2008 News Updates
- I guess I should pop in here and let you all know what's been going on. I mentioned back on 10/12 that I was having surgery and that I hoped it would take care of the problem I was having once in for all. Unfortunately, it didn't.
I saw a new doctor last Monday and last Tuesday I was operated on again. This time it is a two step proces, with some temporary hardware inserted that must remain (painfully) in place for 6 weeks before being replaced by permanent hardware in a second (and, they tell me, final) procedure.
I was hesitant to even mention that I was having surgery again, since I had overestimated how bad the recovery would be back in October. I thought maybe I would be able to get back to work quickly and never mention it.
This time, I'm afraid, I am going to be out of it a little while longer. It's been almost a week and I am still in a haze of pain pills and not feeling up to doing much. To be completely honest, I kind of down in the dumps about the whole thing and probably couldn't come up with a cheery piece of Christmas artwork even if I could sit my computer long enough to create it.
I'm sure a lot of you are curious as to exactly what my problem is. All I will say is that it is a personal problem and I would rather not get into specifics. Just know that it isn't life threatening or debilitating in the long term but is having a major negative impact on my quality of life in the near term.
I can't really say when I will be able to get back to work. Hopefully soon. Thanks for understanding.
- I've added all of my 7680 x 1600 triple widescreen renders to the gallery this evening. Those of you lucky enough to be running three 30" monitors have some new wallpapers to enjoy. You'll find the appropriate links next to the images in the 2008 gallery or you can download them all in a zip file on the downloads page.
I had hoped to have all of the 2008 images rendered before the I posted them, but decided that I would just put up what I have and go back and work on the rest. There are twenty of them right now, representing the latest twenty images posted.
I haven't created split files for them yet, and to be completely honest, I am debating whether it is worth the effort on my part to offer split files. It would be a heck of a lot easier for me just to post a single file and let those who need to split it do it themselves. Why, oh why, doesn't the vaunted MacOS allow users to span a single image across two or more monitors?
I also haven't yet created dual-widesceen (5120 x 1600) crops of these images. If there is a great need for them, of if you have any other comments, please feel free to post below.
- A few items to to mention this morning. First, I've posted the dual and triple screen versions of "At World's Edge (Winter)". I've been thrilled with the reception to this one and I hope you multi-screen users enjoy it as much as the single-screen users have.
Second, I've added Zip files for the Pickle Jar. They are separated by resolution, though I don't have the 1152 x 864 images represented yet. I'm still working on a way to to zip them all up for you.
Lastly, I learned this week that Zazzle has opened a website and distribution center in the UK. I've gotten countless emails from European visitors who are interested in my prints, calendars, etc but were turned off by the hefty shipping fees that Zazzle (US) was charging.
This should help bring the shipping fees under control as long as you place your order through the UK store. My collection on Zazzle (UK) can be found here, while North American users can browse the collection here.
- I've posted the dual and triple screen versions of "At World's Edge" this evening. Hope you enjoy them! Now I'm off to help Jessie set up the house for hosting the family tomorrow for Thanksgiving. Have a safe and happy holiday if you are celebrating!
- A few items to mention this evening. First, I've posted a new wallpaper. It's called "At World's Edge" and it's basically a project did to familiarize myself with the new features in Vue 7. I hope you like it.
Secondly, I've added some new resolution choices. I've gotten many many emails from folks asking if I could provide 1680 x 1050 and 1440 x 900 resolutions and I've always just posted 1920 x 1200 images and hoped that folks would use their OSs scaling feature. Then I looked at my web logs and noticed that more people are surfing DB using 1680 x 1050 than any other widescreen resolution. Seems kind of silly not to offer it as an option. I've thrown in a 1440 x 900 option for folks using that resolution as well.
I've also added 480 x 320 images to the mobile resolutions (to support the new Blackberry Bold). I'd like to post 360 x 480 images in the future (to support the Blackberry Storm) but I need to see how much hand cropping and tweaking will need to be done in order for my images to look decent.
All of the new resolutions are available in zip files for easy downloading here. Enjoy!
- I've posted a new dual-widescreen version of "A New Dawn" this morning. The framing is now more in line with the other multi-screen renders. Hope this one works for everyone!
- I've made a change to my Gift Memberships which could save folks quite a bit of money this holiday season. Thousands of people have purchased gift memberships for friends and family over the past 10 years but now it's even more economical.
I've made it so you will get an increasing discount based on the number of gift certificates you buy. Buy 2 gift memberships and you will receive 10% off the total price. Buy 3 and get 15% off, 4 and get %20 percent off, up to 30% off if you purchase 6 gift memberships. You could get a Lifetime Membership for only $69 or a 1 year membership for only $17.50.
