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Traveller (Planet)

While Bucephalus chugged away rendering the snowy version of my Black Angel, I was inspired to create a new version of my "Traveller" scene from last year. I've moved the icy moon in much closer to the planet, added a fiery moon in the foreground and some sublimating watervapor from the new sunlight angle.

Let me know if you think this one deserves its own spot in the gallery or if it should just be a Pickle Jar entry.



Here's a nice little minimalistic wallpaper I put together while relearning how to create 3D fractals using Mandelbulber. Expect a few other, perhaps less minimalistic, versions in the days ahead as my knowledge expands.


The Black Angel (Winter)

I've added a winter version of "The Black Angel" to the Members Gallery this morning. I created the original "Black Angel" as a Halloween wallpaper but I was already thinking how interesting it might look as a winter scene.

I've used the same snow-covering technique that I first attempted in Hokkaido to cover the branches and vines with snow. This scene, however, was considerably more complicated so the results were not always perfect.

No, this is not my Christmas wallpaper for 2014 ;-)



This is what happens when I try to recreate a lost abstract and end up going off on an entirely different tangent. I somehow managed to erase my scene file for "Infinitesimal" before I was able to render the multiscreen version. I still had the objects though so I set about trying to recreate it.

For whatever reason, though, I couldn't get it to look right. I created a bit of new geometry then, thinking I would just create a new "Infinitesimal", but I was never able to get results that I felt were better than the gallery version.

I decided, in the end, to scrap the revision and just create something new with my new geometry. I hope you like the results!

I chose a different camera angle for the multiscreen to better use the wider frame.

My ultra-widescreen version of "Pyre (2014)" for multiple-monitors and 21:9 is now available. I've also added a selection of 5120 x 2880 "5K" images to fit the new Apple iMacs. The zip file is available for Members on the Downloads page.




Here's my third (final?) version of my "Pyre" update (see the original "Pyre" here). I've added a bit more "halo" around the pyre, changed the pose of the pyromancer, and added some magic coming from his fingertips.

The first two renders will remain available in the Pickle Jar. Let me know what you think!



Sorry I've been a bit quiet the past couple of weeks. I've actually had three projects going and here's the first that I think is ready for the gallery. It's a little 3D doodle I rendered on my Macbook Pro while Bucephalus and Asfaloth were busy rendering. I created the geometry using Xfrog and rendered using Lightwave 11.

Members can check out my WIP preview page to get a look at one of the other projects and I've teased the other on my Instagram page. Hope to have the others ready soon!



My latest render is called "Painted Canyon". It was inspired by a tiny thumbnail of a photo I glimpsed while surfing the internet. I wish I'd saved it or tried to find the source! The photo brought back the time I visited Big Bend National Park and saw the sunset through a massive gorge.

I hope you enjoy it. I still have a tweak or two I would like to try but I thought it looked nice enough to share...

PS: I did a interview recently with MOARgeek.com which you can check out here if you are interested. What's the weirdest place I've ever seen my work pirated? Read on...



Someone recently mentioned that I don't make enough abstracts any more. Here's a new one that I put together on my laptop while Bucephalus rendered the black angel. Enjoy!



It's always tough when one of my first drafts takes off and gets high-ratings, because there will always be folks who won't like my changes. Still, I knew when I posted the first version of "The Black Angel" that I wasn't completely finished with it.

I've reworked the foreground (the grass was too tall and just a blur before), added some more vines to the trees and the statue, added some blowing leaves, and finally brightened the scene a bit so you can see more details in the foreground.

I hope you like the changes. The first version will remain available in the Pickle Jar along with a bonus B&W version that I think looks pretty creepy too...

PS: Jessie took issue with my claiming the inspiration for this piece was the Black Angel in Iowa City. She correctly noted that our son Ian has been putting together a black angel costume for Halloween for the past month so he should get the credit. Thanks for the inspiration Ian!



The "Black Angel of Oakland Cemetery in Iowa City always freaked me out as a college student back in the 90s. As you can see from the photo above, I couldn't even look at it.

