2016 News Archive
I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season! After posting my Christmas renders I installed a new copy of Bryce3D on Asfaloth in hopes of re-rendering some of my oldest scenes at modern resolutions.
That is still a work-in-progress but I did come across one scene, "Brainstorm" from 1999, that I thought it would be fun to update using my current software.
As I worked on it, however, it turned into something quite different. Single and multiscreen versions are available.
Let me know what you think!
Here's a preliminary night version of "Foggy Christmas Eve". I'm not sure if I am 100% pleased with it but I think it looks nice enough to share while I puzzle over what tinkering I might do :-)
I've never tried covering my trees in 3D snow before. Up until now I've always used 2D tricks to give the illusion of a thin coating of snow on my meshes.
Here I used The Plant Factory to create trees with real(ish) clumps of snow. Decorations were also created in Plant Factory. Of course, the technique could certainly be improved and I will be working to do so. In the meantime be looking for a night version of this scene (and multiscreens for both) soon!
Sorry it's been quiet around here recently. You can bet when I am not posting on the news page that I am busy rendering something new. It's taking a bit longer than I would like but I think you will be pleased when it's finally ready!
In the meantime I am thrilled to announced that the completely re-written Official DB App for Android is now available in the Google Play store. If you have the old app you probably noticed that it has stopped working due to Google changing up how its libraries work. The developer mentioned to me that he no longer had the time to rewrite it so another kind Member, Jeff Richards (who also wrote the iOS app) stepped in to fill the gap.
We used the same backend as the iOS app, which has also been put to use by another Member to create a new app for Windows10/Windows Mobile.
Let me know what you think of the new app. Thanks Jeff and Marc for helping me stay connected with my Members!!
I've created similar "microscapes" before using Lightwave, but this is the first time I've attempted one using Vue d'Esprit 2015. All of the geometry was modeled using The Plant Factory. I used the same techniques to create a pretty wild alien landscape which is still rendering on Shadowfax so stay tuned!
Since it is "Black Friday" here's a rundown of the DB related discounts you can take advantage of...
Lossless Master FilesAs an added perk for the folks who are supporting my work at the Plus level (and above) and as Lifetime Supporters, I have started adding lossless master files to the download options. These PNG files are the same resolution as when I render them (6827 x 3840 is my current default) and do NOT have the digitalblasphemy.com watermark.
Lossless master files are available for the entire 2016/2015 gallery and I will have a zip file available soon. I will be adding master files for the older galleries in the days and weeks ahead. If enough folks are interested I will add multiscreen masters too.
If you would like to have access to these rather large (but beautiful) files I hope you will consider upgrading your Membership.
Not everyone will have a use for these files, but I wanted something extra I could offer the folks who have been most committed to supporting my work!
Almost immediately after I posted "Approaching Asgard" I started getting requests for a night version. The scene in the book took place during the day but I won't let that stop me from reimagining it as a nighttime scene. Here's my first crack at it. Let me know what you think!
No one asked but here are...
My Thoughts On The 2016 Election:As a rule, I don't talk politics on DB. I'm not going to start today. No matter the result of the election, half the country was going to feel like it was headed in the wrong direction.
I'm most sad that we are so divided and the divisions have only gotten more rancorous thanks to hyperbolic social media flame wars and partisan "news" outlets. Go out today (hopefully every day) and be nice to someone who you know doesn't share your politics. Know that you aren't going to change anyone's core beliefs with a tweet or a post. Right and left are both striving to improve our country; they just have different ideas on how to accomplish it.
I am proud to have fans from across the entire political spectrum and whether your candidate won or lost, know that I will be here for you when you are tired of the real world and need an escape.
Every so often I'll be reading a good book and a particular description or scene will stick in my head. "Highland Spring", "Temple of the Leaf", "The Winter Rose", "Fire Made Flesh", and "Arrakeen" are examples.
"Approaching Asgard" was inspired by a scene from the third installment of Pierce Brown's excellent "Red Rising" trilogy. I won't describe the scene further in case you haven't read it yet. The scene describes one of the main characters approaching a fortress on a "floating mountain".
You may recall that when I posted "Class M" I mentioned it being a warm up for a particular scene that I wanted to render. Here it is :-)
I hope you enjoy it even if you haven't read the books.
My very first experiments using Quadspinner's "Geoglyph" plugin for World Machine resulted in a set of fractured terrains that brought to mind (for me) the surface of Europa. I actually created this one before "Alpine Autumn" but it only finished rendering on Bucephalus just recently.
After adding Jupiter in the background I thought it would be fun to pay homage to one of my favorite science-fiction films. I hope you enjoy it!
This piece started out as a learning exercise using Quadspinner's excellent "Geoglyph" plugin for World Machine. The background mountains and foothills were modeled using this software.
