was your voices which got their attention.
- I've been reading the comments on "Hidden Falls" with great interest. I knew the waterfall would be an issue. Some of you wanted to see it with some motion blur and I can understand that. Unfortunately, I created the waterdrops as a static object and not as a particle animation (Vue doesn't have a particle system). I did try animating the waterfall object but for some reason I was never able to produce a pleasing motion blur effect.
Long story short, the waterfall (this version at least) is as good as it is going to look. Perhaps in the future Vue will have a particle system and I won't need to use a workaround. Thanks for all the suggestions though!
Speaking of suggestions, I thought you all might be interested in the images with the most recent comments. This is how I've been keeping track of which images (out of the hundreds in my gallery) have recent comments and I thought you might like to read them too. Thanks again everyone!
- A few items to mention this morning. I've just posted a new wallpaper, "Hidden Falls", in the gallery this morning. I can't count the number of times people have written me asking me to do a waterfall, but I've always been a little be afraid to try one. Waterfalls are rather tricky to create in 3D as a still image. I decided to give it a go however and I hope you like the result.
Second, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has written me expressing support in regards to my "Siteadvisor" troubles (see post from 5/8). There have been so many emails that I couldn't possibly respond properly to them all. I especially appreciate the folks who took the time to create a "reviewer" account with Siteadvisor and put in a good word for DB. Apparently they have heard us and have said they will "re-test" my site ASAP. Hopefully they will get it right this time.
Lastly, a few of you recommended that I have a place where Members could share their thoughts about the Members Gallery with non-Members. I think this is a pretty cool idea so I have set up a comment form (similar to the one I use for the images in the gallery) so you can do just that. If you enjoy being a Member and would like to give a "testimonial" then you can do so here. If you would like to read what other Members have written you can do so here. Once there are a few up there I will post them on a page in the Free Gallery. It's completely optional, but would really help offset the "bad press" this Siteadvisor thing has caused. Thanks!
- I need to clear the air about something. Back in March I was alerted to the fact that a website called "Siteadvisor", run by McAfee, had "redlisted" my site. Specifically they claimed to have received spam emails after "signing up". What really happened is that their robot entered an email address in my guestbook. At the time I allowed people to enter their email address along with their guestbook post (it wasn't mandatory). The email address was then displayed next to the post.
Shortly thereafter their email address was harvested by a program which surfs the web and collects email addresses from web pages. The spam they received was not sent by me.
When I found out about this I immediately contacted the Siteadvisor people. I removed the email field from the guestbook and asked them to recheck my site. They came back to me shortly thereafter saying that my site would be given the "green" rating, but that the change would take 4 weeks to propagate through the database.
I don't know what sort of slow database they are running, but the change still hasn't been made. Repeated emails from me requesting the change be made have been ignored. Now folks using this plugin are afraid to visit my site.
At this point I'm not sure what else to do. I am still working to get the rating changed, but I wanted you all to know what was going on. DB has never, and will never send spams. I have prided myself on treating my site visitors, both members and non-members, as I would like to be treated and will continue to do so.
- I'm glad to see that most of you enjoyed "Cosmos". I've added dual and triple-screen versions to the gallery this morning.
- It doesn't seem to matter how fast my machine is: I always find a way to max it out an create scenes which take days to render. My latest wallpaper, "Cosmos", is now up on the new images page for your review. I was attempting to recreate some of the same "dust and light" play that can be found in the coolest Hubble shots. I guess the consolation is that such an image would have taken weeks to render on my old machine. Enjoy!
- Thanks to everyone who posted the wonderful feedback for my first version of "Before the Storm". I took some of the ideas you gave me and I've rendered a new version which is up now on the New Images page. The first version will remain in the Pickle Jar.
- Added "Before the Storm" to the gallery this evening. The past couple of weeks have been cold and grey around here, so I wanted to make something green and springlike (Jessie says it looks more like Summer though). Hope you like it!
- The dual and triple-screen versions of "Snowy Creek Springtime" have finally finished rendered and are now available.
- Happy Easter everyone! Just a quick update today. I am still trying to render out the multi-screen version of "Snowy Creek Springtime". I'm not sure why, but this version is taking forever to render even though it isn't that much larger than the single screen version. It's been rendering since Tuesday and doesn't look like it will be complete any time soon.
In the past I would have rendered it on my old machine and worked on something new, but since my new machine is 64-bit with 8 GB of RAM the projects I create on it cannot be rendered on any of my old systems. I'm stuck waiting.
My time has not totally been wasted however. Yesterday I posted nearly 70 3840 x 1200 images designed to fit dual-widescreen (1920 x 1200) systems. You'll find them in the dual-screen gallery or download them all in a Zip file from the downloads page.
If you find that my multi-screen images do not perfectly fit your combination of screens you may need to do some cropping, cutting, and/or resizing. Paint.Net is a great (free) image editor and is definitely worth a look.
- I added "Snowy Creek Springtime" to the gallery this morning. I'd hoped to have it ready before I left on my "mini-vacation" last Thursday, but the render was taking longer than I had anticipated. I returned last night and the render was finished. A lot of you had asked if I could do a Spring version of Snowy Creek so I hope you enjoy it!
- I spent the weekend in west Texas with an old friend of mine. We visited Big Bend National Park and the Carlsbad Caverns (we even saw the "Marfa Lights"). Really awe inspiring stuff and lots of inspiration! I would definitely recommend that everyone put the Carlsbad Caverns on their "Must-Visit" list. It was truly like nothing I had ever seen before. I would also recommend that anyone visiting Big Bend also stop by the Starlight Theatre in Terlingua (great food and hospitality!).
I've put a few photos here if you are interested (taken with my trusty digital Elph). I would have taken a million pictures inside the cave, but without a tripod most of my shots were very blurry. Ah well, great memories!
- Added "Xenotron" to the gallery this afternoon. I wanted to try something a little different this time and get some practice with the latest beta version of Lightwave. Hope you like it!
- If you've ever been interested how the image ratings are computed, you can now click on the score (after you've voted of course) to see how the rating breaks down.
- I've added dual and triple-screen versions of "Crucible" (planet only). I may get to do a version with lava but I would rather work on some other projects first.
- It would seem the general consensus is that the "planet-only" version of "Crucible" is superior to the "lava version". Fair enough. I've moved the planet version to the main gallery and moved the lava version into the Pickle Jar. I've also removed the version with the inferior lava (why keep it around?).
In the process of creating the (forthcoming) multi-monitor version I had to do some reworking of the planet version, so the image you see in the gallery now is slightly different than what you've been looking at in the Pickle Jar these past few days. The changes are pretty minor (the "background ash" is a little more detailed now) so I simply replaced the older version with the new. The changes were necessary in order to have the multi-screen version look consistant with the single screen.
Thanks everyone for your feedback!
- I've posted an updated version of "Crucible". Quite a few of the comments I received on the image centered on the lava not looking quite right so I went back and made some changes. I hope you like them. Some of you also asked if I could post a version without the foreground. Both the previous version and the planet-only version are available in the Pickle Jar.
I had originally intended this piece to be "planet only" and I had crafted a number of interesting volumetric effects to make it appear that the planet was surrounded by millions of rocks and dense clouds of ash. It would have looked cool, but I couldn't get the ash clouds to work. They were taking far too long to render properly. So I scrapped that idea and decided to go with the image you see posted.
I plan on doing a multi-screen version in the next few days and then I will move on to something else.
- I realized when I added the comment system back in October that people would not always agree and that there might be arguments. I have no problem with this. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and are welcome to express them through the comment system.
I do not expect all of the comments to be positive and if something can be improved I want to hear about it (sometimes I lose perspective when I've stared at an image for too long). After all I would not have kept putting my work out for everyone to see all these years if I couldn't take criticism (believe me, I've heard it all by now).
I would really appreciate it, however, if the discussion could be kept civil and the name calling be kept to a minimum. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn't say something to someone's face, then don't post it. I am referring to some of the comments made regarding the first version of "Crucible" which you can read here if you are interested.
- Added "Crucible" to the gallery this morning. It took quite a bit longer to complete than I expected due to some of the volumetric effects I tried. Even with my new machine, volumetrics take an unacceptable amount of time to render in Lightwave. Unfortunately, you don't know what you are getting in Lightwave until the render is completely finished (unlike Vue which displays the full-size render in progress) and it took a few long multi-day renders to get the final product I wanted. Anyway, it's up now and I hope you enjoy it.
- Yes, I am still alive and I am working on a new wallpaper. For better or worse I will have it up before the end of the week. I'm just not happy with it at this time.
- I've been receiving quite a few emails asking if I will be working on animations for use with the new Windows Vista (Ultimate) "Dreamscene". At this very moment I am installing a Vista on my old workstation for use as a testbed (I'm not ready to install it on my main machine yet) and I will explore the possibilities.
The main issues are: Render times (already my single frame wallpapers take far too long to render so I can't really imagine rendering 60 or so frames), and development time. I have always tried to balance developing "cutting edge" content (multi-screen wallpapers, etc) with the time it takes to develop wallpapers for the majority of my members (single screen, static images). Basically, I'd rather not spend a lot of time and resources working on something that only a small percentage of my Members can use. As more and more users start using animated wallpapers however I will shift more of my attention to developing them.
- I just wanted to let you all know that I'm still alive (snowed in at the moment, but alive) and I'm busy rendering a new "Planetscape" wallpaper. It's a pretty complex piece (even my new machine is chugging a little bit) and the full size render will most likely take between 24-36 hours when I start it. I hope to be ready to render sometime today or tomorrow and I hope to have it up shortly after it's finished. Unless, of course, I see something that needs changing...
- I've (finally) finished rendering the dual and triple-screen versions of "Cloud Canyon". I've posted them in their respective galleries and on the new images page.
- I've consolidated all of my previous news postings onto one page (they were turning into a tangle of different linked files). Having them on one page should make it easier for me to keep this page short and current. The link to the previous news postings (going all the way back to 10/99) can be found at the bottom of this page.
- It's been a while since I've posted any pictures of the kids and I know some of you have been asking. Here's one of Jason taken a recently (he will be 9 months old in a couple of weeks), and here's one of Ian showing his support for our favorite football team.
- Thanks to everyone for the wonderful comments on "Planitia". I really enjoy reading your feedback! Some of you asked if I could do a blue version, but I think a blue sky would look too much like our own. My goal with "Planitia" was to do something "out of this world" and that is why I chose green over blue.
Of course, there's nothing stopping you from opening the file in your favorite photo editor and shifting the hue to your liking.
I've posted dual and triple-screen versions of "Planitia". I've also updated the "non-widescreen" versions to fix some composition issues. The versions I posted on 1/17 looked a little cramped on the sides (due to how they were cropped from the widescreen original) and the new renders should look better if you are using a 4:3 screen.
- My last few wallpapers have been somewhat normal (tropical sunsets and snowy forests) so I thought it would be nice to start 2007 with something a little wild. I'm satisfied that Vue 6 is great at simulating Earthbound environments, but I wanted to see how it would do with something more "out of this world". The new render, "Planitia" (def.), is now up on the new images page.
- If you are a fan of George R. R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series (I'm a huge fan) you might be interested to hear this. I couldn't be more stoked!
- I hope you all are enjoying your holidays. We had a great Christmas this year, with Ian anticipating Santa Claus for the first time. Now we have a parking lot of trucks and tractors to deal with...
- I added "Tropic of Capricorn (2006)" to the gallery this morning. The image wasn't designed as an update to the original "Capricorn". Sitting here trying to think of a title (usually the very last thing I do before posting an image) it occured to me that the scene was very similar (sunset to the right) and would make a nice revision. Hopefully it will provide some (simulated) warmth if it is cold and grey where you are.
Happy New Year!
- I've finally finished the dual and triple screen versions of both "Snowy Creek" and "Snowy Creek Christmas". Enjoy!
- In response to some of the comments regarding colored lights in "Snowy Creek Christmas": I tried multi-colored lights and I felt it looked quite garish and too busy. I eventually settled on all white lights and I think it works nicely. Thanks so much for the great feedback you all have been leaving in the comment sections!
- Late Update: Many of you have commented that the snow in the new "Snowy Creek Christmas" doesn't look quite right. Easily fixed. A revised version is now up on the new images page. The original will remain in the Pickle Jar.
- Sorry it's been so long since I have posted here. After posting "Snowy Creek" I recieved a number of suggestions that the image would work well as a Christmas image. I thought it would be an interesting challenge. It was quite a bit more difficult than I had envisioned at the outset. The next paragraph is technical in nature (skip if you aren't interested)...
Since the trees were placed using Vue's "Ecosystem" method, I couldn't alter their geometry and ensure the same placement as in the original image. If I wanted to add lights to the trees I would have to do it using the geometry already in place. I finally figured out a way to make it work using Vue's "Mixed Materials", but it took many days to tweak the luminosity, glow and atmosphere to where I was happy with the results (renders took between 8-12 hours each). Of course, the longer I spent on it the more I wanted the image to look perfect (sort of a vicious circle). To be honest, I'm still not 100% satisfied (the hi-res version looks much nicer than the thumbnail). But I think it is time to move on.
To sum up, what I thought would be a simple conversion took much longer than intended. The Christmas version of "Snowy Creek" is now up on the new images page. I will have multi-monitors of both the day and night versions up shortly. Thanks for being patient!
- I added "Snowy Creek" to the gallery this evening. A snow scene sounded like a good idea a few days ago, when the temperatures were in the 60s here in Illinois. Now that a monster winter storm has rolled though the area (knocking my power out for most of last night and today) I am feeling a little less romantic about snow and ice. Still, Ian seemed to enjoy playing in it so it wasn't all bad. Enjoy!
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of both "Morning Mist" and "Metropolis". I had to tighten up the framing for Metropolis because widening the frame caused too much perspective distortion at the edges (which is not good for vertical structures). Some of the distortion is still visibile but it is not as bad as it could have been.
- I was looking at my Cafepress store this morning and I noticed that they are having a sale on calendars. Both the oversize and regular calendars are discounted ($4 off the regular calendar, $4.80 off the oversize). Just F.Y.I.
- My experiments with the new Vue 6 beta continue. The software is somewhat more stable now since they've updated it, and I've manage to dig a little deeper into the features. This past week I wanted to see how it would handle a lot of imported Lightwave objects. I thought now would be a good time to update "Metropolis", one of my favorites from 1999. The new version is now up for your review. I hope you like it!
Regarding the noise in "Morning Mist". There's good news and bad news. The good news is that I think I can render a version without the noise. The bad news is that I think it would take at least a week for the render to complete. I'm going to investigate Vue's network rendering features (which were broken until the aforementioned software update) and see if I can maybe render it faster.
My last bit of news is for you gamers out there. I've partnered with a company called "Func Custom Gear" to produce some high quality gaming mousepads (or "mousing surfaces" as I believe they are called). They have a rather nifty utility which will allow you to choose the type of surface you want and then choose one of my images to print on it. You can also upload your own logo to lay over the top of my work or add your own custom text. PC Gamer just gave them an "Editors Choice" award in the current issue. Have a look here if you are interested.
- Added my first Vue d'Esprit 6 image to the gallery this evening. "Morning Mist" (thanks to Jessie for coming up with the title) is an experiment testing out Vue's new "spectral" atmosphere model and volumentric clouds. It's a pretty simple image, and there are some issues I have yet to work out, but I thought it looked nice enough to share. More to come!
- A couple of items to mention this evening. I received my copy of the "Oversize Wall Calendar" which is now for sale on Cafepress. It's the best looking DB calendar yet. The print quality is excellent. It helps that I rendered each image for the calendar at poster size resolution. There is quite a bit more detail present than in the largest digital files I have available online. If you bought calendars from Cafepress in the past and are concerned about print quality, let me put those concerns to rest. The new calendar looks awesome.
Which leads me to my second item. I rendered the calendar images at poster size so I've added them to my Zazzle collection. There are 8 new prints available, including "Reverie" and "Desert Snow". Have a look.
Lastly, I've been playing with the new version of Vue d'Esprit for the past couple of days. There's quite a bit to digest, and the going is slow because it's "pre-release" (buggy) software, but I'm learning.
- Added "Nanocyte" to the gallery this evening. I had a little trouble deciding which gallery this should go in, but in the end felt it should go with the abstracts. What is it? I have my idea. You are welcome to come up with your own. One thing for sure, this was the first image I've done which pushed my new workstation beyond what my old one was capable of (it required move than 2.5 GB of RAM for Lightwave 9 to render it). I realize it might be a little too funky to use as a wallpaper for those of you used to "Reverie's" and "Sakura's", but it was a fun exercise for me.
Landscape lovers should be happy in the weeks to come. The fine folks at E-onsoftware finally came out with Vue d'Esprit 6 and I purchased (and downloaded) my "pre-release" copy last night. I've only had the chance to open it up a couple of times and briefly look around, but it definitely looks like it was worth the wait. Stay tuned!
- My 2007 wall calendars are now available. This year I am offering an oversize 11" x 17" calendar (created with ultra hi-res renders) for the first time. Both calendars have the same images, all created since November 2005.
- I mentioned last time that my next wallpaper would be a Halloween theme. A few of you wrote me asking that I update one of my old designs, but instead I decided to try something new. The wallpaper, "Forest of the Shades", is now up on the new images page. I have included a "Shadeless" version in the Pickle Jar for those of you prefer it that way. Happy Halloween!
- I know some of you are waiting for a multi-screen version of "Crimson Season". Unfortunately, I don't think I will be able to render one until Vue 6 comes out. My workstation has 8 GB of RAM installed, but Vue 5 can only use 2 GB of it and "Crimson Season" is right up against this limit. When Vue 6 is released I hope to go back and do quite a few multi-screen renders which were not possible using Vue 5. Thanks for being patient!
- Jason is 5 months old today (time flies!). Some of you have asked how he's coming along. Here's a pic.
- After posting "Crimson Season" yesterday, quite a few people left comments and emailed me with idea on how to improve the image (I wasn't completely satisfied with it when I posted it). Thank you! I've gone back, reworked it and the new version is now up on the new images page. Yesterday's version will stay in the Pickle Jar for the folks who liked it. I'm happy with it as it is now though and look forward to moving on.
- I've added dual and triple-screen versions of "Containment". I've also added a couple of color variations in the Pickle Jar.
- Thanks to everyone who has been using the new comment system. I've really enjoyed reading all the posts! To answer a question I read: No, I haven't been depressed lately (quite the contrary). Blue is just my favorite color and I prefer darker wallpapers (to provide contrast for your open windows and icons).
- I've decided to try out a comment system for the images. I'd love to hear what you think so don't be afraid to be first to comment.
- My new wallpaper, "Containment", is finally up on the new images page. It took somewhat longer than I intended to finish it and I apologize for that. The 2560 x 1600 render took around 15 hours (as opposed to probably 60 hours on my old machine) and I rendered it no less than 5 times before I was satisfied with the result. I hope you like it.
Jessie kept telling me that I should just post it and move on. She prefers my scenery images (and judging from the rankings I've observed in the galleries, most of you do too) and wonders why I "waste" my time on abstracts. I do abstracts because they allow complete creativity. Sceneries all have rules which must be followed (or it doesn't look "real"). Not so with abstracts. Abstract art lets my brain wander freely and I think they are necessary exercises. That's why I will continue to do them, even if I know they aren't the most popular images in my collection.
That having been said, I do think it is time to move on to some scenery. Expect something Autumn related...
- Sorry I've been out of touch for the past week or so. My nose has been stuck in my Lightwave 9 manual trying to learn its new features. I do have a new wallpaper in the works (it's rendering now) and I hope to have it up in a couple of days.
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Reverie". I've also updated the widescren versions of the image to correct a rendering error. If you downloaded them before today, I would ask that you re-download them. Sorry!
- Added "Reverie" to the Night Scenery gallery this evening. I hope you don't mind two wallpapers in a row with silhouettes.
- I've added an updated version of "Flight of the Hammerheads" this morning. Quite a few of you felt that the render I posted yesterday was too dark and commented that the silhouette view of the sharks lent them a 2D appearance. I've lightened things up ever so slightly so you can see the 3D contours on the sharks and a little more detail on the ocean floor. Yesterday's version remains in the Pickle Jar. Which do you prefer? The image with the higher rating after a week will remain in the gallery.
- I added an RSS feed for the free gallery yesterday and created a page with widgets which allows you to add the feed to your favorite web based feed aggregator. Here is a version of the page for the members gallery feed. I would recommend that all members subscribe to the Members Gallery feed (rather than the Free Gallery feed) to stay up to date on the newest additions to the gallery and other news.
- Some of you have asked for an update on Jason. He's three months old now and growing steadily. He get cuter every day (in my biased opinion). Here's a pic.
- Added multi-monitor versions of "Serenade" to the gallery today.
- We celebrated Ian's third birthday yesterday (here he is blowing out his candles). Hard to believe it's been three years already. He starts preschool this week!
- My new machine arrived yesterday and I've been working non-stop to move all of my essential tools over. I'm also finding out the hard way that some of my software and hardware just won't work with Windows XP 64. I guess I will have to adjust my ways.
On the upside, the machine is a real screamer. My latest wallpaper, "Serenade", took over 20 minutes to render on my old machine. The new machine renders it in under 5 minutes. Happy me! The render is up on the new images page for your review.
- Added dual and triple-screen versions of "Neuronet" (the blue version) to the gallery this morning.
- I received happy news last night. It looks like my new workstation shipped yesterday and is due to arrive Wednesday. Now if e-onsoftware will just hurry up and release Vue 6 Infinite (64-bit) I will be able to use all 8GB of my RAM...
- After posting "Neuronet" yesterday, quite a few of you wrote me asking if I could change the colors to blue. Easy enough. I tried it and I think that blue does look better. The blue version is now up on the new images page, while yesterday's version will remain in the Pickle Jar. Thanks for the feedback everyone!
- I finally started playing around with Lightwave 9 a couple of days ago. It looks pretty solid so far and renders a bit faster than version 8. There's still quite a bit more to explore, but I did take the time to create a new wallpaper. It's called "Neuronet" and it's available on the new images page.
- Added "Toward Daylight" to the gallery this morning. I hope you like it.
- I've changed the thumbnails on the New Images page so the widescreen versions will be displayed. For the past two years all of my new work has been designed as a widescreen 16:10 image. I then crop the image to fit 4:3 and 5:4 screens. This means that if you never visit the widescreen gallery then you are not seeing the images as I designed them. Now when you first glimpse my newest work it will appear as it was created.
- It's been a long week for the Bliss family. Last Wednesday my grandfather's wife of 25 years passed away (after a long illness). We had intended to leave Friday for Arkansas to visit with Jessie's family (who had yet to meet Jason) and have him baptized in her brother's church (he is a Catholic priest). We made the trip but cut it short by a day to be back on Monday for the funeral (in which I served as a pallbearer).
Tuesday I got back to work tweaking "Ring of Fire" (as I mentioned last time). I made a few changes (gave the water a more tropical color, added some flowers in the foreground, adjusted the palm fronds so more of the volcano is visible, and a few others). As the changes are not really that drastic, I have decided to overwrite the original rather than keep it around in the Pickle Jar. This means I have cleared out the ratings for the original. Please feel free to vote again if you like.
Shortly after I posted "Ring of Fire" last week I received a number of requests for a night version. You'll find both the updated day version and a new night version on the New Images page. I hope you enjoy them.
I had some trouble rendering this project on my current workstation (there's over 13 billion polys), so I think multi-monitor versions may have to wait until my new machine arrives (hopefully sometime in the next couple of weeks).
- Now that I'm finished tinkering with the website (for now) it's time to get back to the creating wallpapers. My latest render is called "Ring of Fire" and it is now up and available on the new images page. To be honest there are a few things about it that I would still like to tweak, but some family business (some of it planned, some unexpected) is going to keep me away from the computer for the next few days. I hope you like it!
- A quick note about the ratings. Since I keep track of which images you have rated (so you can only vote once), I had a decision to make about what to do with that record after (heaven forbid) your account expires. If I delete the records, then if you renew again you will need to vote on all of the images again in order to view the rankings. If I don't delete the records, then if someone else signs up and uses your old username they won't be able to vote on the images you had voted on.
Jessie suggested that I give a 30 day grace period, but that doesn't solve the unlikely problem of someone signing up during that time and picking your old username.
In the end, I decided that the records will be deleted along with the expired account. The ratings you gave will remain, but the record that says that "username x voted for image y" will be deleted. If you renew again you will be free to vote again (whether that is a joy or a burden is up to you).
Thanks everyone for voting. It's been very enlightening for me!
- Some of you have written asking for updated pictures of my children. I really need to make a page just for them so I don't need to post here. In the meantime however, here's one of Ian I took this evening (he will be 3 next month) and here's one I took of Jason taken a few days ago (he will be 2 months old next week and doing great).
- There's been enough votes that I can now add "Top 10" pages for each year (check the gallery links to the left) and and "All Time Top 10". Thanks for all the votes so far!
- By popular request, I've extended the image ratings to the "Pickle Jar" versions. I'm not sure what I will do if the Pickles rate higher than the images in the gallery though. I guess we will cross that bridge when we come to it.
- If you are familiar with my free gallery you know that I ask users to rate the images on a 1 to 10 scale. This morning I added the rating system to the members gallery. Now you can rate your favorite (or least favorite) images and when enough ratings are compiled I will be able to add a "Top Rated" page to track the most popular images in the gallery. I will also be looking at the least popular images as examples of what not to do in the future.
As with the free gallery, you get one vote per image (so be certain before you hit the submit button). Unlike the free gallery, however, you don't need to load the full size image in order to vote (each thumbnail has a rating button). If you've never viewed the full-size image, however, I would appreciate it if you check it out before voting. Sometimes the thumbnail doesn't do justice to the full-size image.
Please drop me a line if you have any questions. Thanks for helping out!
- Added "Cosmic Dawn" to the gallery this morning. Jessie and I were watching "2001" on HDNET Movies a few nights ago and I was inspired to create a new planetscape. Multi-monitor versions will be available shortly.
- I spent most of last week catching up on my multi-monitor renders. I've posted dual and triple screen versions of "Flora", "Enclosure (2006)", and "Undiscovered". "Episteme" will have to wait until a new version of Apophysis allows me to render at 4800 x 1200 (I get out of memory errors with the current version). "Verdure" will have to wait until my new workstation arrives (see 6/27 post). A tri-screen render on my current machine would probably take 2 weeks to complete.
For you single monitor users I've added a night version of "Undiscovered". I know some of you mentioned that the day version was a little bright, so hopefully this one will work better for you.
Happy 4th to all of my American members!
- Added "Undiscovered" to the gallery this evening. I hope to have a multi-screen version available shortly.
I must apologize to those of you running mult-monitors. For whatever reason, I haven't been very good about rendering wallpapers for you recently. I plan on doing multi-screen versions of "Flora", "Enclosure" and "Verdure" ASAP. "Episteme" will have to wait until a new version of "Apophysis" which can handle higher resolution renders. Thanks for being patient!
- As I mentioned last time, I wanted to make some changes to "Verdure". I didn't feel the original was green enough so I tweaked some of the textures (made the leaves more translucent and the undergrowth more green). I also increased the volumetric quality a little. What had been a four day render became a seven day render. Ouch! Anyway, the new version is up now on the new images page. I hope it was worth it.
I think I will probably work on something new now, rather than wait another week for a multi-monitor version to render. Hopefully I can get to it soon.
Happy Fathers Day to all you dads out there!
- Things are slowly falling into a new rhythm in the Bliss household. Jason seems to be thriving (he gained a pound in the past week). I wake up a few more times every night, but it's not the jarring transition that it was when Ian first came to live with us. I've been spending more time with Ian to make up for Jessie's being unavailable but neither of us seem to mind too much. He's adjusting pretty well and loves his new baby brother.
I've even had a chance to work on a new wallpaper. It's called "Verdure" and it is now available on the new images page. I was trying to create a volumetric light effect similar to my World Builder renders and I'm pretty happy with the result, except for the fact that it took 3 and a half days to render. Maybe it's time for a new workstation...
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the new wallpaper. I may update it later this week so be sure to check back in a few days.
- Added "Episteme" to the gallery this morning. Between diaper changes and dealing with Ian I have been trying to figure out the inner workings of the Apophysis fractal renderer. So far I've really only scratched the surface. This image was created using the new beta which adds some new features and speeds up rendering considerably. I hope you like it!
- I'm proud to annouce the birth of our second (and probably last) child. Jason Tai Bliss was born at 8:28 this morning. He was 8 lbs 10 oz and 20" long. I'm told he is the spitting image of his daddy. Jessie's doing fine, but is pretty tired. I'll try to post some more pictures (with eyes open hopefully) when I get the chance.
- I did a little tinkering with "Enclosure" last night and posted a revised version. The original version will remain in the Pickle Jar.
- I've made some minor changes to "Flora". The updated version is on the new images page, and the old version will remain available inside the Pickle Jar.
- My latest wallpaper, "Flora", is now up on the new images page. I had hoped to have it finished this morning (flowers for Mother's Day) but I held onto it a little bit longer to try some different things. I hope you like it.
- 10 days left before the new baby arrives. I'm going to try to get another wallpaper done before then, but if I am unable to I hope you will understand.
- After posting "Enclave" and stepping back from it, I decided that I wanted to try one last change. I rendered the new version today and Jessie gave it the thumbs up. I've replaced the version posted Sunday (though it will remain available in the Pickle Jar). I hope you like it!
- I was in the middle of working on a new springtime image a few days ago, when I opened a new project to design some rocks. One thing lead to another and I ended up abandoning (for now) the image I was working on, and developed something completely different using the rocks I had designed. The result is up on now the new images page. I call it "Enclave". Perhaps I will finish the original image now. . .