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "A New Dawn" to the gallery this morning. It was something of a challenge to reframe this one for multi-screen and I hope you guys approve of the solution I settled on.
- Those interested in purchasing "A New Dawn" as a poster print will find it here in my Zazzle collection.
- Ok, I think I'm done tinkering now. As I mentioned last time, I wanted to rework "A New Dawn" using some of the new tools available to me in the latest version of Vue d'Esprit (released just last week). The new version is up now (the old version will remain available in the Pickle Jar).
What's different? Most noticably, the water now has "real" waves rather than being a flat plane. Beyond looking more realistic, the new waves (I think) can be animated which opens up some new avenues for animated wallpaper.
I've also replaced the clouds with Vue's new cloud technology ("Spectral 2.0"). This took quite a bit of tweaking, but I think these clouds look a little less chunky than the old ones. The lighting is also a little better (IMO) in this version, with a bit of the left side of the cave visable.
All in all, I'm very pleased with the new version of Vue and I can't wait to apply what I've learned to some brand new scenes. Expect a multi-screen version shortly and then it's onward and upward.
- Just wanted to let you all know that I had to spend the weekend in the hospital for a nasty stomach bug. I'd been suffering from it all last week, but late Friday night it hit me hard and I had to seek treatment. I'm feeling a lot better now though and I'm back at the computer again.
I had a multi-monitor version of "A New Dawn" ready, but this morning I thought I would spend a little time and try to render the scene using some of Vue 7's new features. Vue 7 has better looking clouds and water and I think I can make some nice improvements to the scene before moving on. I'd also like to see if the new clouds handle the switch from single-screen to multi-screen (a bug in Vue 6 which I have mentioned before).
Thanks for your patience. Hopefully the results will be worth it.
- I've added "Cooliris" compatibility to the Members Gallery this morning.
I'm still playing around with it, but for now it loads the entire gallery in a nifty "flying wall" of images. If you see an image you like, click it and it will load a larger version. Look to the right of the title for an arrow. Click that and you will be taken to the image's place in my gallery where you can download wallpaper resolutions.
For now the 1152 x 864 images load when you click the thumbnails. If my bandwidth goes through the roof I may switch to the 640 x 480 images I use for the "See All" gallery.
Click here to try it out after you have installed the plugin. Drop a comment below if you have feedback or questions.
- I've added the dual and triple screen versions of "A New Playmate" to the gallery this afternoon. I've also uploaded new Zune and PSP versions to fix some problems with the earlier files.
- I know my doctor told me to take it easy, but I had an idea for a Halloween wallpaper and time was wasting. As I said below, the pain has been a lot better than I thought it was going to be so I was able to sit long enough to put together a new image. It's called "A New Playmate" and it's now up in the gallery.
Given all the stress I've been though recently, and what we've all been watching on the news every day, I thought it would be better to do something fun rather than something ghoulish. Hope you guys like it!
- I'm back home from the hospital now (they let me go home yesterday actually). I've been told that everything went smoothly and I am in a lot less pain that I was after the first operation last year. They still don't want me working or even lifting more than 10 lbs for the next week or so but I have a feeling that I will be back at work sooner rather than later. Thanks to everyone for the kind wishes!
- I've posted the dual and triple screen versions of "Niflheim" this afternoon. I hope you enjoy them!
I found out on Thursday that I need to have some surgery done. The operation is tommorow and, while it isn't anything life threatening, I do expect to be out of commission for a while (I'll know more about how long tommorow).
It's the same type of operation I underwent last November. I've been dealing with the lingering effects all year really. The first operation wasn't entirely successful so hopefully this one gets the job done.
Wish me luck!
- Added "Niflheim" to the gallery this evening (title explained here). This is the space project that I mentioned setting aside in my "Inspiration" blog post. I was torn on whether or not to come back to it, since being stuck on a project is not very much fun. I'm glad I decided to work it out though. It think it came out rather well and makes a nice addition to my space images. I also like that it is a complete 180 from my previous 3 pieces. I hope you like it too.
Next up is a multi-screen version and then I'd like to do something a little more seasonal. Either another fall image or perhaps a Halloween theme.
Speaking of Halloween: I've added links to all of my Holiday images (see just below the 1997 gallery link on the left hand side of the page) so it should be a little easier to find the images you want without having to dig through the main galleries.
- Just wanted to chime in a let you guys know that I am finishing up a new render (a space theme) and I hope to have it available sometime in the next few days depending on how long the render takes.