Unfortunately my render bogged down unexpectedly around the 2/3rds mark and I paused it to work on another idea. Unfortunately when I tried to reload this project the scene file failed to open. Grrrrr!
Fortunately I had saved my render in progress and was able to use a few tricks to finish it off. Unfortunately this means I don't have any scene data available to render a multiscreen, winter versions, further revisions, etc.
I hope you can enjoy it as is though!
While looking up at the stars one recent evening I had the idea that if you were to look directly down on someone floating on a calm sea at night, they might appear to be drifting in space. I liked the idea so much that I paused my Autumn landscape render (which is very nearly finished) and set about crafting it.
"Cogito Ergo Sum" (I think, therefore I am) is a companion piece of sorts to The Dreamer. The boat and the boy are the same (though altered slightly for this scene). Where the action in that render takes place beneath the surface of the water, this piece uses a reflected sky. I hope you enjoy it!
Seeing as my new Autumn landscape (which, btw, I think you folks will really enjoy) still has some time left to render I thought I might as well post this Halloween project that I put together on Bucephalus.
This one is still has a few issues to work out so don't be surprised if I post another version before Halloween. I will get cracking on the multiscreen versions ASAP though!
I have a few irons in the fire right now, but I thought I would be a good time to finally share this personal project from last year. I created it to honor my favorite baseball team which (last fall) finally looked poised to win it all. I went back and forth about posting it in the gallery, but decided to give it a go here 2016. I realize this one might be of limited appeal so I thank you in advance for your forbearance...
Meanwhile I have been hard at work learning a new piece of software. Expect some interesting results soon :-)
I modeled these trees using The Plant Factory as an exercise in varying the hue of the foliage on each individual model. After all, an Autumn tree is rarely all one color.
I've used various tricks to replicate that effect in the past but this is the first time I've been able to create single model with multiple different colored leaves. This should lead to ever more realistic Autumn landscapes in the future :-)
I should have a few Pickle Jar versions to upload in the next few days but I will let this render stand alone for the time being. I hope you enjoy it!!
Unfortunately I wasn't entirely pleased with how the colors came out in "Archive". That scene took around 60 hours to render on Shadowfax so a revision is going to have to wait.
"Archive (Minor)", however, is a much simpler, quicker rendering variant that I put together on "Arion" yesterday while I pondered whether or not to post the 60hr render. It only took 8 hours to render and has a very different vibe.
I decided to post both. Let me know what you think!
I also have a new Autumn landscape coming soon so stay tuned!
I apologize for getting a bit side-tracked with all of the 360 panoramas. For my latest render I tried creating it as a 360 panorama from the start. This render uses Lightwave's "dielectric" glass shader to create a "stained glass" effect.
Unfortunately it takes nearly 3 days to render on "Shadowfax" so some optimizations will have to be made going forward.
8/30/16my Facebook page has turned into a possible push into the VR world for me. Hope to have more to report on that front soon. For now I've rendered 6 360 panoramas that you can check out right here on DB (without having to visit Facebook).
I guess I wasn't quite done with my cave itch when I posted "Bones of the Earth". I had the idea here to create a scene lit from below by lava. The snow came relatively near the end but I think it makes a nice contrast.
I may still have an edit or two in store for this one, but I thought it looked interesting enough to share as is. Hope you enjoy it!
A companion piece to "Thunderhead". I used what I learned designing those cloud formations to make a convincing environment for a tornado I modeled using The Plant Factory.
I may still tweak a thing or two with this one before I'm finished, but I thought it looked nice enough to share for now.
PS: My renders are usually an escape for me from the flatness of Central Illinois, but the foreground in this piece very much embraces it
I was born and raised in central Illinois, which is very flat country (flattened by a glacier 10,000 years ago), and cumulonimbus clouds are our versions of mountains. I first attempted to model one back back in 1999 using texture mapped spheres. This version with 2016 technology uses Vue's Spectral 2 clouds.
First off I would like to mention that for the first time in 10 years, DB is living on a new server. I've been working hard migrating the site to the new box over the past week and I think I've ironed out most of the bugs. The new machine will give me a platform to hopefully create a whole new site soon!
When I wasn't tinking with my code I was creating a new render. I recently finished the excellent "Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown and his vision of a terraformed Mars inspired me to create this piece. I used Vue d'Esprit's "spherical" terrains and dug deep into the cloud editor to create this render.
There was one location from the books in particular that I wanted to recreate and this piece could be considered a warmup for that :-) I hope you enjoy it!
Having some fun with World Machine here. My last few images have been somewhat on the dark side so I wanted to do something with a bit of sunlight. It's been dreadfully hot this week as well so I wanted to do something cool. I hope you enjoy it!