- I've finally finished and posted the day version of "The Vault". Seeing as this render too somewhere around 10 days (no foolin!), I don't think I will be using Vue for radiosity renders any time soon. I can't figure out why this one took so long. I rendered "Desert Snow" using similar radiosity settings the render took less than a day. Anyway, I think the final product looks nice (I hope you like it too), but I don't think it was worth the time it took to render. Lesson learned.
I've also added "Radiance", a little fractal abstract I managed to come up with while my main machine was busy.
I've had some ideas for springtime images that I've been anxious to try out, so I'm going to get busy on new stuff here shortly. I will probably hold off on multi-monitor versions of "The Vault" for at least a week or two.
- A little status report. I've designed a day version of "The Vault" and back on the 20th I started it rendering. I was going to use "radiosity" for the day time version. Radiosity produces some stunningly realistic lighting, but the render times can be appalling. I didn't know just how bad the render times would be though (thought it might take 48 hours at most).
It's been over six days now and the render is only around 20% complete. It has sped up a little since the water part has been rendered, but I think it still has a few days left. I'm kind of to the point now where I've put so much rendering time into it that I need to see it finished. As soon as it is done I'll have it posted and be moving on to other projects.
Just wanted you all to know.
- I just did an interview for a website called "Inner Traveler", you can check it out here if you are interested.
- Someone wrote me a couple of weeks ago asking if I was going to make any night sceneries. Thanks for reminding me! I've added my first night scene of the year, entitled "The Vault", to the gallery. I usually render these sorts of images in Lightwave but this time I wanted to see how Vue d'Esprit would handle imported geometry. I think it turned out nicely and I hope you like it.
- Added a new abstract to the gallery this evening. "Echoes" is now available on the new images page. Another dark images for the folks who liked "Pathways" (I hope the rest of you like it too though).
- It's been a few months since my last space image so I think I'm due for one. My latest journey to the stars is called "Cosmogony" (definition) and is available now on the new images page. I'll try to have multi-monitor versions available shortly. Hope you like it!
- After four scenery images, I thought it was time to do something different. My newest render, "Pathways", is now available for downloading. I hope you like it!
- I've finally finished rendering the multi-monitor versions of "Chikusei" and "Borealis '06". You can download them from the new images page. "Chikusei" didn't take very long to render (18 hours) but "Borealis" was a killer. It took nearly 5 days to finish (plus a day to compose the scene). Anyway, they're now available and I can move on to new projects.
- Added "Chikusei" (definition) to the gallery today. It's been fun learning how to use Vue d'Esprit. Six out the past eight images have been sceneries, which pleases Jessie to no end (sceneries are her favorites). I may go back to doing some other types of images soon though. I hope you enjoy this one.
- Lately I've been getting a lot of questions about using my images for "Myspace" backgrounds. In case you are wondering, my policy is this: You may use images from the free gallery as a background on your profile, but not images which are only available to members. You must also host the image yourself (rather than linking directly to files on my server). Thanks!
- I've finally gotten around to adding a "Lost Password" utility to the members gallery (wish I would have done it a lot sooner!). The form will allow you to reset your password, but you need to have access to the original email account you gave me when you first signed up (or the address you gave when you last renewed). If you would like to change the email address I have in my files you can do so here.
- I didn't set out to remake "Borealis", but halfway through putting my new scene together I decided that there was enough similarity to give it the title. "Borealis (2006)" is now available on the new images page. I hope you find it an improvement on the original Bryce render from 1998 (which I still like by the way).
- Happy New Year! Just wanted to let you all know that I've added some more images to the widescreen gallery.
- I've added my second (and probably last) holiday wallpaper of the year. "Silver Bells" is up on the new images page and in the gallery. I hope you like it.
- I've also fixed the widescreen, dual-screen, and tri-screen galleries so the newest images will be displayed first. They are displayed in order based on when they were added to the gallery, so the older widescreens I added last month are on the first page.
- I had one last abstract to get out of my system before getting down to the business of making a new Christmas wallpaper. The new render is called "Gnosis" and I hope you like it!
- The latest version of my CDROM is now available from Cafepress. It includes the entire members gallery with the exception of the Pickle Jar images and the multi-monitor screens. The widescreens are included.
I was able to include the dual and triple screen images last year, but there just wasn't space on a single CDROM this year. If Cafepress ever decides to offer data DVDs then I can include them again (and probably the Pickle Jar and PNGs as well). Sorry to disappoint you multi-monitor users.
The price is the same as last year: $24.99 or non-members, $14.99 for members. Last year I had an option to purchase the CD in a paper sleeve, but this year I decided to only offer the jewel case (with full color booklet). Be sure to drop me a line if you have any questions.
- After taking some time to clean up my "back end" code, it is nice to get back to my main job. Programming is fun in its own way, but I really do prefer creating pictures. A lot of you have been asking for a "seasonal" theme so in that vein I offer "November Snow".
A widescreen version of "November Snow" is available. The links are now on the new images page. Because I've added the widescreen links to the New Images page I will no longer mention that a widescreen version is avaialble for a new image. Widescreen versions will always be posted along with the "regular" version, so I don't think I need to mention it each time.
I hope you enjoy the new image! I should have dual and triple screen versions soon.
- It seems most of you want me to keep a seperate gallery for the widescreen images. That being the case I have written some code which will generate the page for me automatically. The only downside at the moment is that the images are not in a strict chronological order (newest first). I'll see what I can do about that. Otherwise, I think the pages are cleaner and easier to navigate than they were before. The new widescreen gallery can be found here.
- You may notice that the new images and gallery pages look a little different today. This morning I went through and recoded them to display links to the widescreen versions. Now I'm debating whether or not I want to keep a seperate gallery for the widescreen images. It's would definitely be easier for me to keep everything straight if there was just one gallery to worry about. Anyway, if you have an opinion please feel free to drop me a line. Thanks!
- Just F.Y.I, it looks like Cafepress is running a special on Wall Calendars and Christmas cards. $2 off your order if you enter the coupon code "Holiday2". The offer is good until 11/14.
- I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween. We just got back from taking Ian on his first Trick-or-Treat around the neighborhood. He went as a "red ninja" and had a great time.
Sorry it's been a while since I updated the gallery. I started working on a new Halloween picture but it just wasn't going anywhere. Then I started working on a new 3D abstract, and it took me longer than usual to get the look I wanted. The render, called "Conduit", is now up on the new images page (widescreen also available). I should be able to do a multi-screen version as well. I hope you like it!
- I was finaly able to coax my computer into rendering a multi-monitor version of "Autumn Cliffs". They are up on the dual and triple-screen pages.
- A quick update. We just returned from a week spent in Arkansas and Texas visiting with Jessie's family. I would have rather flown, but Jessie wanted to drive. Let me tell you, 2000 miles in the car with a two year old is not a lot of fun. We made it though, and after I've had a little time to regain my sanity I will jump back in and get working on something new.
- A lot of you have asked if there will be a multi-screen version of "Autumn Cliffs". I have one prepared, but my computer crashes when I try to render it. The single-screen version was pushing the limits of my two year old machine, so perhaps the multi-screen version is just too much. I'll keep trying but I am not hopeful. Perhaps it is time to upgrade again...
- Added one last fall picture, "Autumn Cliffs", to the gallery this evening (widescreen also available). The 4:3 version of this image looks ok, but it was really designed as a widescreen piece. Even if you don't have a widescreen monitor, I ask that you have a look at the widescreen version to see it as I designed it. I hope you like it!
- Two items today. First off, I got wrapped up in other things this week and neglected to post the multi-monitor version of "Accelerator". Sorry about that. Triple and dual-screen versions are now available for downloading. I'm just now starting on a new wallpaper so it will be a little while before I have something to post.
My second item is of a personal nature. We received "official" confirmation yesterday that a new member of the Bliss family is on the way. The baby is due sometime in late May. We took a home pregnancy test back on the 11th which came back positive (an awesome birthday present!), but we wanted to wait for the doctor's confirmation before "going public". Given the impact Ian has had on our lives, I can't really begin to imagine what is to come. I will keep you all posted though. Wish us luck!
- I've added a new wallpaper to my neglected "Interiors" collection. You'll find "Accelerator" in the gallery and on the new images page (widescreen also available, multi-monitor to follow). The image was loosely inspired by a photo I saw in the current issue of "Popular Science". Just a little something different. I hope you like it!
- Sony recently released an update to their popular PSP handheld device which allows users to set their own wallpapers. Not long thereafter I started receiving requests for DB images for use on the PSP. After much research (I had to get my own PSP for testing purposes, oh the sacrifice!) I have come up with my first release of PSP wallpapers.
This first pack contains 75 wallpapers scaled (with a little intelligent cropping) to fit the PSP screen. I used the original lossless files for each image, so they are all first-generation JPGs.
They really do dress up the PSP nicely (IMO). I hope you enjoy them!
- I've added dual and triple-screen versions of both "Aurulence" and "Autumnwood". Also, I'm happy to announce that my 2006 wall calendar is now available from Cafepress (I was waiting for Autumnwood to be finished before putting it together).
- It's my birthday tomorrow (I'll be 34). I plan on watching a little football and playing "Bob the Builder" with Ian.
- You knew it was coming. I've added "Autumnwood" to the gallery this morning (widescreen also available, multi-monitor to follow), completing my "Four Seasons" series. I hope you have enjoyed them!
- Added "Aurulence" today, another experiment using Apophysis 2.0 (I wanted to examine the structures present at extreme zoom levels). "Aurulence" is available on the new images page (widescreen also avaialble).
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Archipelago".
- I've posted an updated render of "Archipelago" (widescreen also available). This one has a little more going on beneath the water.
- The flame fractals were fun (and popular, judging from the feedback I received), but Jessie made it known to me that she wanted to see a scenery image for my next project (and a cheerful one at that). She seemed pleased when I previewed my latest project for her, and I hope you will be to. I call it "Archipelago" and it is now up on the new images page for your review (widescreen also available). Have a great weekend!
- I've added dual and triple-screen versions of both "Diaphaneity" and "Riven" this morning. I've been having some trouble getting "Sublimation" to render that large though (using Ultra Fractal) so I'll have to hold off on that one.
- Ian is 2 years old today. Hard to believe it's been that long already. On behalf of Jessie (and Ian) I would like to thank all of you for allowing me to work from home and help to raise our little man. Simple words can't express how much he means to us.
- Getting back into fractals over the past few weeks prompted me to look around and see how fractal software has progressed since the 90's. It seems to have progressed quite a bit. I purchased a copy of Ultra Fractal 4 and downloaded a copy of
Apophysis 2 (it's freeware). I only started using the software a few days ago, but I've already created a few pleasing renders that I would like to share. "Sublimation", "Riven", and "Diaphaneity" and all new on the new images page (widescreens also available). All are examples of "Flame Fractals". I hope you like them. Feel free to
drop me a line
and let me know what you think.
- I've added a script which will allow you to change your own password. You will find it here.
- I've got a new wallpaper up in the gallery this afternoon. This one is directly inspired by my recent trip to Wyoming. One of the most beautiful sights of the whole trip was the sun setting behind Cascade Valley in the Tetons with Jenny Lake in the foreground. I've tried to create an idealized version, with a little artistic license, and the result is now up on the new images page (widescreen also available). I call it "Purple Mountains Majesty" and I hope you enjoy it.
- A quick update. I've just returned from a weeklong roadtrip with an old friend of mine. We explored the Black Hills in South Dakota (highlights were Spearfish Canyon and Mt. Rushmore) then drove to Jackson Hole (stopping at Devils Tower along the way) and explored Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. Nearly killed myself on "Uncle Tom's Trail" in Yellowstone (but it was worth it). We had a great time and I saw a lot of future wallpapers along the way. I plan on decompressing for next day or two and will get back to work on new images shortly.
- After posting "Coincidence" I received requests to do more fractal based images. No problem. It's fun exploring what can be done with fractals using a 3D program like Lightwave. My newest fractal design, "Fire & Ice", is now up for your review on the new images page. Widescreen, dual, and triple-screen versions are also avaialble. I hope you like it!
- The dual and triple screen versions of "Totality" are finally up. Sorry it took so long. I would have had them up sooner but I decided to make some small changes to the original. Some of you had written me mentioning what looked like a rendering artifact in the corona. I think I have that fixed now (the new version is up on the new images page). I would imagine that most of you won't be able to tell the difference, but hopefully those of you who noticed the problem in the original will like the change.
- Added a new space wallpaper to the gallery today. "Totality" is now available on the new image page for your review (widescreen also available, multi-monitor to follow). I hope you like it!
- Fractals have always been a favorite subject of mine. Some of my very first wallpapers (around 10 years ago) were fractals and when I started Digital Blasphemy in 1997 there were quite a few in my first gallery. For some reason I stopped doing them in 1999.
I thought it would be fun to try my hand at them again. My first offering is "Coincidence", up now in the new images gallery (widescreen also available, multi-monitor to follow). My previous fractals were all generated using an old version of Kai Power Tools (version 2 I think) and Aldus Photostyler. This new image was generated within Lightwave and is embellished with some procedurals and a few 3D trinkets. I hope you like it.
- When I posted "Springwood" back in March, quite a few of you asked that I do versions for all the seasons. No problem. So just in time for July I've added "Summerwood" on the new images page (widescreen also available, multi-monitor to follow). Rather than a simple lighting change, I've tried to change the vegetation to match the summertime theme (denser undergrowth, less flowers). I hope you like it. Let me know if you have any comments.
- Happy Monday to you all. Some of you may dislike Mondays, but just remember, things could be worse. In that spirit I offer my updated version of "F=MA" (original here). A widescreen is also available. I hope you like it.
I purchased a new monitor last week (a Dell 2405FPW). It's a wonderful screen and it's great to finally be able to use the widescreens I've been making. It is a little brighter than what I have been using, so you might find that my latest image is too dark for your screen. Please drop me a line and let me know if this is the case (or if you just want to comment on the latest image).
- I hope you all had a wonderful Father's Day. We had a picnic in the park yesterday and Jessie snapped this picture of Ian and myself. It was the best father's day present I could have asked for.
- I started a new project almost a week ago and I think it is to the point where I can share it with you all. The new image is called "Eyrie Pagoda" and is available on the new images page (widescreens also available). As you may have noticed from looking around my gallery, pagodas are a favorite theme of mine. Every so often II try to model a new one just to see if I've gotten any better. You can see my eariler attempts here and here. Anyway, sorry for the long drought between new projects. I hope you like the new scene.
- Last week I promised multi-monitor versions of "The Watchtower (Night)" and "Endless Blue (Night)". Little did I know how difficult it would be to render them. My two year old workstation is starting to feel a little underpowered. Anyway, dual and triple screen versions of both are finally up along with multi-monitor versions of "The Spark". On to something new now...
- I've added Zip archives of all widescreen and multi-monitor files to the Downloads page. I've been taking care of some other business this week so I hope to have something new up sometime next week. Have a great weekend!
- A few new items for you today. I've added blue and green versions of "Divisor" to the Picklejar (widescreens also available). I've finally created gallery pages for the 2005 images (see the links to the left). On the "Night Scenery" page you will find nighttime renders of both "The Watchtower" and "Endless Blue" (widescreens also available). Enjoy!
- Added a new landscape scene to the gallery this evening. "Shambhala" is now available for your review on the new images page (widescreen also available). This one was born out of more experiments with the new Vue d'Esprit Infinite. I hope you enjoy it.
- Happy Monday everyone. I hope to have one or two new files up for you shortly. I have a multi-monitor version of "The Watchtower" nearly done and a night version as well (haven't decided if it will be Pickle Jar render or not). I will be starting on a new project as soon as they are both up.
I would have started a new project sooner but my merchant bank dropped a bomb on me last week, informing me that I have to upgrade all of my credit card processing scripts to their new API or they would stop working. So I've been coding for the past several days.
The scripts are all upgraded now (the changes should be transparent to anyone using them) and after these extra renders are done I will start in on something new. Please subscribe to my RSS Feed if you want to be notified when I have a new wallpaper up. Just F.Y.I. . . .
- I've posted dual and triple-screen versions of "Endless Blue".
- I've spent the past couple of days playing with Vue 5 Infinite and tweaking "Endless Blue". An updated version is now available on the new images page A couple of things are different here. I've moved the islands back and increased their size (you'll notice the palms are much smaller in relation to the rocks now). I've also used Vue 5's powerful new function editor to add some foam and wet sand effects to the shoreline.
- My copy of Vue d'Esprit 5 Infinite arrived over the weekend so I thought I would sit down and play with some of the incredible new features. Strangely enough, I ended up creating an image that didn't use any of the new features. Maybe next time. The image is called "Endless Blue" and I've posted it on the New Images page this morning. I hope you like it.
Just to give credit where credit is due: some of the ideas here came from helping Jessie with her very first Vue d'Esprit image. She is actually very artistic (probably more than I am) but she's never used 3d software. Perhaps someday you will see a gallery of her work on DB.
As for Vue 5 Infinite, they've made it a lot easier to create grand forests and complex scenes. I'm looking forward to pushing the program to its limits. For "Endless Blue", however, I felt that less would be more. I hope you agree.
- Added dual and triple screen versions of "The Overseer" this morning. I also replaced the
single screen (and widescreen) version with a new render which eliminates some unwanted glare on the right windows.
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Springwood". Some of you have mentioned to me that there's too much green in Springwood. While it's true that I "overloaded" the green in the image, I did so because I'm weary of seeing brown around me all the time. It's also because St. Paddy's day is coming up. Enjoy!
- I don't know about you, but I'm more than ready for spring to arrive. I'm sure many of you feel the same, so I thought it would be fitting to do a springtime theme for my next wallpaper. Rather than create something from scratch, however, I thought it would be fun to take a winter scene that I had done and transform it into a spring one. I chose "Winterwood", from December, and went to work imagining how it would look in bloom. The result, "Springwood", is now up on the new images page for your review (widescreen also available, multi-screen to follow). I hope you like it!
- "Coalescence", my first space wallpaper of the year, is now up on the new images page (widescreen available, multi-monitor to come). I'm not sure if this depicts any sort of real astronomical phenomenon, it's really just a flight of fancy. Hope you enjoy it nonetheless.
- Added dual and triple-screen versions of "The Grid". They are big files so please be patient while downloading.
- Thanks to everyone for the kind emails while we recuperated. I still have a nasty sore throat, but I finally felt well enough to get back to work over the weekend. After playing around with a few abstract themes, I developed one which I thought interesting enough to share with you all. I call it "The Grid" and you can find it on the new images page (widescreen also available). I hope you like it!
- Ian turned 18 months on Saturday. I guess it's time for a new picture. Here he is driving his school bus down the hall. The wheels on the bus go round and round...
- I was looking over last years images recently and I noticed that my "Interiors" gallery only had two entries. I decided to try my hand at a new one and I've posted the resulting render up on the new images page (widescreen also available). It's called "Obsidia" and I hope you enjoy it.
- I've posted a slightly revised version of "Morning Glory" on the new images page. The original render I posted Monday and a version without the lady (and her cat) is also available in the Pickle Jar. Widescreen, dual-screen, and triple-screen versions are also available.
- Happy 2005 to you all! As I mentioned last time, I am still trying to learn a new piece of software. I haven't managed to produce anything worthwhile with it yet, so over the weekend I decided I would take a break and work with some familiar software. A new render, called "Deep Blue", is now up for your review on the new images page. A widescreen is also available.
- Added a new wallpaper, "Winterwood", to the gallery today (widescreen also available). Usually I cannot say where I get my ideas, but this one was definitely inspired by the a recent snowfall which fell on the woods near my home. I'm pretty sure that I will be wishing myself back in California after a couple of more months of cold, but for now I think it's simply beautiful.
- I forgot to mention last evening that you can find my entire collection of Christmas images by using the search engine.
- Added my first Holiday image of the year, "Poinsettia", to the gallery this evening (widescreen also available). I hope you like it. I'll try to do another holiday image before Christmas, but I have a couple of non-seasonal ideas I want to work on too. At the very least, it should be a lot easier for me to get into the "Holiday Spirit" this year with all the snow that has been flying over the past week. Joy!
- My CDROM (Version 6) is now available from Cafepress. The price is unchanged ($10 off the regular price: $14.95 with a Jewel Case and full color insert, $10.95 in a paper sleeve). It contains the entire members gallery up to my most current image (Vigil).
Unfortunately I didn't have room to include the multi-monitor split screen files on the CD. I had to stay under 700 MB and the CD came in at around 698 with the Split Files left off. Hopefully next year I can offer a DVD-ROM and fit more stuff.
Anyway, drop me a line if you have any questions.
- I've played around a little more with "Vigil" and have posted an updated version on the new images page. Hope you like it.
- My main project this week is going to be migrating my Free Site (http://www.digitalblasphemy.com/) to a new dedicated server. It has been running far too slowly for the past couple of months and the time has come for a change.
Part of the migration involves a DNS change for the Members Gallery and secure server. It should be seamless, but there might be a moment or two sometime this week when you may be unable to connect to the members site. Just FYI.
Once the migration is complete and everything is running smoothly, I will work on putting together my CDROM and Calendar for 2005. Once those items are complete I will most likely start work on a new seasonal wallpaper.
So that is what I have coming up. If you have any questions, please feel free to drop me a line.
- Our first few weeks here in Illinois have been rather gloomy weatherwise and for a while Jessie was really down in the dumps. I can't change the weather, but in an effort to cheer her up I thought it would be nice if I did a tropical theme for my first "post-move" wallpaper. The image, called "Vigil", is now up for your review. A widescren is also available. Hope you like it!
- I've taken down the links to purchase my CDROM (V.5). I will be putting together V.6 shortly and I hope to have it up before the end of the month. I also plan on doing at least one Calendar.
- I got to see a rather awesome display of the Northern Lights earlier in the week. I was able to sit out in front of my house (in freezing temps) and take a few pictures. Here's one of them which I think turned out rather nice. The photo is a 30 second exposure which helps bring out the colors (it didn't look this bright and colorful to the naked eye). It was only my second time seeing the Aurora and it gets cooler every time!
- I'd like to thank you all for being so patient while I go through this transition. Things are about as settled in now as they are ever going to be, so I started work yesterday on a new wallpaper. I can't give you an ETA, but I thought you would like to know that something is in the works.
In other news, I've added about thirty 2560 x 1600 renders. They scattered throughout the widescreen gallery. I want to have the rest done shortly so I can include them on Version 6 of my CDROM, which I hope to have out before the end of the month. I've also added 6 new posters to my Zazzle collection, including my first "widescreen" poster. I may add more of those later.
Lastly, thanks to Brent McAleer for pointing out to me that Digital Blasphemy was mentioned on the BBC World show "Click Online". If you are interested you can check it out, and even watch the show, from here.
Now back to work for me...
- Just checking in to let you all know that the move went fine. We were on the road for 5 days and then had to stay in a hotel for 3 days while our belongings caught up with us. We moved into our new house a couple of days ago and are slowly rebuilding our lives. I finally got my workstation back online last night so I can post this update. We still have quite a bit of unpacking and organizing to do. Luckily we have plenty of people willing to keep Ian occupied while we work. I'll post again when I've got everything settled and I'm ready to get back to work. Thanks everyone for being patient!
- It's been a crazy couple of weeks around here. We hit the road for Illinois Wednesday, so we've been scrambling to get everything packed up and ready to move. We're almost there.
In the midst of all this madness, I was able to sit down and create one last wallpaper before we hit the road. It's up now on the new images page; an abstract which I call "Orthohedron". A widescreen is also available. I know some of you were hoping for a Halloween image, but there just wasn't time to do put one together. Maybe after the move, but if not then definitely next year.
Anyway, this will be my last post from sunny California. Wish us luck on the four day roadtrip with a one year old...
- Dual and Triple screen versions of "October Flame" are up.
- I took this picture of Ian yesterday (in his first pair of tennis shoes). He looks less and less like a baby every day.
- Added "October Flame" to the gallery this evening, in anticipation of the fall colors we will see when we move to Illinois next month. The name would mean something else entirely here in southern California. Anyway, I hope you like it. Widescreen versions are also available.
You may have noticed that the past three images I've done all share a similar theme; a path or river disappearing around a bend. I don't think this a coincidence. I didn't set out to be symbolic, but I think it's interesting that what's going on inside my head will usually manifest itself in my work whether I want it to or not.
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Glimeren".
- I've posted a slightly revised version of "Glimeren". I wanted to do one more tweak to the colors after I posted it last night. The new version is on the new images page and the original is in the Pickle Jar (named "Glimeren2"). The multi-monitor version is rendering right now and I hope to have it up shortly.
- I'd like to thank everyone who has written me with letters of support regarding our decision to move back to Illinois (see post from 9/6 below). I've received far too many emails to ever hope to reply to them all, but I just wanted everyone to know that I've read them all and I thank you for understanding my situation.
We are in the process now of trying to sell our home. It isn't too much fun having people tramp through your house day after day, but hopefully it will be over soon. We think we have found a family who is interested and if we are lucky the house will be sold soon. Then on to the packing...
I mentioned last time that things would slow down around here, but not come to a complete stand-still. I had the opportunity over the past few days to work on a new wallpaper and I've posted it up for you this evening. It's an abstract which I call "Glimeren". There may be an extra version or two in the coming days. I hope you like it!
"Glimeren" is the first image in my gallery to be available at 2560 x 1600 (to take advantage of Apple's new 30" LCD) in the widescreen gallery. All of my future renders will be available at that resolution and I hope to have the existing widescreens all re-rendered shortly.
Five years ago Jessie and I decided to move out of the Midwest to sunny Southern California. Since I can do what I do from anywhere (all I need is my computer and a hi-speed connection), why not go where the weather is beautiful year round? Ever since Jessie became pregnant with Ian, however, we have been going back and forth over the fact that Ian won't have any extended family in California. His grandparents come to visit every so often, but it's just not the same as living near them.
Last week we decided it was time for a change. After doing some research on the Net, we found a nice house in my hometown of Bloomington IL. We flew back last Thurday to check it out. To make a long story short: we bought the house and we are moving back to Illinois in mid October.
Those of you who live in the Midwest may think that I have gone crazy. We are giving up the best weather in the country and moving back to blizzards, ice storms, and sub-zero temps (and the opposite extremes of heat and humidity). It does feel a little crazy, but Jessie and I have decided that it is more important that Ian grow up with an extended family who loves him.
Now we are going to start the process of packing up and moving back east. As you may imagine, things are going to slow down around here for the next month or two (though they won't freeze altogether). I will still post new images from time to time, but I think I will be spending most of the time doing renders at various resolutions that people have been requesting. I want to do more multi-monitor screens, and I want to re-render my widescreens so users of Apple's new 30" screen can take advantage of my collection. I may also do some Tablet PC renders. In the long run, I think I will be able to get more work done because Ian will have more people around him than just Jessie and myself.
To those of you who are concerned about the lack of new wallpapers: I want to remind you that you are under no obligation to renew your membership when it expires. It has long been my policy that members can let their accounts expire, and then renew at any time with the same renewal discount ($15 for 1 year). You can simply wait until enough new material appears to justify the fee. The email which you will receive when your account is about to expire will contain all the necessary details.
If anyone has any questions or thoughts, feel free to drop me a line. Thanks for your patience while we make some major life changes here.
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Idyll" to the gallery.
- I've been spending the past few days exploring the new version of "World Builder" and seeing what it can do. It has a lot of cool new features, but I am more impressed that the program seems fairly stable now. There's still a few bugs to work out, but I think the fine folks over at Digital Element have done a great job.
My latest World Builder render, "Idyll", is now up on the new images page for your review. A widescreen version is also available. I hope you like it. I may have a tweak or two left to make with it, so drop me a line if you have any comments.
You'll probably see a few more World Builder renders than you have in the past, now that the program is a little easier to work with.
- As I mentioned last time (so long ago), I had some family come out to visit and celebrate Ian's first birthday. He had a wonderful time by the way. Here's a photo of him enjoying his first piece of cake.
I wasn't able to spend much time at my computer though, other than answering a few emails. My copy of World Builder 4 arrived a few days ago. My first order of business is to install it and see what's new. Barring major bugs, I'll use it for my next project. We'll see what happens. Thanks for being patient while I spend some time with my family!
- If you've been following my work since the beginning, you'll know that I am fascinated with Nebulae. I've been trying to faithfully recreate them for some time now, with varying levels of success. It's rather difficult to do realistic billowing clouds using 3D software.
I've been exploring a different approach to creating the stardust clouds, and I think the results look more 3D than my previous efforts. The render, "Firmament", is now up on the new images page. A widescreen version is also available (it was actually designed as a widescreen image). I hope you enjoy it.
- Ian's first birthday is this coming Thursday (has it been a year already???). My parents are coming out from Illinois for the birthday party so I probably won't get to do too much work during the upcoming week.
- I've added a dual and triple screen version of "Sunspire by Night". The daytime version will take a little longer to render, but it's coming.
- I've posted a nighttime version of "Sunspire" on the new images page. A widescreen version is also available. Yes, I am working on multi-monitor versions of both renders. The night version will probably be up first (it doesn't take very long to render) and the sunlit version will follow a few days later. The widescreen version took around 3 days to render, so I imaging the triple screen version may take up to 5 or 6.
- I've posted a revised render of "Sunspire". This version has better anti-aliasing (I sort of used a hack to get it to render faster last time) and contains a few extra elements to bring it in line with the nighttime version I am working on. A widescreen version is also available.
- I mentioned back in June that I would try to make some brighter images now and then. Quite a few of you told me that you preferred the darker screens (I seem to enjoy making them too), but I know a number of you have been growing impatient for something sunny and bright. I hope you folks enjoy my latest render, "Sunspire", which I've just posted on the new images page.