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Red and Gold" to the gallery this morning.
I've also added a poster version of "Red and Gold" to my Zazzle collection for those of you interested in having a hard copy on your wall.
Lastly, for those of you who have wondered where I get my ideas from, I made a blog post recently which addresses this oft-asked question.
- By popular request, I've added an autumn colored version of "Green and Gold" (titled "Red and Gold") to the gallery this morning. Normally, I would probably have something like this in the Pickle Jar but I think this one deserves a place in the gallery.
Technically, one of the advantages of composing the tree out of many seperate tree objects is that I am able to vary the leaf colors. This is something that I haven't been able to do before using single objects (you could use different colors but they would be evenly mixed throughout the tree).
I should have a multi-screen render up soon and then move on to other projects.
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Green and Gold" to the gallery this morning. I have to say right up front that the "Cloud Bug" that has plauged other multi-screen renders rears its ugly head here as well. The cloud bug, if you didn't read my post a couple of months ago, is a fault in Vue d'Esprit where the clouds change shape when I change the aspect ratio of the render. Basically, it means it is impossible to get the same clouds in the multi-screen render that I have in the single-screen version. They've told me that they are working on fixing this, but at this point I think the fix (if it comes at all) will be a part of Vue 7 rather than an update for Vue 6.
I've added a print version of "Green and Gold" to my Zazzle collection. I've also added a couple of new product categories; greeting cards and postcards. So far I've only added the top ten images (plus one or two of my personal favs), but if the demand is there I will add more. The greeting cards are blank on the inside. I would have added Christmas images, but I have an exclusive arrangement with a British company that keeps me from marketing my own Christmas cards. I can provide a link to them if anyone is interested.
I've been very pleased reading the comments regarding "Green and Gold" over the past few days. I'm glad most of you seem to have enjoyed it (and that some of you have found a bit of solace in it during troubling times). After 11 years making people happy never gets old.
- I've added "Green and Gold" to the gallery this morning. This project was an exercise for me to see if I could use Vue plants, along with the built-in Plant Editor, to create more complex and interesting models. I think it worked out pretty well in this case and I'm looking forward to trying more in the future. I hope you like it.
You may notice that I have added my "Recent Blog Posts" in a column to the right. I thought it would be better to simply list the recent posts here than make a post on this page whenever I updated the blog.
A big thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts on my "Politcal Ad" dilemma. I think the consensus is pretty clear.
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Hidden Forces" to the gallery this morning.
- Zazzle is having a back-to-school poster sale until 8/18. My entire poster collection (including my brand new "Moonshadow" print) is 15% off. Simply enter the promo code "BACK2POSTERS" when you check out to get the discount.
By popular request, I've also added the "Fluorescence Triptych" to the Zazzle collection. They're exactly the same prints that I have hanging behind my desk, except that the blue one does not have the "digital blasphemy" text. They don't give me an easy way to link to the collection, so simply visit the front page for my Zazzle collection and look for the "Fluorescence Triptych" link on right hand side (under Product Lines).
I will also be adding more of my images as postage stamps. They should be up tomorrow. If you have a special request for a postage stamp (basically, any image that is already a poster or mousepad is fair game) feel free to post in the comments thread.
Lastly, I've added a 2009 Digital Blasphemy calendar. This time the calendar is printed by Zazzle and there are a host of customization options. It's a 15 month calendar (spanning Oct '08-Dec '09).
- Work on my newest wallpaper is progressing nicely and I hope to have it up by mid-week!
- The digital art community "Renderosity" interviewed me a short time ago. The interview is now up on their home page if you are interested. Here's the link...
- I've added a new abstract to the gallery this morning. It's entitled "Resonance" and it's my first "flame fractal" attempt in over two years. A member (Peter) commented on my "Episteme" image a week or so ago and planted the seed in my mind that I should revisit the "Apophysis" software and see if it had improved over the past coupe of years.
The short answer is, yes, it is greatly improved. Memory errors prevented me from rendering multi-screen renders before and those seem to have been fixed. In fact, I have dual and triple screen versions of "Resonance" up concurrent with the single screen version.
I have a few other "flame" abstracts that I am tinkering with and I hope to have them up before the end of the week as well. They don't take nearly as long to work on and render as the 3D stuff.
I've seen the harsh image ratings for my other fractals (and abstracts in general) and don't expect any of these to be in the top rated images, but they are fun for me to do (it's nice to take a break from 3D for a short time) and I think they're pretty. I hope you guys enjoy them.
