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Dolmen are thought to be burial plots but scientists are unclear who made them and how. I think they're fascinating myself.

This particular scene was inspired by a dolmen in Ireland, and it is no accident that I am posting it in time for St Patrick's Day (though dolmen predate St Paddy by a few thousand years).

I will most likely do another render of this without the darker foreground rocks (the round ones in the grass). Any other ideas?

7.38/10 rating (195 votes)

Member Comments

"Update/Dual Screen"
I love the stonehenge-y, Celtic feel of this one and would love to see it updated or a new one with a similar look/feel.

Sat November 7, 2015 at 2:44 pm

I hope your still have this on the back burner. I'd love to get it in a print.

Thu January 31, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Rob C.
Use this as my wallpaper on my 7" Android tablet. Love it!

Fri January 11, 2013 at 12:43 am

"Dual Screen"
Any chance at this getting a dual screen treatment?

Wed August 8, 2012 at 1:48 pm

"re: Update Dolmen"
Love the picture... Any chance of a dual- or triple-monitor version?

Thu December 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm

"Southwest Arizona"
This rendering inspired a thought...There are some fascinating rock formations in the Southwestern United States. I would imagine a Sand-Colored Floor, Reddish-Brown Rocks & Deep Blue Sky would be striking.

Tue October 11, 2011 at 10:17 pm

I've done a couple of different renders of this and I just cannot seem to get it right. I will probably end up just doing another render with this lighting but change up the vegetation a bit. So many projects, so little time...

Fri June 3, 2011 at 8:44 am

"Update x 2"
I remember you said you had some grand plans for this one... what happened to that? I was really excited.

Thu June 2, 2011 at 7:50 pm

Will this one get its update anytime? I would love to use this on my desktop but the dark rocks in the foreground look suspiciously like piles of poop. :/

Wed May 25, 2011 at 2:38 pm

I'm not exactly sure why, but this one is my favorite. I think it's the mood. And I think it looks great, and can't wait to see updated versions and multi-screen options! Even if it takes a few months, it'll be worth it. (:

Sun May 8, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Has this piece been abandoned? I thought it was going to be updated...?

Sun May 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I'd love a night render of this, maybe with candles left for forgotten ancestors...?

Sun May 1, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Is this going to be updated or has it been abandoned?

Sat April 30, 2011 at 1:20 pm

"Dual Screen"
Still patiently waiting for a Dual screen version.

Tue April 26, 2011 at 12:42 am

"@Ted and Abby"
I have had this project "on the backburner" for quite a while now and need to finish it. I really want the single-screen to be as close to final as possible before widening the frame.

Mon April 25, 2011 at 12:05 am

"multi-screen update"
Any chance for a multi-screen update for this one? I suppose it must be hard to go back to an old project sometimes when new ideas come along.

Mon April 25, 2011 at 11:47 am

Please Please Please! Make a dual screen version of this!!!!

Fri April 22, 2011 at 12:41 am

"So Real"
This looks amazing. I'd afraid of cutting myself on that jagged closest rock. I love it just the way the image is right now. Although, I do try to look to the left of the image, wondering what is causing that shadow - must be something large :)

Sun April 10, 2011 at 6:38 pm

I have a new version of this rendering right now. The atmosphere and lighting at completely new and I've scaled back the long grass and flowers. It should be done rendering in a couple of days...

Wed April 6, 2011 at 9:17 am

I love this one but if your going to do the background a bit darker how about maybe some fog and a little bit of rain. Would be cool to have the rain dripping from the large rock, or something to that affect. Keep up the awesome work. =)

Tue April 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm

"Who knew?"
It's not finished? I used this as a wallpaper without even realizing that it wasn't done!

Tue March 29, 2011 at 10:13 pm

have to agree with most others, just something about it feels fake. Overall love the design and idea. If the rocks are a problem then you could always zoom out a bit. Would love to see this one on my desktop but that wont be happeing in its current render.

Fri March 25, 2011 at 7:42 am

Am I the only one who had never heard of a Dolmen ? I had to google the word to find out.. Nice piece, but not my fav..

Fri March 25, 2011 at 2:56 am

"Something different"
I don't mind this latest one, maybe some seasons in the future? :)

Thu March 24, 2011 at 9:58 pm

"Dolmen (2011)"
Interesting...I had never heard of dolmens before this post. I like the scene - it's very photo-realistic - and I always appreciate your attention to detail :)

I've read the Narnia series too and loved it! I hope future artworks feature Narnia-inspired scenes :D

Tue March 22, 2011 at 11:40 pm

Just a rock in my opinion.

Tue March 22, 2011 at 12:02 am

The ancient rock features have always been one of my favorite parts of history lessons in school (they remind me of the stone table) so I am excited to see how this turns out and would love to see a pickle jar version of the stone table. Keep up the great work Ryan!