I mentioned last time that a Member sent me some photos of a cave that inspired me to try to make my own. Well, those photos featured glowworms which lit the cave up like a starry night. After modeling the cave for the "Bones of the Earth" render, I've turned down the lights and added my own glowy denizens.
I hope you enjoy it. Multiscreen coming very soon!
It's been a while since I've attempted a cave render and one of my fans recently shared some photos which inspired me to try my hand at it again.
The geometry was started in Lightwave and sculpted using Zbrush before importing into Vue.
I have future plans for this scene...:-)
I've been mostly working on some back-end stuff this past week and waiting for my new server to go online. Once it is online I will be migrating my site to the new box (hopefully before the end of the week). Not doing any redesigns at this time but I will seriously be looking into it once the site is moved.
While waiting for my new box to go online I've put together a view of "Beginnings" from the surface of a primordial satellite. I learned a great deal about Vue's "displaced ocean" settings for this one. The multiscreen version is already rendering on Bucephalus.
I hope you enjoy it!
Looking back through this year's renders I noticed that I had yet to do a single outer space scene. I sincerely apologize for this oversight on my part and offer "Beginnings" to rectify the matter. This piece attempts to (artistically) capture the moment a star ignites amidst the primordial dust.
I used to make this sort of abstract using "Xfrog", but I have to admit that "The Plant Factory" is a lot more powerful. The upside is that I can use this geometry as a plant in Lightwave if I so fancy (and I just might...).
Given that "The Plant Factory" specializes in branching structures, I thought it would be interesting to see how it would handle creating a new version of "The Grid" from 2005(!).
I've gone with texture mapped models here (since the procedural shader I used before doesn't work with the 64-bit version of Lightwave) and I've added some little extra "nodes" here and there to break up all the right-angles.
Let me know what you think!!
6/8 UPDATE:I've scrapped my initial version and posted one I created using an entirely different method. Let me know what you think of the update!
Please note: Summer has always been my slowest time of the year! If you've ever thought about becoming a Member, renewing, or becoming a Lifetime Supporter NOW would be a great time!!5/31/16
By popular request I've created a night-time companion piece to "Sun Worship" this afternoon. You might notice that I've given the lady on the rocks a friend with whom to enjoy the view :-)
I've also been working to make DB look a bit better on mobile devices. Check me out on your phone or tablet and let me know that you think!5/23/16
Look who's turned 10 years old today!
Created this scene in about 8 hours after uploading yesterday's 65 hour render. It was nice to have Shadowfax back!
Nothing ultra-complicated here; just wanted to do a breezy, sunny, happy and quick wallpaper. Is it a bit rough around the edges? Sure, but I will clean that up in the days ahead and have a multiscreen version posted soon.5/18/16
Wanted to create a night version of "Halcyon" with glowing blooms. I changed the blooms to red because, quite frankly, there's been an abundance of purple in my gallery recently.
The volumetric fog made this one a 65hr render rather than a 3 hour render so let me know if it was worth it! The early version I've added to the Pickle Jar doesn't have the fog for comparison.5/10/16
I've spent the past week or so working through my backlog of multiscreen renders and I've finally had the chance to work on something new!
Now that I have figured out how to create flowering plants in "The Plant Factory" I am learning how to create hanging blooms. Eventually I would like to create a massive wisteria tree.
I must learn how to walk before I can fly however so consider this a baby step in the right direction.
I hope you enjoy it!4/29/16
As is usually the case when I post a daytime render, I get requests for a nighttime or sunset view. For my Prince tribute I received requests for both. The night version (which you can find in the Pickle Jar) features a luminescent tree for a more "fantastic" look.
Let me know what U think!4/22/16
Like many of you I was shocked and saddened to hear that one of my favorite artists, Prince, passed away suddenly on Thursday. As a huge music fan and a lover of unbridled creativity in all its wonderful forms, losing Prince feels like someone turned down the lights a little on our world.
I've loved Prince's music since his "Little Red Corvette" days in the early 80s. One of the things that always most fascinated me about him was that he taught himself to play the piano (at age 7), the guitar (at age 13) and the drums (at 14). As a young person he gave me hope that I could teach myself to succeed creatively.
If you've followed my work over the years you know that I try not let the world intrude into my gallery. I've always wanted DB to be a place to escape the pains of real life. This is an exception.
I was working on this render when I heard the news Thursday and I immediately started adapting it to become a tribute to his genius. I hope you enjoy it.
Rest in peace Prince!4/11/16
A La Carte Purchases Now Count Towards Memberships!Going forward, all funds spent purchasing my "a la carte" images will be credited back to you should you choose to purchase one of my auto-expiring or Lifetime Memberships.
Already purchased an image or two? The discount is tied to your email address and it is retroactive back to the start of the program last year! You can check your "balance" by entering your email address below.