- I've dropped the price for Lifetime renewals from $99 to $85. The price is also good for returning members. If you've purchased a Lifetime renewal within the past two weeks and would like the difference refunded please drop me a line and I will be happy to do so.
- Update: There was a problem with the triple-screen split file that I uploaded this morning. I've reuploaded the file with the proper images. Sorry about that!
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Pride (2008)" to the gallery this morning. In the end I had to cheat a little to get around the "Vue Cloud Bug" but I think the end result looks pretty good. Unfortunately this sort of cheat won't work with "Moonlit Citadel" so that is why I am holding onto that one until a software fix is released. The render has been completed but the sky needs to be redone before it can be posted.
I've read all of the comments regarding "Pride (2008)" with great interest. I knew it would be a polarizing image, and that not everyone would want to use it on their desktops. I was also well aware of the technical issues when I posted it. I'm glad that a lot of you enjoyed looking at it, even if you didn't use it as a wallpaper. I'm not going to make any thematic comments here, but rather let the piece speak for me.
As I said before, look for space and abstracts next!
- Added my latest project to the gallery this morning. It's a reworking of an piece I did back in 1999 called "Pride". I thought I could probably improve on the original given the advances in volumetrics in the last 10 years, but it proved to be a more challenging project then I had anticpated and I spent a few extra days tweaking things.
Anyway, it's up now and I hope you all think it worth the wait. I think this one burned me out on Vue d'Esprit for a little while so, as I mentioned last time, I hope to do some space and abstracts next.
- Status report time. Sorry I waited this long folks. I can see from some of the comments that some of you think I'm on vacation or dead or something if I don't post here on a regular basis. I'm still alive and I am currently on my second hi-res render of my new project.
I rendered the triple-screen versoin of "Moonlit Citidel" last week (a 50 hour process) and after reading the comments I've decided to keep it and re-render the sky when E-on releases their software update. If it looks like it will be more than a couple of weeks I will probably just post what I have, but I would rather not as a lot of you thought the cloud bug ruined the images.
I've been working on my latest project for the past week or so. All I can say about it is that I haven't seen anyone try this with Vue d'Esprit before (though I could be wrong) and it's a tricky render. I hope to have it up in a few days, but I will post here if it's going to be longer.
I've been getting a lot of requests for abstracts and space images so perhaps I will try some of those after this project. They usually don't take a long to develop and render as my ever-more-complex scenery images. Thanks for being patient. I've created a comments thread below if you have questions or feedback.
- I've added the moonlit version of "Citadel (2008)" to the gallery this morning. I call it, simply enough, "Moonlit Citadel" and you'll find it on the New Images page. It took a couple days longer to get a result that I was happy with, but I think the extra time was worth it in this case.
I had a render finished on Tuesday but right before I posted it I decided to add some extra lighting to the Citadel itself (inspired by the original 1998 version).
I should have a multi-screen render up in a couple of days. Last week I contacted the developers of Vue d'Esprit regarding the issue with the clouds in my mulit-screen renders looking different (and worse) than the clouds in the single screen version. I just received an answer from them this morning. Here it is (typos left intact):
we found out what the problem was.
It's linked to te aspect ratio that's different.
And atmospehere are calculated based on one aspect, and the changes a bit (usually not that much) if you change the aspect ratio.
But in your case, it changes a lot, so the atmosphere looks realy weird (in fact the math function behind it is stretched.
We will try to correct this for the next software update, until then I hope this info will help you finalize your render.
Let me know how it goes.
Hopefully they can fix the problem and I can then redo some of the multi-screens which show the problem. Should I hold off on the multi-screen version of "Moonlit Citadel" until the issue is fixed? Leave your thoughts in the comments thread if you have any.
A happy and safe Independence Day to all my USA Members!
- I've added the dual and triple screen versions of "Citadel (2008)" this morning.
I'm starting to suspect that Vue d'Esprit has some sort of bug regarding the rendering of clouds at extreme FOVs. The clouds lose a lot of detail when I widen the FOV for the multi-screen versions. It took me an extra couple of days of rendering to figure out that it's impossible to replicate the original clouds. I've tried to compensate but the simple fact is that they don't look the same as the single-screen version. I'll continue to experiment, but I wanted to post what I had before I did any more tests.
I'm still planning to try a moonlit version, but I wanted to have the mulit-screens up first.
- I've adapted Lokesh Dhakar's "Lightbox" script for use on the "Gallery-at-a-Glance" page. Clicking the small thumbnails now will load the large version "lightbox style". Click the caption below the large image to be taken to the page in the gallery containing the download links. I might be able to simplify this even more (add download links to the caption) but this is what I have so far.