While the statue in Iowa was my main inspiration, I'm sure some of you will also think of Doctor Who when you see this render.

Either way I hope you have a happy and safe Halloween!!

PS: Are you on "Ello"? I signed up this week and you can follow me here.




I added "The Final Flame" to the gallery early this morning. This one still has a few issues (the bottom of the frame needs work, camera angle needs adjusting) but I thought it looked interesting enough to share while I work them out. Expect a new render in a day or two.



Here's a night version of my updated "Karesansui". I stuck with the original lighting scene (rather than adding visible lanterns) as I wanted to keep the focus on the foreground. Let me know what you think!!



Ever since Lightwave added their own Instancing engine, I've thought it would be cool to add real stones to my "Karesansui dry garden. The original used a displaced plane to simulate the raked gravel.

This new version uses over 4 million instances to create the "gravel sea".

I've also subdivided the stones so they look a bit more hi-res. Not sure if I should mess with the background or not. I've done some experiments but anything I add back there seems to steal focus from the foreground.

Let me know what you think! So many different applications for instances...



I was never really happy with the clouds in my original "Moonshadow" render. For this update I wanted to simulate a real "moonshadow" with the clouds (some still lit by the sun and some are in shadow).

You may notice that quite a bit of this scene as adapted from "The Green Flash". I put a lot of trial and error work into achieving those atmospheric/beach effects and I didn't want to re-invent the wheel for what would essentially be the same environment.

You can think of this piece as a companion to "The Green Flash" if you'd like, taking place a bit further up the beach ;-)

As with the original Moonshadow, I'm sure a lot of people would prefer there be no human in this piece. I may provide such a render later, once I am happy with the "final" settings.

Let me know what you think!

  • I also wanted to mention that we have moved on to our 6th Thank You Card design!

    Help me get to 20,000 Members by the end of the year by signing up or renewing today!! 09/17/14

    I've added a new version of "Hokkaido" to the Members Gallery this morning. This new render is available for both single and multiple-screens (up to triple 4K).

    I would also like to mention that Members who have more than two years remaining on their accounts will no longer see the "Sliding Sale" message. The sale has been a success so far and am much happier having more Members who paid less than fewer who pay more.

    To that end I have set a goal of 20,000 active Members by Jan 1st 2015. There are 18682 active Members currently so that number isn't out of reach. Help me out and sign up or renew today!



    I've added dual and triple-screen versions of "The Dreamer" to the Members Gallery. I have to admit I almost like the cropped 16:10 middle of this one better than the single-screen render I posted. Try it for yourself by choosing the image that matches your vertical resolution and select "Center" when you set it on your desktop.



    Here's an updated version of "The Dreamer" which builds upon the whale theme but makes it a bit more abstract. Let me know what you think!



    This piece was inspired by a photo I saw of Hokkaido's famous "Blue Pond".

    Believe it or not The Dreamer and this scene sprang from the same root, even though they couldn't be more different tonally.



    I've added "The Dreamer" to the Members Gallery today. I had started work on a landscape project but it took a left turn into something that blends space, landscape and abstract in one image. This piece is dedicated to my boys, Ian and Jason, who are both dreamers in their own distinct ways.

    Modeled and rendered using Vue d'Esprit 2014.



    The Green Flash

    I've finally managed to add dual and triple-screen versions of "The Green Flash" to the Members Gallery this morning.

    Any of you running multiple 4K screens? I am proud to report that I have added my first wallpapers designed to fit multiple 4K monitors this morning.

    Right now I only have three available (my most recent 3 projects) but I hope to add more as demand dictates!



    Here's my newest Thank You card, featuring Endless Blue

    My latest Thank You cards have arrived! These cards feature my updated version of "Endless Blue" and you can get yours (signed on the front by myself and on the back by the Bliss family) by purchasing or renewing a DB Membership ($15 minimum purchase).



    Completed the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge yesterday...

