Highland Summer

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8.78/10 rating
(290 votes)

"Highland Spring" is one of my most complicated scenes (it contains hundreds of billions of polygons) so adding realistic clouds for a summer version really knocked the render times through the roof.

I tried to mitigate this with my first attempt by making the clouds fairly opaque (the more you can see through the clouds the longer the render), but the final effect wasn't quite up to par with the original.

Back to the drawing board and, two weeks of render time later, I've posted my final version of "Highland Summer" this morning. I've tried to make the clouds more wispy and "fog-like" and I've strengthened the shadows from the higher cloud level. The clouds, I think, are the most realistic I've attempted to render (detail crop here).

It feels strange posting a summer picture while the leaves are falling outside my window, but I'm sure my fans down-under will under enjoy a timely seasonal wallpaper for a change. I will try to get the multiscreen version of this going ASAP, but it will probably be a while. More renderers would speed up this process for me...

The first two renders will remain in the Pickle Jar for your perusal.

Pickle Jar Variations what's this?

Member Comments

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"Love it"
Over the years, this still remains my favorite of all the renders you have ever done. Is there any chance of a 4k or otherwise multi-screen version? Thanks!

Sat September 19, 2015 at 9:08 pm

Could we get multi-screen versions of this one?

Mon June 1, 2015 at 10:43 am

Where are the multi-screen renders?

Fri March 6, 2015 at 1:44 am

I love this view, all about the balance of colors, composition of the landscape. Given the more powerful hardware you have now, I am desperate for a triple 16:9 version of this!

Fri March 21, 2014 at 10:53 am

Dual screen anytime? LOVE the spring and winter versions.

Wed June 5, 2013 at 1:39 pm

"Highland series - stunning"
Highland spring, summer (w/2 pickle jar versions), winter, and Xmas. One of my all-time favorite scenes. Dual-monitor for "spring" only, so I took "winter" and "summer", flipped winter 180 horizontally, joined it to summer, for a dual-screen that works great, in rotation with other DB stuff.

Tue March 5, 2013 at 1:58 pm

"Highlan summer"
This is stunning. i love it!

Thu January 12, 2012 at 10:20 am

"Highland Summer>Awesome!!!"
Hi Ryan,

Thanks 4 thinking about us down-under........you truly are a talented guy.........KEEP UP THE FIGHT M8...Your 2011 collection is (what can I say?)JUST AWESOME!

Sat July 30, 2011 at 6:58 am

"missing resolution"
There is no 480 x 320 resolution for this.

Thu July 7, 2011 at 1:39 pm

One of my new favorites!

Mon May 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm

"Best of the seasons"
I love your multiple season takes of the same image. This is my favorite of the Highland series.

Mon March 14, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Jeff R.E.
"Nice Edit"
I love this series. Another home run, Ryan!

Tue January 4, 2011 at 11:00 am

"Dual screen needed"
I wish this one was available in 5120x1600 for my dual 30" setup. :)

Pehaps one day :)

Sat December 18, 2010 at 3:35 pm

"Better than the first"
Even better than Highland Spring! Please render a dual wallpaper version!!

Wed December 8, 2010 at 1:17 am

JC Navarro
"My Favorite"
I have to say, i didn't think it was going to be so soon that you would top HighlandSpring, but this is without a doubt my favorite piece you have done. I LOVE IT. It makes me miss Colorado that much more.

Mon November 22, 2010 at 9:34 pm

"One of your best wallpaper"
And I forgot to mention, Highland Spring was one of my absolute favorite of your wallpapers .. so yeah, this is mucho great.

Mon October 25, 2010 at 0:40 am

YES! Finally, a down-under seasonally correct wallpaper!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU very much! :)

I generally put up whatever is the newest but to actually have this ... thanks very much!

And for the record, I prefer image 2 better. It was the most summer looking one.

Mon October 25, 2010 at 0:39 am

"Highland Summer"
One of my favorites....really draws me in.

Sun October 24, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Henry V.
"Great seasonal update"
I look forward to the fall version when you do decide to put it up.

Sun October 24, 2010 at 9:24 am

OMG youve really stepped it up with this one! Finally a version where the background isn't blown out and it looks absolutely amazing! I envy your Vue skills!!!

Sat October 23, 2010 at 11:40 pm

"You've outdone yourself again"
I did not think it was possible to like a wallpaper more than I like Highland Spring, but I believe it's just happened! The clouds are amazing! My only wish is that the 1920 x 1080 crop was moved up just a bit, to capture the next rank of outcroppings in the distance and add even more depth.