The rendering took far longer than I had anticipated (over 36 hours), or I would have had it up sooner. There are still a few things that I would like to tweak, but I think it looks good enough to share is it is now. Check back in a few days an I might have some changes up.
- I just wanted you all to know that I am in the process of rendering my newest project and I hope to have it up by tomorrow (Thursday at the latest).
- I've posted a revised render of "Roche Limit". I've brightened the main planet and I've added some brightness to the ice crystals in the rings.
- Late Update: I've added dual and tri-screen versions of "Roche Limit".
- I've added widescreen, dual-screen, and tri-screen versions of "Circular Logic". I've decided not to post any different color variations for this piece. I'd like it to stand on it's own, as is (blue).
- I added a new abstract to the gallery today. The image is called "Circular Logic" it was created with some of the same techniques that I used to create "Sigil". I hope you like it.
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Happy 4th". As some members have already noticed, some of the triple screen images can be adapted for use as dual-screen images (in the case that a dual-screen is not available). Simply download the split-screen files and use the middle and right or left file.
I hadn't been able to figure out how to offer dual-screens of some of my images where the focus is centered (like Fluorescence, Mandala, Gazebo, etc) but this seems to be a good solution. In the future I will adapt some of the existing triple screens for dual-screen use and post them in the dual-screen gallery, but for now I invite you to use the triple-screens. Doing so will give you the added benefit of placing the "focus" on the right or left monitor as you choose (I tend to favor the right monitor).
- I've added two new triple-screens this morning, "Atrium" and "Conjunction 2003". I hope you like them. I'd also like to assure you single-screen users that I haven't forgotten about you. I am working on a couple of new projects and I hope to have something up soon.
- I've updated my Pocket PC Theme Collection now (file size[an error occurred while processing this directive]) to make the Start Menu easier to read.
- While rendering a poster-sized version of "Vespers", I noticed an error in the original render posted on Thursday. One of the columns was misaligned. I've gone back and rendered a new version which cleans up the problem and the old version in the gallery.
- Added "Vespers" to the gallery this morning. I hope you like it.
Quite a few of you have written asking that I create some bright day scenery (I've been "too dark" lately). It's true that most of my subject matter is dark ("Vespers" being another example). I, personally, feel that a darker image makes a better wallpaper. It provides a better contrast for your windows.
However, I have heard your requests for day scenery and I will try to "lighten up" a little in the future.
- I've added a widescreen version of "Colony" to the gallery. Hope you have a great weekend!
- My newest render, "Colony", is now up on the new images page. As mentioned yesterday, this one grew out of tinkering with Lightwave 8's new modeling tools and exploring the new interface in Layout. This was just a fun image to make and I hope you enjoy it.
- My copy of Lightwave 8 arrived a few days ago and I've been busy playing around with all the new features. A decent looking render has emerged from all of my tinkering and I hope to have it up for you in a day or two.
- Some of you asked that I create a version of "Pantheon" without the foreground moon surface. No problem. I've posted it in the Pickle Jar. Which you do prefer?. I've also posted widescreen renders of both. Dual-screens to come shortly.
- I've finally gotten around to organizing the 2004 images into their own galleries.
- The last couple of weeks I've received a flurry of requests for more planetary images. Of course, I am all too happy to oblige. My latest planetscape, "Pantheon", is now up for your review. I hope you like it!
- I've posted a dual-screen version of "Sigil". Sorry for the wait.
- Ian turns nine months old tomorrow. He's crawling around now and pulling himself up to a standing position. He can even take a few steps on his own. Anyway, I thought this would be a good time to post another photo so you all could see how he's grown. Yes, I am a proud Dad.
- I was playing around with Vue d'Esprit Pro this afternoon when Jessie walked into my office. She looked at what I was working on and said "Oooh pretty, you should post that". I wasn't planning on it, but I've learned to trust her judgement in these matters. The image, "Sunset Cove", is now up on the new images page. I hope you like it!
- I've added a widescreen version of "Sigil" to the gallery. Sorry it took so long, but Jessie and I took Ian back to Illinois to visit the family for Mother's Day. I'll try to get a dual-screen version done before too moving on to something else. Still waiting for Lightwave 8 to arrive...
- Added a new wallpaper, "Sigil", to the gallery this evening. After "Geode" I wanted to try something a little different. "Sigil" has a 2D look, but is 100% 3D. The lighting is all done with radiosity (for those of you interested in that sort of thing). It isn't the most complicated piece in my collection, but I think it makes a striking wallpaper and I hope you enjoy it.
- I've added widescreen and dual-screen versions of "Geode". These renders each took over 20 hours to render to the Pickle Jar versions will have to wait. I'd rather work on something new right now.
- I've written up a FAQ for the members gallery. It's mostly for folks who are interested in signing up, but if you have any questions which you think should belong on the list, please let me know.
- I'm still waiting for my copy of Lightwave 8 to arrive. In the meantime, as I mentioned before, I've been working on improving "Geode". After many lengthy rendering sessions I've decided that it's time to post what I have an move on to something else. Perhaps I'll return to it later.
My most current render is up on the New Images page. I've posted a couple of extra renders in the Pickle Jar. The changes between each version are very subtle. I've tried to add a little "fire" to the crystals and to break up the blue with some different colors.
I'll post a Widescreen version in the next couple of days (hopefully a dual-screen too). Thanks for being patient!
- I'm still working on revising "Geode" (thanks for all the feedback!). While my previews are rendering, I've taken the time to work on a little side project. People have been asking me for a while now to convert some of my work into Pocket PC themes so a few days ago I took the plunge a picked up an Ipaq to see what all would be involved. So far I've converted 38 of my images (selected from 2003, 2004 and a few older favorites) into Themes.
I haven't integrated them into the gallery yet, but you can download the zipped collection now (file size[an error occurred while processing this directive]) . If you have any thoughts or feedback about the themes, please feel free to drop me a line. Let me know if you think it's worth doing more of them.
- I've added "Geode" to the gallery this morning. Hopefully you will see what I mean when I said that this was a "complex" image. I think this is one where the thumbnail doesn't really do it justice. There are well over a million crystals in the scene.
I'm still tinkering with this one, and I expect my copy of Lightwave 8.0 to arrive in the mail any day now. LW 8 may offer a few new tricks which I will want to try out. In the meantime, I think the image is at least ready to share and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Enjoy!
- I just wanted to chime in and mention that I am putting the finishing touches on a new wallpaper. It's a pretty complex image, so it takes a while to render, but I hope to have it ready in the next couple of days.
- I've added a widescreen version of "California Poppies" to the gallery this morning. I don't think this image would convert well to a dual-screen format so I won't be making one this time.
- Now that spring is in full swing, I thought I would pay tribute with a wallpaper dedicated to my favorite local flower: the California Poppy. They're are all over the place in my neighborhood and I hope springtime has brought similar beauty to your area. Happy Easter!
- Happy Easter weekend to all of you. I'm busy working on a new wallpaper (hopefully it will be ready sometime early next week) but I just wanted to remind everyone about the Easter wallpaper I posted last year. It's called "Ostereier" and you'll find it in the 2003 Abstracts gallery.
- Some of you have asked when I will be putting up the 2004 galleries. As I do every year, I plan to let the New Images page fill up with 2004 works before I parcel them out into separate galleries.
- At long last, I've posted the dual-screen version of "Arctica by Night". This one crashed twice when I tried to render it on my second computer, but it came out fine when I rendered it on my main machine (even though it took 3 days).
- Added "Origins" to the gallery today. It was rendered in Lightwave, but I wanted to take a shot at creating my own nebula textures in Photoshop rather than using Lightwave's procedurals. I hope you like it.
- Bad news regarding the "Arctica by Night" dual-screen. The renderer crashed right as it was finishing the last anti-aliasing pass. I've restarted it, but it will be a day or two before it completes. Sorry about that.
- I've posted a widescreen version of "Arctica by Night". The dual-screen should be in a day or two (these take forever to render).
- I've posted a revised render of "Arctica by Night". I've changed the lighting a little to make some of the closer icebergs stand out. The version posted yesterday will remain available in the Pickle Jar. I'll work on rendering the widescreen and dual-screen versions and then get ready to move on to something new.
- I've added a night version of "Arctica" to the gallery today. I chose to post this one in the gallery, rather than the Pickle Jar, because I think it stands well enough on it's own. I may tweak it a little before I'm completely satisfied, but I thought it looked good enough to share this morning.
- I"m still not 100% but I'm starting to feel a little better. Well enough at least to sit at my computer for a few hours a day and work on a new wallpaper. I've just posted it on the new images page. It's called "Arctica" and I hope you enjoy it.
- I'd hoped my fever would pass after a few days, but it's still with me after a week. I made a trip to the doctor yesterday and he thought it might be a lingering sinus infection. He prescribed some antibiotics so I'll see what happens over the next few days. A grew tired of sitting in bed a long time ago though, and I've been working on a new wallpaper for the past few days. I hope to have it (and the rest of "The Comb" dual-screens) up before the end of the week.
- I've added widescreen versions of the four "Comb" color variations. The dual-screens will be up shortly (as soon as they are all rendered).
- On a personal note, I ha've been battling a case of the flu which has kept me in bed all week. I've only ventured out to start renders, check emails, and post these Pickle Jar images. I hope you will all be patient with me while I get back on my feet. Thanks!
- I've added four color variations of "The Comb" in the Pickle Jar. I'll try to have widescreen/dual-screen versions up before too long.
- I've added a widescreen and dual-screen version of "The Comb". A lot of you have been asking if I was planning on posting different colored versions of "The Comb". The answer is yes, but they are taking quite a while to render. I hope to have some up in a day or two.
- I've done a little tweaking on "First Green" and I've posted a new render on the New Images page. The original version will remain available in the Pickle Jar. I hope you approve of the changes I've made.
- Ian is sixth months old today. Hard to believe it's been half a year since he was born. He is truly my pride and joy. Here's a recent photo if anyone's interested.
- Late Update: I've posted a widescreen version of "First Green".
- A number of folks have written asking if I was going to post a Valentine's Day wallpaper this year. I am working on a new wallpaper (hopefully up within a day or two) but it isn't Valentine's Day related. Sorry! For those of you who want something fitting on your desktop, you might want to try out my 2002 wallpaper, Hybrid.
- I've added two "Cilia" color variations to the Pickle Jar. One is blue and green, the other is green and blue. Widescreen and dual-screen versions are also available.
- I've added a dual-screen version of "Cilia" to the gallery. I have a few color variations in the works and they will be added to the Pickle Jar shortly.
- As I mentioned when I first posted "Azula", I am going through an "abstract" mood right now. Since "Azula" was so inorganic and geomteric, I thought my next abstract should be more organic. My newest render, "Cilia", is now up on the new images page. I hope you enjoy it!
- LATE UPDATE: I've added widescreen render of "Cilia" to the gallery.
- After much rendering I've finally posted dual-screen and widescreen renders for all of the "Azula" color variations. After reading all of your emails I didn't have the heart to only do one render. Thanks for all the feedback! I am now quite ready to move on to something new.
- Still tinkering. I've added new versions of "Azula Chome" and "Azula Gold" to the Pickle Jar. Widescreen/Dual-Screen renders are forthcoming.
- As requested, I've rendered some versions of "Azula" with different colors. They're now up in the Pickle Jar. To be honest, there are a couple which I like better than the blue version and I'm wondering if maybe I should feature a different render than the one I posted on Sunday. What do you think? Once I've figured out which version to feature, I'll do widescreen and dual-screen renders.
- After doing 12 "scenery" images in a row, I've decided to change things up and do an abstract (or two). My latest render, "Azula", is now up on the new images page.
- I've posted a widescreen render of "Eventide". I'm working on a dual-screen version, but I'm still trying to figure out how to adapt the scene.
- Thanks for all the feedback on "Eventide". I've posted a minor revision on the new images page, while the original is still available in the Pickle Jar. Yes, I will be making a dual-screen version of this one, but not until after I've arrived at the "final" render.
- As mentioned yesterday, I've been working on a new wallpaper. I could probably sit here for a few more days trying to add different things to it, but Jessie tells me that I should just post it as is. The new image is called "Eventide" and it's up on the New Images page. I'll still be tinkering with it in the days to come, so if anyone has any comments feel free to share them with me.
- I'm busy working on a new wallpaper (hope to have it up in the next couple of days), but I wanted to take time out and mention to everyone that today is the fifth birthday of the members gallery. The first members (many of whom are still around today) signed up on January 14, 1999. I just wanted to thank them, and you all, for helping to make the members gallery a success. I"ve added over 300 wallpapers to the gallery since it started five years ago, most of which would not have been made without your support. Thanks everyone! I hope to see you back in in 2009 (and beyond).
- I've added the widescreen version of "Atrium". I've also added a widescreen version of "The Ride 2003" without Santa for those of you who requested it. Both renders are in the widescreen gallery.
- Some of you have asked why I always show picures of Jessie and Ian, but never any of myself. Two reasons: I am always the one taking the pictures and Jessie is a lot prettier than me. She took a decent one yesterday though (forgive our messy hair), so here you go.
- I was suggested to me yesterday that I should remove the flowers on the outer rings of the "Atrium" and replace them with water. I tried it out last night and decided that I do like it better this way. The render is now up on the new images page. I think I'm going to move onto something else now so I hope everyone is as satisfied as can be with this one. I'll have a widescreen version up sometime tomorrow. Thanks for all the feedback!
Rus Foster, who runs the DB Update mailing list, will be moving the list to a new server. As far as I can tell, you will need to resubscribe to the list if you want to receieve email notification when I post a new or updated image. You can find out more about the list here. Thanks Rus!
- After reading some of your feedback regarding "Atrium", I decided to make a few changes. Unfortunately this image is rather slow to work on because the renders take so long (over 18 hours for the 1600 x 1200 render). Anyway, the updated version is now available on the New Images page, while the first version remains available in the Pickle Jar.
- I've made one last, very minor, revision to "Boughs of Holly" and I've posted a widescreen version.
- I took this photo of Ian to use on our family Christmas cards this year. I thought it would be nice to share with you all. Happy Holidays from all of us here at DB!
- LATE UPDATE:I worked a little more on the "Boughs of Holly" today, focusing on improving the look of the berries. Many of you correctly noted that they looked a little too "perfect", so I've tried to make them look a little more realistic. I saw no need to keep the old version around, so I've simply overwrittenthe old files with the new.
- After working on "The Ride", I thought it would be nice to do a holiday image with some color. I tinkered around with a few different ideas before I came up with something which, I hope, looks festive and fits the season. The new render, "Boughs of Holly" (as in "Deck the halls with..."), is up for your review on the new images page. I may fool around with it a little more over the weekend, but this will be my last new project until after Christmas. I hope you like it!
- Any of you thinking of purchasing my CD or a Calendar as a Christmas present might be interested to know that Cafepress is offering 2 day shipping for the price of standard shipping. Unfortunately, the deal only last through the end of today.
- From some of the emails I received last week, I got the impression that you dual-screen users were feeling left out as far as Holiday wallpapers were concerned. Sorry about that. As I've said time and again, creating dual-screen wallpapers is a lot more difficult than creating a widescreen (16 x 9) image. Most of my images would easily adapt to a widescreen frame, but very few of them work as dual-screens.
One that does work is my latest image, "The Ride 2003". I spent the weekend adapting it for use as a dual-screen image, adding some more forest for the left side screen. The render is now up in the dual-screen gallery. I hope you like it. I promise I'll try to adapt more of my work in 2004!
- LATE UPDATE: I've posted a new render of "The Ride" on the new images pages. I've made a couple of changes to the sky to try and get rid of the color banding for the earlier version and I've calmed the water in the lake a little so you can see more reflections. I've also made the sleigh and reindeer a little larger (but not much). An updated "riderless" version is also available in the Pickle Jar.
- One of my favorite Christmas renders has always been "The Ride" from 1998. I love the idea, but the execution left something to be desired. For example, the "forest" was made up of bare spikes (that was all Bryce could do) and Santa's sleigh was a low-res alpha map. I've always thought that I could do better, and this year I decided it was time to try.
The new render is now up on the new images page. The image was produced using World Builder (which does really nice forests). I kept the sky from the original Bryce render, because I liked the ice ring, and I tried to keep the general composition the same. There's also a version without Santa's sleigh for those of you who prefer it that way.
I still have a few issues that I want to work out, but I think it looks nice enough to share. What do you think?
- I've also added two widescreen Christmas renders. "Blue Christmas (2002)" and "Spirit of the Season" are available in 1920 x 1200 in the Widescreen gallery.
- Just in time for Christmas, my CDROM has been updated to version 5. It is current up to today including my latest render, "Gaea". New in this edition are the 1280 x 1024 renders, the 2560 x 1024 dual-screen files, and the split dual-screen files. I've added all this stuff, but the price remains the same ($14.95 for a copy with a jewel case and full-color insert, $10.95 for a copy with a plain paper sleeve). Makes a great stocking stuffer. Enjoy!
- Sorry I've been out of touch for so long. Jessie and I decided to take Ian back to Illinois last week to spend Thanksgiving with my relatives. We left last Wednesday and arrived back in warm southern Cal early this morning. I was away from my email the whole time so today was spent catching up on that.
Ian had a wonderful time meeting his great-grand-parents and various Aunts and Uncles. He was a great kid the whole time. We were afraid that being passed around so much would make him fussy, but he took it all in stride. He didn't even cry on the airplane. Jessie and I are two very proud (and relieved) parents.
So now I'm going to take a day or two and decompress before getting back to work. Be on the lookout for a new Christmas wallpaper. Ho ho ho...
- Added "Gaea" to the gallery this evening. Nothing too fancy, but I think it makes for a tranquil desktop. Hope you like it. I've also posted a widescreen version of "Cosmic Shoals".
- Added "Cosmic Shoals" to the gallery this evening. I held onto this one for a few extra days, adding and removing different elements. In the end, everything I added looked extraneous and unecessary to me (complexity for complexity's sake) so I am going with the simple look. This is essentially the same version I mentioned in my Saturday post, which Jessie told me to go ahead and post. I may try some more tweaks in the days to come, so be on the lookout for updates.
- Just wanted you all to know that I am working on a new wallpaper. Jessie tells me that it's good enough to post right now, but I want to hold onto it for a few more days. It needs a little extra something. I'd love for it to be done by Monday, but Ian's baptism is Sunday and with all the grandparents hanging out it will be difficult for me to find time for modeling. I hope to have it up early next week.
- Thanks to everyone who wrote me with opinions on the dual-monitor split files. Since so many of you seem to have uses for them (especially Mac users) I will be keeping them around.
- After tinkering some more with "The Source", I've come to conclusion that I am happy with it (for the time being) and I'm ready to move on. I've posted a widescreen version and a few more color variations in the Pickle Jar.
- I've added 2560 x 1024 versions of all the dual-screen images, so those of you with 2 1280 x 1024 screens should be able to use my work now. I'm thinking about removing the split files though. They don't really get used that much. If anyone has any strong objections please drop me a line.
- I've posted another revision to "The Source". I'm getting closer to being happy with this one.
- The great majority of the comments I receieved regarding "The Source" have been asking if I could change the color from green to blue. That's fine with me, as I was on the fence myself about which color to use. I've re-rendered the image in blue it's up on the new images page. The green version is still available in the Pickle Jar. Which do you prefer?
- I've added the dual-monitor version of "Once Upon a Time" that I mentioned last week. I'm sorry it took so long, but adding the lighting effects really upped the render time considerably. Hopefully I can have a dual-screen Twilight render up in another week or so. Hope you like it!
- If you were around last year, you might remember that Jessie and I were married on October 12th. I essentially took last October off so I could help her set everything up, have the wedding, and then spend some quality time on the beach. We had a great time, but one of the unfortunate consequences was that I was unable to do any Halloween images last year.
So October has rolled around again and the candy is on the store shelves. Time for some spooky desktops.
My newest wallpaper, "Awakening", is now up for your review. Hope you like it. You can check out the rest of my Halloween images by using my search engine.
- A few items to report today. First, I've added 1280 x 1024 renders to the 2001 and 2000 galleries. Second, "Once Upon a Time" (the day version) is now available as a poster. I'll have to do a little tweaking before the twilight version is ready. You might also be interested to know that Zazzle now offers framing and matting options so your prints can arrive ready to hang.
Third, I have a dual-screen version of "Once Upon a Time" rendering and I think you dual-head folks will really enjoy it. It will be done in a few days (I hope).
Lastly, I just received my copy of "3D World" magazine in the mail and saw that the full version of World Builder 2.3 is available on the included CDROM. It's the same program I used to create "Valley 2000", "Glenwood", "Sunset Fog" and "Song of the Sky" (and many others). I'm not sure what the magazine goes for on the newstand (over $10 I think) but considering that I paid over $900 for my copy of World Builder, it's a pretty good deal. The issue features "Finding Nemo" on the front cover and should be on newstands soon. Happy Rendering!
- Go Cubs!!
- I've added widescreen renders of both "Once Upon a Time" versions to the gallery. Since so many of you have expressed a preference for the twilight version, I've decided that it will reside in the Night Scenery gallery. Thanks again for all the feedback!
- Go Cubs!
- Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts with me regarding the two versions of "Once Upon a Time". Opinions were split pretty much down the middle. The decision will have to be up to me and I think I've settled on the version I think works best for the main gallery (the brighter version). I've posted a slightly revised version of the brighter image, with a little less haze and little more color in the atmosphere. I've also removed most of the grainy noise which was present in the original render. I've also posted a "smoother" version of the purple version. It's only available in the Pickle Jar for now, until I decide whether or not I want two versions of this image in my gallery.
- UPDATE: Hmmmm. There seems to be some disagreement on which version of "Once..." is better. If you have an opinion please drop me a line. Thanks!
- I've posted an updated version of "Once Upon a Time". I felt the first version was a little too hazy. The version posted yesterday will remain available in the Pickle Jar. Now that I've changed this one, I'm a little conflicted as to whether it is "day scenery" or "night scenery". I would like to do a moonlit night version, so I think I'll put this one in the day scenery gallery (the sun is still up after all).
- As I mentioned back in the 13th, I've been taking this past week off. I've been spending the time trying to help Jessie recuperate from her surgery and helping take care of Ian (which is a full-time job in itself). Tomorrow I will be getting back to work, though I don't have an ETA for a new wallpaper. Thanks everyone for being patient with the new dad here.
- I'm happy to announce that the Digital Blasphemy 2004 Wall Calendars are now available for sale. Last year I created one calender for sale, but this year I am offering five different themes. You can choose from Classic, Nature, Space, Structure, or Abstract images. Hope you like them!
- In case you missed it, the members gallery disappeared from the web last Sunday. The hard drive it was stored on failed (a blown out IC) and refused to be read.
The gallery had been humming along nicely on the same 300 MHz Pentium (with a doomed 3 GB HD) ever since 1999. I'd been asked repeatedly by the folks at Rackspace if I wanted to upgrade my system, but I always thought "if it ain't broke, why fix it".
Last Sunday it broke, so I decided to fix it. I've moved the members (and secure) server to the relatively fast AMD 1.3 GHz with 256 MB of RAM. It's faster than most of the machines I've used to render my graphics and it should hold us for a few years more. I've also started doing weekly tape backups (which I had thought were happening all along) so the next time my HD goes south we should be back up in a matter of hours.
As you can see, most of the gallery is back online. I am still working to upload the PNG collection and the ZIPs. There' s over 900 MB of files to upload, and my DSL seems to have a capped upload speed of around 15K per second. It will probably take the rest of the day, during which time you will see some error messages on the gallery pages. Sorry about that.
Whether you tried to log in during the outage or not, I apologize for the fact that it happened. I've gone ahead and added 14 days to everyone's memberships to cover both the week I was down, and a weeks break that I am going to be taking starting tomorrow.
I want to say a big thanks to everyone who wrote me such supportive emails during the outage, and especially those who made note of my 32nd birthday on Thursday. I had a wonderful day (celebrated with a nice Tandoori dinner that evening) surrounded by friends and family. What more could anyone ask for?
- I've added a dual-monitor version of "Binary". Someone wrote me today asking why most of the dual monitor images all have the "main subject" on one side and then not much on the other. The answer is that all of the dual-monitor screens have been adapted from single screen images. In most cases, the content of the image will not cleanly seperate over two screens so I've chosen to keep the main focus on one screen and simply extend the field of view to cover a second screen. The dual-monitor version of "Binary" is an exception to this.
- I've added four new posters to my Zazzle collection. "Latticework", "Mandala", "Binary", and "Valley" are all now available. I've been working on rendering others (including "Gazebo 2003" and "Conjunction 2003") but have been having trouble getting the renders to complete on my networked workstations. I'd rather not take my main workstation out of comission for a whole week just to render a poster, but it might come down to that.
- I've posted a minor update to "Binary" in which I've tweaked the texture on the red giant a little, hopefully making it look a little more 3D. As I haven't made any major changes to the content of the image, I've decided not to place the original render in the Pickle Jar.
- After I posted "Grotto", someone wrote me and mentioned that the image had a definite "birth" theme. I agree. My work often interprets of the goings on in my personal life, but it only becomes obvious when I've shared the events with all of you (as with the recent birth of my son, Ian).
With that in mind, I will leave it to you to decipher the basis for my latest addition the gallery, "Binary". Whether or not you search for deeper meaning, I hope you enjoy it on your desktop. I've also posted a widescreen version.
- How about a couple of new baby pictures? Here's a cute close-up of his little face, and here's one of him sleeping on his daddy's shoulder.
- As mentioned earlier, I had been working on a new project when the baby came. I finally found the time yesterday to put the finishing touches on it and I think it's ready to share this morning. It's called "Grotto" and it's up on the new images page now. I was a little bit distracted during its construction, but I hope you like it all the same.
- For those of you who have been asking, here are a couple of new baby pictures: Ian with his mommy, and getting his hair washed for the first time at home. I'll try not to overload my site with baby pictures, though I am definitely stricken with "Proud Papa Syndrome".
- Late Update -- I've added a new version of "Grotto", this time without the kayaker. I wanted something to be there, so I replaced him with some marine mammals. The original version, along with a version with only empty water, is in the Pickle Jar.
- Thanks everyone for all the wonderful emails! I've enjoyed reading them and I know Jessie will too. She's healing up wonderfully and the two of them should be ready to come home sometime tomorrow. Luckily my Mom flew out from Illinois to help me get the house straightened up!
Of course, like any proud dad I've been snapping away with my camera. I thought I've share a few more pictures of my son, this time with his eyes open. He's changed a lot in just a couple of days! I've posted three photos taken this afternoon, here, here, and here (with his mom).
I started a new image late last week, but I don't exactly know when it will be finished and ready to post. Hopefully sometime next week. Thanks for being patient with me!
- I've added some different color versions of "Latticework" in the PickleJar. If you'd like to have a different color, I recommend you open up the original in your favorite image editior and play around with the Hue settings.
- I'd hoped to have some good news to post this week, but we're still waiting. Our OB told us last Monday that he was "80% certain" that the baby would come last week. The baby had other ideas though and he's taking his own sweet time, refusing to be rushed. We did have plenty of "false starts" however.
I didn't work on any new projects last week so I could stick close to Jessie. Now, for my sanity, I'm going to get busy working again on something new. I can't say when it will done (especially since I haven't started yet) but hopefully everyone will understand that this month will be a little weird around here and not to expect the "normal" complement of new work.
- Added a new abstract, "Tendrils", to the gallery today. I also posted a couple of different color schemes in the Pickle Jar. This image should work well as a dual-monitor wallpaper so look for one in the next couple of days. Hope you like it!
- After posting my updated version of "Gazebo" last month, I received quite a few emails from folks suggesting other images which could be revisited. My 1998 image "Conjunction" was mentioned more than once. Earlier this week I started working on an update.
"Conjunction" is a tricky image to update. I still like the original and didn't want to do a complete overhaul; rather I wanted to do an update which was faithful to the original but also updated the parts which I felt were a little clunky. Hopefully I was successful, but you be the judge. The result is now up on the new images page.
There may be a tweak or two left before I'm completely happy with it, but I think it's good enough to share. Let me know if you have any comments.
- I've been working hard on a new wallpaper this week and I wanted to have it ready by this morning. Unforutnately it's just not where I want it to be yet, so I'm going to keep working on it rather than post it prematurely. I hope to have it up sometime this weekend , or tonight at the earliest.
- Added "Mandala" to the gallery today. The thumbnail really doesn't do this one justice so please withhold judgement until you've seen the hi-res image. Hope you like it!
- Some of you have inquired as to how Jessie is doing. The baby is due on August 8th, but realistically he could arrive any time during the next 30 days. Jessie is holding up well but I think she's ready for the pregnancy to be over. We're taking a Lamaze course this weekend and trying to get everything ready around the house. All in all I'm pretty excited (and more than a little nervous). I'll post here when I have more news!
- Thanks to everyone who wrote me with their views on the "clouds vs no clouds" issue. I've come to decide that the cloudless version is the better one, and I've swtiched out the Pickle Jar/Gallery images. The cloudless version will be featured in the gallery from now on. Both versions will, of course, be available in the Pickle Jar.
I've added a dual-screen and a widescreen version as well. Enjoy!
- By now I've gotten around 20 emails from folks mentioning that they spotted one of my images ("Fluorescence") on the computer used by the cast of the new "The Real World (Paris)" show. Thanks everyone for the heads up! Feel free to write if you spot my work elsewhere on the Tube, but further emails regarding "The Real World" are unnecessary.