    I lost my Grandma Marie to ALS in 1979 so I have seen firsthand the devestating effects of this disease. The fact that it has a genetic component scares me more than a little too. In addition to the ice bucket I also made a sizable donation a http://www.alsa.org/ to help find a cure. Even if you are sick of watching people dump icewater on themselves, I hope you will make a contribution to fight this horrible disease!



    The Forgotten Way
    Here is my "final" version of "The Forgotten Way". I've removed the water in the foreground and added some vine-covered steps. Another scene element from the original version has also made it back for the final render. All of the previous renders will remain available in the Pickle Jar.

    Let me know what you think in the comments!



    As you guys can probably tell, I take Leonardo's quote ("Art is never finished, only abandoned") quite seriously. This particular piece was started in the winter of last year and I abandoned it before I was 100% happy.

    Fast forward to a few days ago and I was modeling objects for another new project and the idea came to me how I might "improve" this one.

    I hope you like the new render. The old versions are still in the Pickle Jar so you can see what's changed.

    The multiscreen version of "The Green Flash" is currently rendering on Asfaloth and is a few days away!


    The Green Flash
    The very first night I spent in San Diego (back in 98 or 99 I believe), I had dinner at a place in Pacific Beach called "The Green Flash". The name intrigued me and I found out that the "green flash" refers to the green color the sun takes on just as the very last bit of it disappears below the horizon.

    I had the opportunity to return recently to San Diego and visit with old friends. It was tough leaving. This wallpaper is my homage my old home in the west and the years I lived there.

    I used Vue d'Esprit's "planetary" mode to allow me to place clouds (and the sun) beneath the horizon line so I could create godbeams from beyond the curve of the earth. Tricky to set up and it took forever to render (to clean up the noise) but you let me know if was worth it.



    The Overseer (2014)
    A few items to mention this morning. First, I've added the dual and triple-screen versions of "The Overseer (2014)" to the gallery. Due to how I had to move the camera for the wider frame, I think the reflections turned out nicer here than the single-screen. Let me know what you think!

    Also, I am also having a little sale in which I am trying something new. I'm calling it a "Sliding Sale" and the discount will vary based on how long it has been since someone last joined or renewed. Within 10 minutes the discount will be 50%. After all that starts sliding down. 45% after 10 minutes, 40% after 20 minutes and down to 30% after an hour. If no one makes a purchase for 2 hours the sale will end.

    Current members use the coupon code "SLIDINGSALE" go get the discount here.

    Lastly I wanted to mention that, for a limited time, I will be offering my signed 4x6 prints to anyone who signs up for a full-price Lifetime Membership/Renewal. They were previously only available to folks who chose to become DB Donors.



    The Overseer (2014)

    By popular demand I have added my updated version of "The Overseer" to my main gallery. You will noticed that I updated a few elements for the gallery version, but I kept the windows the same. I played around with quite a few different options but nothing beat these simple lines IMO.

    As I mentioned before, this render was inspired by a Member who sent me a picture of her Thank You card...



    Hybrid (Gilded)

    What started out as an update to "Hybrid" took a number of left turns and ended up someplace very different. This project was another exercise with Lightwave's instancing system (a la "Island in the Void"), but this time with solid objects.

    My first version featured a sort of "frost" but I found the gold leaf to render much faster while also not being mistaken for mold or decay :-)

    Either way this is a new technique for me so please let me know what you think!



    Earlier this week one of my fans sent me a photo of her Thank You card setting in front of the dual-monitor version of "Island in the Void". One of the comments suggested that it looked like the view from inside a space ship which led me to think that my galaxy render would make an interesting view for my "Overseer".

    This render and another similar one are available in the Pickle Jar for my Members to download. They are fun little bonus wallpapers and I hope you enjoy them!



    Alternate Version of Horizons with Bioluminescence

    Here's a version of "Horizons" with some bioluminescence added to the cave flora. After some reflection I've decided to leave this version in the Pickle Jar however and go forward with v.2. Thanks to everyone who shared their opinion!!


    My third batch of thank-you cards have arrived!