Mon March 21, 2011 at 8:59 pm

This is way kewl!

The mountains in the background (left) don't seem to *mesh* with the ones on the right.

I agree with the earlier comment about lighting. Maybe something more early morning dramatic?

Mon March 21, 2011 at 7:29 pm

"Corner Cut Off"
This is a strong image, although I agree that it's reminiscent of your earlier work ("Relics"). On my screen, the upper right corner is cut off. My monitor is 16:9 ratio. I'd really like to see the upper end of the dolmen with a bit of sky beyond it.

Mon March 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Pat A
Thanks for explaining that the red thing is a butterfly...can see that now that I'm awake.

Mon March 21, 2011 at 5:27 pm

"Not Ready"
I have had this posted as my background for a few days. This is not ready for the gallery. everything looks a little too fake for me. this looks like something you could of made in 2005. You can make this so much better. To me this is more easter than st. pats day anyways. Make it better.

Mon March 21, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Dennis M.
"Odd suggestion"
I know this might sound weird, but how about instead of a dolman, make it a stone park bench that looks like it's ten thousand years old... :p

Mon March 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Paul M.
"Dolmen 2011"
'Dolmen" is one of my all time favorites! Good Job, Ryan!

Mon March 21, 2011 at 9:55 am

"a butterfly"
Looks like a butterfly to me :p

Mon March 21, 2011 at 9:07 am

Pat A
Love this...but what is the little red thingy in the lower middle of picture....looks like a canteen to me???? Ok, I know it's not a canteen, but what is it?

Mon March 21, 2011 at 8:02 am

Overall I get that this was not intended as a final release...

The more I look at it, the more I wish the colors of the grass and flowers etc was more vibrant. It feels somewhat dull in comparison to Cloverscape.

The clouds and mountains in the back also looks a little odd..

Its hard to comment as I don't really know the landscape of Ireland, the color pallet etc... but I'm hopeful that your final render would leave my jaw firmly on the ground!

Mon March 21, 2011 at 4:19 am

"Maybe not Ireland, but ..."
... it does resemble the Scottish countryside. The rocks -- the dolmen in particular -- look a little artificial, but you did say that you have a lot more that you want to do with this one. I eagerly await the finished product.

Sun March 20, 2011 at 4:06 pm

"pip squeek"
i dont know why i never seen this before. outstanding.

Sun March 20, 2011 at 8:54 am

"Can't wait to see the finished version"
I like this a lot. I love the atomsphere/lighting/clouds in this. The rocks are looking good, but still need a little work. Love the lushness of the ground. Very spring-like!

Sat March 19, 2011 at 10:17 am

The part of ireland that the dolmen are in is thin soil over limestone with lots of cracks and crevaces. The surface of the ground here looks a bit too much lush. the three small rocks could also do with some desizing. love the color and image rocks! looking forward to the next version.

Fri March 18, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Second only to Highland Spring! It's beautiful! Keep up the good work!

Fri March 18, 2011 at 1:10 pm

I have to second Stevo re: the rocks. The weathered surface texture and the lichens look pretty realistic to me. They make the dolmen and the other large rocks look mystical and ancient. I hope you don't change them.

Fri March 18, 2011 at 12:35 am

why not something a little cooler? like lions or somthing like that:)

Fri March 18, 2011 at 12:23 am

"Dusk or dawn, perhaps?"
Perhaps a early morning or late evening, or something with moodier lighting would add a bit more of a mystical air to this piece? I really like it, reminds me of the easter island heads wallpaper you did years ago. Loved that.

Fri March 18, 2011 at 12:16 am

Ryan, the dolmen is an intriguing idea for a wallpaper. I echo the earlier comments in saying that this is progressing nicely. I am surprised by your comment that the image is only 50% complete! Can't wait to see the finished article.

Fri March 18, 2011 at 12:08 am

"love it"
Dan, I actually think the big rocks are perfect. If they are anything like the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma (which also have some crazy rocks that look precariously balanced), they are covered in lichens, not mosses, which give them that ancient and weathered look.

Ryan, I really like this one. The background fog and hills are nice additions. I am with you on the little round rocks; they are somewhat distracting. But altogether this image is awesome.

Fri March 18, 2011 at 11:41 am

this is awesome, honestly better than stonehenge just cause its irish. but anyway an idea would be to mabye have it around sunset time? just to add more vivid color to it?

Fri March 18, 2011 at 11:28 am

"Keep going..."
I think you are definitely on to something. The only critique I can give is to work on making the rocks a little more realistic. Some how the moss and look on them is kind of fake. I love the short and tall grasses (That's what they are for those who weren't sure)and flowers. I think only thing to keep working on would be the realistic look of the rocks and the moss on them. Otherwise it's nice!