Wed October 20, 2010 at 3:19 pm

"New member - incredibly impressed"
And not just with this one, I would love to see a triple-monitor resolution, but I'm guessing it'll take AGES to render! Thanks for the amazing work, keep it up.

Mon October 18, 2010 at 3:57 pm

"Much improved!!"
I think this new render is a great improvement from the earlier version... well worth the wait!

Sun October 17, 2010 at 10:06 pm

"Can't wait for autumn version."
I wasn't a big fan of the spring version when it came out, but I like this summer one and I think your autumn and winter versions will be great too.

Sun October 17, 2010 at 4:52 pm

"Dual Monitor (corrention)"
I meant 3200x1200 :) lol

Sun October 17, 2010 at 2:38 am

"Dual monitor"

Can't wait to use this amazing render, but do you know when dual monitor versions will be available? I would like to apply it to my 2560x1600 desktop. Thanks!

Sun October 17, 2010 at 2:37 am

I had to bring myself back to reality because I wish I could go there! Literally took my breath away. :D

Sat October 16, 2010 at 1:39 am

Without a doubt, this is your most impressive image so far. Keep it up Ryan! I already have a lifetime, but I may donate a bit to your hardware fund.

Fri October 15, 2010 at 9:29 am

"Wow... wow."
While I like the original cloud version, this new one is REALLY good. I'm very impressed. Good work.

Fri October 15, 2010 at 2:13 am

"Mac book"
Loved the original of this image so much so that I used it for about a year. I really didn't think you could improve on this image but wow. Looks like I might be using this one for quite a while.

Fri October 15, 2010 at 0:39 am

Jonathan L
"iPhone 4 Res:"
Yay finally. ;) lol


Great wallpaper -- it looks SO real!

Thu October 14, 2010 at 10:37 pm

"iPhone 4 Res..."
...is here. Sorry for the wait!

Thu October 14, 2010 at 10:18 pm

"Highland summer"
AWESOME RYAN! nice Summer modification!

Highland must be you're most beautiful wallpaper EVA!! =P

keep it up! NICE WORK!


Thu October 14, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Nate F
"Worth it"
extra render time was very much worth it. not really a fan of pickle jar versions. also, "hundreds of billions of polygons" wow!

Thu October 14, 2010 at 2:15 pm

"I like!"
A little noisy at high resolutions, but an auto-contrast levels that out perfectly for me.

I think this wallpaper is equally as good as your other wallpapers. The spring version when first posted was amazing - it was different to any other wallpaper, and it had immense detail, it was truly out of this world.

This one though is more of the same, a brilliant twist to an amazing wallpaper, but not quite as eye-poppingly amazing as the original... but that's to be expected.

Thu October 14, 2010 at 11:53 am

"Amazingly beautiful"
This is amazingly beautiful. And I agree with others your renders keep getting better and better. I love the clouds, but I always go back to the mountains, being my favorite in all the renders of this particular one. You outdid yourself on this one. Can't wait to see what you come up with next. :-)

Thu October 14, 2010 at 10:59 am

Yep and it has a tree in it's mouth LOL!!

Ryan... It is hard to believe but you are getting better and better with each piece of work.

Thanks SO much for your continued efforts in makeing the world alot better looking with your Artwork.

Thu October 14, 2010 at 7:47 am

"So Good!"
Wow, this is really such a great piece both technically and the way its pulls the whole scene together. I also can't wait to see fall and winter versions!!

Thu October 14, 2010 at 7:38 am

Easily the best piece technically to date. Not sure if it makes me think of Summer, if anything I'd say it's closer to winter - not everywhere gets snow in winter!

As a 'summer' image I'm still a fan of the pickle jar version with the big white clouds but obviously this version is the best in terms of looks. Can't wait until 2011 so I can use the multiscreen version :P

Thu October 14, 2010 at 6:30 am

Having just come back from Norway in September this is a cool reminder. Have a look here for a view from the other end of the Fjord ;-) http://tinyurl.com/344vexh

Thu October 14, 2010 at 4:15 am

"No comparison!"
This version is not only the best version (obviously) but arguably one of your best works yet. Normally I'd be put off by the graininess but there is so much going on here that it's the last thing on my mind. Fantastic work!

Thu October 14, 2010 at 2:19 am

"love it"
love it, cannot wait to see the fall and winter versions

Wed October 13, 2010 at 8:12 pm

"Highland awesomeness"
Still one of your best and I love everything about this update. Worth the wait. :)

Wed October 13, 2010 at 8:02 pm

The Guru
"Very, very good!"
I really like it a lot. I think I still prefer the spring version but this is a much more suitable one for a series, as the other summer one was too similar. There did seem to be some grain in this render although I seem to recall you doing that for a previous render because colour lines were too obvious in the final product.