    My third batch of Thank You cards have arrived. These, as you can see, feature my "Fluorescence" mushrooms. As before, all new Members (yearly and above) and renewing Members will receive one signed by me and the family (I am trying to teach my boys a lesson about gratitude).

    If you are already a Lifetime Member or wish to get one without purchasing a Membership/Renewal please see here for my criteria!

    There are 150 of these Fluorescence cards and I will be moving on to a new design once they are all sent out (around 35 of them are already spoken for). If you want this classic design you should probably act quickly. The last cards were gone within a few days!



    Announcing the winners of the DB Minecraft Challenge 2014!

    Grand Prize Winner: "Portals: A Perspective" by Tyler Hohnstein

    Prize: Lifetime Membership and I will try to import and render his creation!

    First Place: "Necropolis (Day)" by Karl Ashton

    Prize: Lifetime Membership

    Necropolis (Day)
    Second Place: "Phaeralon (Day)" by Brian Jones

    Prize: Lifetime Membership

    Phaeralon (Day)
    Third Place: "Endles Blue" by Phil Ridings

    Prize: 1 Year Membership

    Endless Blue
    Fourth Place: "Amazed" by Michael North

    Prize: 1 Year Membership

    Gotham Garden Winter
    Fifth Place: "Gotham Garden (Winter)" by Scott North

    Prize: 1 Year Membership

    Gotham Garden Winter
    Sixth Place: "Memorial" by Joseph Barrett

    Prize: 1 Year Membership

    Honorable Mention: "Gazebo" by Brandon North

    Prize: 1 Month Membership

    Thank you so much to everyone who entered. There were so many wonderful entries this year!! I will be in contact with the winners shortly to deliver their gift certificates and coordinate with Tyler about how I could possibly import and render his creation.

    I hope to have a contest every summer (as long as people are still playing Minecraft). If you didn't win this year I hope you will keep entering!




    "Horizons" is the end-result of my learning some new space rendering techniques over the past few weeks. I used my Class M planet from Skyward, my gas giant from "Cronus", and my galaxy from "Island in the Void" for the sky and modeled the foreground in Vue 2014.5.

    The title is from a comment left by member "Jenna" on the work-in-progress version, where she said: I really like the "from our current horizon to our eventual horizon" feel.

    I hope you enjoy it too!!



    My Thank You cards have been so popular that I thought I might take it a step further. All DB Donors will receive a signed and numbered 4x6 print of your choice (in addition to a thank you card and listing on my donor page).

    If you use the PayPal option please use the "instructions to seller" field once you get to the PayPal site to let me know which image you want. Please be sure to include your shipping address!

    If you use my Bitcoin option please email me your address and the image you would like after you make your donation. Thanks and please let me know if you have any questions!!


    Island in the Void
    Dual and triple-screen versions of "Island in the Void" now available!



    New Thank You Cards!

    My second batch of 100 "Thank You" cards arrived from Zazzle over the weekend but I've already sent out nearly 80 of them! The boys had a marathon signing session last night...

    Signing the second batch of Thank You cards

    You can still get one of these "Pot of Gold (Night)" cards if you hurry. Otherwise I will be moving on to the next design soon!



    Island in the Void (2014)

    "Island in the Void" is new in the Members Gallery this morning. The title refers back to this piece from 2001.

    I started playing around with this model on Asfaloth while waiting for "Cronus Rising" to render on Bucephalus. My goal was to create a believable galaxy in Lightwave using the new instancing tools (and no Hypervoxels).

    This one rendered in around 90 minutes at 4800 x 3000 with 24 anti-aliasing passes. That certainly beats the 24 hours that a similar Hypervoxel render would take. I'm still learning all the tricks to the new instancing system so this is just the beginning.

    Let me know what you think!


    I've also added dual and triple-screen versions of "Cronus Rising".



    Cronus Rising
    After all that tinkering with Vue's planetary rendering mode, I thought I should bring it all together was a nice planetscape. "Cronus Rising" is new in the Members Gallery this morning.

    The planets are a combination of two different Vue renders (it only lets you render one planet at a time) and the foreground was also rendered using Vue 2014.