- I've posted my latest project on the New Images page this morning. I've titled it "Citadel (2008)", implying that it is an update on my 1998 "Citadel" image.
Actually I didn't set out to update "Citadel" image, but when I was looking to see if the "Citidel" title had been taken I saw that I had used it 10 years ago. The themes are sort of similar so I kept the title for this one. When you produce over 600 images, you are bound to reuse a title once or twice I guess.
I've placed in the image in the "Day Scenery" gallery (though it could go in either gallery) because I think I might try a moonlit night version. I hope you like it.
- I'm waiting for my latest project to finish rendering (hopefully sometime tonight) so I took the time to tweak the "Gallery-at-a-Glance" page. Clicking the "Year" links will now take you to a page dedicated to that year with larger (100 x 75) thumbnails. Thanks to whoever suggested that one. I've also removed some of the revisions from the 1999 and 1998 galleries and placed them in the Pickle Jar where they belonged.
- I've added the dual and triple screen versions of "Untouched" to the gallery this evening. A lot of people have suggested that I try a night version so I may give that a go before moving on to something new.
- I've added an updated version of "Untouched" to the gallery this morning. The original will remain available in the Pickle Jar. I've strengthened the volumetric light in this one and hopefully this will counter some of the grain from the original.
There really isn't much else than can be done about the grain I'm afraid, I think it's just a result of all the millions of leaves in the background.
I made a few other additions as well which I will leave to you to discover. I hope you like it.
I'll work to have a multi-screen version up ASAP.
- I had a wallpaper ready to post this morning but I decided that it needed a few adjustments and one more render before I would be happy with it. I hope to have it ready by tomorrow or Thursday at the latest.
- I was waiting for some test renders to finish this morning when I surfed over to Inga Nielson's web gallery. If you aren't familiar with her work, she has some samples in my User Gallery and was recently featured on NASA's popular Astronomy Picture of the Day site. Anyway, I clicked through to her Zazzle collection and noticed that she had some of her work available as mousepads. This got me thinking that perhaps it was time I offered the same.
I used to offer mousepads through Cafepress, but to be honest I wasn't that satified with their quality and I haven't added any new ones in years. Last year I teamed with a company to offer "hi-tech gaming surfaces" but they stopped paying me royalities and I'm in the middle of figuring out how to work that out.
Zazzle has always treated me well and I think they do fabulous printing work. I went ahead and added around 12 of my most popular designs as mousepads this morning. If your favorite isn't there and you are interested in purchasing a mousepad, please feel free to comment below or on my Zazzle comment wall.
Work on my latest image has been a little slow this week. It's Ian's last week of preschool (he starts kindergarten in the fall) so there's been a lot of activities that I've had to attend. Still, I've made some progress and I hope to have something posted soon.
- I've posted a new animated wallpaper this morning on the Animations page. This is the one I've been rendering for the past month or so and have mentioned from time to time. The animation is based on my "Dispersion" wallpaper which I posted last year.
In the animated version I have the colors cycle slowly through the spectrum such that it appears the individual colors are moving from bottle to bottle. It's a pretty simple animation really, but each frame (out of 720 total) took around 30 minutes to render. I've tried to minimize noise as much as possible but some still remains. I could refine the frames for another two weeks but I don't think the improvement would be worth the time. Anyway, I hope you like it.
A question for you all. For future animated wallpapers would you rather see my stills animated (which will cause the rendering to take a very long time) or would you rather see animations designed from scratch? If I designed animated wallpapers from scratch the rendering won't take as long, but I don't think a still frame from the animation would hold up next to the stills that are in my gallery now.
Basically, would you rather see ultra-high quality animations (but only a few) or more simpler animations? Feel free to post in the thread I've set up below.
- More mobile wallpapers added today. I've added PSP size versions to all the files going back to 2003. Someone mentioned that I hadn't updated the PSP collection since 2005 and I decided it was time bring them up to date. I will be posting 480 x 272 versions of each new image from here on out and the zip file will be updated with each new post.
I've also added 320 x 320 images to the list of mobile options and a 320 x 320 zip file is available.
I've replaced the links for each mobile resolution with a dropdown list. Simply select the resolution you want and it should load for you. I would have rather had text links so you could right-click and save, but I also wanted to list some of the devices which used each resolution so people would know which resolution to pick.
The only way to do this without taking up too much space was to use a dropdown list. Hopefully this doesn't cause too much confusion.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to post in the thread below which deals with the new mobile wallpapers.
Now, if no one minds, I'm going to put aside my "mobile conversions" for awhile and get busy on a new project.