Wed October 13, 2010 at 7:41 pm

rev. sK

Wed October 13, 2010 at 6:30 pm

"Thanks from downunder"
Great to see you thinking of us - love love love summer highland! Just perfect for this time of year in Australia when the weather is warming up...

Wed October 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm

"iPhone 4 version?"
Seems the iPhone 4 version is missing.

Wed October 13, 2010 at 5:18 pm

"Looks good/iPhone resolution missing"
Looking good. Can't wait for the multi-screen to arrive (probably in about 6 months! Maybe you can borrow some server time from Google).

Also, the iPhone 4 mobile wallpaper resolution is missing. Looking forward to having this one on the lock screen, if you could find that missing res!

Wed October 13, 2010 at 5:16 pm

Matt R
"Highland Summer (new)"
This is the best you have done on your cloudwork. Very realistic. Sunray's are very well done they make me imagine the peaks that are causing them but are unseen.

It was already good, but you have improved it.

Wed October 13, 2010 at 4:46 pm

"Really really good"
This one is definitely a keeper. The clouds look fantastic in it. :)

Wed October 13, 2010 at 2:06 pm

"Wow - worth the wait for the render!"
I'm so glad you kept at it - this looks amazing and is definitely on par with Highland Spring, one of my favorite works of yours.

Wed October 13, 2010 at 1:10 pm

"I really like this one!"
I especially like the clouds, and how the water peeks through in places. Awesome! Thank you.

Wed October 13, 2010 at 12:59 am

"Good Update!"
Clouds look great on this version.

Wed October 13, 2010 at 12:41 am

"Final update"
Great! Thank you for putting clouds back in. I love the lighting and cloud work of this version.

Wed October 13, 2010 at 11:36 am

I tend to agree on all counts; especially the chilly vibe effect. If this were not labeled as "summer" it would be stupendous, but now the audience has a preconception of a sweltering valley. I'm sure Ryan will knock this out of the park on the very next rendition.

Wed October 13, 2010 at 11:28 am

"Update Spring version"
A wonderful update to the prior version. The clouds and the sun look amazing. Very nicely done. There is still a haze that make it appear less High quality, especially with the tree and the moutians on the left. Other than that, its a great update.

One thing I was thinking, does this one feel slightly "colder" than the previous version? Has kind of a chilling effect on me with the high silver ambiance.

Wed October 13, 2010 at 10:50 am

"Better than spring version"
The spring version was the best work i have seen from you. till now. It's really awesome. The flowers in the foreground make it perfect.

Is it possible to make a view from the lake to the tree in the foreground. I think that also would look great.

I´m looking forward to see the autumn and winter version...

Thu September 30, 2010 at 2:22 am

David Stac
"Highland Summaer 2010"
I like the view showing the distant cliffs. Adds more mystery to the picture because viewer now may have more adventure filled miles to exit the majestic canyons into the North Sea. Awesome work as always!

Sun September 26, 2010 at 10:39 pm

Thanks for the heads up. The dropdown menu should have the right links now.

Sun September 26, 2010 at 11:12 am

"Wrong links - Follow-up"
That would be in the drop-down menu from the gallery, not this page.

Sun September 26, 2010 at 0:30 am

"Wrong links"
The links all appear to go to Canopy Creek right now.

Sun September 26, 2010 at 0:30 am

"1600 x 1200"
Sorry about that. The 1600 x 1200 is now available.

Sat September 25, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Seriously, where's the 1600X1200 version?!?

Sat September 25, 2010 at 1:05 pm

If we're only going to have one 4:3 option, shouldn't it be the larger one, and just have 1600x1200 instead of 1152x864?

Fri September 24, 2010 at 6:46 pm

"I like the clouds and foreground better."
The clouds could have been rendered better, but they really set the image apart and I prefer it.

The one without clouds looks dull.

If you insist on being cloudless, at least use the foreground from the cloud image. The cloud image foreground is really good.

Fri September 24, 2010 at 5:57 pm

"Thoughts for Summer"
The clouds were a great idea of differentiating between summer and spring, but the looks of them did feel off.

I do live hear the mountains and in the summer is does get a bit hazy, whether from the heat or from forest fires near by. Maybe that could help?

Fri September 24, 2010 at 3:07 pm

"Shadows without clouds?"
Can't you have the cloud shadows, but not have the clouds in the image? Or perhaps add some rain and hail.