Fri March 18, 2011 at 10:55 am

I like this one!!! Anything good in the pickle jar for this one? Can we look forward to some dual/triple screens in the future?!!

Fri March 18, 2011 at 9:59 am

I like this one. My first thought was that the dolmen looks too unstable to stand--but then I looked at the pic of the real dolmen that inspired this, and it's even more gravity-defying than your imagined one!

Don't know if render times would make this impossible, but it would be neat to see an alternate version of this pic with either fog (like in Palisade or Pathway from 2000) or with that dark, diffuse "under the storm" gray lighting like in the pickle-jar version of Before the Storm (2007), with lightning bolts in the background.

It's fun to match your desktop pictures to the actual weather. There's a fair number of sunset, moonlit, an sunlit options in your gallery, but not as many choices for a good, dark rainy day. And spring storm season is fast approaching. :-)

Fri March 18, 2011 at 9:38 am

Well... the composition's nice and all, but the rendering looks a bit off, a little fake if i may... not really my favourite, though I'm sure you'll improve upon it in the next days! :)

Fri March 18, 2011 at 8:54 am

"can't find signature"
I realise this is a "starter"--but did you sign it?? Can't read it if you did!!!

Fri March 18, 2011 at 7:14 am

Big Dave
"Another eh..."
I agree the lighting seems wrong, the colors are too vibrant to be realistic and I'm not sure I care for the long blades of grass or whatever those are supposed to be. I'd even add that the clouds seem to be blocking the mountains in a way that just doesn't appeal to me. I think sometimes Vue or other landscape programs look better from a distance than up close in detail. So eh...not terrible but not a fav either.

Fri March 18, 2011 at 5:23 am

The clouds look great, and the idea is good as well, but it looks a little fake. Like a render from 6 or 7 years ago.

Fri March 18, 2011 at 2:19 am

"Parallel Reality"
Is that a castle in the distance? I do love castles.

That said, I think this one still looks a tad fantastic or impossible. Something about the combination of the clouds and mountains bugs me, although I can't see the twister others have mentioned. I agree with some other posters that it might be good to thin the rocks instead of outright removing them, and emphasize the play of the light among the remainder. You might allow some small variation in the flowers' pigmentation to make them look more wild.

Saying that it looks too incredible in the "unrealistic" sense doesn't change the fact that it looks too incredible in the "your audience will forever be in awe of this" sense. Even if I can't see something like this in my own back yard I can picture it in some place more like Narnia. Your work has always taken me to new worlds, so it's not like I could begrudge you any amount of unreality anyway. ...Keep up the good work I say!

(I'm thinking . . . pickle jar?)

Thu March 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm

"Dolmen lighting"
I think the light is too bright on the closest rock.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 8:00 pm

"time of day"
I have to agree with some others. Changing the light so that it's streaming through the rocks or just playing around and through it with lots of shadow and color variation would be more interesting. I like the concept so far. Most that I looked up seemed more like deliberately placed structures, chosen for the location, than the almost natural look that yours has and it's a little busy. I know you'll make it gorgeous as usual.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 7:25 pm

"St. Patrick's Day"
Ok. Where'd you hide the leprechaun? And where's the rainbow? Come on!

Thu March 17, 2011 at 7:05 pm

"HD 16:9 problem"
The 1920x1080 download loses the end of the top section & two of the crows off screen. Needs tweaking?

Thu March 17, 2011 at 5:47 pm

"Simple Thoughts"
Oh yeah .. one final thought .. maybe this can go though your 4 seasons as well. I mean you got a good spring one here. Summer could have brownish grass. Fall could have a more greenish dark to it as it is raining that time of year. Winter would be obvious :)

Thu March 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm

"Couple of thoughts"
Like a couple of posters have mentioned, the texture on the rocks has almost too much contrast, which gives it a grainy-artificial look (something your early works did a lot, but more recently ones have not).

My first thought of the mountain peak was also a "twister", perhaps tweaking the shape of the clouds would help here.

Finally, I am not quite sure about the taller blades of grass. They somehow seem off to me.

I think this one has a lot of potential though

Thu March 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm

"Simple Thoughts"
Ryan, beautiful spring picture. I love the background and how it looks like it is going to storm. The dolmen looks cool, and I think the rot/moss add a lot to it, as well as the cracks. The thing that I think takes away from it is the lots of little rocks half buried by grass. I think that the larger (not dolman) rocks jutting up are cool, but the littler ones just don't add much as you are adding too many details to something that should be focused on the large rocks itself. The simple grass with little flowers (maybe 25% less of them) might make the whole thing pop.

