a gallery of computer-generated images

Cold Time


Yet another image from a series that includes the images Towers in Green, Flare Dawn, and Solitary Tower. This image evolved out of one that had some ice materials that I liked, but which I couldn’t quite make work. Having abandoned it for a while, I decided to give it one more try, and moved it to my new PC for rendering and further experimentation.

The first thing that I discovered is that using Vue on the PC is a different experience to using it on the Mac. It’s more stable, for one thing. For another, it seems to be very much faster and more accurate. On a fast MacBook Pro, the ice scene took days to render at full size and there were areas of the final image where the renderer seemed to have just given up. On a PC with an AMD chip, a large render was done in about 40 minutes, and previews were faster still. This made experimentation easier.

I discovered when I moved the scene to the PC that I had forgotten to bring over the texture maps, so the buildings in the background reverted to flat gray. Rather than do the sensible thing and just go get the texture maps, I created new shaders to give the look of buildings covered with windblown ice and frost.

The foreground textures -- terrain and ice -- make heavy use of displacement materials, which is expensive in render time, but does give a nice spiky, icy, alien feel to the whole thing.


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