FYI, I didn't arrange anything with MTV. I don't mind that they are using my work (quite the contrary) and I won't be suing them ;-)
- Added "Majesty" to the gallery this afternoon. It's based on some of the elements I created for "Gazebo". I was somewhat torn between a version with clouds in the sky and a version without, so I decided to post them both and let you decide which works better. I think the clouds add depth to the image, but I think the colors are bolder in the version without. If you have an opinion on the matter, I would love to hear it.
- Added "Protist" to the gallery this afternoon. Don't know why this sort of image has been on my mind recently. Once I've decided on the final version I will post different sized renders (1280 x 1024, widescreen, dual-screen). Hope you like it!
- I've uploaded a new batch of 1280 x 1024 renders, this time covering all of the images added to the gallery in 2002 (47 in all). Most of them are re-rendered and re-framed to keep as much of the original 4:3 image as possible. In some cases this results in more information that in the 4:3 version. In a few cases it was impossible to do a re-render (upgrading software sometimes breaks old scene files), so I simply cropped the original image as best I could. I've integrated the 1280 x 1024 images into the gallery so you can find them in the 2003 and 2002 sections. If you want to download them all at once I've put them in a Zip File here ([an error occurred while processing this directive]).
While this all certainly comes as joyous news to 1280 x 1024 users, I can already hear the rest of you tapping your feet waiting for a new image. Sorry this has all taken longer than I had anticipated. I'm going to hold off on doing the 2001 collection for a while (I might just do selected "favorites") and get back to working on some new stuff.
- I've just added my lastest wallpaper, "Solus", to the gallery. I'd wanted to have it ready by last night, but I just wasn't happy with how it looked. To be honest, there's still some things I would like to tweak, but I think it is at a point where I can display it and hear what you have to say.
- Happy Easter to you all. I just wanted to let you know that I'm still putting the finishing touches on my new wallpaper and I hope to have it up by this evening.
- I'm proud to annouce that the latest edition of my CDROM is now available from Cafepress. I'm calling this one "Version 4.5" because I usually update that disc every year in late fall. When I learned that Cafepress was going to be selling data CDs, I had to jump at the chance since they have done such a good job handling my calendars, mousepads, etc.
The CD comes in two flavors. You can get it in a jewel-case with full color printed inserts for $14.95, or you can opt for a simple paper sleeve (with transparent window) for $10.95.
I'm happy to annouce that the disc will finally be available overseas and you will be able to place orders over the phone. Cafepress also accepts PayPal orders and orders paid with a check or money order.
If you have any questions about the disc, feel free to drop me a line.
- Over the years I've had quite a few people write me asking if I would ever do a Easter wallpaper. Up until now the answer had always been "we'll see".
I don't know what came over me this weekend, but I felt the time had come to do something colorful and festive. The result is called "Ostereier" and it's up now on the new images page. I hope you like it!
I have another, non-Easter, project in the works and I hope to have that up by the end of the week.
- I've had a few different projects going since I returned from Illinois last week, and one of them I think is ready to show. "Agni" (def) is now up on the new images page for your review. It is a companion piece to last year's "Indra". Hope you like it!
- I'm still working on putting my new CDROM together. It's taken a back seat recently to completing this latest wallpaper. I'll post here when it's ready.
- The "2003" gallery pages will go up after a post my next wallpaper. It has been my tradition to wait until all of last years images have moved off the "New Images" page before sorting this years work into galleries.
- I've purchased a copy of Mojoworld last week and I hope to add it to my software stable soon. From my initial experiements it looks like it will take some time to get used to it, but if I can learn World Builder I think I can learn anything. Stay tuned for more.
- Jessie and I got back from Illinois late last night and I've been spending today digging myself out from under a pile of emails. The purpose of our trip was threefold. Wednesday and Thursday we visited my In-Laws and some old friends in Iowa City. Friday we drove to Bloomington IL and spent the weekend with my family. Sunday I opened my showing in the local Barnes and Noble bookstore, and then went directly from there to my grandfather's 90th birthday party (the real reason for the trip). The whole trip was awesome.
Last Friday the Pantagraph, the local Bloomington newspaper, ran a feature article about me and my work. I was interviewed a couple of weeks ago over the phone. I've taken the liberty of scanning the article (it isn't available from the Pantagraph web site) and posting it here for you. Check it out if you're interested (warning to 56K users: it's around 800 KB to download).
I hope to start work on a new wallpaper either tomorrow or Thursday. I'm also in the process of putting together a new CDROM edition and a few new posters. The new CD will be available through CafePress, instead GoldenROM, so it will finally be available internationally.
- After tinkering with "Core Chamber" for a couple of days, I've come to the conclusion that the version that I don't want to add anything else. I'm going to leave it as is. I have posted one extra version in the Pickle Jar however, in which I've removed the red lighting from the chamber. I like the more consistent coloring, but not enough to replace the version in the gallery. I've also added a 1920 x 1200 widescreen version. I'll start work on a new image next week after I've returned from Illinois (I hope to see a few of you there this Sunday).
- Jessie and I visited the OB today and got another look at our developing baby. Everything appears to be progressing normally. We also found out that we are having a boy, which means I won the bet Jess and I had going (she now has to watch a movie of my choosing). As excited as I am to be having a son, I can't help but be a little sad giving up my dreams of a baby girl. Maybe next time...
- Added "Core Chamber" to the gallery today. I haven't yet decided if I am done working on this, and I'll probably spend the rest of today and tomorrow trying to figure out if there's anything else I want to add. Either way, I hope you like it.
- I just wanted to chime in here and say that I am busy working on a new wallpaper. I'm doing a lot of modeling for this one so it is taking a little longer than usual. I've also been distracted the past couple of days watching events unfold on CNN. I'd hoped to have the new image ready by tomorrow, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen. It should hopefully be up sometime this weekend.
- Added "Locus", an new abstract, to the gallery today. There are two versions available, and it was hard for me to choose which one to feature in the gallery. I liked elements of both, but in the end I settled on the darker version on the new images page. If you have an opinion, let me know.
- Added a new wallpaper, "Simple Pleasures", to the gallery today. The blooms are based on orchids that Jessie received as a birthday present. I'm still playing around with this one, so there may be an update or two over the weekend (perhaps even later this afternoon).
- It appears that Zazzle is back online with their new and updated web site. Among the changes they are offering a new print size, called Colossal (52" x 78"). I've seen one of these prints and they are truly massive.
None of the prints in my collection are currently available at this size. I would have to re-render them, but I would like to gauge interest before I do so. If you are interested in having a print this size, please drop me a line and let me know which images you are interested in. Thanks!
- UPDATE (11:20 PST): I've replaced the version of "Simple Pleasures" I posted this morning with a slightly reframed version.
- Thanks to everyone who wrote me with comments and suggestions regarding the "Captiol Records" issue (see post from 2/27). I'm currently working to resolve the issue and I'll let you all know how it all turns out.
- I've added a couple of new renders to the widescreen gallery. "Rebirth" and "The Gardener" are now available. Coincidentally I learned yesterday that Dell is now offering a new notebook (the Inspiron 8500) with a widescreen monitor capable of 1920 x 1200.
- I'm currently working on a new wallpaper and I hope to have it ready by this weekend.
- My workstation is back up and running now, and I've done a new render of "Rebirth". I removed the bluish haze which makes everything look a lot more green and lush. The original is still available in the Pickle Jar.
- I'd meant to do some more work on "Rebirth" today, but unfortunately my computer had other ideas. Just as I was finishing up on my computer last night, my hard drive made a sputtering noise and then died. I wasn't able to restart the machine.
Luckily I was able to hook the drive up to one of my other machines and save off all of my most important data. It won't work as a boot drive in my main machine though. The nice folks at Dell have promised to send me another drive ASAP (it should be here by Monday at the latest) and as soon as it arrives I will restore everything and start fresh. BTW, I'm posting this from my laptop.
- My work has been on the web for six years now (seven if you count the images I posted on AOL back in 1996). As far as people using my work without my permission, I thought I had seen it all. I guess I was wrong. Case in point: someone tipped me off that my "Tropic of Capricorn" image was being used in a country music video. I couldn't believe it until I saw it for myself.
You can see it too: just check out the video for Jennifer Hanson's "Beautiful Goodbye" at the Capitol Records-Nashville homepage. I'm flattered to see my work on TV (even though I'm not a big country music fan) but I do wish they had asked me first. I haven't decided yet how I'm going to respond to this...
- Jessie and I went to the OB again this morning and I was able to hear our baby's heartbeat for the very first time. It definitely put my computer hardware problems into proper perspective. Everything is progressing normally. Next month we go back to find out whether we are having a boy or a girl. I'll keep you posted.
- I've added three new posters, "Arboreal", "Satori", and "Cradle", to my Zazzle collection.
Speaking of posters, I'm proud to announce the first ever "public showing" of my work. Actually it was my Mom's idea. She's arranged to have my work on display in my hometown Barnes & Noble bookstore through the month of April. The prints will go up on Sunday, March 30th. Jessie and I will be in the store between 12:00 and 2:30 that afternoon (in the café).
I'll be available to answer questions and do general "meet-the-artist" type stuff. I'll also be happy to sign posters if you bring them along, but I won't be selling any at the store. It will all be very informal.
The store is located in Bloomington, IL. If any of you live in the Twin Cities or in Central Illinois and feel like stopping by, we'd would love to meet you.
- I'm going to start working on something new tomorrow, aiming to have a new wallpaper up by the end of the week. Thanks everyone for being patient with me!
- I've added widescreen versions of "Arboreal", "Aquamarine", "Hybrid", and "Song of the Sky".
- Last week I decided to take a short break from creating new wallpapers. I just needed to do something else for a little while and recharge my batteries. Rather then let the time go completely to waste however, I've set about addressing some of the special requests which I get on a daily basis.
I'm always getting emails from folks using Apple Cinema displays asking me to render wallpapers to fit their screens. If you have one of these widescreen monitors, this is your lucky day. I've just posted a starter collection of 14 wallpapers at 1920 x 1200 resolution. They will fit the larger Apple displays (and some other widescreen monitors), and can be scaled down to accurately fit the widescreen Ibook displays (I hope).
If you like these and want to see more, please drop me a line and let me know.
- Added "Arboreal" to the gallery today. I just know I'm going to get a ton of email from people telling me that this one is too dark for their screens. It's dark on my monitor too, but that's the point. It's supposed to be a somber night scene where everything is just barely visible. It is definitely best viewed in a dark room on a sharp monitor. I hope it works for some of you at least.
- I've added a dual-monitor version of Alpine to the 2X gallery.
- A week or so ago, the Friday before the Super Bowl, Jessie and I were watching the late local news when something unusual happened. The broadcast cut to a live interview with Columbia astronauts William McCool, Michael Anderson, and David Brown. McCool, who had been born in San Diego, was the focus of the interview. He spoke of his fond memories of the city (especially the Zoo), predictions for the Super Bowl, and his hope that the thousands of soldiers deploying to the Middle East would all come home safely. Very cool.
It's a shame that most of us only seem to notice the space program when something goes wrong. Outside of Israel and India, I doubt that many of us even knew that Columbia was bound for home yesterday, or would have celebrated if she had landed safely. These brave folks fly for all of us, and each successful flight inches us away from our base origins and towards our future in the stars. When we eventually return to space I can only hope we pay as much attention to the successes as we do the failures, and honor the astronauts who live as well as the ones who perish.
- On a lighter note, I added "Alpine" to the gallery this morning. CG mountains are a dime-a-dozen on the web, but I wanted to see if there was anything I could add to the genre. I hope you like it.
- Thanks to all the folks who wrote Jessie with birthday greetings (see 1/31 post). She really enjoyed reading all of your messages. We had a great time yesterday and we're still recovering from Buca di Beppo.
- I've posted a dual-screen version of "Sangre" in the 2X gallery. I had meant to have this one ready over the weekend, but I ran into some technical difficulties regarding Lightwave's native Depth-of-Field rendering. It just looked bad at the higher resolution and nothing I tried helped.
Finally, I broke down and purchased Evasion3D's Xdof plugin on Saturday. I had to wait until today for the licensing to go through so I could actually use it. I'm amazed. The blurring is smooth as silk and the render times are only a fraction of what they were before. I've posted a "cleaned-up" version of the single-screen render as well, though the improvement is not as dramatic. I've set up a side-by-side comparison so you can see the improvements for yourself.
I'm going to be taking a few days to do some research and take care of a few other things that I've been meaning to do. I'll post here when I've started working on a new wallpaper.
- Just so you all know: Yes, the folks at Sapphire purchased a legitimate license to use my work on their Radeon boxes. They are not ripping me off. I appreciate everyone's concern however, and I hope you will continue to contact me if you see my work "out there".
- Added "Sangre" to the gallery this evening. I've always been fascinated with the small places inside our bodies (probably from too many viewings of "Fantastic Voyage" and "Innerspace") and this image continues my exploration of that theme. It may or may not be appropriate desktop material and I apologize if it doesn't work for you.
- As mentioned last time, I spent the weekend trying different things with "Cathedral". In the end, I prefer the version I posted on Friday. I'm going to leave it as is and move on to something new.
Some of you have mentioned that the edges of "Cathedral" are too dark. This was intentional on my part. I wanted there to be a central area of brightness in the middle of the screen, framed all around by shadow (plus it goes nicely with my new black framed monitor).
Some of you also wrote in with ideas for things I should add to the image. After much consideration I decided that this image should be kept simple and uncluttered. Thanks everyone for the feedback!
- Added "Cathedral" to the gallery today. I did this one to test how my new workstation handles hi-precision, "multi-bounce", radiosity calculations. Rendering still takes a quite a long time. I'm going to keep testing over the weekend so I might post a different version if I see significant improvements.
- Added "Satori" to the gallery today. This will be my first image created using the new World Builder 3.5. Long time members will recall my love/hate relationship with World Builder. I wish I could tell you that all of the problems were fixed with this new version, unfortunately working with World Builder is still an exercise in pain. Still, when it works there's no program like it. I hope you like the new wallpaper.
- I've posted a dual-monitor version of "Cradle 2003" in the 2X gallery. Unlike most of the other dual-screen wallpapers, in this one the field of view is expanded horizontally rather than cropped vertically. In other words, it is truly double the 4:3 version. Now I think I will be moving on to something new.
- I went with Jessie today to our first OB visit. Apparently the baby is doing just fine. The due date was set at (around) August 8th. Definitely the highlight for me was the Ultrasound, where I got to see the little bean for the first time. It was amazing watching the tiny heart beating on the screen. Simply amazing.
- A lot of people wrote in asking if I could change the colors in "Cradle 03" and make them blue. I've done a number of blue images lately (it is my favorite color after all) so I wanted to mix things up a little with this new version of "Cradle". I actually prefer the reds and oranges. So, while I'd rather not change the version in the gallery, I'm all to happy to add a blue version to the Pickle Jar. I hope you like it.
- Added my first wallpaper of the new year this morning. "Cradle 2003" is up on the new images page. The original was created using Bryce and a program called "Universe". Just was with the original "Blue Christmas", I first rendered the background and then added the stars later. The results looked nice, but they weren't true "3D" (to me anyway).
The new version comes to you straight out of Lightwave. I still want to try a few more things, but I thought it looked nice enough to share in its current form. I hope you agree. If you have any thoughts please be sure to send them my way.
UPDATE: I've posted a very minor revision to "Cradle 03" which fixes a rendering error I had missed last night.
- Thanks to everyone who wrote in last week with suggestions for 2003 images. I really enjoyed reading your letters and I'll be glad to have them handy when I'm staring at my blank screen wondering what to do next.
- Jessie and I want to wish you all a wonderful new year! 2002 was a pretty memorable year for the two of us, but something tells me 2003 will be even more interesting (see post from 12/12). If you have any requests for images you would like to see this year, please feel free to send them my way. Happy 2003!
- My apologies to those of you who recife an update notification email this morning. The list apparently misfired for some reason. I've contacted Rus (the list admin) about it and hopefully we'll get it straightened out so that emails are only sent when new images await your perusal.
- I guess I shouldn't say that nothing is new around here. I've added a few extra versions of "Confluence" to the Pickle Jar which illustrate its development.
- Added "Confluence" to the gallery today. I'm not sure many of you will want to use it as a wallpaper (Jessie greeted it with a "Ewwww"), but it's what I've been working on for the past couple of days so I felt I should post it.
One might think that I've been reading too many pregnancy books lately, and that would be correct assumption. This image, however, was inspired by a different book that Jessie gave me for Christmas called "
Heaven & Earth: Unseen by the Naked Eye". Anyway, I hope you enjoy looking at it (even if it doesn't make it onto your desktop).
As a technical note I want to mention that "Confluence" was created completely using Lightwave "Hypervoxels" (with transparency and full refraction). I wanted to test out my new system's rendering speed (this verdict: fast).
- I've added a dual-monitor version of "Aquamarine" to the 2X gallery (due to many requests).
- I finally finished "moving in" to my new workstation yesterday so today I spent doing some Lightwave work. I started some new projects, but it remains to be seen whether they will be keepers or not. I also went through all of the comments I received regarding "Polaris" and made a few changes. You'll find a new, blue, version on the New Images page (the original green version is in the Pickle Jar). I hope you approve of the changes.
- My Dad, Thurman, recently got back together with his old college band, "The Fratiers", and cut a CD. A few months ago they played a reunion show at their alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan, and brought down the house (or so I hear). He's been playing in rock bands for as long as I can remember (my favorite was called "Thurmo-Nuclear and the Fallouts") and his guitar skills are still pretty sharp.
Don't believe me? Check out this link my brother sent me the other day. It's an interview with one of the band members done for the school magazine. That's my Dad on the far left of the photo. Scroll to the bottom of the page and you can hear their rendition of "Louie, Louie" with my Dad on lead guitar. He's going to be 58 this year, but he still rocks!
- My work with "Aquamarine" and "Blue Christmas 2002" made it painfully clear to me that my workstation with no longer up to snuff. Each of those images was delayed 2 or 3 days simply because the renders kept crashing! I've been using the same dual 1-Ghz box for over 2 years now and now I've decided it's time to upgrade.
The new box from Dell was delivered this morning (I ordered it on the 11th) and I've been working all day migrating to the new system. It's a pretty nice setup: dual 2.8 Ghz, 2 GB RAM, 148 GB SCSI HDD, DVD+RW, QUADRO 900, and (gulp!) Windows XP Pro. The best part about the new system is the 20" Dell 2000FP flat-panel display. I'm in love!
Hopefully the new box will mean faster renders and more timely updates for you.
Anyway, I'll be taking the next couple of days off for the holidays. We're staying put this year. We'll go to midnight mass Christmas Eve and hang out with our friends on Christmas. I'm going to really miss seeing my family though.
I hope you all are where you want to be for the holidays. Jessie and I really appreciate the support you've given us and we both want to wish you all the best for the Holidays and for 2003!
- I'd hoped to have my new render ready to go by today, but I don't think it's ready yet. I'll be working on it over the weekend and hopefully I'll have it up early next week.
- Looking at the render I posted last night I noticed something amiss. The snow falling outside the window just didn't look right to me, so I set about fixing it. The final final render is now up on the new images page, and I'll be moving on to something new now.
- I've added a final updated render of "Spirit of the Season" on the new images page (the original is still available in the Pickle Jar). Thanks to everyone who wrote in with feedback!
- I've posted my latest render up in the new images gallery. It's a reworking of 1999's "Blue Christmas". A lot of people have told me that the original "Blue" was one of their favorites, but I've never been quite pleased with it. I used "World Builder" for the original, and had added the lighting effects later using another program. I always thought that it was a good idea that could be done a lot better. Last week I set out to try.
I used Lightwave this time around and I'm a lot happier with the results. You can see for yourself on the new images page. I hope you approve of the new version. The old one, of course, will remain available for those who prefer it.
UPDATE: I've posted a slightly revised version of "Blue Christmas 2002" in which the stars are now visible all the way down to the horizon.
- Just wanted to let everyone know that I've still alive. I'd hoped to have my new render up this afternoon, but it looks like it will need one last render before it's ready. The project is a reworking of a Christmas image from '99.
- I had a nice visit with my Dad over the weekend and on Monday I picked up where I'd left off with "Aquamarine". I receieved many excellent suggestions through email, which I have incorporated into a final render that I can live with. It's up on the new images page. I'm sure some of you will not approve of the changes I've made, but that's OK because the original (along with an intermediate render) is still available in the Pickle Jar. I hope you like the final product, and I thank you for being patient while I worked it out.
Jessie and I are staying put for Thanksgiving this year. We're going to have a few friends over for dinner tomorrow and then I'm going to get cracking on a new wallpaper. I think something seasonal is in order.
For those of you celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, Jessie and I want to wish you a safe and happy holiday!
- I should also mention that my 4th edition CDROM is available for purchase. It contains all of the works in the main members gallery (but not the Pickle Jar) up to "Introspection".
- Lastly I wanted to mention that a poster version of "Neuron" is available from Zazzle.
- My latest project, "Aquamarine", is now up for your review on the new images page. I've been working on this one pretty much non-stop since Saturday, hoping to have a decent render finished by today. My father is arriving from Illinois this afternoon and staying with us until Sunday, so even though there are still a few things I would like to tweak, but I won't be able to work on it until after the weekend. Until then I would love to hear any comments or suggestions you might have.
- I've posted an updated version of "Introspection" on the new images page. Hopefully the changes will meet with your approval. I've also added a few extra versions to the PickleJar (including the original posted yesterday). I'll be moving on now.
- I received my copy of the new DB wall calendar yesterday. I must say that I'm quite impressed with the quality. Thumbs up from me!
- Some of you had asked if I had any pictures from the wedding last month. We just got back the professional shots yesterday and I think most of them came out pretty well. I've scanned a few of them and posted them here.
- My latest project, "Introspection", is now up for your review on the new images page. I hope you like it. It took me a little longer than I had initially expected as I was using this image to learn some new software (called "G2"). I may do a little more tweaking on this one (and maybe a new render by the end of today), so if you have any comments feel free to send them to me.
- I have one other bit of news to share. I've wanted to do a calendar for a long time now. Thanks to Cafepress I finally can. The first ever DB wall calendar, 2003 edition, is available for ordering now if you're interested.
- My new project is rendering right now (taking a long time too) and I hope to have it up later today or early tomorrow at the latest.
- Some of you commented that the stars behind "Indra" were too faint to be seen so I've posted a minor update which should address the issue.
- I was sidelined by a case of the flu for most of last week and barely made it out of bed. I finally shook it off yesterday and I'm back at work on a new project. I hope to have it up by tomorrow or Tueday.
- Bula! Jessie and I got back late last night from our honeymoon in Fiji. We spent 7 days on the island of Tokoriki, on the western edge of the Fiji Islands. It was my first trip overseas and we had a incredible time. Fiji is a beautiful country and the people were some of the friendliest you will ever meet.
The only bad part was that someone stole my camcorder and my telephoto lens out of my suitcase after I checked my bags for the return flight. Always carry your valuable stuff with you onto the airplane!
Jessie and I snorkeled almost every day through the amazing coral reefs. I took some underwater photos and I hope to post some samples after they are developed. Expect to see some underwater/tropical 3D wallpapers in the near future!
I snapped quite a few digital photos and I've posted some of them for you to check out if you are interested. These were taken with my Nikon Coolpix 990 (w/Wide Angle Attachment). We should be getting our wedding photos back in the next week or so and I'll post a few of those too.
All in all it's been a wonderful month for the both of us. Now I'm going to take a few days, get myself together (and back on Pacific time!) and then start back to work on some new wallpapers. I don't think I'll have time to do any Halloween images this year (sorry) but I'll try to make my return worth the wait. Thanks to everyone for being so patient and for all the wonderful emails!
- Jessie and I were married Saturday, Oct. 12th, at Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside. Jessie's oldest brother, Father Peter, performed the ceremony (which, by all accounts that I've heard, was beautiful and moving). I nearly broke down and cried when I saw Jessica being led to the altar. She was so beautiful. I hope to have some pictures to show you in a couple of weeks (after the honeymoon).
The reception went by in a blur, but everyone told me that it was a fantastic party. It was great having my family around me again. We live too far apart and I miss them greatly. My Mom and Dad divorced when I was 2, but they seem to get along great now. I was really happy to see them hanging out together and having a good time.
I was a little nervous about meeting Jessie's family for the first time (as a future son-in-law). My fears turned out to be completely unfounded. Despite the language barriers (I don't speak Vietnamese) we got along just great. Given all of the hardships they've had to endure (escaping Vietnam in the late '70s and starting over with nothing in a strange new country) I wouldn't blame them for being bitter and mistrustful. However, I found them to be some of the kindest and warmest people I've ever met. I feel so honored to be part of their family.
I'll write more when we get back from our Honeymoon. Thanks everyone for sending such nice emails. Jessie and I will try to respond to as many of them as we can. I doubt I will be doing any Halloween imagery this year. I do have a small collection of pre-existing work, which you can access by using my search engine.
I hope to be back working on new wallpapers before the end of the month. Thanks everyone for being patient!
- I have one last bit of unfinished business to take care of before I break for my wedding (see 10/1 news post). I've added a night version of "Dome of the Blue Seeress" for those of you who requested it. I hope you like it!
- October is finally here. It's going to be a big month for me. Jessie and I (picture of us here) are finally going to be married on the 12th. We have a big church wedding planned out and we'll be hosting the reception at our house afterwards. Lots of family are flying in from all over the country. I'll be meeting some members of Jessie's family for the very first time (scary!). We leave for our honeymoon the week after the wedding.
Basically, I'm not going to have a lot of time to devote to making new wallpapers this month. Jessie really needs me to help out with the planning and to just be there for her (she's stressing out big time). I've decided that since I will be taking so much time off, that it would cool if I just added a month (31 days) to everyone's subscriptions. If you check the account status page you will see that I've already done so. New members will have the extra month added automatically at signup.
It's not totally out of the question that I might post another wallpaper or two this month, but don't bet on it. Actually, I've been feeling the need to take a breather for some time now. My creative batteries could use the recharge.
Wish us luck! Jessie and I have been together for six years now (living together for the past three) so I don't see how things will be that different after the wedding (save for the fact that we hope to have children fairly soon). I do know that I love her madly and I look forward to growing old with her by my side.
- I've added my latest render to the gallery today. It's called "Dome of the Blue Seeress" and you'll find it on the new images page. I've also posted a minor variation in the Pickle Jar. I hope you like it! If you have commments, send them my way.
- My newest project is coming along nicely. I think it should be up by Monday at the latest.
- Late Update: I've posted a third (slightly more radical) revision of "Morningshade". The earlier versions remain available in the Pickle Jar.
- I've posted a revised render of "Morningshade" on the new images page. The foreground flowers in the original were ill-defined and I think they look a little better this time around. There's one another option I want to try so don't be surprised to see another post later today.
- Just wanted you all to know that I'm still here and that I'm busy working on a new project. No ETA yet. I also wanted to let you all know that I've added "Karesansui" (the day version) to my poster collection.
- I have one last "Elevado" item before I move on. Someone asked that I do a night version so I put together something this afternoon and posted it in the PickleJar. I've also (finally) updated the New Images page so you can download the PNG versions directly.
- I've rendered a minor update to "Elevado" and posted it on the New Images page. Some of you wrote me asking if I could post a version without the guy standing on the cliff, so I've gone ahead and done that. You'll find it, along with the version I posted on 9/1, inside the PickleJar.
- I've added two more posters, "Neopolis" and "Spellcraft", to my Zazzle collection.
- My latest render is now up on the new images page. I call this one "Elevado" ("Elevated" en Espa�ol) and I hope you like it.
- Quite a few people have written asking if I was going to post a wallpaper commerating September 11, 2001. The answer is yes, and no. Those of you who have been visiting my gallery for a while might remember that September 11 is my birthday (I won't blame you if you've forgotten), and that I've always posted a new wallpaper on my birthday.
I'm going to try to have something new this year as well (I'll be 31), but I'm pretty sure it won't be related to last year's terrorist attacks. Those who desire such commemorative materials will not have far to look, I'm sure. Personally, I think it is time we move forward and I would rather work to that end.
- Thanks everyone for your many suggestions and comments. I've posted a new render of "Neopolis" on the new images page (with appropriate thumbnail image this time). The first render is still available in the Pickle Jar. Still interested in your ideas if you care to share them.
- After many days of tweaking and rendering, I think my new render is ready for you to see. It's called "Neopolis" and you'll find it on the new images page. There are still some things I would like to work on with this image, so I am open to suggestions.
- Just wanted to chime in an mention that I am working on a new wallpaper. This one is a little more detailed than usual and the modeling is very time consuming (lots of pieces). I going to try to have something to show you by early next week. Hopefully it will be worth the wait!
- As I mentioned in my notes fom 8/11, Jessie and I have been entertaining family over the past week. Sometimes I wish I lived closer to home, but then I remember those Illinois winters and I remember why I moved to San Diego in the first place. Still, don't be surprised if we move back there someday. Jessie and I are thinking about having a child or two and it would be a shame for them to grow up without the benefit of grandparents. Just a thought...
Anyway, the response to the version of Karesansui I posted last week was overwhelmingly postive. Thank you! I think I'll leave it as is, but don't be surprised if I do more Japanese gardens (wet and dry) in the future. The genre interests me a great deal and I think there's a lot of "wallpaper potential" to be explored.
I received a lot of requests for a night version, so I went ahead and created one. I went back and forth this morning over whether to add it to the gallery proper or just put it in the Pickle Jar. As you can see, I settled on the former. You'll find the Night Render on the new images page. I hope you like it. (Update 2:15 PM PST: the first version I posted was a little too dark so I've gone ahead and posted a new version with added moonlight. This morning's post is still in the Pickle Jar. Hope the new render works better for you all! ) On to something new now. I just learned that a 3.2 patch for World Builder has been posted. . .
