a gallery of computer-generated images

On Arrakis


Mechasar’s “Awful Emperor” product is very clearly inspired by Baron Vladimir Harkonnen from “Dune” -- specifically, the version of the Baron from David Lynch’s 1984 film of the book, complete with a revolting crop of facial boils. So I was unable to resist the temptation to try to make yet another image of the obnoxious Baron and his retinue.

I started with completely new figures, so neither the Baron nor Feyd-Rautha resemble the version in my other images inspired by “Dune”. You can decide for yourself which of the images -- if any -- come closest to capturing the villains of Frank Herbert’s novel.

This is the first image in which I've used Skylum’s Luminar 4 for post-editing. I lit the image using a ‘light probe’ HDRI, which gave some gold highlights on the left arms of the figures that I liked. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to combine this lighting with a preset sky, so my image ended up without a sky in the background. No problem: Luminar 4 has a ‘sky replacement’ feature that uses machine-learning to seamlessly replace -- or, in this case, insert -- skies in images. I chose a suitably ominous sky, let Luminar do its thing, and this was the result. The effect is a little odd, because I wasn’t willing to let Luminar fully relight the image based on the sky (it made the faces too dark) so the scene is effectively being lit from all over the place. Never mind: Arrakis has lots of moons, so perhaps some of them are adding their light to the scene.

The other obvious flaw with the image is the Baron’s skin. The skin used for the character has a slightly ‘painted plastic’ look compared to the more realistic skins of the other two figures. Someone who was better with Iray shaders or postwork might have found a way to resolve this: I ended up just letting it stand.

The Baron is not pure ‘Awful Emperor’. I blended the character with Deepsea’s ‘King George’ to produce a slightly subtler face and body. The other characters in the scene are also blended or tweaked to make them appear closer to the descriptions given in the books. Feyd-Rautha should probably be prettier, and Beast Rabban more piggishly bestial, but you can't have everything.


DAZ|Studio 4.12
Photoshop CC 2020
Luminar 4