Thu September 23, 2010 at 10:00 pm

"Clouds didn't work..."
I agree, the clouds didn't work, and the summer version should probably have fewer flowers. Perhaps a summer mountain thunderstorm? May be difficult given the viewpoint. I don't know about the fall version as many of the trees look like firs, but the winter version has high potential.

Thu September 23, 2010 at 9:00 pm

"I like the picklejar..."
I prefer the pickled version for the clouds, but I agree the clouds are a bit stark in their appearance - the rest of the image is so soft and the clouds appear rather rough based on the drastic shifts in luminosity. I would love to see a version with a little softer clouds.

Thu September 23, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Can't wait for the winter one though :D

Thu September 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm

I think this one should be the spring one and the other the summer :p.I liked the clouds, now it is looks the same as the spring version =/.

Thu September 23, 2010 at 3:43 pm

I liked 'em. I didn't they looked too bad, yeah they were pretty white bit I've seen similar in reality so I can believe them. This version is still excellent but is quite similar to the spring version. What about a summers night: with no clouds and the valley bathed in moonlight? Or better yet a sunset/rise type one, although not sure how feasible that'd be with the steep sides...

Thu September 23, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Where is the regular screen version (1600x1200)?

Thu September 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm

"Very Nice .. "
Much improved. Please make Tri-Screen asap!

Thu September 23, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Chad D.
"Didn't like the first render, but WOW!"
Love this one, Ryan! Two thumbs up!!!

Thu September 23, 2010 at 2:36 pm

This is so awesome, I'm really looking forward to the autumn and winter version, Thanks Ryan you are awesome

Thu September 23, 2010 at 1:43 pm

I'm missing the 1600x1200 res - is that now an abandoned res?

Thu September 23, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I don't suppose you would consider making this an African summer? like with long dry yellow grass and maybe a fire? I think that would be awesome! summer isn't associated with green everywhere in the world you know, especially not in South Africa where I live

Thu September 23, 2010 at 1:11 pm

The clouds were bad, but now without them it looks too much like highland spring. I think add some clouds, but not at saturatedly white as the previous ones

Thu September 23, 2010 at 12:56 am

"Highland summer"
I love the clouds in the pickle jar version. And look foreward to your autumn and winter renders of this particular render. Awesome job!!!

Thu September 23, 2010 at 11:43 am

I loved the clouds, they just needed a second pass to look a little more natural.

Thu September 23, 2010 at 11:30 am

"I miss the clouds :("
I hope there are others like me, but the clouds did wonders for the inital render and I miss them dearly. All they needed was a little tweaking. If you find some free time to look in to putting them back i know id be excited.

Thu September 23, 2010 at 11:29 am

"Lighter Clouds"
I agree that the clouds are good to differentiate it from the spring image, I especially liked what they did to the color of the cliffs. I also agree that they look a bit to chunky. Perhaps if the clouds were wispier or more translucent it would still serve to make the colors more different from the Spring image, but get away from the cotton-balls look.

Thu September 23, 2010 at 9:38 am

Is it just me, or does anyone else see a skull in this picture? I noticed it in the spring version (which I love).

Thu September 23, 2010 at 8:56 am

I agree with Walo, I liked how the clouds made the image look different then the spring version... the clouds just needed some more natural texture or something.

Thu September 23, 2010 at 8:43 am

Maybe making the tree look more developed will help this version give a 'summer' feel

Thu September 23, 2010 at 8:26 am

"2 cents"
Adding a cloud layer wasn't a bad move. The problem was that the textures looked unnatural.

Thu September 23, 2010 at 8:24 am

Can we get galleries of these seasonal pictures together. So we could see the four season progression all at once.

Thu September 23, 2010 at 8:22 am

"Too Many flowers"
I don't think of flowers when I think of summer....that is a spring time theme. Highland Summer has more flowers than Highland Spring and I think that is backwards.

Thu September 23, 2010 at 7:04 am

Chris B
Meant the Summer one you can't see the jagged peaks.

Wed September 22, 2010 at 10:31 pm

Chris B
They were a bit too much too fake/plasticy looking though I do like how the clouds were merging into the trees. I like the 2nd version better with faint fog. One of the things i really liked about spring one is that I couldn't see the jagged peaks. I don't know why really but I do.

Wed September 22, 2010 at 10:29 pm

I thought maybe the clouds were a little too chunky ;) Here's a version without the clouds that I rendered first (last week) but didn't post because I thought the atmosphere needed work. I like the scene as I have it in the original, but I think I will leave off the cloud layer in the final version. Consider this a placeholder!

Wed September 22, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Dear Ryan,

In the summer the clouds would form in the early morning. It would be fog like hanging in the low areas. On the farm you look at your low lands early in the morning, fog in the morning means no rain that day. Low lying air condenses as the earth cools on a clear night.