- A little family news to report. Jason turned two years old yesterday. Here he is enjoying a piece of cake and some ice cream. They grow up so fast! It seems like only yesterday that he looked like this.
- I've added 240 x 320 versions of all the mobile wallpapers that were posted on 5/20. The zip file containing these files can be found here.
- I've added the dual and triple screen versions of "Cloud Terrace (Night)" to the gallery this morning.
I've noticed some of the comments about the day version centering around the barrel distortion evident at the edges of this one. Once again, I wish there was something I could do about this. This is just how the Vue renderer handles extreme wide-angle frames. I thought that I had figured out how to get around the problem earlier but it turns out that the distortion is unavoidable no matter what settings I use. Short of not doing triple screen renders, there just isn't anything I can do about it. Sorry!
- While waiting for this last multiscreen image to render, I decided I would tackle a job that I have been meaning to do for a long time. Ever since I started posting my images formatted to fit the iPhone I have had Blackberry (and other handset) users asking me if I would post images formatted for their screens. Well, if you check the galleries you will notice that I have added three new available resolutions for images going back to 2003.
You can now download 320 x 240, 240 x 260, and 240 x 160 images for use with your Blackberries and all other handsets that support these resolutions. I have also added iPhone wallpapers for the 2004 and 2003 galleries.
You can either download the images you like individually from the gallery links or you can download zip file collections of the size you need from my downloads page.
Hope these work for everyone who can use them. I plan on adding mobile versions of all of my new images as they are released. If you have any comments, questions or want to request a different resolution please feel free to post below. No technical questions about your handset though please, I can barely work my own cell phone!
- I've added my newest render, "Cloud Terrace", to the gallery this evening. I've been tinkering with it for the past couple days and, while there are one or two things I may yet change, I think it's ready for showing. I hope you enjoy it!
- Once again I've paused the animation render to work on a new still image. I was a little slow getting started because I caught whatever bug my son brought home with him from preschool last week. Ian brought it home, then Jason got it, then me. We're all on the mend now thought and I hope to have a new render up in the next couple of days.
- I'd posted a picture of my workspace on Facebook last month, but some of you without Facebook accounts asked that I post it here. I've posted the pictures here if you are interested. Please pardon the mess!
- I had hoped to have my newest "Dreamscene" animation ready to post this afternoon, but after rendering all of my stills into a movie it looks like it needs still more work. My Fprime software allows you to "refine" your renders to higher quality so I don't have to go back and start from scratch. I can just refine them further, but it's still a lengthy process.
The problem is noise, which in a static image isn't really noticable but when the animation is running produces irritating shimmering effects in areas of the image which should be still. I'd hoped that rendering at a "medium" quality setting would result in a quick render, but the noise is unacceptable to me.
I will probably shelve this for the time being and start working on another wallpaper this weekend. I can't say when it will be ready because I haven't started it yet, but hopefully sometime next week. Sorry for the delay though. Creating animated wallpaper is new to me and I am still learning how to do it well. I'd rather wait and post something excellent than post something substandard.
I also wanted to draw your attention to the links on the left hand side of the page. I've replaced the long list of galleries with expandable menus. Just move your mouse over the "year" links and the "collections" link to see further options. Hopefully this will make navigating the gallery a little easier, or at least clean up the page a little.
- I did some calculations after I made my last post and discovered that my animation render wouldn't be finished for at least another week. If I let the render go and waited until it was done to start working on a new "static" wallpaper, it could be in the two week range before I updated my gallery.
I decided to pause the animation render and spend this weekend working on something new. My latest project, "Island Time", is now up on the New Images page for your review. The title refers to the somewhat hazy definition of time that comes from dwelling in paradise. I hope you enjoy it.
I plan on restarting new Dreamscene render as soon as I figure out how to widen "Island Time" to span multiple monitors.
- Time to pop in an give you all an update on what I'm working on now. I'm currently putting together a new animated wallpaper and trying to get it to render efficiently. It's a whole new set of challenges different than rendering stills.
I have scenes which can take up to 48 hours (or more) to render a single frame, so I am limited to quick rendering scenes when I want to do animations. The animation I'm working on now has 720 frames so getting them to render in minutes rather than hours is very important. I'm using Fprime (the essential Lightwave renderer) so frames take a lot less time to render than normally. The downside is that I have to render them on my main machine (since Fprime doesn't support network rendering).
During the render I plan on putting together my secondary box and trying to get some of my other programs to work on it so I can hopefully do some work while rendering other projects.