- There are a couple of other items I would like to mention. I've added a Dual-Monitor version of "Atoll" to the Dual-Monitor gallery. I've also added a new poster, "Autumn Shrine", to the Zazzle collection.
- Added "Karesansui" ("dry garden") to the gallery this morning. I've only been working on it for a couple of days now and it will most likely be updated before I'm finished. If you have comments or suggestions I would love to hear them.
- Just wanted you all to know that I'm working on a new (single-monitor) wallpaper and I hope to have it up within the next couple of days.
- I've added a dual-monitor version of "Neuron" to the 2X gallery.
- Added a new abstract, entitled "Neuron", to the gallery today.
- A few of you have asked me how to get the Dual-Monitor images to fill both of your screens. I don't run a dual-head setup myself (yet) but I have heard that you need to set the image to "tile" in order for it to look right. Hope this helps!
- I've posted an updated verion of "Homeworld" on the new images page. The changes aren't too radical. I've added a few mountains in the distance and I've toned down the bright reflection off the distant Earth. I've also adjusted the Sun's angle so more of the Earth is lit up. Thursday's render is still available in the Pickle Jar.
- I've made a couple of changes to the gallery pages. First, you will now find a link to the appropriate PNG file (if available) next to each image. Only the images available at 1600 x 1200 have PNG files. In case you are wondering, the PNGs are in Zip files because not all browsers can load PNGs. Most newer browsers can handle them, but I think it alleviates much confusion by offering them as zips.
Second, I've given my dual-monitor wallpapers a page of their own. As you can see, I haven't done very many of these. I have added 3 new ones since yesterday (Homeworld, Dark Matter, and the old El Dios Del Fuego). If you have a favorite wallpaper that you think would work nicely as a dual-head screen, please drop me a line and let me know. I would like to do more of these.
- I added "Homeworld" to the gallery today. Technically this could be a considered an update of "Campfires 2002", because I used the same Earth model (you didn't think I was going to shelve it after one use did you?). It's also an update to "Far From Home", though I've chosen not to use the same title.
I have a lot of ideas for things I could add to this image. I know from experience, however, that no matter what I add there will be folks who will ask if they can have just a "simple version". That's why I'm posting this first. I hope you like it.
- Have a look at Phil Lesh's website. Yes, they have my permission to use the background. I think some of my old "Dead Head" friends from High School and College would probably get a kick out of this. What a long strange trip it's been!
- Reaction to yesterday's scaling back of the User Gallery has been, for the most part, sympathetic. I haven't deleted the all the UG data yet, in fact I still have all the submissions going back for the past couple of years. I'm just trying to decide what to do with it.
Some folks have suggested that I make the User Gallery members only. Unfortunately I don't think that would be right. I think it would be inappropriate for me to charge money for access to something which is freely available on the the Net. I don't think the artists who have submitted their work thus far would appreciate such a move, and I would rather offer my works exclusively in the members gallery. As I said before, I'm still trying to decide what to do with all of the extra submissions.
Now I think I am going to get back to work on some new wallpapers. I just received my copy of Ozone 3D 2.0 in the mail (still awaiting my registration code), and I bought an interesting SubSurface Scattering plugin over the weekend that I'm dying to learn.
- For a while today I had completely removed the User Gallery from my site.
Signups have been pretty slow for the past couple of months (due to a lot of pessimism regarding the economy and the state of the world I imagine) and I've been feeling pretty down about it. The User Gallery started out as a way to make a little extra money from banner ads and to draw some extra traffic. Then the bottom fell out the banner-ad market and I came to realize that my site will have to survive on signups or not at all.
Well, it's pretty hard to get people to sign up when there are 200 freebies available, updated every week. I decided the User Gallery had to go, so I took it down this afternoon.
After it was gone, though, I found that I missed it. I was always proud to be able to showcase undiscovered talent (like Greg Martin and Ferenc Haraszti). So after a few hours without it, I decided that the UG could stay but only after I pared it down to 40 images which rotate out as new ones are added. The top ten will stay until they are voted out. Hopefully this compromise will work for everyone.
- I did a little more color tweaking on my roses and came up with something I liked better. I hope you agree. You'll find the new version up on the new images page, and the original I posted yesterday can be found in Pickle Jar.
- Rather than tweak "Fissure" I decided to work on something new. As a result, this afternoon I've added another new wallpaper to the gallery. It's called "Hybrid" and hopefully it is an improvement on the rose making techniques used in "September Rose". Jessie had a lot of input on the colors so I have to give credit where credit is due. I'm still working on this one so stop back tomorrow if you are interested in the revision.
- I've put up a t-shirt design in my Cafepress store if anyone is interested.
- I took some time off last week to entertain my father and four brothers who had driven out from Illinois. It was my Dad's first real visit to California and I think everyone had a pretty good time. I know I did.
On Sunday, before they were set to drive off, my Dad asked to see how I worked. We gathered around my workstation and I fired up Lightwave. I whipped up some simple rock formations and he seemed fairly impressed. After they left I sat down, refined things somewhat, and ended up this morning with an image I actually liked. The result, entitled "Fissure", is now up on the new images page. It's still in the early stages, but I hope you like it.
Thanks everyone for your comments regarding image brightness. The majority of you confirmed what I think to be the best course of action: to keep making images like I always have. There's little hope of me perfectly matching brightness on everyone's monitor. Some people wisely suggested that one could download a graphics editor (I recommend the freeware Ifranview for the PC) and adjust the brightness, contrast, and/or gamma to fit one's particular screen. This is probably the only way to please everyone.
- I've added a newer version of "Macrocosm" (def.) to the gallery. Quite a few of you mentioned to me that the image seemed too dark. This new render isn't a whole lot brighter, but it is a little. Essentially, the asteroids in the foreground are supposed to be silhouetted by the galaxy in the background. I didn't want them to be brightly lit, but I did want some detail to be visible. The previous version, plus a "Galaxy-Only" version, are available in the Pickle Jar.
Dimly lit objects have been a problem ever since I started using this Trinitron. I had noticed right away that some of my older works looked horribly washed out on this monitor and there were details visible where I had intended there to only be shadow. Now the problem is reversed. I'm not sure how to solve this, given that I love to use darkness and shadows in my work.
What do you think? Should I "over-brighten" (to my eye) to compensate for darker monitors? Drop me a line if you have thoughts one way or another.
Anyway, I hope this one works better for you. I'll try to do something bright and cheery next time, OK?
- Last Sunday, after I posted "Denouement", I immediately started working on a new wallpaper. This one is still in the space genre, and it should be ready before the end of the week. I'm going to leave "Denouement" as is, but I've posted a few early versions for you to check out in the Pickle Jar.
- Added "Denouement" to the gallery today. I had thought about holding onto it until tomorrow, but then I decided it would be nice to have something new up for the folks who are returning to work after a long weekend. There are still some things I would like to tweak, but they can wait. Hope you like it!
- I hope you are all enjoying your (hopefully long) weekend. I just wanted everyone to know that I am working on something new and I hope to have it up by Monday.
- "Daybreak", my latest render, is now up on the new images page. Sorry this one took so long but, as I've mentioned before, World Builder (in it's current form) is not the easiest program to work with. In fact, this will probably be my last World Builder image until the fine folks at Digital Element come out with their new 3.2 update. Sorry for venting my frustration here. I hope you like the new wallpaper.
- My new image is taking forever to render. I'd hoped it would be ready to post this morning, but it's been going since 8:00 last night and at this rate it will probably be done sometime tomorrow.
One trick I've learned regarding World Builder is that it is far more stable if you render using only one processor. The upside is the render actually gets finished, the downside is it takes forever.
You can get an email notification when it gets posted by signing up for the mailing list.
- The response to "Newborn" has been so positive that I've decided against making any further changes. I'll let it stand as is. I started working on a new project a few days ago and I think it's coming along nicely. I'm using World Builder so the final rendering is proving to be somewhat tricky. The render will crash halfway through and I have to start over again. Regardless, I hope to have something up within the next couple of days.
- I received quite a few emails regarding my previous post. It would seem that most of you agree with me that quality matters more than quantity. The response was truly overwhelming. Thank you to everyone who has expressed support.
- As I mentioned last time, my next project was going to be of a scientific nature. The day I posted "Null" I got a letter from an astronomer at JPL. She informed me that she and some of her collegues were big fans of my artwork. It was truly a chest-puffing moment of pride for me. I imagine these guys must be pretty hard to impress.
Anyway, the nice lady was writing to ask if I did requests. Normally I'm happy to listen to all requests but I never promise anything. This one, however, really piqued my interest. She wanted to know if I could depict a very young star, not yet burning hydrogen. She explained it thusly: "One thing that is characteristic of all young stellar objects at this stage, as far as we can tell, is that they are not only accreting material, but they are blowing some of it back out in the form of jets that emerge along the axis of rotation.". She supplied a link to some Hubble photos taken of these young stars.
So, that is the story behind "Newborn", my latest addition to the gallery. There are still some things I would like to tweak in this image so don't be surprised if you see another version before the end of the week. Hope you like it!
- Happy Father's Day to you dads out there! Jessie and I just got back from spending the weekend at a "Catholic Engaged Encounter". It's a three day closed seminar designed to teach us all about how to have a successful marriage. It is also a prerequisite to having a wedding in a Catholic church (which is the only option for Jessie). I'm not Catholic but I found it to be an eye-opening and generally helpful experience. Now that it is over, I'm glad we went. I'm going to decompress tonight and then get busy working on my new render tomorrow.
This latest one is taking longer than usual for a number of different reasons. The most important being that it is a request from a scientist to depict an actual phenomenon. I want to it look as realistic as possible. Trust me. If I can put what's in my head onto the screen, you will like it.
This brings me to another point. Every time more than seven days pass between new renders I get a bunch of nasty emails from members complaining that they are not getting their money's worth. Looks like I need to clarify things.
This is not a "Wallpaper of the Week" club. The subscription works like this: your initial membership payment covers access to everything in my gallery for the amount of time you purchased (1 year, 90 days, or Lifetime). All of these images are available for preview on the free site so you cannot say you didn't know what you were getting. From time to time (at whatever interval is comfortable for me) I will post new images. I do this because I enjoy creating art, I want new people to sign up and I want you all to keep renewing your memberships (or else I don't eat). These new images, though, are available for free to existing members. I do not charge you extra for them.
If, when your expiration date rolls around, you decide that the new images I posted (and the frequency with which I posted them) were valuable to you then I ask that you renew your membership. This way you always know what you are paying for, and I am comfortable knowing that no one feels cheated. Capiche?
- I'd been working at having a new render ready to post by this morning but, as I am looking at it, it is just not ready yet. I'll keep working at it today but due to another obligation I won't be able to work on it over the weekend. If I don't get it posted by this afternoon then I hope to have it up early next week.
- I get between 50-100 submissions per week for the User Gallery. Of those, I usually post less than 10. Of those that I reject, it is a good bet that up to half of them are cheesy looking "Photoshop Swirls". It seems to be a genre all its own.
Anyway, I looked through my gallery to see if I had done any these in my early days. I didn't find anything (except for maybe this) so I decided to try my hand. I wanted mine to have a more multi-layered, 3D look (and not use any Photoshop filters).
The result is up now on the new images page. I couldn't think of a good name for it until Jessie suggested "Not Titled". From that I settled on "Null". Hope you like it. Comments welcome.
- Just wanted to chime in and say that my new project should be up before the end of the week.
- I've added two alternately colored versions of "Cobalt Daisy" (a "Fire Daisy" and an "Emerald Daisy") to the Pickle Jar.
- Added "Cobalt Daisy" to the gallery today. I created this one to test out the integration between the new Xfrog 3.5 and Lightwave (verdict: thumbs up!).
- Some of you have written asking if there was mailing list to notify you when I update the gallery. The answer is yes. Member Rus Foster has graciously set up a mailing list which will inform you within the hour when I post a new render in the members gallery. You can sign up at his web site.
- It took a little longer to render than I had anticipated (30 hours!) but the new version of "Atoll" is now up on the new images page. I've added some "under-greenery" to the Atoll itself, hopefully making the whole scene look a little more natural. I may tweak this a bit more (there are still some things I don't like) but the render might take a while. Hopefully you will find this version an improvement over the first.
- Thanks for all the great comments on "Atoll". I have a new version, with some improvements made to the background island, rendering now. It should be up either later this evening or tomorrow morning.
- I've added my latest render, entitled "Atoll", to the new images page. I may have another version of this to post before the week is out, so send me your comments if you have them.
- Hi folks. Just wanted to speak up and mention that my next render should be posted in a day or two. In the meantime I saw this picture and thought it cool enough to share with you all.
- I've posted a newly tweaked version of "Valley of the Sun". A lot of you thought the original was too "washed out" by the sun beams and I agree with you about that. There's a little more detail in the shadows this time, but hopefully it still retains the "hazy morning" look I was going for originally. I've put the original version in the Pickle Jar if you care to compare. I think you'll find the changes are subtle.
I used to enjoy working with World Builder, but lately it's become rather painful. I've become accustomed to a certain level of instability in 3D applications (going all the way back to Bryce 2), but World Builder is like Nitro Glycerine. I don't think I will be working with it much until the fine folks at Digital-Element (whom I respect a great deal) shore up the holes.
I'll be moving on now to something new.
- Thanks for being patient with me. I'm working on a new World Builder image and (barring any showstopping system crashes) it should be up sometime tomorrow.
- Hi folks. The past week has been pretty rough. My step-mother, Janna, passed away last Saturday after a year-long bout with melanoma. Jessie and I left Sunday for Illinois to attend the funeral and spend some time with my father. We returned to San Diego late last night.
No doubt some of you have tried to email me over the past week. Unfortunately someone, somewhere, thought it would be fun to send out a zillion Spams with a return address "@digitalblasphemy.com". My server was overwhelmed by the volume of bounced mail and my email server was down from Saturday afternoon until late Tuesday evening. Any email sent to me during that time bounced back or was lost. Spammers truly suck.
I had planned on starting a new project last weekend but instead I will try to get started tomorrow and work through the weekend. I can't say when I'll have a new wallpaper up, but until I do I thank you for your patience and understanding. My email is working again (I think) so please feel free to write if you have any questions.
- I'm working on a new way to integrate the Pickle Jar with the rest of the gallery. Images with alternate versions in the 2000, 2001, and 2002 galleries will now have a "Picklejar" link which will take you to another page with a thumbnail-listing of the alternates. Hopefully this will be a little more user-friendly than the old way of navigating the Jar.
There's still work to be done (the pre-1999 galleries, for example, are not represented in the Pickle Jar) and the formatting is still pretty rough. Have a look around and if you have any suggestions or feedback please feel free to drop me a line.
- I've added a new render of "Spellcraft" this afternoon. Some of you rightly noticed that the lighting was a little strange in the first version so I've tried to remedy that. Some of you also wished for a different camera angle, but I'm going to stick to my guns on that. The straight-on and level view just didn't have the same impact for me. Basically, enough of you seemed to like the first version that I didn't want to make any radical changes. Still, I'll probably post a few Pickle Jar versions before I move on.
- I hope you all had a great weekend. I spent most of mine working on a new wallpaper, entitled "Spellcraft", which is now up on the New Images page. It's not completely finished, but I think it's to the point where I would like to hear your thoughts. Hope you like it!
- Added "Scorched" to the gallery this morning, the result of me playing around with Vue d'Esprit for a couple of hours yesterday afternoon. Jessie saw the final render last night and said I should post it. It's nothing fancy, but I think it makes an interesting wallpaper.
- There were a few bad polygons in the version of "Amazed" that I posted yesterday, so I've posted a cleaned up version this morning. If you visited yesterday you'll also notice that I changed the title from "Amazing". They're both bad puns but I think the new title fits better.
- Added "Amazed" (forgive the pun) to the gallery today. This was just an experiment to learn how to create a convincing maze. I hope you like it. Next time I hope to create one of those fancy hedge mazes (like in "The Shining").
- Thanks everyone for the wonderful feedback regarding "Necropolis". I've taken some of your suggestions and I've posted a new, nighttime version up on the new images page. The earlier, daytime version will stay and they will each go into respective day/night scenery galleries.
- This one definitely took longer than I intended. It was partly due to computer flakiness (see yesterday's note), but you can also blame me obsessing over proper camera angles and atmosphere. Anyway, I've finally posted "Necropolis" on the new images page. There's an alternate version available inside the Pickle Jar. I don't think this image is quite done yet, and I would love to hear your thoughts about it (for example, which viewpoint to you prefer). At the very least I hope to not hear any complaints about it being too dark...
- I received some good news from my doctor yesterday. My diabetes appears to be in "complete remission" (his words). It looks like my changed diet and all the time I've spent in the gym has paid off. I feel so much healthier than I did a year ago.
He told me as long as I watch my diet, get plenty of exercise, and check my blood sugar once a week, I shouldn't have to worry. Sounds good to me. Thanks to everyone who expressed concern for my condition. As I said before, I'm going to be just fine.
- I'd planned on posting my new wallpaper this morning, but unfortunately I woke up to find that my computer had frozen overnight while rendering. I've restarted the render but it will take around 5 or 6 hours to complete. I should have it up this afternoon (fingers crossed!).
- I should have a new render ready to post sometime towards this end of this week. This one is going to take a little more time due to the amount of modeling required. I won't divulge the theme now, besides to say that it has been oft requested. Stay tuned!
- I've added one last render of "Campfires" to the PickleJar, depicting the Earth and Moon.
- I've posted two brief animations based on the new "Campfires". You can find them both in the PickleJar.
- I've posted an updated render of "Campfires" on the new images page. The first version was done in Bryce using some low-res maps. That image looks terrible on my bright monitor. The second version was done using Lightwave, but I used procedurals instead of Earth maps so the planet looked rather alien. I think the latest render is truer to what I was aiming for in the original.
My newest version uses hi-res maps from NASA and a few new Lightwave tricks that I've learned since last time. I may use this model to re-do "F=MA" sometime in the future (and try some other ideas), but for now I hope you'll enjoy this more peaceful view.
I've uploaded two extra versions in the PickleJar. One features Europe and Africa and the other depicts Asia and Australia.
- My newest render, entitled "Ovum" is now up on the new images page. Having used my artwork to explore outer space and the world around us, now I wish to turn inward. I think there is an incredible, alien, beauty to be found in the microscopic world (though I'm not sure "beauty" is the right word to describe "Ovum"). I hope to explore further as the year goes on. Anyway, I hope you like this latest render (Jessie gave it neither a "Ooooh" nor a "Mmmmmm", but a "Whoa!"). If you have comments or suggestions please send them in.
- People have been asking me to offer lifetime memberships since I first started the members gallery back in '99. For some reason I've always held off, until now. If you are interested, you can now purchase a lifetime subscription (login may be required) to my gallery. Your account will simply never expire. Pricing starts at $99, but you are free to give as much as you like if have the means and really enjoy my work.
This option is only available to active members right now, but if it proves popular I'll open it up to non-members as well. The year-by-year renewal option has not changed. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns please send them along.
I'm sure the main question people will have will be "How long do you plan on making art?". I can only say that I love what I do and I wouldn't trade this job for any other. I plan on doing this for many many years to come. If you are looking for the most economical way to remain a member, the lifetime plan is for you. Otherwise you are free to stay on the year-to-year plan.
Whatever you decide to do, know that Jessie and I appreciate your support and that this site wouldn't be here without you. Thanks!
- The original (darker) version of "Rite of Spring" is available in the Picklejar, as requested. I should have an updated version of this ready in a day or so (as soon as my ultra hi-res cloud background is finished rendering), and the next version will most likely be somewhere between the two Picklejar variants in terms of brightness.
- I've posted a brighter version of "Rite of Spring". Hopefully this one will work better on your monitor.
- My latest render, "Rite of Spring", is up. I may have one or two tweaks left to make before I'm finished with this one, but first I wanted to hear some of your opinions.
- Hi folks. Here's the scoop. My brother Eric came out to visit from Ohio last Wednesday and just left this morning. It's been a few years since we hung out so it was nice to spend some time with him.
Jessie and I have been showing him the sights in South California so I haven't had much time to work on new wallpapers (or do much of anything else). I did manage to get something new started over the weekend but it will be at least a couple of days before I have anything to post.
I won't say exactly what the new image will be, but I will say that it is not another abstract.
- I've added a new abstract to the gallery today. It's called "Organelle" and you can find it on the new images page. As you can tell, I love working with Xfrog.
- Opinions were pretty much split down the middle over which verison of "The Gardener" should be used. Most people did agree that the brighter version in the Picklejar was a little too bright. I've gone ahead and posted one last render, a little bit brighter than the original but not as bright as the second version. This one will stay in the gallery and the others can be checked out from the Picklejar.
- Most of the comments on my new "Gardener" render have been positive. Some people, however, have commented that the new version is too dark. This is partly by design and (I think) partly due to my monitor. I wanted this image to be darker than the old one, and I wanted the Gardener to show up more as a silhouette in this version. I wanted it to be dark but not too dark, and this is where my monitor plays into the equation.
My new monitor (Trinitron circa late 2000) is quite a bit brighter than my old one. I can tell by looking at my older renders and seeing details where there had been only shadows before. An image that is borderline dark on my monitor will most likely look too dark on another screen.
So, even while I prefer the version that I posted on Wednesday, I recognize that it might be too dark for some of you. Therefore I've gone ahead and posted a brighter version in the PickleJar. Does this look better to you? Which one do you think I should keep to display in the permanent gallery? Drop me a line if you have strong opinions one way or the other.
- As mentioned in my previous post, I've been reworking one of my old (lost) favorites and I think it's to a point now where I can share it with the rest of you. You'll find the 2002 update of "The Gardener" on the new images page. I used Lightwave instead of World Builder to compose and render this version and I hope it meets with your approval. I'd be interested to know how you think it compares with the original.
- I just wanted to check in an let you all know that my latest wallpaper is coming along nicely and should be up an a day or so. I'm reworking one of my old favorites which was lost during the "Great Harddrive Crash of 2000".
- My latest render, entitled "The Rook", is now up for your review on the the new images page. Consider this one a warm up for some more interesting structural renders down the road. I wanted to see how well World Builder 3 handled my imported Lightwave objects. Don't be surprised if I post another version of this in a day or two.
- I've posted an updated version of "Titan Blue", adding a little more detail to the layers on the background planet. The earlier version is still available in the Picklejar. Now onward.
- Initial feedback has been mostly postive on "Titan Blue", but a lot of you seemed to think the ice was a little too bright and washed out. Fair enough, I've posted an updated render with the highlights toned down a little. The change is a subtle one, so I don't think it's worth keeping the old version in the Picklejar.
- Added a new wallpaper the gallery tonight. "Titan Blue" is available on the new images page. I don't think this one is quite finished yet so I'd love to hear your thoughts.
- Some of you have written asking why there is no picture of Jessie and myself anywhere on the site. Ok. I've posted a small one of the both of us on my Bio page (towards the bottom).
- Thanks to everyone who wished Jessie a happy birthday. I think it helps her to know that there are real people on the other end of my work. She has a lot of emails to go through, but she's told me that she will reply to every one. Yesterday we went to Disneyland and had a great time.
When I wasn't helping Jessie celebrate her big day, I was working on a new wallpaper which I have just posted. It's called "Hallowgrove" and you'll find it on the new images page. I'm sure some of you were wondering if I was only going to do glowing "blobs" from now on. Fear not. I like to do abstracts from time to time. Hope you like this latest render!
- After I've worked on a project for a while, I'll come to a point where I wonder to myself if it's ready to post. The test is pretty simple. I show it to Jessie and if she goes "Ooooo!" then I'll post it. If she goes "Mmmmmm", then I go back to the drawing board. She's my editor, my best friend, and the love of my life.
Today is her birthday and I just wanted you all to know what she means to me. You probably wouldn't be reading this right now if it weren't for her.
If any of you want to say "Happy Birthday" you do so here. Thanks!
- Most of the feedback on "Issuance" was positive, but not all. One nice lady scolded me for posting a picture of "glowing spaghetti". Still, I enjoyed making my luminous pasta so I decided to stay with the genre for my next render. It's up now on the new images page and it's called "Something Blue". I hope you like it!
- I've added a "double-wide" render of "Issuance" to the Picklejar. Sometime soon I plan on adapting more of my work to dual-monitor format. Some are better suited for conversion than others, so I won't be able to do them all. Specifically, works where the "main element" is centered (like "Something Blue") do not work well. If you have some favorites that you think would work well split across two monitors, please drop me a line.
- Thanks for the feedback. It didn't take me long to figure out that "Court" was a little too dark and shadowy, so I kicked up the lighting a little and rendered it again. You'll find it on the new images page, with the yesterday's render now residing in the Picklejar.
- I've added a new render of "Sunflower". The first render is still available in the Picklejar if you want to compare.
- Did I say it would take a couple of days? Make that three. I still want to do another render or two, but I'd like to get a little feedback first. With that in mind I present my latest render, entitled "Sunflower". I'm sure it's not entirely scientifically correct, but given the title of my gallery you cannot expect everything to perfectly mirror reality. Like I said, comments appreciated.
- While back home for the holidays my family and I had lunch at a local Vietnamese restaurant. My step-dad snapped a picture of us at our table and I've posted it for you. From left to right are my mother, my big brother Eric, Jessie, and myself. No reason for posting this other than to share with you a bit of the wonderful time I had back home.
- Just wanted to let you know that I am working on something new. I took a couple of days off after posting "Caverline" so I could spend time with my friend visiting from home.
The new wallpaper is quite unlike anything I've done before and I want to make sure it looks right before I post it. It should be up within the next couple of days.
If you are anxious to look at something new(-ish), I've posted two Picklejar versions of "Iris Nebula" for you to check out.
- I hope everyone had a safe and happy New Years celebration. May this coming year be far more peaceful than the one left behind. My friend is still visiting, but I have managed to put together a little something to show you. I call it "Caverline" and you'll find it on the new images page. If you have comments, send them over. Hope you like it!
- I've been getting a flood of email regarding my last post (see below). The overwhelming response is that I should leave the site design as it is. That's fine with me (leaves me more time to work on wallpapers). I have gotten some good ideas for little things to tweak though. I'll try to get to them before I write my next New Year's update ;-)
- Jessie and I returned last evening from visiting my family in Illinois (got plane tickets at the last minute). It had been over two years since I had been back and it was really wonderful to see my family again. Big thanks to my Dad for letting us stay with him! I finally showed him how to log into the members gallery and he promised to check in every so often. It was definitely one of the best holidays in recent memory.
My holiday isn't quite over yet though. My best friend Chad is coming to stay with us for a few days starting tomorrow. The visit was originally supposed to be next week, but we had to move it up a little. This means I probably won't get to make the New Years image that I had been planning on. I'll be working today and tomorrow but I probably won't get back in front of the computer until after the 3rd. After that I will be full steam ahead on making new wallpapers. This break will definitely do me good.
I did a New Years image a few years back. It's called "First and Last Dance" and you will find it here.
- I've been hearing rumblings from some of you that DB could use a redesign. Personally, I like the spartan look. It loads pretty quick and it's easy for me to update. I would certainly like to hear your thoughts. Is the site hard to navigate? Are there features you would like added? Please drop me a line if you have an opinion you would like to share.
- I've added one last holiday render for the year. "Peppermint" is now available from the new images page. I hope you like it.
Now I think I'm going to take a little break from rendering, though I do hope to have one last render up before the year is out (possibly with a "new years" theme) so check back or sign up for the mailing list.
Jessie and I want to wish you all a safe and happy holiday. Here is a link to a little Christmas poem I wrote a couple of years ago. It's sappy, but I'm comfortable with that ;-)
- It's 4:00 AM and Jessie and I just got back from the midnight showing of Lord of the Rings. This one is definitely going in my all-time top three movies, right up there with Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark (better in some ways). "Epic" is too small a word. Whether you've read the book or not, go see this movie as soon as you can!
- I'm working on one last render before I take a break for the Holidays. Look for it before the end of the week.
- Added "Winterborn" today. It's sort of a holiday wallpaper, but not completely seasonal. I created over 20 different "snowflakes" using the Xfrog software, but unfortunately you can only really see one of them here. Perhaps in the future I will create some other renders featuring the out-of-focus flakes. Either way, I hope you enjoy this render.
- I added "Iris Nebula" to the gallery today; taking a little break from the holiday themes. I will try to do at least one more holiday wallpaper, given all the wonderful ideas that people have been mailing me.
- I've gotten many wonderful emails today with plenty of excellent suggestions for Holiday wallpapers. Thank you and please keep them coming. I took some your advice and made a couple of last tweaks to "Ornament". The latest render is up on the New Images page. I really am going to move onto something else now.
- Added "Ornament" to the gallery today. For the past few days I've been tweaking it and changing little things, trying to get a look that I liked. I still don't think I've succeeded. Finally this afternoon Jessie told me that I needed to post it and move onto something else. She's right, so here it is.
I have to be honest with you folks. Ever since we moved out to California (back in '99) it has been very difficult for me to get into the "Christmas Spirit". I guess I need the changing seasons and my family around me. We had been planning on going back to the midwest for the holidays, but with airline tickets to my hometown (Bloomington, IL) selling for over $800 it doesn't look like we'll be making the trip this year. Humbug!
Still, I won't let any of this stop me from making festive images for your desktop. People have been requesting little else. I'd appreciate your help though. If any of you have any ideas for Holiday wallpapers, I would love to hear them.