Wed September 22, 2010 at 7:41 pm

I like the clouds but I hope to see a re-render where they are far less dense. They look almost plastic. The foreground is still incredible.

Wed September 22, 2010 at 4:31 pm

I love the light shafts on this. Agree that the clouds are "too chunky", but I like that there are a lot of clouds in this. Maybe stormy clouds instead? Or cloud different heights? I do like how they press into the sides of the mountains-that effect turned out well.

I agree spring/summer can look similar. I think for this, lighting is going to be a good way to make the version different.

Wed September 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm

"Keep the clouds"
While I tend to agree some of the the clouds look a little "off" I do like the clouds being there (a lot, actually) and hope they make the final cut.

Wed September 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm

"Sorry but below par"
First post which given that I'm posting negative comments I feel bad about. Love most of your work but this is not up to scratch. Far to similar to spring version and those clouds just look plain nasty.

Wed September 22, 2010 at 3:23 pm

"Some ideas"
It does seem pretty similar to the spring version. It might have helped if the clouds had been more diffuse. I was also surprised to see that the bird is in the same place in both pictures.

That said I normally don't post here because I'm usually so pleased with your images that it doesn't occur to me to give feedback! (I'm bad with compliments.)

Wed September 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Looks gorgeous, other than the clouds. Just the misty haze would suffice IMO :)

Wed September 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm

"To the Pickle Jar"
To me, this one isn't worthy of the main gallery. The clouds don't fit in with the rest of the scenery. Lower quality than the rest of the DB wallpapers.

Wed September 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm

"Request: Swap Summer and Spring"
First off let me say thanks for an incredible job Mr. Bliss. Back when the spring render was released I foreshadowed the trials of the summer version. You should really flip-flop this and the spring however. Just like 'Canopy Creek' the one looks more like the other's season. I feel a cool rushing wind when I see this one which is definitely not a summer mood. Swap them and then revise the new spring w/ the below feedback and you will be golden.

Wed September 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm

"Living in the high country that I do..."
If you'd like photos to draw from, I'd be happy to send some your way. Spring is usually full of blossoms, and the grass is VERY green from being soaked all winter from resting snow. Clouds are wispy and there is often early morning fog. Summer transcends from blossoms into leaves, medium hue green grasses, and lots of afternoon Thunderstorms.

Either way, love sun shafts in this one.

Wed September 22, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I've been a follower of your work for over 5 years now and Highland Spring is my all time favourite, so as you can imagine I've been pretty excited about Highland Summer!

I am not disappointed!! Another fantastic piece of art! Not as good the spring version, but maybe that's because it's not new like the spring was.

My only 'complaint' is that the eagle hasn't moved!

Wed September 22, 2010 at 11:44 am

Im very excited about the seasonal updates to this render. I enjoy the flowers on the hill and the overall feeling of the clouds as well. It gives it a matured feeling. These are just some thoughts I had on the initial render.


The cloud near the ground is a little to much of a blob and is a little too solid white. Possibly add a little more transparency and/or disperse the cloud a little and it should be just fine.


Mountians (left) and Trees (bottom right), appear grainy. It seems it might be due to the shadow issue with the clouds. The texture just seems out of place and makes them both feel unnatural (trees especially). Overall the haze throughout the image reduces the sharpness I loved in the first render.

Hope these ideas help and jive with others. Looking forwards to any updates!

Wed September 22, 2010 at 11:05 am

Harry King
Really all I can say is wow that is truly incredible and stunning.

Only comment myself would be (from 1920x1080 vers.) that the clouds that aren't shadowed by the mountains might want a touch more texture or brightness/contrast tweaks on their tops like how they are when shadowed. I reckon you would be able to discern their shapes even in that bright sunlight.

Wed September 22, 2010 at 11:03 am

I love both Highland Spring and Highland Summer; they are among my top favorites.

Wed September 22, 2010 at 10:47 am

"Something's off"
Don't know if it's the clouds or shadow, but something is off in the look of this one. Sorry :(

Wed September 22, 2010 at 10:46 am

The clouds are far to white, they look very odd

Wed September 22, 2010 at 10:20 am

There's something strange about these cloud textures. These look unnatural.

Wed September 22, 2010 at 10:13 am

"Looks a lot like the spring version"
Most of your summer/fall/winter/spring pieces are very distinct in how the seasons changes. I love this piece of work, don't get me wrong, I just don't see much of a difference distinguishing this as summer as opposed to spring. I feel bad saying something negative when I really do love both images!

Wed September 22, 2010 at 9:52 am

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