As you said - great start, and might be a pickle jar in the future.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Dude, Ryan already stated that this is an incomplete project. You could have taken the opportunity to provide constructive criticism (aka the meaning of this section), but instead you became a troll. I think there is great potential here. I would pull back and offer a more panoramic view with an enhanced sky.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 2:49 pm

"Solar Alignment"
A lot of ancient monoliths are solar aligned... so maybe adjusting it with the run rising in the background?

Thu March 17, 2011 at 1:56 pm

"Dolmen (2011)"
love the grass and rocks, but the sky needs to be brighter. also one of the clouds looks like a volcano errupting, kind of weird for an Ireeland pic I think. Can't wait to see the final product.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I love the moss covered stones

Thu March 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I love the moss covered stones

Thu March 17, 2011 at 1:05 pm

"different time of day?"
I like it quite a bit, but it looks like it's near the end or beginning of a day, with very long shadows. I'd really enjoy a bright sunny afternoon version.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 11:56 am

"Relax people...."
From Ryan:

"Added "Dolmen" to the gallery this morning. I had wanted to have this one ready for St. Patrick's Day (it was inspired by an Irish dolmen after all) but I think it is only about halfway there."

He did say it wasn't near done, he just wanted to get it posted on the actual holiday it's inspired from.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

rather boring. not sure what about it i'm supposed to be impressed with. you are way more talented and creative than this displays.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 11:23 am

"Dolmen "
I agree with Flareheart

Thu March 17, 2011 at 11:23 am

"Feels a little undercooked"
Hey Ryan, I think this is a beautiful picture. It reminds me of my trip to Ireland this past September, but I think it's a little underdone in comparison to your other recent works. It just feels a little unfinished. It's a beautiful picture and I can't wait for the more refined version.

Keep up the great work!

Thu March 17, 2011 at 10:38 am

Steve H.
"it's a twista!"
It looks like a tornado on the horizon between those clouds.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 9:53 am

Yes, reading those books to Ian these past months has caused a bit of "creeping Narnia" in my work.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 9:52 am

One of those birds looks like it's eying the butterfly on the rock in the foreground.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 9:49 am

"dolmen or Park Bench?"
The Scene itself is gorgeous. Contrary to some of the previous comments I think the lighting is more appropriate for a St Paddy's day scene. I also think all of the different rocks besides the dolemen itself adds a nice complexity to the picture. But the Dolmen itself looks more like a stone bench. I am not sure what contributes to that, I think several items. Both of the uprights eroded to a fraction of the thickness of the capstone, the low viewing angle, and the lack of a referent. The ravens are a nice touch to make it even more Irish.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 9:48 am

"Reminds me of…"
the part of the Lion, the witch, and the wardrobe where Aslan is brought to the stone table and sacrificed

Thu March 17, 2011 at 9:46 am

A Moonlight version would be perfect IMHO

Thu March 17, 2011 at 9:24 am

A Moonlight version would be perfect IMHO

Thu March 17, 2011 at 9:24 am

Nice, but playing with the lighting might make it better. Some low-angle orange/red lighting (like a sunset) would make some cool shadows and colouring.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 9:18 am

"Re: Dolmen"
This one is half-in/half-out of the gallery. I posted it last night but am having second thoughts about whether it is ready or not.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 8:43 am

I think the big rocks texture is a little bit too grainy and creates too much contrast. I think a more subdued texture like the one on the right "pillar" hits the spot.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 8:16 am

Greg in CA
"Why isn't this on the main page?"
I wouldn't even have known there was a new piece if I hadn't seen a picture of it with the latest comment.

Thu March 17, 2011 at 1:10 am

"Rocks "Mole hills""
Yay, green! Bring on spring! I like this one, but I have to agree about the dark little rocks in the grass. At a quick glance, they look like mole hills. I want to jump in the screen with a shovel and clean those up. ;-)

Wed March 16, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Cool concept but I agree, the rendering on the rocks seems a bit funny. And the paler, more "spring-like" greens kind of kill any feeling of age or mystery that might go along with something like a dolmen. Definitely a neat concept though!

Wed March 16, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Tim H
"@ Ryan"
Thought you might get a kick out of this.

Oh and I love the new render.

Wed March 16, 2011 at 10:21 pm

"Simple and pretty"
Its green and is just in time for spring. :) It was a beautiful day where I live and this is just the perfect end to it. Ooh and there is a butterfly too! :)

Wed March 16, 2011 at 9:53 pm

Actually I think it was Kilclooney dolmen.

Wed March 16, 2011 at 9:10 pm

That was the exact dolmen that inspired this one.

Wed March 16, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Reminds me of the real thing, pulnabrone dolmen

Wed March 16, 2011 at 9:01 pm

I like it, not sure about the render on the rocks. Love the three wise birds sitting atop the large rock. You never disappoint - thanks!

Wed March 16, 2011 at 8:00 pm

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