- A week or two ago I was contacted by a subscriber asking permission to host a mailing list which would inform everyone when I posted a new image in the Members Gallery. I've been meaning to do something like this myself, but I just never found the time. Anyway, the list is up and it seems to be working just fine. Mailings are short, ad-free, and you need not log in to remove yourself from the list. Here's the link if you are interested. Thanks Rus!
- I'm putting the finishing touches on my first Holiday wallpaper of the season. It should be up either later today or tomorrow.
- Happy Thanksgiving! Jessie and I are hosting our first Thanksgiving dinner this year and I'm trying to stay out of her way. Though I am far away from my family this year, I do have much to be thankful for. Jessie and I wish you have a safe and happy holiday!
- I've posted a new wallpaper today, "The Sleeping Forest". This was my first real experience working with the new version of World Builder (the software I used for "Song of the Sky", "Glenwood" and "Sunset Fog"). There are some really cool new features in World Builder 3, but there's an equal (or greater) number of bugs.
Bugs notwithstanding, I probably kept this one back longer than I should have, thinking that if I just "worked on it some more tomorrow" then something excellent would happen. Now I think it's time to move on to something else. I hope you enjoy this latest work.
- Some of you have written asking where to purchase the CD-ROM. I've temporarily removed the link to the CD-ROM shopping cart, as I am in the process of creating an updated version of the disc (with all my work up to "The Sleeping Forest"). I didn't want anyone to buy the old disc if the new one was so close to coming out. Sorry for any confusion. I'll make a post here when the new disc is available.
- Ok. This picture has taken way longer than I had originally intended. The render is finishing right now and I'm going to post it this afternoon.
- I've been working on something new for the past four days now. I'm working with the new World Builder Version 3. Sorry to say that things are going pretty slow. There are some cool new features in Version 3 but there's also a lot of new bugs. I should have something to show you in the next day or two.
- Hi folks. I just wanted to mention that I am working on a new wallpaper and it should be up soon. In the meantime, please check out this wonderful collection of aurora photos. I really have to travel to Finland sometime.
- Sorry for being so mysterious in my last update. I had an appointment with the doctor today and I wanted confirmation before I said anything. Today I got the confirmation.
I've been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. There is no cure. I've probably had it for the past 6 months, but am only now finding out about it thanks to Jessie forcing me to get a physical last week. The condition isn't immediately life threatening, but if I don't control my blood sugar all kinds of bad stuff could happen to me (like going blind or having my feet amputated).
So I've basically been trying to change my life over the past week. I'm trying to exercise more, sleep at regular hours, and eat a proper diet. The doctor also told me last week that my blood pressure and cholesterol were both too high. I'm proud to report that after only a week they are back to normal levels.
A year ago I was a real mess. I've always had bad eating habits, but the past couple of years I'd really let myself go. I was probably 80 pounds overweight and was getting very little exercise. Luckily, Jessie stuck with me and was able to turn me around. It was too late, however, to prevent my current condition. If any of this sounds like you then I recommend you get yourself checked ASAP.
My doctor has told me that if I can keep eating the right foods, get plenty of exercise, and drop another 10 or 15 pounds, then I probably won't have to take any pills or insulin shots. This is good news to me.
How will all this affect DB and the members gallery? Well, in the short term I ask for a little more patience. Sitting at the computer for extended periods of time is not what my body needs right now. I am not going to quit making wallpapers. This is what I love to do. I'm just going to have to find a way to do it and still remain active.
- Added a second, less hirsute version of "Webmaster" (there's still some fuzz on this new one if you look close). The first render is available in the Picklejar. I'm going to continue tweaking this over the weekend, so please send over your comments if you have something to say.
- I've posted an updated version of "The Summoning", correcting some of the issues present in the first version. Thanks to everyone who sent in comments! The old version is till available in the PickleJar along with a red and a green version of the current render.
- October is an auspicious month for me. I've been off of cigarettes for one year now and I'm pretty sure I've kicked the habit for good. Many thanks to those who wrote me with support over this past year!
- Those of you who were members last year will recall that I lost a whole hard drive full of Lightwave files. The hard disk was physically damaged so nothing could be salvaged. Lesson learned: always back up your stuff.
I lost some of my favorite scenes; including Threesome, Phaeralon, Spire City, and Pyre. Now that I'm offering posters I want to recreate some of those lost scenes in hi-res format. Instead of trying to duplicate them exactly, I'd rather redo them creatively.
My first offering is now up on the New Images page. It's called "The Summoning" and it is meant to replace "Pyre". If you have comparison thoughts, I would love to hear them.
- It's been very difficult to work this past week. I've spent way too much time watching CNN. It was really hard getting started on a new project. The images in my head were not suitable for public display.
It wasn't until yesterday that I was able to turn off the news, sit at my computer and create. The result, "Autumn Shrine", is now up on the new images page. I hope you enjoy it.
- All day long the requests have been pouring in: "I need an American Flag for my desktop!". Normally I try to run DB as a "global" website, but for now I want to take care of my countrymen (and myself). I added "The Emblem Of" to the both the members and the free gallery tonight.
- What an awful, horrible day. I woke up this morning all set to celebrate my 30th birthday and post this picture that I've been working on but all that seems so insignificant now. I decided to post the picture, just in case some of you have stopped by searching for a spot of beauty on this dark day. I hope all of you and your loved ones are safe.
- My "final" render of "Rift Canyon" is now up on the new images page. The previous version is available in the Picklejar. Now I'm going to start work on some new projects, including a little something for Halloween.
- I've added an extra version of Rift Canyon to the Picklejar. From the feedback I've gotten, it seems like one I posted was the best choice. At least now you can have a basis for comparison.
- At long last I have a new wallpaper to show you. I really liked "Starbirth" and I knew the follow up wasn't going to be easy. I started a lot of different projects but none of them really grabbed me until Sunday night when I sat down for a few hours with Vue d'Esprit (sorry Alex and Igor). By Monday I had a render I was happy with. That render, entitled "Rift Canyon", up now on the new images page.
Essentially, it's a simple landscape. I held onto it for a few days to see if I could add something more, but Jessie sneered at all my additions. "I like the open landscape", she said. Ultimately, that is the version I posted. Your comments are welcome.
- I've added some "Picklejar" versions of Starbirth. They are numbered from 1 to 4, chronologically. Each are interesting renders by themselves and would make decent wallpapers. In fact, I was tempted to post the image at each incarnation. I waited a day, worked on it some more, and the result is the image I posted on Wednesday.
I've also made a "double-wide" render (3200 x 1200) for those of you who use two monitors. You'll find it in my tiny "2X" folder in the picklejar. I don't have a dual-monitor system myself, so I can't really test this out. If anyone wants to send me a photo of their setup, I'd appreciate it. I only ask that you wait until Tuesday to send them, since that is when my DSL is scheduled to be turned on (fingers crossed).
- Jessie and I drove up to L.A. on Thursday to catch the last day of exhibitions at SIGGRAPH. We sat through some demos of Lightwave 7, and from what I saw I'm glad I purchased the upgrade. It should be arriving sometime next week. I saw a lot of software that I wanted to buy (Maya...).
The highlight of the day for me was meeting Alex and Igor, the programmers behind World Builder. Alex scolded me for using too much Vue d'Esprit lately and I promised to get back to learning the new version of World Builder. I was deeply flattered when he told me that I had "mastered" the software. Quite a compliment, I thought, coming from the guy who designed the software.
All in all we had a great time (except for the traffic in L.A.). Thanks to the folks at Right Hemisphere for sending me a free pass to the exhibits. I just recently downloaded their Lightwave plugin for Deep Paint 3D and I'm looking forward to learning it.
- Did you see the Persied Meteors last weekend? I saw some Friday Night and Saturday morning. I stayed up to watch them peak Sunday morning, but the marine layer rolled in around midnight and wiped out the view. I saw a few more on Sunday night.
I've been out looking at the stars a lot lately. I just bought a telescope and I've been having a lot of fun checking out the moon and the planets. I tried looking at the Orion nebula, but it certainly didn't look like the pictures I've seen. It just looked like a bluish fuzzy spot in the sky.
I was a little bit disappointed. Perhaps the moon was interfering with my view? I went up to my computer and set about making my own nebula.
The result, "Starbirth" is now up for your review. I've only been working on it for a couple of days now, and I might have more to add. Any feedback you might have would be helpful.
- I was going to put this one in the Pickle Jar, but Jessie saw it, liked it, and told me I should put it in the gallery. I was a little hesitant, but she's usually right about these things. Anyway, I've added "Tropical Moon of Thetis" to the gallery. As you can guess from the title, it is a melding of "Tropical Moon" and "Thetis". It's on the New Images page and I hope you like it. I'm going to move onto something different now.
- I recently did an interview for Jerry Compansano over at Digital Artworks. It's up now if you are interested.
- Just added "Thetis" to the gallery. I'd been working on a World Builder landscape but a few days ago I decided it wasn't going where I wanted it to. I shifted gears and took another path.
I still haven't decided if I'm going to leave this one alone or add more elements. I like how the planet looks by itself on my desktop, which is why I'm posting it today. If you have any feedback, don't hesitate to send it over.
- The people over at Zazzle offered me a free poster and I picked "Haiku". It arrived yesterday in the mail and I have to say that I'm very impressed. I'm having it framed and it should be up on in my house before the weekend. This was the first time I've ever gotten a print in the mail that hadn't been wrinkled or otherwise damaged. They do great work.
- Sorry this took me so long. I guess I wanted to take a few days off after the move. Hope you don't mind too much, given that I've worked just about every day for the past three years.
Anyway, I have been working on a new wallpaper for the past few days and I think it's ready for your comments. I call it "Earthen" and you can find it on the New Images page. I hope you like it!
I'm going to try to get things back to normal around here now. I still don't have my broadband connection (waiting for the installation), but that might actually help me concentrate more on artwork and less on email. We'll see.
Either way, sorry about the lack of updates for the past couple of weeks. Two weeks between updates is too long for me and I'll try not to let it happen again!
- Hi! How are you? My email inbox has been jammed up for the past few days with these annoying "SirCam" emails. I've gotten hundreds of them (but I was never infected). It wouldn't have been that big a deal if I still had broadband access, but it has made it all but impossible to get my email over my standby AOL dialup account (28.8). I expect my broadband access to arrive either next week or the week after that (fingers crossed).
I think I have the email problem straightened out now. I found a cool little app which will let me delete the crap from my server before downloading. I'll try to get to my back log today and tomorrow.
Just so you know, we finished moving last Friday and have been unpacking ever since. I haven't had the chance to start any new wallpapers because my computer was only set up today. I could have set it up earlier, but I think my brain needs a few days to recover from all of this. I'll get started on some new artwork soon though, I promise!
- I took some time out from packing yesterday and did a little work with Vue 4. I've posted my little project up on the New Images page. Hopefully I'll be done with all this moving stuff soon and I can get back on track. Thanks for your patience!
- I think I should clarify something about the posters that are now available. They are not the same prints as I have been showing in the Picklejar. The files I gave to my printer (shown in the Picklejar) were 8000 x 6000 and 10800 x 8100 TIFs. The files I gave to Zazzle were 4000 x 3000 and they were JPGs (albeit with very low compression).
I'm still working on offering the higher quality, frameable prints. I'll be able to focus more time on that after I'm situated in my new home. I hope to have them available before Fall.
I'm not trying to put down the Zazzle prints. They look great, are inexpensive, and they've worked out a way to get them safely to your door. If you are looking for the best quality I have, though, I recommend you wait until later this year. Hopefully they can tell me which images are most popular, so I don't have to buy a bunch of prints that nobody wants.
I should have mentioned this last night. I apologize for any confusion!
- Hi folks. A couple of things to accounce. I won't have a new upload for at least the next few days. I've had to take some personal time this past week and I haven't been able to get any real work done. I have the next couple of days to work on artwork so I'll try and get some stuff done before I have to start packing this weekend. I have to be out of my apartment by the 19th. I'll be spending most of next week packing up and moving.
I finally closed on my new house today. I'm off to pick up the keys momentarily. We're so psyched to be moving! The only bad thing from all of this is that I will have to give up my cable modem. Apparently Cox doesn't run cable out to where I live. I may have to investigate some sort of satillite option.
My other announcement is that I finally have posters available for sale. I've put nine images up on Zazzle.com and if people like them I'll add more.
Zazzle seems to have been doing this for a while and it looks like they have figured out how to ship prints without damaging them. Please leave comments if you have any, or feel free to send them to me.
- Added "Ferrous" to the gallery today. Also, those of you looking for fireworks pictures should click here.
- I'm still playing around with Vue d'Esprit 4. My latest render is now up on the new images page. I call it "Cherry Garden" and I hope you like it. I've provided a "focussed" version in the PickleJar. If you have comments please send them my way.
- I never knew so much was involved in buying a house. Thank you to all the homeowners who sent me their advice! My loan agent informs me that we should close on the house sometime next week and we'll start moving after immediately after that. I can't wait to be out of this apartment!
- Last week I purchased a copy of Vue d'Esprit 4. For those of you not familiar with it, I used Vue d'Esprit 2 to create "Tropic of Capricorn".
The software arrived yesterday and I got to spend a few hours exploring the new features. It's a great program and I always recommend it to everyone who asks me "what software should I use?".
Anyway, I made a few test renders. Jessie really liked one of them and she told me I should post it. OK. It's called "Saguaro 2001" and you'll find it on the new images page. The old "Saguaro" image is viewable in the 1998 gallery. I hope you like it!
- I added an updated version of "Stormfront" to the gallery. I used World Builder this time, whereas the old version was done using Bryce. Back when I lived in Iowa, one of my favorite things was to go out in the country and watch storms roll in. I re-did this image mostly out of nostalgia, as I haven't seen a single decent thunderstorm since I moved to California. Let me know what you think.
- First things first. I've posted a new wallpaper for you to check out. It's called "Scarlet" and you'll find it on the New Images page. I hope you like it!
- Jessie and I are finally moving out of our dinky apartment. We've been talking about it almost since we moved in 2 years ago. I've always said: "just let me do one more picture..." but that isn't going to work any more. Besides, we're both really tired of this place. I'm tired of looking out my office window at a featureless wall (really!). We're both sick of the upstairs neighbors and their stereo. The list goes on and on.
A couple of weeks ago we found our house. We made an offer, the owner accepted, and if all goes well we should be moving by the end of this month. The house is in a really quiet area and there is enough space so I might actually get some work done when Jessie is at home. There's even a couple of extra rooms in case the stork pays us a visit :-)
We're both really excited. If any of you have any good "new homeowner advice", please feel free to send it my way. I'll keep you posted on the move!
- Print Update: As I mentioned last time, my first shipment of test prints were somewhat damaged during shipping. My printer took it upon himself to do up another set of prints and send them out to me. These arrived last week in pretty decent shape (good enough that I'm getting one of them framed right now) but they were still not in good enough shape that I would feel comfortable selling them. The prints themselves look incredible, or at least that's what this nice lady told me at the frame store :-) I've posted some new pictures of them if you'd like to have a look (DVD case added for scale).
I heard that rolling up the prints damages them (by warping the paper) so I guess this means the prints will have to be shipped flat, and secured within some kind of strong material which will withstand the shipping process.
Anyway, I'll start selling the fine art prints as soon as I discover the best way to ship them. If you like my work then I guarantee you will love these prints. I'm pretty sure they'll be available before the end of the summer, just in time to help me buy some furniture...
- I've added a new wallpaper to the gallery today. "Smidgeons" is up on the new images page and I'll be adding it to the "Abstracts" gallery shortly. I used Xfrog to model the smidgeons and I you'll probably see more funky objects like this as I continue to learn how to use the software. Please email me with any comments you may have.
I'm still working on making posters available. I hope to market two versions of each image. One version will be a poster (suitable for tacking up on your wall), the other will be a print (suitable for framing). I've found a good printer to make the prints, now I'm looking for someone to make the posters.
- Yes folks, I am still smoke-free. I haven't had a cigarette since late October. My lungs have never felt better. Instead of smoking at my desk, now I drink ice water.
- I still haven't come up with a snappy title for "Temple Stairs", but I do have a nighttime version available for you to download. You'll find it on the new images page and in the Pickle Jar. If no one has any objections I think I will move on now to something new.
- I've added an updated render of "Temple Stairs" (note to self: think up snappier title). Some of you mentioned that the area around the stairs was too dark so I've brightened that a bit. You can now easily see the man climbing the stairs.
Some of you have requested a version without the man climbing the stairs. I can understand that. I added him to give the scene a sense of scale, but I think the size of the stairs can also fulfill this purpose. I'm rendering a version without the figure so you can have your pick, it should be up late tonight or early tomorrow.
If you have strong feelings one way or another about the stair climber, drop me a line and let me know. Help me decide which image goes in the gallery, and which will live in the Pickle Jar.
- The version I mentioned above (without the man) is now up on the New Images page.
- Well, it took a lot longer to render than I had anticipated (37 hours!). I still have some work to do on it, but while I do that I hope you enjoy the first draft that I've posted on the New Images page. The title, "Temple Stairs", is tentative. Let me know what you think so far.
- Hi folks. I just wanted to chime in here and let you know that I am working on something new. I should have something to post either later today or tomorrow.
- Happy Easter everyone. I've been busy working on a new wallpaper and I think it's time to get some feedback. I've posted "Harbinger" on the new images page and a second version in the Picklejar. I have some more ideas for improving this image but I'd like to hear what you think first.
- I've added a flythru animation of "Gotham Garden" to the downloads page. MPG and DivX versions are available.
- I was having so much fun playing with Lightnet that I almost forgot to make a wallpaper for you guys. Almost. My latest upload, "Gotham Garden" combines elements from two of my recent projects: "Gotham 2001" and "Arboretum". I think the result stands on its own and I welcome your comments. I've included an alternate render (before I removed the "big tree") inside the picklejar.
- The animated verison of "White Magic" took a little longer than I anticipated. For some strange, inexplicable reason it kept crashing on one frame. No matter what I tried, the bad frame (#90) simply would not render.
So I only have frames 1-89 of my 120 frame animation. I guess that will have to be enough for now. I've posted it here ([an error occurred while processing this directive] zipped MPG).
I've also posted an animated version of "Sunset Fog" ([an error occurred while processing this directive] zipped MPG). I'd rendered it a back in January but forgotten about it until now. Sorry about that.
I hope you enjoy them. It's likely you'll be seeing more animations from now on, due to the fact that Lightnet has finally been updated for Lightwave 6.5. Now I can use all six of my processors (three workstations and my laptop) to render frames. Stay tuned!
- Added "White Magic" to the gallery today. I haven't used my "Genesis" software since I created "Pyre" last year. This time I wanted to see how it acted with Lightwave's new built-in particle systems. It works just fine (IMO). I hope to have an animated version up for you shortly. If you have any comments, feel free to send them my way.
- I added "Anemones" to the gallery today, continuing my fascination with glowing underwater softbodied creatures. I'm not trying to depict any particular species here, just something out of my head. There are three alternate renders available in the Pickle Jar.
- I've posted a second update to Gotham 2001. I've changed the viewpoint and I've added some radiosity effects. As always, the original render is still available inside the Picklejar.
- Added "Gotham 2001" to the gallery today. I still have a few things I want to do to this one, but I thought now was a good time to post it and get some feedback. This one is more of a literal update of the first "Gotham" than the 1999 version. In the first version I used a single Bryce terrain to create all of the "buildings". In the second (1999) version I modeled the structures in Lightwave and rendered in Bryce. This latest version is all Lightwave, but I've tried to retain some of the vertigo of the first version.
- My new render "Forest Citadel" is now up in the gallery. Most of the development time on this one was spent trying to figure out (once and for all) how get a textured model from Lightwave into World Builder. I think I finally have it figured out so you should be seeing more interesting objects in my World Builder renders from now on. If you are interested in the process, or just want to comment on this latest render, please drop me a line.
- Hi folks. Yes, I am working on something new. I expect it will be looking good today or tomorrow and it will be up in the gallery immediately thereafter. Thanks for your patience!
- I just added "Nova", a companion piece to "Protostar", to the gallery. Yes, more "Cosmos" influence here. I hope you like it.
- Hi folks. Not much new to report on the image front. I've been out of town since last Thursday but I'm back now and ready to get to work. My best friend from back home came out with his family to attend a wedding in Napa Valley. Jessie and I flew up from San Diego to hang out with them (since it's been over a year). We're back now and we had a wonderful time (more on that in a moment).
Since I've been gone I haven't had any time to work on new wallpapers. Last week when I uploaded a second Vue d'Esprit render which I did not list on the new images page. It's probably new to most of you. That will have to do for now, until I get back into the swing of things. It's called "Estuary" and you can view it on the new images page.
- My last bit of news is of a personal nature. Jessie and I met back in 1996, before I had even conceived of starting this web site. I can barely remember life without her. On Saturday night, on the 46th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in downtown San Francisco, I (finally) asked her to marry me and she said yes. I can truly say that I am the luckiest man alive.
We haven't set the date yet, but you'll see it here when we do.
- I've been working on a new project for the past couple of days. It's to the point that I'd like a little feedback, but not to the point where I want to call it a finished work. Check it out here and let me know what you think, or wait a few days for the final render to appear on the new images page. Thanks!
- Added "The Purple Plain" to the gallery today. It's one of a few projects that I have going right now and it's the one I think is furthest along.
- Hi folks. I just wanted to let you know that I am alive and that I am working on some new stuff. As soon as I'm happy with it, you'll see it.
- The new landscape that I mentioned last time is now available in on the New Images page. I'm calling this one "Sunset Fog". The color is inspired by the sunset we had last week during the first day of the Viejas wildfire.
What do you think?.
- Happy 2001! I've added a new wallpaper to the gallery. "Arboretum" is available on the New Images page. I've also posted a night version in the Pickle Jar. I did this scene to test out how many polygons my new computer could handle. The final count came out to 4,222,222, and it took about 3 and a half hours to render on one processor. The added light sources in the night version kicked the render time up to 8 hours.
- This will be my first Christmas "away from home". On one hand I'm sad that I won't be seeing my family and friends. On the other hand, I'm glad to miss out on the crowded airports and sub-zero temperatures back home. The Christmas forecast for San Diego is sunny and 70.
My latest wallpaper, "Passage", is now up for your review. It was inspired by a recent trip to the local mall. I hope you like it.
Jessie and I want to wish you all a joyous holiday. Please remember to buckle up when you're on the roads!
- A few items to report today.
I've been spending the past couple of days migrating all of my software to my new workstation. Actually, the new machine arrived last week but I didn't want to start messing with it until I had posted "Yuletide". If any of you are interested in the machine specs, here they are. I still have a few improvements I want to make to my latest uploads, so stay tuned for that.
- You all know I love using World Builder and Lightwave. Unfortunately, they just don't play together like I want them to. World Builder, it appears, was built to work with 3D Studio Max and Lightwave support was added as an afterthought. I've decided, then, to purchase a copy of 3D Studio Max. The fact that I could upgrade to 3DS Max 4 also played a big part in my decision. It looks way cool.
- Lastly, I received notice yesterday that Digital Blasphemy was chosen as one of Yahoo Internet Life's Top 100 websites for 2001. My mother (who has a subscription to the magazine) confirmed this for me last night. If you're interested, the magazine hits the newstands on December 19th. Needless to say, I'm honored.
- Hi folks. Just thought I would check in since it's been over a week since my last update. Here's the scoop:
I'm still fighting the good fight on the smoking front. I'd like to thank all of you who have written me with advice and encouragement. You've helped me a great deal and I hope to be able to answer all your letters in good time.
I'm sorry that my struggle has impacted the frequency of my posts. I am simply not sitting at my computer as much as I used to. I'm sleeping through the night instead of getting up at 2 a.m. to work. I'm taking more walks with Jessica ( it's easy not to smoke when I'm around her).
In short, I've been working less for the past few weeks, mainly to avoid the cravings.
I am working though, and I know a lot of you out there a looking forward to a holiday wallpaper or two.
I started working on something last week. The idea: a cozy little cabin on a winter night. That's pretty much the essence of what Christmas is all about for me; it's cold and dark outside but you're inside all warm with your friends and family. When I looked at the render, though, I was concerned that it didn't look enough like a "traditional" Christmas picture. There aren't any flashy lights or Santa Clauses.
So for the past few days I've been puzzling over what I could add to make it look more festive, and this morning I decided I had waited long enough. The new render, which I've titled simply "December", is up on the New Images page. Don't be surprised if you see another version before the year is out.
- First off I want to wish all my American friends a happy Thanksgiving. I'm staying put this year, but if you're travelling I wish you a safe journey.
Secondly, I'd like to direct your attention to the new images page. You'll find my latest upload at the top of the page: "Campfires 2000". As the title suggests, it is an update of the "Campfires" image I posted last year. I hope you like it.
Now I'd like to share something personal with you. You may or may not have noticed that my work has slowed somewhat in the past few weeks. There is a reason for this.
About three weeks ago I decided it was time to break my 10 year smoking habit. It hasn't been easy. Smoking was always a part of "the process" for me. I smoked when I worked and I still feel a strong "need" to smoke when I sit down at my computer to work. The mental energies that were going into my artwork now seem to be directed mainly at surpressing my urge to light up.
So I beg your patience while I sort this all out. I'm sure as time passes life will get back to normal for me and the artwork will start flowing again. If any of you would like to share your own success stories or encouragement, please send them along.
Again, I'm sorry if things slow down a bit for the next few weeks. Hopefully it will pay off in the long run.
- Sorry it's been so long since my last update. I've been working on finishing "City of the Dead" for the past 5 days, trying to get it as creepy as possible. I've also been putting the finishing touches on my CDROM (spurred on by countless emails asking when it would be available). The CDROM files and cover art are finally in the hands of my publisher, and my latest version of "City of the Dead" is finally available on the new images page. The first render is still available in the picklejar. Thanks to everyone for your comments on the first version, they really helped.
- I finally got around to mailing off my failed hard disk last week (see 9-17 below). A few days later I got the bad news: the disk is a total loss. Apperently the heads crashed and scratched up the platters. Nothing could be retrieved. Always back up your data folks.
- Are any of you fans of the band "Orgy"? If so and in case you're wondering, yes, that's "Chamelea" inside the cover of their latest CD. They contacted me a few months ago about using it but I didn't want to say anything until I saw it for myself. Pretty cool I guess.
- I've posted the foliage image I mentioned yesterday. It's called "Autumn Fire" and you'll find it on the new images page. Just for the record, this pic took 124 hours to render on my "old" PIII 550. I'd love to hear what you think about it, but don't expect any updates this week ;-)
- I'm going to turn now to finishing my 2nd Ed CDROM. I've made a few changes to "City of the Dead" but I want to work on it a little more before I post an update. Thanks for all the feedback!
- I've been busy lately with a number of different projects. I'm still in the middle of getting my 2nd edition CD-ROM ready, I'm working on a "fall foliage" image, and I want to do some darker wallpapers for Halloween (one of my favorite holidays).
My CD isn't available yet, and the foliage pic is still rendering after 3 days (I'm using Vue d'Esprit). All I have to show you right now is a preliminary look at my first Halloween wallpaper of 2000. The image is called "City of the Dead" and you can find it on the New Images page. I'm still working on it, so I'd love to hear your thoughts.
- "Fluorescence" was created primarily as a modeling experiment. I didn't know much yet about Lightwave textures and rendering, so I used Bryce to create the final output. People seemed to like it.
People liked it a lot actually. It's been downloaded over 1 million times since I posted it about a year ago.
That being the case, I'm sure some people will see it as sacrilege that I would change it. They needn't worry though, the "original" is still available and isn't going anywhere. I thought it would be fun to revisit the image using Lightwave's considerable texturing/rendering tools.
You can see the revision on the "New Images" page. I'd love to hear what you think about it. Please keep in mind that it was not my intention to create a carbon copy of the original, I wanted it to look different. That is how I'm presenting it now -- as something different. It is not mean't to replace the original.
- Since I could no longer work on any of my existing Lightwave projects, I decided start something new. Nothing takes your mind off of lost data like creating new data.
The result, Maelstrom, is now up for your review on the new images page (and in the Planetscapes gallery). It's my first attempt at modeling a whole galaxy, and your opinions are certainly welcome.
- First of all, I would like to thank everyone who wrote to wish me a happy birthday. It was wonderful. Jessie and I had a nice sunset dinner at Qwiig's in Ocean Beach and then we had some ice cream cake from Baskin-Robbins. What more could one ask for? She got me some spiffy shirts too :-)
After my "big day" I immediately got back to work on "Subterranean". I liked the underwater effect (as did a lot of you, from the notes you sent me), but I didn't think it worked for the scene that I had created. I decided to start again from scratch and make a "dedicated" underwater pic (rather than a "converted" one). I've been working on it all week.
Now the bad part. You know how the experts always recommend you backup your hard disk? Usually I'm pretty good about it, but lately I've haven't been doing it as much as I should. Now it appears I'm going to pay for my laziness. My "data" disk, where I keep all my Lightwave meshes, textures, and scenes, has failed. It refuses to start up with the rest of my system and I cannot get at any of my data. Needless to say, I'm distressed. The only thing I can think of to do now is send the disc out to Ontrack to retrieve my lost data.
Fortunately, one render survived of the project I was working on all week. I rendered it on Friday, but I wanted to tweak a few things before I posted it. Looks like I won't get to...
The image is called "Rays from Above" and you'll find it on the New Images page. Hope you like it as is. I plan to finish it when I get my data situation straightened out.
Remember -- always back up your hard disk!
- A few items to report today.
I've been working on Subterranean for a few days now. There are a few versions available. The one on the New Images page was rendered back on Friday, but I wanted to try a few different things before I posted it. Saturday and Sunday I experimented with making it an underwater scene, and I've posted a couple of those renders in the Picklejar. Let me know if you have an opinions on this matter.
