2002 News Updates
- 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 ;-)