That's what I have on tap now. Hopefully the new "Dreamscene" will be ready sometime next week. I hopefully it's worth the wait!
- Sorry it's been so long since I've posted here. Jessie and I just returned late Friday from 5 wonderful days (without kids) on the Mexican Rivera. This was the first time since Ian was born in 2003 that we've been able to get away together and it couldn't have come at a better time. I've really had a pretty rotten winter (still recovering from my surgery in November believe it or not) and I really needed a recharge.
We had a great time in Mexico. We visited the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza (wow!) and tried scuba diving (WOW!!). I'll try to post a picture or two later on. We ended up missing the kids greatly and are glad to be back home now.
I had started a project before we left and I've spent the weekend putting the finishing touches on it. It's called "Starbirth (2008)" and is now up for your review. This is one that probably would have been a lot simpler to make if I was using 2D techniques, but was very complicated using 3D. Still, it was a nice test of my newly upgraded machine (see post from 3/19). It took around 2 hours to render at 2560 x 1600.
I hope you enjoy it. Look for multi-screen versions in the days ahead.
- Late Update: I've added a Pickle Jar version without the foreground figure. Personally I don't think you get the same sense of scale without the person, but I'm all for providing options. Which do you prefer?
- Added "Moonshadow" to the gallery this morning. Sometimes working with clouds in Vue d'Esprit is easy and sometimes it can be very frustrating. I've been tweaking these for the past few days trying to get just the right look. At least the render times weren't too bad (see my post below about hardware upgrades).
Hope you like it!
- Since I asked people to post pictures of their computer setups on the DB Facebook page, it only seemed fair that I post my own. If you are interested in where I work you can check out a photo here.
- The DB on Facebook page has been a real eye opener. All these years I've been looking at emails and comments from people, a lot of text, and now I can see human faces. While I know there are real people behind all of these emails I get, this makes it all seem more personal and real. Very cool.
I had an idea that might make my Facebook page a little more interesting. I'm sure a lot of you out there have some wicked multi-monitor setups running my wallpapers. For a long time I've wanted to have a place where people could share photos of their workstations and it looks like the Facebook "Fan Photos" sections might fit the bill.
I personally run only one monitor but I would love to see some of the multi-monitor (and cool single monitor) setups out there. If you would like to share your desktop with the world please feel free to post a photo of it in the "Fan Photos" section of the Facebook page. Thanks!
- Based on my experience rendering "Promise of Spring" (see post from 2/12) I've decided that I need to upgrade my hardware. Here's my plan: I've purchased two Xeon 5365 (quad-core 3 GHZ) processors and 16 GB of RAM. These will go into my current machine, upgrading it from from 4 cores to 8 and 8 GB of RAM to 16. My dual-core processors and RAM will go into a new box that I am building from scratch on which I hope to use to render projects while I work on new stuff on my main machine.
Back to work on my new wallpaper now...
- Wanted to post an update here since it's been some time since my last wallpaper. I am currently working on something new which I hope to have up before the end of the week.
Last evening Jessie, Ian and I had dinner with an old friend of mine from High School that I've only recently gotten back in touch with. We got to talking about how he had used Facebook to find some our old mutual friends and that got me thinking that maybe I should get with the times and create a profile for myself.
So while waiting for some test renders to finish this morning I went ahead and posted a profile for myself and one for Digital Blasphemy on Facebook. Hopefully this will give me some new ways to touch base with some of you who enjoy my work. Feel free to stop by and leave a comment (perhaps tell me some ways I can make better use of my profile page). I've been online for more than fifteen years now but this is my first crack at "social networking". We'll see how it goes!
- Last year I was approached by New Age star David Helpling about using one of my images for his latest album cover. He wanted to use one of my favorites, Cathedral. The album, "Treasure", was released last summer and was a big success.
I just learned this evening that it won the NAR Lifestlyle Award for Best Cover Art of 2007, beating out some really incredible work. Believe it or not this is the first time one of my images has won any kind of award.
Even though they don't credit me on the web site (I'm credited in the CD) I'm still pretty proud of it and wanted to let you all know.
- I've added the dual and triple screen versions of "Lone Tree" to the gallery this evening. Thanks everyone for the wonderful feedback. I knew Jessie is usually (almost always) right and the bulk of the comments bore that out. I'm glad that so many of you seem to enjoy the piece!
- I've posted a new wallpaper, "Lone Tree", on the new images page this morning. This one started out as a simple experiment with the Vue d'Esprit plant editor (trying to make an interesting looking tree) and I think it turned out nicely.