    You might detect the influence of my recent visit of Washington state.

    Here's the original from 1998 if you are curious as to how they match up! I hope you like the update!!



    Second Annual DB Minecraft Contest!

    Get our your pickaxes because the second annual DB Minecraft Contest is on!

    Last year's contest on Facebook was a huge success. It's gotten a lot harder recently to communicate with my fans through Facebook so I am bringing the contest back home to DB.

    Another change: In addition to a Lifetime Membership, I would like to try to import the Grand Prize winning into either Vue or Lightwave to create a special render.

    Rules, prizes and entry instructions can be found here.

    Vote for your favorites here (the first entry has already been posted!). One Grand Prize winner (chosen by an expert jury) will receive a prizes listed above. The next 4 highest rated images will each recieve 1-year Membership gift certificates. One Honorable Mention will receive a 1-month membership.

    Enter as many times as you like, but each submission is final (no submitting improved versions please). Members please let me know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions!



    Cronus DualScreen
    I stepped away from the computer for a few days with family and friends out in beautiful Washington state. I have quite a few ideas in mind for future landscapes!

    I was pleased to see that Bucephalus finished a multiscreen render of "Cronus" while I was away.

    I moved my "camera" in a lot closer for this one to get a better look at the volumetric layers. This is an experimental process for me so please let me know what you think!

    I would like to tackle a new version of "Cronus Rising" before I move on if no one minds...


    Cronus "Cronus" continues my exploration of Vue d'Esprit's "Planetary" mode. It basically allows you to move the camera high enough that you are looking down at the entire planet that you were working on. The planet in "Skyward" was made in this manner, but I wanted to see if I could use it to create a gas giant type world.

    This render combines my gas giant with a smaller terrestrial type satellite. Both were rendered using Vue d'Esprit 11.5. It's still very much a work in progress so expect a few alternate versions. As I said before, it's a lot of fun making planets in Vue!

    UPDATE:I've added a new version of "Cronus" this morning. I've flattened the clouds a bit and, as suggested, added some haze to the atmosphere. Still, this is meant to be a fanciful gas giant (and it's my first) so I don't mind sacrificing realism in that pursuit.

    The main benefit of this new version is that the gas giant is all one, raw, render. The first version was actually a Photoshop composite of 2 different renders. My main goal is always something that I can re-render without Photoshop and this version satisfies that nicely.

    The name was taken from one of my first Bryce planetscapes. I think an updated "Cronus Rising" may appear sometime in the not-too-distant future.

    Another benefit of this 3D approach to planet-making is that I can move my "camera" down into the cloud layers themselves for some very interesting views. Stay tuned!

    In other news, the first batch of Thank You cards went out today!

    In other news, the first batch of Thank You cards went out today! The boys are working on their signatures and are getting a real kick out of seeing how my fans are in so many different countries.


    SkywardThird time's the charm? I've made some adjustments to the planet for the third version of "Skyward". The clouds have been scaled back a bit so you can see more details on the planet's surface. I've also added a few dark side lights.

    I've added back a bit of underlighting in the trees but it's no longer red. I hope you like the update!

    I think I'm pretty close to being happy with this one, and it has been a lot of fun learning how to make planets in Vue d'Esprit. The tools are quite powerful and I can see some really cool applications down the road!!

    Help me teach my boys a lesson about what I do for a living!

    Thank You Cards!

    I brought back this stack of postcards from Rustycon. From now until they are gone all new and renewing Members (yearly and above) will receive a "Thank You" signed by me (on the front) and the family (on the back). I would like to teach my children a bit more about what I do for a living and I think this will be a good hands-on lesson!

    So how do you get one if you are a Lifetime Member? Great question! I will be happy to send you one for a small donation!

    More info here...


    I've added an updated version of "Skyward" this morning. This chief difference you will notice is that the tree branches are no longer lit from beneath. I've also added a bit of glow to the highlights. Hopefully the tree branches are still visible on your screen!

    The first version is still available in the Pickle Jar. I may yet have one more revision before the multiscreen...