Let me know what you think!4/6/16
I've spent the past few days trying different lighting settings but I'm still not completely pleased. Better to post it here while I tinker because I do think it looks nice enough to share as is. Look for an update in a day or two :-)
Let me know what you think!3/29/16
I hope you enjoy it!!3/23/16
The sequence appears throught nature in many ways. The shell of the nautilus, the arrangement of leaves on a plant and the number of petals in a flower is a good example. The numbers form the "Golden Ratio".
I created this flower in "The Plant Factory" using the Fibonacci sequence. There are 377 outer petals, 233 in the next set inward, 144 and lastly 89 in the innermost ring. The numbers are used in other ways too. Hopefully the sequence will create a bit of extra subconscious realism.
I rendered the scene using Vue d'Esprit. Let me know what you think!3/15/16
I'm sure "Castlemere" will draw comparisons to "Highland Spring" (the elevated camera, the color scheme, etc) and that isn't entirely unintentional. One big difference here is that I've populated the scene with deciduous vegetation (rather than evergreens) which will allow me to do a proper Autumn version when the time comes.
I hope you enjoy the new render. Let me know what you think!
PS: I've moved "Nemo's Garden (Night)" into the Pickle Jar for now.2/26/16
Signed Prints! (Members-Only)
I've been offering prints of my work since 2002 but I've never been able to offer signed versions directly to my Members (without needing to become a Patron, Patreon Supporter, or upgraded Member) until now.
These prints are the same high quality Zazzle prints that I have hanging in my own home. Zazzle offers a ton of different sizes and media options, but to keep it simple I have narrowed them down to 4 sizes and 2 different media types.
You can choose from a 16" x 9", 24" x 15", 36" x 22", or 48" x 30" sizes on either semi-gloss poster paper, heavyweight archival matte or premium wrapped canvas (stretched over a 1.5" frame).
I will order the print after you make your payment and it will be shipped directly to me. I will remove it from the tube, sign it, put it back in the tube and then send it along to you. Shipping and handling is included in the price you pay on this page.
Unfortunately the form will only allow shipping addresses in the United States for starters. I would love to add International shipping in the future but for now if you are intersested in ordering a signed print from overseas please contact me directly for a quote.
Please also contact me directly if you are interested in other print options (canvas or wrapped canvas) and I can give you a quote directly. Shipping for wrapped canvases is considerably more than the rolled prints.
Thanks for supporting my work!!
My exploration of "The Plant Factory" continues here. I used the software to model several different species of reef inhabitant. None of them were based on any specific creature. They are all straight out of my head :-)
I may still update this one, or perhaps do a few different renders using the species I've crafted (and have yet to create). Perhaps a night version. I hope you enjoy it as much I enjoyed creating it!2/14/16
A couple of new renders to share on this Valentine's Day...
I created "Painted Canyon" back in 2014 and it quickly become one of my highest rated renders. I had always intended to do a night version but for whatever reason I didn't get around to it until one of my Members suggested it last week.
I think it turned out quite nicely. What do you think?
This render arose out of a Facebook discussion comparing the relative merits of my Atoll series (Day and Night). Someone suggested a version "in the middle" at twilight or dusk and I thought it was worth a try.
Multiscreen versions for both of these renders are coming soon. After that I am thinking that the Plant Factory might be useful for creating underwater flora/fauna... 2/7/16
I chose to use alien plants (which I modeled using The Plant Factory) in the foreground this time and I've left out the little person. Since the viewer was one piece of the eponymous "Trinity" I've chosen a new name for this piece. "Circumbinary" is an astronomical term for a planet orbiting a binary star.
Members might recognize white-dwarf as the same that has been my "work-in-progress" for the past month or so. I've finally found a use for it ;-)1/28/16
Where my "Sunshine Tree" stood alone I thought it would be fun to create a moonlit forest of "starlight trees". I think it turned out nicely, except the ground fog took far too long to render.
If you are tired of glowing spheres on branches I think you will enjoy my next render which is making the move to my main workstation today :-)1/27/16
Each instance is slightly different using Vue's "Solidgrowth" randomizing tech. Hope you enjoy it! I have one more wallpaper in this series finishing up on Shadowfax right now so stay tuned!1/12/16
This one went through a few different versions before I chose to post anything and one of those early renditions is available for download in the Pickle Jar. I haven't decided if I like the glowing plants in the water below the tree and they may be gone in the final version. Let me know what you think!
This new version (2.1) has bug fixes and new features to bring it in line with the web gallery.
Again, huge thanks to DB Member Jeff Richards for helping me with the iOS app. We had a personal project coming up in the months ahead (and a new baby arriving very soon!) so the Android version will have to wait until late Spring. It is in the works though!
last updated 02/06/17