I've posted two versions. The version in the Pickle Jar contains a figure reclining under the tree enjoying the view. Jessie and I had a brief debate on which version should be featued. I thought it added a sense of scale to the image and a little drama. She thought that the figure distracted the eye from the background. I went with her decision (being the good husband that I am) but thought you all should have a say as well.
Check them both out and drop in a comment if you have feelings one way or another.
- It seems that many of you think the orange version of "Axiomatic" I posted yesterday is superior to the blue version. That's fine with me (I like it better too). I've swapped the orange version into the main gallery and the blue version will remain available in the Pickle Jar.
Onward and upward now...
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Axiomatic" to the gallery this morning. I've also added a version with a different color scheme in the Pickle Jar (multi-screen versions also available) for those of you who wanted a little variety.
- Added a new abstract, "Axiomatic", to the gallery this morning. This one (and "Colorwheel" for that matter) continues a theme, Mandalas, that I have had a lot of fun with over the years. Something about them just fascinates me for some reason.
After my last project hogged my machine for nearly 3 weeks, one of my goals with this one was to create a detailed and interesting piece that rendered in under an hour. I'm happy to report that "Axiomatic" renders in only 6 minutes on my machine. The entire image is composed of cubes.
As with most of my abstracts, I know some will like it and others will not. It was fun to make however (after the frustration of my last piece) and I think it makes a nice wallpaper. I hope you enjoy it.
- I've posted a cleaned up version of the original "Promise of Spring" wallpaper (without blooms) in the Pickle Jar for those of you who prefer that version. I will go back in a couple of weeks and see which one has a better rating and move that one into the main gallery. Now onto something new...
- Thanks to everyone for being patient while I got my latest render sorted out. It's finally done rendering and I've posted it up on the New Images page. There are a couple of rendering errors that I will be cleaning up in the next day or so, but I felt it was "finished enough" to post tonight. Please judge it on the "big picture" as I will be replacing this render with a cleaned up version shortly.
It's called "The Promise of Spring" . I'll leave its inspiration up to you.
Was it worth a nearly monthlong wait? Only you can decide. I made some mistakes which made it take longer than it should have. I know now that soft shadows + volumetric lighting = ridiculous render times when using Vue d'Esprit, so I will endeavor to find a different solution in the future. Beyond that, I hope that you enjoy it and it serves to remind you that winter cannot last forever.
- I had wanted to post my new wallpaper this morning, but instead I have to post another sad update on what has become a cursed project. The long render that I had referred to way back on 2/1 finished last week but in the end it didn't look like something I could post. It just didn't turn out right.
I should have stopped it sooner, but I kept hoping that the render was simply dealing with a particularly "hard" part of the image and would eventually speed up (as I've seen happen often).
Once it finally finished I decided that I needed to rework a couple of things and try to do a render that would take a lot less time (especially since I was going to have to work up a multi-monitor version in the future). I promise to never let a render go that long again folks.
The new version started rendering on the 8th and I woke up this morning fully expecting that it would be ready to post. Instead I found that Vue had crashed (most likely as it was working to display the final render) and I am going to have to do another 2-3 day re-render.
If my head wasn't already shaved I would be pulling out my hair at this point.
I know you all have been waiting a long time, and I am sorry. I wanted it to be done this morning. The re-render should only take another couple of days and (unless it crashes again) I will post it straightaway.
Once again, I'm very sorry about all of this! No one wants this project to be done more than I do.
- After reading all the feedback and checking the ratings for the two images, I've decided that the orange sun version of Maya will remain in the gallery. The blue version will remain in the Pickle Jar. I hope to have mulit-monitor versions of both completed shortly. Thanks everyone!
- For some reason I've had arches (or openings) on the mind for a while now. "Circumpolar" was my first effort. Continuing that theme I offer "Maya", new in the Members Gallery this morning. There will most likely be more later this year. I hope you enjoy it!
- I've added dual and triple screen versions of "Colorwheel" to the gallery this morning.
A lot of you have been asking about multi-monitor versions of "The Astronomer". I wasn't able to produce a multi-screen version that did not exhibit extreme disortions of the planets on the far right and left side of the frame. Rather put out a substandard image, I chose to skip doing a multi-monitor version. If you feel strongly about seeing one anyway, please leave feeback to that effect.
I haven't abandoned dual and triple screen users, I will always try to create multi-screen versions when possible. I just don't want them to be lower quality than the single screen versions.
- Happy 2008 everyone! I hope you all had a safe and wonderful holiday season. I'm happy to report that I am ready to get back to fulltime work now and will start in tomorrow on a new project. Thanks to all the kind thoughts and wishes that have been sent my way!