I also rendered one more version of my Hibiscus. I'm fairly certain this variety doesn't exist in nature (at least where I live).
Lastly, I'm celebrating my 29th birthday today. Feel free to drop me a line if you'd like to say "Happy Birthday". I'd love to hear from you.
- Thanks everyone for the great feedback on "Hibiscus"!. A lot of the comments I received centered on the stamen structure at the center. You thought, rightly so, that the stamen was just too smooth and regular looking. Yes. It was modeled that way on purpose.
My original intention was to apply a layer of fuzz to the stamen using my "Shave and a Haircut" software. I worked on it through the weekend, trying to see what was possible. The result is now up for your review on the New Images page. Comments appreciated.
I also did a little more "hand-painting" on the petals. I can definitely see where UV mapping will come in handy down the road. I learned a lot.
Depending on your feedback, I see at most one more Hibiscus render. I'm sort of itching to move on now.
Hope you like it!
- I've posted a second revision of "Hibiscus". The petals looked sort of plain in the original, so I've added some texture using Lightwave 6's UV mapping tools. I drew the bump map "by hand" in Photoshop. Hope you like it. Feedback appreciated.
- My mother flew out to visit this week and we had a wonderful time. Jessie, Mom, and I spent the week "seeing the sights", capping things off Wednesday night with a hot air balloon ride (my first) over Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe. Aside from a few moments of extreme terror (as I looked down over the side), it was a wonderful experience. We had a great time, but I'm sad that she had to go back to Illinois.
Anyway, I did manage to push a few pixels around this week and I've posted a few new renders today.
San Diego is filled with flowers all year round, so I guess it was only a matter of time before they crept into my artwork. "Hibiscus" is my first attempt at flower modeling. The blooms were modeled "by hand" in Lightwave and then rendered over a background plate that I put together in World Builder. What do you think?
"Hibiscus" is dedicated to my Mom so she'll remember her visit. Then again, this may have been memorable enough :-)
I've also posted two new revisions of "Pathway". I got lot of great comments on things to add, and I did spend quite a few hours trying out different things. Given the imaginative (and diverse) responses to my earlier question, I decided it would be best if I left the scene "empty". I decided to darken the scene somewhat to create a more brooding environment, and I took out the red and orange leaves (I'll save the fall theme for a later image). There are two new versions in the picklejar, one with red leaves and one with green. I hope you approve.
- A couple of new items today. The first, "Urchin", is an abstract that I created in Lightwave. I was trying to create a sea anemone, but somewhere along the line I decided it would look cooler if it were bio-luminescent. I don't think it looks much like a undersea creature anymore, and if it does I think I'll stay on the beach. You can download an animated version of this image (MPG format, 1.5 MB) from the Picklejar.
The second new image, "Pathway", continues my fascination with trees and fog. As you may or may not know, fog is the only interesting weather I get to see here in San Diego (aside from the rare thunderhead over the mountains to the East), so you'll have to pardon me if it creeps into my artwork from time to time.
Both of these images are works in proress and you'll likely see some changes to them before I'm "done". I'd be interested in hearing what you think I should add (if anything) to "Pathway". Drop me a line if you have any suggestions.
- My initial run of CD-ROMS finally sold out last week. Rather than run another copy of the same disc, I going to put together a new one containing everything I've done up to this point (over 450 images). The new disc should be available sometime next month, and it WILL ship internationally. The price should be the same as the old disc, with members receiving a $10 discount.
- Added "Canopy" to the gallery today, marking another chapter in my long struggle to master lighting in World Builder. This one is sort of a cross between "Misty Grove" and "Morning Light". Comments appreciated.
- As you can might have noticed, I've finally replaced the old "chair" login page with the new Flash animation. Thanks to everyone who sent me feedback.
- A couple of updates today. First, I posted another render of "First Snow". This one lacks the white haze and should be a little less blinding. You'll find it in the picklejar (it's called firstsnow3), because I stubbornly prefer the render I posted yesterday :-)
Second, I started messing with Joe Alter's cool "Shave and a Haircut" software. My goal was simple: to put some hair on the "swordman" model I posted last week. I'll be the first to admit that I don't know anything about "hairstyling", so please be understanding when you see my results. You can find my render on the new images page, and you'll find a "detail" render in the picklejar.
- I've posted a more colorful version of "Minutiae", in case you're interested. You can find it on the New Images page.
- I'm working on a little redesign for the "login page". Nothing too fancy, though it does require the Flash plugin to get the full effect.
Click here to check out a preview of the new login page I'm working on. You can see the old login page by clicking here. Comments appreciated (especially from those of you who don't have Flash installed).
- Added "First Snow" to the gallery today. It's a continuation of what I started with the "snowy" image that went up last week. I liked that one, but I felt the composition with a little cluttered. Hope you like this new arrangement better, but if not you can still grab the first draft (along with a few intermediate renders) in the picklejar. As always, feel free to write if you have comments or suggestions.
- Where do I start? After the (understandably) less than stellar reception to "Tablaeu" I really wanted to post something cool for a followup. I worked on few different projects but none of them really blew me away as being something that I would want to post as a "standalone". I would work through the night on a project and then render it during the day with the hopes of posting it that night. When the time came to post the image though, I would find a reason to work on it some more.
I've just finished posting 14 images. Some of them are new, some are pickles. Here's the list:
- Misty Grove/Bamboo Grove: This is really two different versions of the same landscape. "Misty Grove" was completed a couple of days ago but I decided that it was just too grey and depressing to post on it's own. I decided the scene needed to be more intimate and I replaced the trees with bamboo. Still kind of grey though :-)
- Far From Home: I started this project last weekend to see if I could create a planetscape using World Builder. I was hoping to use WB to model the moon's surface, but it turned out to be much more difficult than I had imagined. World Builder terrains look a lot better when they are covered with grass.
- Rocks: This is the project that turned into "Phaeralon" a few weeks ago. It was one of my first attempts at using Radiosity with Lightwave. The only element that made the transition from this scene to Phaeralon is the small figure added to give a sense of scale. There are two versions of this one available in the Picklejar
- Swordman: I modeled this sword in Lightwave and brought in a Poser to wield it. Rather than design a totally new environment for the fellow, I put him in "Phaeralon". There are three renders of this guy available. Two on the New Images page, and one in the Picklejar. The one in the Picklejar is quite dark, since I used a darker marble texture for the stairs.
I've also posted...
- Snowy: This image was created between "Relics" and "Song of the Sky". I basically turned the "summer forest" into a "winter forest" and added some calm water in the foreground to balance out the blinding snow. It was the transition from a summer image to a winter one that gave me the idea to add the Aurora.
- Phaeralon by Night: Some of your suggested a night version of "Phaeralon", lit only by the blue glow from the crystal parts on the statues. I tried it out.
- Orange Stellar:Some of you asked if I would do an orange version of "Stellar". Actually, I did the orange version before the blue one and I combined the two renders in photoshop to create the image I posted a couple of weeks ago. Here is the orange version. Get out your shades...
- Last and least -- Green Gargoyle: This one was a brief experiment in UV mapping that I did in Lightwave last week. It's pretty basic, but I figured if I was going to post all of this other stuff I might as well through it in.
So that's about it for now and I think I'm going to take a break from art for a few days to rest my brain. If you have any comments on any of these images, don't hesitate to send them over.
- A second version of "Tableau" is up for your review. You can still see the first version inside the pickle jar. I thought these scene might make a nice home for the Pagoda I designed earlier this year...
- As mentioned yesterday, my new render is up and available. Unfortunately it did not turn out quite as I had planned. I noticed some things looking at the 1600 x 1200 render that I didn't like so I've been doing some revisions already. The second version is rendering right now, but I think this first draft is decent enough to share. The tentative title is "Tableau" and you can check it out on the New Images page.
Thematically, image was inspired by a photo I saw in a book called "Spectacular China". Technically, this image was inspired by some of the comments I received about "Relics" in which some of you suggested that the guns would look more realistic if they had some plants growing out of them. This image was about trying to grow a plants on an imported mesh (like a chia pet). World Builder 3 plans to have this feature, but I had to work out a hack using the current software. As you can see, I figured it out (the tall rocks in this image were modeled in Lightwave).
The next version of this image should be up either late tonight or early tomorrow. Hopefully some of the rough edges will be smoothed over by then.
- Sorry for being out of touch recently. First of all I want to thank everyone for the wonderful comments you sent me regarding "Song of the Sky". I spent a few days last week tinkering with it before coming to the conclusion that it should stand as is. So many of you seemed to like it that I didn't have the heart to make any changes. Of course, I may feel different down the road...
I spent the latter part of the week practicing my modeling skills with Lightwave, trying to learn a bit of software called Macroform. Most of my spare time is spent learning how to create my own meshes.
Yesterday I started working on a new landscape image, and it is rendering as I write this. The first draft should be up by tonight (Monday morning at the latest). Hope you stop back to check it out!
That's the status report for now. Just wanted to touch base a let you know that I am alive and rendering...
- Back when I was in college I took a road trip to northern Minnesota for a "hiking class". On the way up I caught a display of the Northern Lights. I didn't know what it was at first. The sky was glowing green and shimmering. It was one of the most incredible things I had ever seen.
I heard that over the weekend you could see the Northern Lights as far south as Denver (can anyone confirm this?). I really wanted to see the aurora, but unfortunately I live too far south.
My point? I spent all of last week tweaking "Relics", trying lots of different stuff. None of the images really struck me as a major improvement though, so I kept at it. Last Friday I heard about the impending electronmagnetic storm and to assuage my disappointment as missing the Northern Lights I decided it would be cool if I added them to the image I was working on. The result, at long last, is entitled "Song of the Sky" and can be found on the New Images page and in the Night Scenery Gallery. The image turned out almost exactly like what I saw that night in Minnesota seven years ago. What do you think?
I've also posted what this image looked like last week before I decided to add the aurora. You'll find it in the Picklejar.
- If anyone is interested, the folks at Animatek have posted some of the new features they are working on for World Builder 3.0. It's interesting in that it not only details what is to come (I'm drooling), but it also highlights some of the current version's shortcomings. I may have to pick up a copy of Max. . .
- My second hi-res render of "Spire City" is now up for your review on the New Images page. As you can see, the city is growing. I'm still painting with broad strokes on this one and I'll be playing around with it some more before the everything falls into place and I start concentrating on little details.
Thanks to everyone who sent me comments and suggestions so far. Most of you wanted to see a darker image, so I've toned down the sunlight somewhat. My mom (of all people) wrote me and said that some bridges would look cool, so I added two simple ones.
Anyway, there's still lots to do with this one. Hope you like where it's going.
- As mentioned last time, I am working on a new cityscape. I've posted my first hi-res test render on the New Images page for your review. Unlike "Gotham 1999" I'm trying to model each building individually instead of using clones, so this one is taking a little more time than my average wallpaper. Gotham '99 used maybe three different building meshes, this one has over 12 so far.
I plan on adding a lot more to this image. The ocean is really just a placeholder and I plan on adding more architecture to the scene, along with better atmospheric effects. I'd also like to see a few flying craft zipping about here and there. Maybe some billboards...
Anyway, the gist of what I am saying here is that this image is in the rough stages. I'd love to hear your comments on it though.
- Stars are pretty easy to make when they are far away. All you need is a white dot or maybe a little lens flare. Up close, however, they're a little more complicated. Still, I wanted to give it a shot and you can see the result in "Stellar", my latest upload. It can be found on the New Images page and in the Planetscapes gallery.
I thought about adding more elements to this one, but in the end I decided the "simple look" made the best wallpaper. I think the biggest challenge was making a "realistic" looking star that didn't blind you when you looked at it. Anyway, what do you think?
- Vue d'Esprit simply refuses to render a 1600 x 1200 version of "Overlord". I'll try again when they update their beta.
- Coming up next: a new cityscape. Stay tuned.
- Ever since I heard that Vue d'Esprit 3.1 was multi-threaded, I've wanted to try it out. Sunday I downloaded the latest beta (Ver. 6), installed it, and got busy setting up a scene to show off this "citidel-looking" mesh that I had built in Lightwave. I was hoping to post it for you back on Monday, but unfortunately that was not to be.
To make a long story short, Vue 3.1.6 seems to have a nasty bug. From what I can tell, a memory leak occurs during the last anti-aliasing pass. It slows the render to a crawl, and then crashes the program entirely just when the render is complete. As you might imagine, it is no fun to render an image for 12-14 hours only to lose it all at the very last moment. This has happened to me 4 times this week and, of course, the files created with the new beta will not open in previous versions of the software.
The bug only occurs when I try a "render to screen" at 1600 x 1200. Vue has another option ("render to disk"), but for some strange reason the render times are multiplied by 10 whenever it's used. I decided to render the image at 1152 x 864 using my main workstation, and render it to disk at 1600 x 1200 using one of my other computers.
Hopefully that explains why this latest image, Overlord is a couple days late and a size smaller than I usually post. The 1600 x 1200 version will be up shortly (I hope). I didn't intend for this to be a big time consumer, just a fun refresher exercise with a neat software package that I've been neglecting. The fun part, I guess, was in putting the scene together. Hopefully it shows and you'll enjoy the wallpaper.
I'd love to hear your comments on this image, and/or Vue d'Esprit, so don't hesitate to drop me a line.
I think I'll move on to something else now....
- Some of you were quite adamant that the statues in Phaeralon should stay. They are back in my latest renders. There are two versions, one with the familiar "white marble" texture applied throughout and the latest (featured) version with a faster rendering texture on the architecture.
- Added another "Synapse" render to the picklejar, based on the "unnumbered" version featured on the new images page.
- I've been working a little more on Phaeralon these past few days. Don't get me wrong, I liked the first version. From the letters a lot of you wrote me, I can tell that you did too. Still, I felt the image was incomplete the way it was. I wasn't thrilled with the scene behind the first set of columns, where things started repeating. I wanted something a little more interesting in the background.
I added some architecture in the background and widened the front hall so you could see it better. In opening up the foreground, I also decided that the statues should go. They had to be moved farther off-center in the new hall and I just didn't like how they looked from the new camera angle. They are still present in the 2nd version (in the pickle jar), but in my latest render I've removed them in favor of two reflecting pools on either site of the walkway.
I don't think this image is complete yet, but it's been a week now since I posted anything new (where does the time go???) and that's really longer than I want to take between updates. You're more than welcome to send over any comments or suggestions you might have on my revisions.
- Thanks to all of you who wrote me about Synapse (the series). It seems most of you liked version 1 and version 4 the best, with a smattering of applause for versions 2 and 3. Interestingly, only a few of you liked the one that I chose to feature on the new images page. Hmmm. I guess that's why I post multiple versions, so you can use the one you like.
- Added Phaeralon today to the Day Scenery gallery. This one is basically an experiment to see if Lightwave 6 can handle radiosity (indirect lighting) on a "grand scale". Looks good to me, what do you think?
- Jove is new today. There are a lot of things to like about living in San Diego, but exciting weather is not one of them. I miss huge thunderstorms rolling across the prairie, with lightning arcing from cloud to cloud. All we get in SD is an occasional fog bank. Very boring. Oh well, I guess that's why I moved here...
Anyway, "Jove" uses techniques that I think will come in handy later on. If you are familiar with my work, then you know that I have an affinity for puffy clouds. Bryce could do puffy clouds, but it took something like 24-48 hours to render a screen full of them. Lightwave 5 was big improvement but your control over the cloud texture was limited. Lightwave 6, finally, renders reasonably fast and allows full control. Jove (and it's derivatives) rendered in less that 4 hours on 2 processors. Not bad.
Because it rendered so "fast" I was able to render several hi-res cloudscapes to see how they looked. You can check out the rest in the Picklejar and if you have any comments you can send them my way.
- Shallows is new today. Check out the Picklejar and you'll see that this started as a very different image. I've been working on this scene for the past three or four days, but this last version did not materialize until just this morning. What do you think?
- A few new items today...
I spent yesterday trying to figure out Hypervoxels 3.0, and how it's different than 2.0. I did a few renders of an abstract nature and I've posted them for your review. I chose one to display on the new images page and put the rest in the Picklejar, along with an animated version of the scene. The animation is MPG encoded, and it should run on just about every OS. Let me know if you have problems though (try saving the file to your hard disk rather than "streaming" it).
- I've added an animated version of "Morning Light". Once again, this is in MPG format.
- I've added a slightly different version of "Neptune's Garden" in the Pickejar.
- I've added an updated version of "Escort" to the Picklejar.
- I've added 1600 x 1200 versions of "Planetfall" and "Sleepwalker".
- I've added a second view of "Pyre" to the Picklejar.
- I've made some cosmetic changes to "Morning Light". Nothing too radical, but I did think that the camera angle was a little off in the first version, and that the grass was a little too sparse up close.
- Thanks to everyone who wrote with comments on "Pyre". Most of you seemed to like it, and those that didn't seemed to simply want a blue version. Ok, if you want a blue version, you'll find it in the Pickle Jar.
- My project this week has been to learn World Builder's "Z-Buffer Composer". It basically allows you to render a scene in WB and then use Lightwave (or MAX or Maya) to add in additional elements.
What makes this different from "Photoshopping" the image is that the Z-buffer data allows you to render objects correctly in 3D space (hidden by near objects and in front of ones far away). The process is two-way, meaning you can render a scene in Lightwave and export the render with extra Z (depth) data to World Builder.
I chose a simple scene for my first attempt, a tornado. You can check out a hi-res render and an accompanying animation in the Picklejar. I've only spent a couple of days on this, but I think it looks interesting enough to share if only for the wind blowing through the trees :-) The texturing on the clouds needs some serious work, I know.
- I was never really happy with where I left "Neptune's Garden". I liked the over all environment, but I didn't like the columns and fish that I had added (see neptune4.jpg in the Picklejar). They added some contrast to the scene, but I thought they looked too fake. Yesterday I started reworking the image, essentially scrapping everything but the lighting from the first version. You can find the new render on the "New Images" page and in the Underwater Gallery. If you have any comments, be sure to send them my way.
- I've added 1600 x 1200 versions of "Brainstorm" and "Snowtop".
I also unearthed an old Bryce render that I'm sure you haven't seen yet. I don't know why I never posted this back when I created it last May. The image is titled, simply, "Gecko" and you can check it out in the 1999 Day Scenery Gallery. The Gecko model came off of the Ray Dream Studio CD-ROM. Yes, the gecko does have a mouth, it's just hard to see :-)
- Thanks to all of you who shared their thoughts on "Threesome". It looks like (as usual) Jessie was right. The dark version is by far more popular.
Immediately after posting "Threesome" I set to work on a new space image. The result is "Companion Star", which is available now on the New Images page. This image has gone through a lot of tweaking, and you can see some of the early renditions in the Picklejar. I'm sure opinions will differ on whether my tweaking was effective. Please feel free to share your thoughts.
- I decided, after working like a madman to bring this server back up, that I should take it easy for a few days. That means, of course, that I immediately starting playing around with Lightwave 6. Originally I was going to see if I could make any improvements to "Escort", but I couldn't get away from the fact that I didn't like the little submarines that I had made. I took them out, leaving just the dolphins.
There are two versions of this image available (both in the Picklejar). Jessie liked the darker image but I preferred the brighter one. Both images make use of Lightwave 6's Radiosity and Caustic effects (don't worry if this is meaningless to you). Anyway, I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts.
- Escort is new today, along with a few related pickles. This is still very rough (only a day or so old) and I still have more in store for this scene. Your comments are more than welcome.
Unfortunately I've been rather tied up recently with ancillary duties and I haven't had as much "creative time" as I would have liked. My security upgrades (see below) had the intended effect of stopping the dictionary attacks, but I still have a few security releated issues to tackle. I hope you bear will bear with me. Don't worry though, if I do my job right you won't even notice the difference when I'm done.
- Security. I've finally grown tired of the script kiddies with their little "hacking" programs. These programs basically bombard this server with login requests using a premade list of usernames and passwords. I've done some research into this and I've noticed that most of the hack programs do not support SSL.
I've gone ahead and removed the "public" link to the member's gallery from the homepage on this server, replacing it with a link to a page in a password protected area of my secure server. If you click the link on the homepage, you will be asked for your username and password as usual and once you have entered it you will be redirected to this page whereupon you will need to enter the username and password once more to continue. This should stop most of the crack attempts cold (though not all) because the crackers will not have a non-SSL URL against which to fling their login attempts. Their programs will not be able to use the URL I give them.
Not a 100% solution, but it's a start.
You can get around all of that by bookmarking this page and not using the homepage link to access the members gallery. If you have any questions, concerns, or comments please write me. I'd remove the public link altogether, but I need to think of those members who only visit once in a great while and may not rembember (or have bookmarked) the proper URL. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and I assure you that my actions are in the interest of better download speeds for all (and a better night's sleep for me).
- Added Idyllic to the Day Scenery gallery. Your comments are welcome, but I should note that the latest beta version of World Builder totally ate this project when I last tried to save it, so you probably won't see any updates in the near future. Progress can be a double-edged sword.
- Something green for your desktop?
- A quick note about the pickles I posted earlier this week. The "Red Rocks" image (available here) is not a new version of "Red Planet". It was rendered in Bryce last November. Unfortunately there were too many rocks in the scene and Bryce refused to open the scene file so I could work more on it.
The torch (available here) was modeled for "Omadon" (using Amorphium). Each statue is holding one.
Your comments were pretty much unanimous that the second Jelly Fish was the better of the two. I tend to agree with you, and I've added it to the Underwater Gallery.
- Looking for software demos? Metacreations has released a trial version of Poser 4 and E-onsoftware has released a trial version of Vue D'Esprit 3. E-onsoftware sent me a newsletter yesterday in which they hinted that Vue 3.1 would be available soon and that it will support dual-processor rendering. Oh yeah!
- Added Jellies today. Quite a few of you wrote me after I released "Fluorescence" and asked if I could do a picture of Jellyfish. Here they are. Comments welcome, especially if you can think of a better name for the picture.
- My copy of Station X Studio's Messiah arrived on Saturday. Messiah is mainly an animation tool, but I think it will have significant applications in my still work.
- Thanks to everyone who expressed their opinion about Minutiae. Most of you seemed to like the second one better, and I have to agree with you.
- The 2000 gallery is up, sort of. I've made an effort to choose my favorites out of the projects that I've been working on, but you may have different opinion on what should be included. I have taken into account all of your feedback about the different versions in making my picks. I am also posting PNG versions (at 1600 x 1200) of the selected images.
If you find problems in the new pages, or have any comments about them please drop me a line!
My next order of business is to tackle the Pickle Jar and somehow integrate it with the rest of my collection so you can browse my gallery and easily see the revisions when you choose to do so.
- Posted a minor update to Sub-Tropic. Nothing too dramatic. I Increased the complexity of the ocean mesh in an attempt to get rid of some of the jagged lines from the first version. I also rearranged the foreground a little.
- My copy of Lightwave 6 arrived on Friday. I've installed it but have purposely kept myself from digging in too deep until I've taken care of some unfinished business. Of course, I've been waiting for months to get my hands on this new version, so I guess a little while longer won't hurt.
- Part of my unfinished business involves writing some code. However, before I put on my programmer's hat I wanted to post at least one more wallpaper. There are three new images for you to check out today. The first two are "atmospheric" variations on "The Red Planet". The third image is a my first crack at using World Builder to create surf. I call it "Sub-Tropic". I may have one or two more renders of this one to show you later...
Hope you like!
- "Frozen" is new today in the Pickle Jar and on the New Images page. This is my first "space scene" developed 100% inside Lightwave. There are lots of things which could go in the foreground of this image, and I'll be thinking hard about that, but for now I think it makes a nice background all by itself. Simple.
- Good news and bad news this morning. First the bad news: no 2000 gallery yet. My addition of the Picklejar has made things a little more complicated then simply extending the galleries that are already present. I assure you that it is a priority.
Now the good news. I just posted 2 new images, and a few different renders of some older works.
"The Gardener" is the first of the new works. My point here was to experiment more with Deep Paint 3D and try out "interior design" using World Builder. There are two "alternate" versions available in the Pickle Jar.
Also new is "Ripples", another "learning exercise" using the same software which created the Ocean for "Two Ships". The true power of the software can better be seen in this short animation (ripples.avi [an error occurred while processing this directive] download).
I've also posted a couple of earlier renders of "the Sentinels" and a couple of extra renders from "the ships".
- I hope you all are having a wonderful Valentine's Day (if you celebrate that sort of thing). Since last week I've been up to my eyes in "Deep Paint 3D", trying to figure out how to texture my Lightwave objects and then have that same texture work in World Builder. Not as simple as it may sound. My efforts in this area should lead to improved versions of the Pagoda and Neptune's Garden soon.
For now, however, I have my first "tester" image to show you. It's called, originally enough, "Sentinels 2000" and it is available in the Pickle Jar and on the New Images page.
I've also honored a some of your requests. You can now download a "shipless" version of "Ships Passing", and I've made my "CD Cover" available as a wallpaper. Both of these images are available (for now) in the Pickle Jar. Enjoy!
- Added two final versions of my first water test. Most of you seemed to like the second one that I posted, which is essentially the same as the first accept for a few thin clouds. I, on the other hand, agreed with the minority that sun shining from the center of the image made it too bright to look at. As one member put it "I have to wear shades to look at it".
Of course, the cool thing about the Pickle Jar is that you are free to chose whichever version you want. The fourth revision is sort of a comprimise between the 2 and 3rd in that I toned down the haze somewhat and brightened the sun. The fifth version is a "noon" shot and is available in the Pickle Jar. I just wanted to see what the scene would look like brightly lit. Both versions are on the New Images page and in the Picklejar.
- I know, sometimes I don't know when to leave well enough alone. One of the things, though, that bothered me about my last post was that lacked any sort of "atmosphere". Lightwave, of course, was never designed to be "world building" software. Most of the images you'll see done with it are either simple still life renders (one object) or are interior scenes. Well, I wanted to add clouds to the sky in "Two Ships Passing" but I just couldn't find a good way of doing it. The water/haze plugin I used to create that nifty ocean environment is very picky about what objects can cast/receive shadows and reflections. I doesn't allow you to add clouds to the sky (like in Bryce for example), so you need to use another plugin for that. The problem is, plugins don't always get along with each other. I think I managed to find a happy medium though.
Anyway, many crashes and failed attempts later, I've posted two new versions of my "Ships". The version I am happiest with is posted on my New Images page, and all three are available in the Pickle Jar. I've love to hear your ideas on which one you like best
I've also added another animation featuring the new ocean environment and you are welcome to download it. It's a 480 x 360 animation and is [an error occurred while processing this directive] to download. Hope you like!
- Some of you have written asking how you can use the animations on your destkop. Right now the only way I can think of is by downloading a screensaver which will your animation files full screen. There is a nice free one available for downloading at http://www.stanford.edu/~bfcarter/aviss/index.html
- Thanks everyone for your feedback regarding "In Bloom". Most of you thought as Jessie did, that the version marked #2 was better than the rest. Actually, I felt the same, but I guess I didn't want to admit it. You see, version 2 was the first one I did (put together in about 3 hours), and then I went back and added various things to make versions 1 and 3. I should have left it alone I guess. Oh well. All three versions are still up for display in the Pickle Jar, so you can take your pick. I will be posting version 2 in my permanent 2000 collection (when I've put a few more complete projects together).
- My second "water test" is now up for your review. This one employs "Digital Nature Tools" from Dynamic-Realities (which came in the mail on Wednesday). I wanted something in the upper half of the image, so I whipped up a "flying oceanliner" in Lightwave. The wallpaper is called "Two Ships Passing" and you can view it on the new images page or in the Pickle Jar.
If you like the "static" version, check out these two animations I created of the scene. The first is a 320 x 240 movie showing the two ships passing by each other. ([an error occurred while processing this directive] AVI) The second clip is at 480 x 360 and it shows one ship doing a sort of turnabout. ([an error occurred while processing this directive] AVI) Both animations are 8 seconds in duration. There is also a smaller (320 x 240) clip with just the water and waves. ([an error occurred while processing this directive] AVI)
I've also added a 480 x 360 flythrough of "To Be". ([an error occurred while processing this directive] AVI)
Hope you like! If you have comments I'd love to hear them.
- Sorry I've been out of touch the last few days. Don't take that to mean that I've just been sitting around though. I've been keeping myself rather busy in my continuing quest to learn Lightwave, while waiting for my Deep Paint software to arrive so I can properly texture my creations. It arrived yesterday and I've only just now started working with it. It looks pretty straight-forward though, so I also managed to set up ScreamerNet on my home network (Lightwave's "render farm" software). Much to my chagrin, it doesn't look like ScreamerNet will do much for rendering single frames (like my wallpapers), but you should see it crank through animations. I hope to have some cool stuff to show on you that front soon.
Of course, I know animations aren't why you signed up as a member, so I went back to World Builder yesterday with the goal of creating a pleasant floral image (Valentine's Day is coming up). There are three minor variations on this image now available in the Pickle Jar. I chose one of them for the New Images page, but the choice was completely arbitrary. If you like this image, then I would really like to hear which of the three you prefer, because I can't decide.
For those of you not interested in flowers, I've updated "To Be". If you don't like the additions, you can always find the first edition in the Pickle Jar.
Speaking of which... I've also posted three early versions of the "Chamber" design that later became the background for "To Be". The whole thing really grew out of me wanting to design a
"Fire Pot" which would actually spew fire (using Particle Storm and Hypervoxels). You can see my first attempt in the Pickle Jar in an image called "Blue Fire". I decided after that to try out orange fire, and that lead to the image I'll informally call "First Chamber". I added "Mr. Zard" for scale. Good thing too, because I can claim that it is his magic causing the firepots to levitate slightly off of the floor :-) I may do another render of this image with every firmly grounded....