    Inner Space
    I've always wanted to do a wallpaper depicting what you might see laying on your back and looking up through the trees at a wondrous night sky. After creating my first planet in Vue d'Esprit it seemed like the time was right.

    I hope you enjoy it! This is a bit of a first draft so don't be surprised if I post an update or two in the days ahead...

    Endless Blue (Night)

    The dual and triple-screen versions of "Endless Blue (Night)" are finally available. I'm still not sure why this one takes so long to render but I'm glad it's finished!!

    06/04/14 My new Pickle Jar browser...

    My Members have been requesting a way to browse my Pickle Jar for a long time now. Here's a start...

    It's still a work-in-progress but it is mostly functional. Let me know what you think!

    Inner Space
    So I spent the past few days trying to get this scene to render in under half the time, yet also without the noise that has plauged the earlier versions. In addition to tweaking the renderer I've decided to lose the transparency/refractions.

    This version renders faster, is cleaner, and I think also has better contrast. The savings in render time allowed me to add a bit of volumetric light as well.

    Dual and triple-screen versions are available as well.

    Let me know what you think!


    Here's my nearly final version of "Inner Space". I thought it would be interesting to introduce some purple into the mix. Let me know what you think!

    While waiting for a couple of renders to finish I thought I would tackle a site feature that many have requested.

    It's long been possible to buy someone a Membership using a Gift Certificate. My Pay-It-Forward program allowed one to renew a random Member (as a random act of kindness) but it has never been possible to purchase a renewal for an active Member (and thus keep alive the Membership that was initially given).

    To fix this I've added a Gift Renewal page where all you need to do is enter the recipient's username or account email address to get started.

    It would seem to me that such a renewal would be the perfect gift. After all, the recipient has already shown that they enjoy my work enough to go the extra mile and become a Member.

    Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions!!

    Inner Space
    Continuing my experiments with e-on's "The Plant Factory" here, exploring possibilities beyond greenery. Here's a development photo showing TPFs "Grow on Mesh" capability with a non-continuous object.

    Sorry the first draft is a little grainy. I used Lightwave's native renderer here because F2 (my preferred Lightwave renderer) doesn't work with Lightwave's new instancing. I will work on cleaning it up for future renders.

    Let me know what you think!

    Multiscreen users: I have a 7680 x 1600 version of "Endless Blue (Night)" rendering now on Asfaloth. I hope to have it ready soon!!


    Here's a scene that I started on Asfaloth while I waited for "Endless Blue (Night)" to finish rendering on Bucephalus. It's was inspired by "Relics" from 2000, but I thought it would be interesting to focus down the barrel. I modeled the barrel using Lightwave and then used the "grow-on-mesh" capability of The Plant Factory to create the vines.

    Let me know what you think. I know it's a bit different...

    Endless Blue (Night)
    I started work on a night-time adaptation of "Endless Blue" almost immediately after I posted the last day version. It took me a few tried before I arrived at something worthy to post though. My first attempts were far too dark.

    I hope I didn't go overboard with the lights in this one. As with the day version wanted to take what I had done before and turn it up to 11.

    Let me know what you think. I hope to have multiscreens soon!!

    Pot of Gold (Night)
    I had always planned on making a night version of "Pot of Gold" but I underestimated how much trouble I would have doing it Vue d'Esprit. Most of my "glowing" work is created in Lightwave after all.

    I did finally manage to create something interesting in Vue but then after nearly 5 days (!) of rendering I aborted the scene. Instead I decided it would be better all-around if I recreated the pond scene in Lightwave for my night version.

    I hope you like the result!

    Endless Blue (2014)
    I think I am finally happy with my revised "Endless Blue". At times I've wanted to retitle it "Endless Rendering" but I've finally figured out how to render it semi-quickly with decent quality. The night version should be interesting...

    Just wanted to let you all know that I am finally accepting BitCoin for Memberships. I am using Coinbase to process the transactions.
    Sign-Up Using BitCoin!

    Current Members can purchase their renewals using Bitcoin here!

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