What's coming up? Look for "final" versions of "Pagoda" and "Neptune's Garden", for some new space imagery and an updated "Conjunction". Look for a few more "double-wide" wallpapers, and finally, look for some prints to be available before too long. I also plan to start annotating my images and create more intuitive indexing system for my search engine (search by subject, date, colors, software used, etc). I have a lot of other ideas too. Stay tuned!
- A significant anniversary passed a couple of days ago and but I was too busy to notice. One year ago February 1st was my first day without a "real job". It seemed like a very risky proposition at the time and I keenly remember the butterflies in my stomach as I tendered my resignation at the old job. Without going into specifics, I can safely say that it was the best decision I ever made. Thank you all for making my dream a reality!
- In case you are wondering, both "Neptune's Garden", "Pagoda" and "Avalon" are all on hold temporarily. I discovered, after much trial and error, that my Lightwave objects were not compatible with the texturing system used by World Builder (Lightwave Objects do not have UV maps assigned). I have some software on the way which will remedy that situation (and do much much more), called Deep Paint 3D.
So I've been spending this week practicing my Lightwave skills. There hasn't been much in the way of complete works to show for it (sorry), but I thought this latest one came out kind of nice. I call it "To Be", and you can check it out on the New Images page or in the Pickle Jar.
- The final version of "Neptune's Garden" is starting to take shape, but we're not there yet. You can see where I'm at by downloading the fourth render, which I just posted this morning. You can click the thumbnail above or go to the New Images page. The revision history is available in the Pickle Jar.
- A newer render of "Neptune's Garden" is up for your review. You can still view the first version in the Pickle Jar
- A slightly new look on the member's home page today. As I'm sure you've noticed by now, I've added small thumbnail links to my latest four images. They are arranged by date from left to right with the newest image always on the far left side. I'm still working out which images I will post there (given that I do revisions in a non-linear fashion). You'll always find the extra versions in the Pickle Jar.
Currently the newest image is "Neptune's Garden I". I spent most of yesterday working with World Builder on my first underwater image of the year, and this is the result. There are still some things that I'm planning to add, but I thought this was nice "resting point" and that you would like to see a preview. Your comments, as always, are appreciated.
- Added a newer version of the Pagoda. A little foggier this time around, and the trees are a little smaller. The flowers were Jessie's suggestion. You can view the new version on the New Images page or in the Pickle Jar.
- A second Gargoyle render is up for your review in the Pickle Jar.
- I've gotten quite a few letters from people asking if I could possibly render a wallpaper that would fit across two monitors. If you are one of them, please check out the double-wide test render of "Rogue Element" that I've posted in the Pickle Jar. The file is called "re2x.jpg". I'd appreciate any feedback you might have on this one since I don't have my own dual-monitor setup to test it on.
- I hope you are having a wonderful holiday! Jessie and I flew home to Bloomington, IL on the 21st and returned to San Diego around 11 last night. I really enjoyed seeing my family again and spending a few precious hours with some old friends. I just wish my brother Eric would have come home from Ohio! Highlights from the trip included attending midnight mass with Jessica (who wants me to be Catholic), and having a too brief visit with Chad (my best friend since 7th grade), his wife April, and their two adorable kids Jordan (she's 2) and Dylan (the baby).
Lowlights from the trip included snow, bitter cold, and being very antsy to get back to work. All three of those are history now. I know a lot of you are still enjoying winter weather so I won't bother you with how warm and sunny it is in San Diego.
My presents? I have a few of the Field Guides I asked for on my Amazon Wish list. Thank you K Morgan for sending me the Insect guide! My favorite gifts were "Coral Seas", a stunning photography book featuring flora and fauna from coral reefs, and Akira Kurosawa's "Ran" on DVD. Of course I gave all my family and friends copies of my CD-ROM, except for my grandfather (who uses a Mac). I gave him my personal portfolio 8" x 10" prints, which he seemed to enjoy.
Enough "relaxing" now. I'm more than ready to start making wallpapers again.
- Security Update: From what I can tell, my custom security program has been 100% effective at blocking access from "password sites". Since I last mentioned the issue, there have been 6 DB logins posted on various sites. The latest was this morning. Each login was disabled almost as soon as it was posted.
I've decided not to waste my time or energy writing programs to track password traders. I've contracted with a security company to monitor login activity. You are still welcome to log in from home, work, and school, but if I feel you that you are logging in from too many networks I will have to disable your account until we can discuss the matter. If you feel your account requires special treatment, please drop me a line.
My last security related chore will be to make it difficult for "script kiddies" to use brute-force programs for cracking passwords. This is a daily occurance and I'm getting tired of it.
Cable Modem/DSL users: Your PC is especially vulnerable to hackers ad your connection is "always on" and your IP address is fixed. Anyone on the Internet with the right software can easily break into your system. You can easily protect yourself though by using an excellent little app called "BlackICE Defender". It sells for $39.95 and can be downloaded from the Network ICE website. This is totally unrelated to my site and my security problems, and I'm not getting anything for this (or any other) endorsement. I just want you all to be safe!
- I'm going to be taking a break for the next couple of days, relaxing and re-charging my creative batteries. Both Jessie and myself wish all of you a safe and happy holiday. I'll be back with some new imagery soon.
- I just picked up a new plugin for Lightwave called "Ozone 3D". It's from the makers of Vue d'Esprit and it allows you to create skies and atmospheric effects (haze and fog) within Lightwave 3D. So what? Just wait. You'll see...
- Still looking for a last minute gift idea?
- "Snowball" is new today in the Interiors gallery and the WIP. It's as finished as it is going to get (at least for this year).
- Blue Christmas was "picked" as one of CNET's top "desktop enhancement" downloads. Their description: "Blue Christmas is a beautiful 3D-rendered wallpaper that will brighten up your desktop with an unusual, mesmerizing, and sparkly Christmas tree set in a blue, snowy background.". Wow. Seven adjectives in one sentence.
- I'm working on one last Christmas pic (spirit hitting me late I guess). It's isn't very close to being finished, but I thought I would give you all an early look. It's (tentatively) called "Snowball", and it's in the Picklejar. Click here for the thumbnail or here for the large size (1152 wide) image. Modeled and rendered in Lightwave (which has been collecting dust since I got World Builder). As you can see, I haven't worked on the background yet...
- I added two different versions of "The Low Road" to the Pickle Jar. The first image like the one I posted yesterday, except that I removed the dusty haze. This was the version that Jessica said was too dark (see yesterday's update below). The second image retains the atmospheric effects, but I "chopped down" the trees which had been surrounding the camera. It may be a case where less is more. What do you think?
- Where is my Christmas spirit? I meant to work on a happy holiday image these past couple days, but somehow that's just not what came out. Recent security issues have taken their toll on my "good will towards men". In fact, if it weren't for Jessica I probably would have produced something much more dark and sinister. You have her to thank for the little dash of color I added to my latest offering: The Low Road. "It's too dark Ryan," she said, " you should have made that at Halloween". The Low Road is available in the Night Scenery gallery and in the WIP.
- I posted my Holiday Gallery on the free site. Nothing there that you haven't seen before, except for maybe this poem that I composed to go along with my text for "Let it Snow". One of my new year's resolutions is to sit down and fully annotate every image in the member's gallery (with more than just a few sentences on what software I used to make it).
I'm still working on some new holiday images. To tide you over I've added a directory to the member's gallery which I call simply "The Pickle Jar". During the process of making one of the images you see in my galleries I usually go through three or four different revisions. Some of them are just plain bad and I won't waste bandwidth or embarrass myself by showing them to you. Others were just a pixel or two away from making it into my gallery, but then something stoped me from posting it and went back and worked on it some more. The "Towers" images are a good example. They show off the towers that I later used to make up Gotham 1999 (I decided a city setting was more appropriate). Right now the Picklejar directory is unindexed (hence the name) and it contains 11 images. Check it out, and if you see an image that you think really belongs in my gallery, drop me a line.
What's the difference between these and a Work in Progress? A work in progress, when I post it, is an image that I feel is strong enough to make it into my gallery. Sometimes I'll look at it later though and decide to make changes. I never planned on posting the images in the pickejar, but then it occurred to me that 1) they were doing no one any good sitting idle on my hard drive, and 2) sometimes an image that I don't think is very strong turns out to be a favorite of others (Adrift is one example...).
Like I said though, I'm working on some new stuff right now. Stay tuned!
- I was meaning to work on some holiday graphics this weekend, but I was sidetracked by another issue which required immediate attention. I did, however, manage to tweak "Sierra" into a night version which is up in the Night Scenery Gallery and the WIP. No, I didn't use Photoshop. I wanted to learned more about atmospheric lightning in World Builder. I do plan on getting started on some holiday images this week. I have a few ideas of my own but I would love to hear what you'd like to see (the more detail the better). Write me!
- A big thanks to everyone who has ordered a copy of my CD so far. Maybe I'll even make back all the money I spent having them made...
- I'm still ironing out the issues involved with shipping overseas. It's rather complicated and I want to make sure everyone involved gets the best possible deal.
- Don't pay any attention to my Amazon.Com wish list at the bottom of my pages. That's for friends and family who want to know what I'd like to get for Christmas this year. You're free to check it out to see what my tastes are or to get ideas for someone you care about, but I'm not asking for anything from people I don't know. Of course, I wouldn't send anything back... :-)
- The Digital Blasphemy CD-ROM is now available. Member price: $14.95. Ground shipping and sales taxes are waived. Check out my CDROM page for more info. Get some for the ones you love! Sorry, but it's Windows only and I'm only shipping within the US for now. If you live outside the US and would like to order the CD-ROM, please write me and I'll see what I can do. Please include the address you want the disc(s) shipped to and whether you place greater emphasis on speed of delivery or economy.
- Still trying to figure out World Builder. My second offering is now up an ready for your review. I call it: "Sierra". Hope you like. Check it out in the WIP or the Day Scenery Gallery.
- Thanks to everyone who's written me with feedback regarding my imminent CDROM release. One common thread was that shipping costs should be low. I hear you. The average "member discount" was somewhere between $10 and $20. The pricing is still undecided though at this writing.
- Look for some holiday themes in the weeks ahead...
- A couple of updates for you today.
First of all, I should report that I spent most of this week and part of last putting the finishing touches on my upcomng CD-ROM archive. It's now in the hands of my distributor and is in the process of being being made as we speak. It should be available early next week, and it will contain every image in the gallery up to "Aftermath". Personally, it think it would make a nice stocking stuffer, but that's up to you. Aside from the fact that it will be discounted for members, I haven't decided what to charge for the CD. I'd appreciate any input you might have on what would be a fair price. Either way, it will be available soon...
Unfortunately the CD will not contain my latest work. "Early Frost" is up in the Day Scenery gallery and the WIP. It's my first image created using Animatek's World Builder 2.2, so it's a little rough around the edges, I apologize. I gotta level with you now: I don't think you'll be seeing much Bryce or even Vue d'Esprit for quite a while. I am completely hooked on World Builder.
Why? First and foremost, it's multi-threaded (Bryce isn't) so it uses my dual-processor workstation to its fullest potential. "Early Frost", for example, rendered in just under 30 minutes at 1600 x 1200 (compared to 24 hours for "The Turning"). What else? Its vegetation model is a lot more realistic (not to mention more efficient). More? Its landscape system allows for winding roads, rippling rivers (complete with whitewater), lapping waves, waterfalls, and footprints. Oh yeah, it also exports entire scenes into Lightwave, which opens up a whole new set of possibilities.
Anyway, I'll stop frothing now. I hope you like the new image, but just remember that it's only a first attempt. Your comments and feedback are doubly appreciated.
- Added "Aftermath" to the Planetscapes gallery and the WIP. Flat out, you can't do this with Bryce. I've tried.
I guess maybe with some "trick photography" you could do a still image like it in Bryce. But I don't think you could animate it like this though. (1.8 MB zipped AVI)... The animation is a 2 seconds long and it depicts the entire "explosion", debris and all. The animation, of course, is made up of some 60 individual frames and about 40 of them would have made cool still shots. In case you're wondering, the wallpaper is frame 33. Hope you like them both. Comments appreciated.
- Added "Zard" to the Posers gallery and the WIP. This is my first "real" project done using Lightwave. To be honest, I've spent too many hours re-rendering different views of this one (using different settings) and I think it's time to move on. Someday I'LL be good enough to model my own person using Lightwave, but for now I just wanted to learn some lightning techniques and special effects. I hope you like it even though it's only a "training" piece.
I've rounded out my software toolkit by purchasing a few more Lightwave plugins. Here's the scoop on what I have so far and what I will be getting in the next few days (the first link you click will open a new window and each of the others will load in the same window if you leave it open):
I may also purchase plugin called "Digital Nature Tools", but I want to see if World Builder has the features I want before I spent another $700. I just wanted you to know where your membership fees are going :)
- For all the images I've posted over the past couple of weeks, you would think that I have been spending my days at the beach, or on the couch watching the Discovery Channel. Actually I've done quite a lot of rendering but everything has been little bits and pieces, trying out new effects and techniques, etc. I feel kind of like a wizard with a new spellbook.
Anyway. I really liked Fluorescence and I know a lot of you did too. None of my renders over the past few days have given me the "wow" factor I got from the blue shrooms, until now.
In my last update I posted the original version of Gotham, resurrected from "BR3 heaven" by the latest version of Bryce. My brain cells started percolating while I was looking at that image, and I came to the conclusion that old Gotham needed a little "urban renewal". Gotham 1999 is new today in the Night Scenery Gallery and the WIP. I hope you like what I've done, you may see more of this...hope you like.
- I've gotten a lot of mail lately from members asking how to renew their memberships. The answer is: you don't need to let your memberships ever expire. You can add time to your existing membership at a discounted rate ($20 for another year and $10 for another month, max 2 years). The "extender" link is located on the "When Will My Account Expire Page", or you can go directly to my secure server and place your order. Thanks!
- Last week went by way too fast. I finally assembled all the right parts for my new workstation and the last few days have been spent migrating my old setup to the new machine. In case you missed it, the system is a Dell Precision 410 with Dual Pentium III 600 processors, 1 GB of RAM and a Diamond Fire GL1 graphics card. Fast? You betcha!
My "art time" recently has been spent working with the Lightwave renderer. I haven't done anything yet that I feel especially proud of, or you would have seen it. I will continue, however, to prod it's mysteries. I did break down last night and I started a Bryce only image which is still rendering as I write this. It should be done sometime later today and will be up soon thereafter.
I managed to find a few "long lost" Bryce files yesterday. The first is "Red Sky at Night", and I promptly rendered a 1600 x 1200 version for those of you with large monitors.
The second file is truly "back from the dead". You see, the image you know as "Gotham" is a "forced" second draft. The original was quite different but the file was "eaten" by Bryce (meaning it wouldn't open for me) and I had to abandon it. I have to be honest with you here, I spent a lot less time on the second version of Gotham than the original, but I was definitely pleased with the results as I know a lot of people were.
Still, the original look has it's merits and I was thrilled to discover that Bryce 4.1 could "resurrect" it! So here it is, remember that it was designed over a year ago :)
Lastly, I've posted my "alternate version" of Fluorescence. I had originally designed two different color schemes for the mushrooms, it was my girlfriend Jessie who chose the one you saw last week (though we were in complete agreement as to which one was superior). The alternate is now available because I think it looks cool, and it's doing no one any good hiding out on my hard drive.
More to come...
- Sorry I've been sort of incommunicado the past few days. My copy of Lightwave 3D arrives last Friday and, like any good monk, I've been cloistered away attempting to unlock it's powers. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Lightwave, here's the deal:
Lightwave is really two programs, a layout/render engine and a modeler, that work together. You've already seen some of my dabblings with the modeler ("Rogue Element" and "Fluorescence"). Now I am working to master the Layout portion of the program. It is far more complex a creature than the modeler, but the results can be truly stunning (you've all seen Lightwave generated graphics on TV and in the movies). Trust me on this: You are going to be seeing some cool stuff in the weeks to come (though it won't be that long before I have some new images for you to download). Once again, I ask your patience while I learn the ropes. It will be worth it.
- Thanks to all of you who wrote me with your thoughts on "Fluorescence" (see below). As promised, I've collected some of my favorites for your review, along with my own personal comments on the image. You'll also find my first animation done using the Lightwave renderer. Hope you like it, I think it's a decent first effort.
- Fluorescence is new today in the Abstracts gallery and the WIP, another image from my exploration of the Inspire modeler. You may look at this one and think "what the **** is that?". I sat looking at it for about an hour wondering the same thing and I have my own ideas. I just thought it looked nice on my desktop so I posted it for you. You are free to interpret it any way you like. In fact, feel free to send me your ideas and I'll put together a list of the best ones for your review.
- Here's a another little movie showing off a few robot poses and his new retractable claws (zipped AVI, [an error occurred while processing this directive]).
- Some people might try to learn new 3D software by modeling something simple, like an apple or a bar of soap. I chose something a little more ambitious for my first Inspire 3D project. The result, "Rogue Element", is now available for your review in the Posers gallery and the WIP.
The battlebot in R.E. was modeled entirely "by hand" in Inspire 3D, using no prefab parts. My first attempt (thumbnail/hi-res) was completed Saturday, but it couldn't be saved in Inspire due to my ignorance of "point econmics" (i.e., the mesh was too complex). I managed to export that first robot as a OBJ file but he was still too complex for Bryce to handle. Luckily for me, Vue d'Esprit handles hi-res meshes with great applomb so I was able to at least render him once to show you.
My second attempt involved my old standby, Metacreations Poser 4. Basically, I opened up the default skeleton (as you've seen before in "Don't Look into the Light"), and then replaced all of his bones with the robot parts I had designed in Inspire. This took quite a few hours to get right, but eventually I had my own custom robot which could take advantage of all of Poser's cool features. You can check out, for example, this animation of the robot running (zipped AVI, [an error occurred while processing this directive]) or this "character sketch" showing a few different poses.
He's not perfect, but I think he's a good first effort. You'll note that he is a far cry from my very first robot attempt (using Amorphium and Bryce). Hope you like "Rogue Element", and don't be surprised if you see him again in another wallpaper somewhere down the road. Comments definitely welcome.
- My new workstation arrives tomorrow. Actually it arrived today but since I stayed up all night working on the battlebot, I was asleep when the delivery guy came knocking. Grrr...
- E-on software released a new verison (3) of Vue d'Esprit today. It looked like a good upgrade to me so I ordered it. It should ship from France in a couple of weeks or so, then maybe I'll take you on a fly-through of "Equatorial" or a boatride around the Tropic of Capricorn". I can't wait!
- Last night I attended a fascinating lecture given by Doug Chiang, the Design Director for ILM and one of the main brains behind Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It was a real eye-opener in terms of how much I have yet to learn in this field. The lecture consisted mainly of Doug showing slides and commenting on the different designs he created for Episode I. There was also a lengthy Q&A afterwards, but I really couldn't think of anything intelligent to ask (though that didn't stop others).
Most of the lecture was very inspiring, especially the parts about how different animals influenced the design of certain vehicles in the movie (for example the Federation battle-tanks were designed to look like pouncing lions and the troop transports to look like charging elephants). It was really kind of scary to hear him talk about the creative meetings with "George" where sometimes only 10% of the designs presented were actually approved. I don't know how long I would last under that kind of attrition (understandably, it was Doug's love of Star Wars which saw him through).
One of Doug's comments stuck a dagger into my heart though. He said that people today rely too heavily on computer aided design, and are sorely lacking in the artistic "fundamentals" of free-hand drawing. Of course he was describing me perfectly; I can barely write my own name so people can read it. I won't let that keep me from trying to improve though :)
Doug was pretty careful not to let out too much about Episode II or III. He did say, tantalizingly, that the designs would become more "familiar" as the story progressed. My heart, as you can imagine, started beating the "Imperial March" at the thought of massive computer-animated fleets of Star Destroyers hunting down the Jedi. I can't wait.
All in all it was a wonderful evening. I know all this is kind of "off-topic", but I thought some of you might be interested.
- I got my copy of Inspire yesterday and I've been having a lot of fun learning how to use it. I'll definitely be upgrading to Lightwave 6 when it comes out. You'll be seeing some interesting stuff in the months to come.
- I'm going to start saving these updates so you can go back and browse through them. The link, for now, is at the bottom of the page.
- "Modern Prometheus", sort of a Halloween pic I guess, is new today in the Posers gallery and the WIP. For those of you who use Poser 4, the "Monster" is a Poser figure deformed by the Magnet tool.
Almost ashamed to tell you all this, but I bought myself a new computer yesterday. My original plan was to pick up a decent sub $1000 box to help me render the print versions of my images (these are taking a week or more on my P333). Lately, however, Windows 98 has been acting up on me (more than usual) to the point where I've been losing files and the hours of work that went into them. Win98 simply can't go where I want to go today.
So instead of buying some cheapo Celeron to act as my renderbox, I've decided to demote my current machine to that position. Taking it's place will be a Dell Precision 410 workstation with dual PIII 600 processors, 1 GB ECC SDRAM, and a 36 GB SCSI disk. The machine will be running Windows NT, which I've heard is a great deal more stable and powerful than 98. I didn't feel like messing with Athlon processors right now, even though they're supposedly much faster than the Intel chips. Xeon processors were a little pricey for my blood, and I'm not sure what benefit they provide for the extra money.
I've purchased a copy of Inspire 3D, the "Learning Edition" of Lightwave 3D. Inspire, so I've read, has about 80% of Lightwave's features for only 25% the price. I plan on using Inspire to cut my teeth on the Lightwave interface before I get the full edition.
Why'd I chose Lightwave? Probably because 3DS MAX doesn't have a $400 "Light" edition and I don't want to be overwhelmed by features when I'm trying to learn. I've seen some really cool work done with Lightwave (ever seen "Titanic" or "Babylon 5"?). It's also what my idol, the Digital Knight, uses :)
Why do I need all this horsepower? The simplistic answer is that the more CPU you have, the closer you get to that mythical "instant feedback" which all 3D designers (myself included) crave. The more memory you have, the more detailed your world can be. The two are inversely proportional, so more of one means less of the other. Somewhere in the middle is 3D nirvana, and that's where I want to go today.
Hopefully all this will mean cooler graphics for you in Y2K. After all, you paid for the machine with your membership fee. All I ask from you is a little patience while I climb the learning curve.
- I've been working on a little search engine for the member's gallery, so you can easily find the image you want without wading through all the gallery pages. It's in beta mode now (I spent yesterday afternoon working on it), which means it's ready for you to test out. It doesn't do keyword searches (yet) so you'll still have to know at least part of the image title (i.e. "Afterglow", "Overlook 1999", etc) in order to find anything. All the seasonal images are now included with the main member's gallery and you can use the search engine to list them out by holiday (type "halloween", for example, to get at all my halloween pics).
Speaking of Halloween, I have done two additional halloween renders but I'm not quite ready to post them. They'll probably be ready by tomorrow morning when I open my free halloween gallery to the public. Of course, I'll preview them here first.
- I've added a directory of PNG versions of my 1600 x 1200 renders, for those who can't stand even a little bit of JPG compression. Warning, these files are LARGE. The directory index can be found here. The files are large, but they're way smaller than BMP versions. You may, however, need special software to view the images if your browser doesn't support the PNG format. Netscape users will have to download the ZIP versions of the files.
- It's 3:00 am and I'm sitting here working on a new picture when all of a sudden everything starts moving around. My first Earthquake; pretty freaky for this son of an Illinois corn farmer.
- I sat down last night (this morning actually) to make another Halloween wallpaper, but what I came up with has nothing at all to do with Halloween. Sorry. It's still kind of scary though (to me anyway). The image is called "F=MA" (as in Newton's Law of Force) and you can check it out in the Planetscapes gallery and the WIP.
- I hope everyone is getting into the Halloween Spirit. I'm planning on posting a few Halloween pics in my free gallery probably next week. I did this last year and I'd like to continue to tradition. The gallery will stay up until Nov 1st and will contain all (or most) of the images from last year's gallery, plus a few new ones (depending on how many I decide to make).
Last week I asked if you had any suggestions for what kinds of Halloween pics you would like to see. The emails came flying in with all kinds of creepy ideas, but the one sounded particularly appealing to me. That image, my rendition of a certain decapitated equestrian, is now available in my Posers Gallery and the WIP. It's called "Midnight Trooper" (from a line in the original story). Hope you like it! More to come.
- I've added 1600 x 1200 versions of "El Dios del Fuego" (much requested), "Huntress", and "Valley of the Sun".
- Added the latest member's additions (everything from after "Catch of the Day" to "Midnight Trooper") to the DB1999 screen saver. and all the zipfiles are now up to date with the latest imagery.
- As I mentioned yesterday, you now have the option to extend your membership for one year or one month. Your expiration date will be extended from the original time you were set to expire, not from today's date, so you still get all the time you originally paid for. The maximum subscription length is capped at 2 years, so if you were extend your membership to 2 years today, you wouldn't be able to extend it further until one year had passed.
The cost to extend your membership for one year is $20, %20 off the non-member rate. If you're on a budget or you have an extremely hazardous job you can can extend your membership by just one month (31 days) for only $10 ($2, or 16%, off the non-member rate).
Click here to access the order form. It will show you how much time you have left currently and how much you would have if you applied an extension. You will need to renter your username and password to access the form.
- Now I think I'm going to work on some halloween pics. Do you guys have any requests?
- If you've visited my free site, you'll no doubt notice that I'm redirecting traffic to this server instead of the copy of the member's gallery at http://www.digitalblasphemy.com/members/. All new accounts are now created on this machine first, and the changes are instantly mirrored on the other server (which you may still browse for the time being). All credit card transactions will now be handled on my new secure server, and will no longer go through Ibill. Besides the fact that I can now make the signup process appear more seamless with the rest of my site (and hopefully more user friendly), this arrangement also means I will make an extra $3 on every new membership (from a processing fee that used to go to Ibill).
The coolness doesn't stop there. My secure server will have a password protected directory just for DB Members and there you will find a form which will allow you to add a year to your membership (but only if you already have less than a year remaining). This "extra year" will be at a discounted rate, because I want to pass on my savings to you. What kind of discount would you like to see? Drop me a line and share your thoughts.
- The comments on the new dedicated server login page have been rather positve, so I guess it stays. I've rendered a desktop sized version which you can use if you are so inclined. It's called (appropriately, I guess) "Login" and it's available in the Interiors gallery and the WIP. Is your login not working on the dedicated machine? Click here.
- If you're interested, here is the new login page I'm working on for the dedicated server. It's a lot of graphics, I know, and it'll probably choke your modem. It's also probably too big to fit on your monitor. That's ok.
Fortunately, you're already a member and you can still skip directly into the members gallery by bookmarking this page.
Your comments are definitely appreciated though.
- What am I working on this week and the next?
In addition to those, I was considering (as a more long term goal) adding a discussion board. I don't want to re-invent the wheel on this one, so I'm evaluating one or two "off-the-shelf" scripts and I'm leaning towards "The Ultimate Bulliten Board". Quite a few people have written me about this and I think it sounds interesting, though I'll admit to being a little uneasy about hosting an open discussion on the merits of my artwork. Would you invite people into your house just so they could criticize you?
- Some new halloween art for an upcoming free seasonal gallery (you'll see them first).
- Setting up my own secure server for processing memberships.
- Setting up a way for you to change your password and/or retrieve your password automatically if you lose it (many issues involved here).
- RENDERING prints. I have "Solitude" rendering in large format right now, "Sanctuary 1999" is next, then "The Turning".
On the flip-side of that coin, I wouldn't want to host a "mutual-admiration society" either. Check out my guestbook if you want to see what I'm talking about. Don't get me wrong. I enjoy the guestbook and the tons of email I get everyday from people who enjoy my work. I'd just rather keep those lines of communication in their proper place.
So I'm putting the question to you: if I hosted a discussion board, would you use it? What kinds of things would you like to talk about? Should I have seperate boards for the member's gallery and the public gallery, or should everyone be able to talk (I'm leaning towards the latter, don't worry though you won't have to look at any banner ads). Please drop me a line with your thoughts!
- One last thing for now. From the feedback you've given me about the relative speeds of shared server and this one, I've decided that I will be shifting more of the content over here. Pretty soon, the whole member's gallery will be on the this machine.
- "Cradle" is new today in the "Planetscapes" gallery and the WIP. You'll have a hard time spotting the planets in this one though, because there are none. If you're creative, however, you can imagine that there are planets around each of the stars. They're just too small to see :) This image, uses the same volumetric rendering techniques I was exploring in "Cumulus". Only 3 spheres this time though. The big stars were added using a little $25 shareware program I bought just for the occasion. It's called Universe and it's free to try.
- I'll admit it. I'm a closet software geek and I get a little bit giddy every time Metacreations decides to release a "Point 1" patch for Bryce. I have no idea what bugs this one fixes (or adds) but I do know that it comes with this cool new "volumetric rendering" mode. An object, like a sphere, is "volumetric" if the texture assigned to it goes all the way through in 3D instead of just being mapped to the exterior. It's a great effect but it takes forever to render.
Luckily I have a pretty fast computer. "Cumulus" is new today in the Night Scenery Gallery and the WIP. I put this one together just to test out the Bryce patch, but I thought it looked kind of interesting in the end. I could see adding a dragon or two, maybe some lightning...
In grand Brycean tradition, the image is composed entirely of spheres (10 of them).
Quick tip if you're want to try it at home: whenever possible, try not to place any one volumetric object in front of the another. Overlapping them in front of the camera has an exponential effect on render time.