Reflections in water — perhaps my very favorite visual phenomenon — are possible to create out of the computational ether in Blender. I didn’t need a clincher to persuade me that working in 3D might be the next avenue of my artistic exploration. I’d already said that Blender is God’s free gift to visual artists, but here is just another gift heaped upon the others.

I experimented a lot and made a couple dozen variations on this theme.

The backlit version above is really nice, but I made it using the “cycles” rendering engine. There are two engines, “cycles” and the new one, “Eevee”. Eevee is much quicker, but it many ways it’s inferior, at least until you figure out how to trick it out, which I subsequently have to a good degree. It would take my computer a quarter hour or more to render a sophisticated image in cycles large enough to print. An image using evee might take a minute. So, the images above are only for sharing online. To print them, they could make a nice post card, but that’s it.

Above I made combining a large image done with evee and using a blown up version made with cycles in “hard light” mode in PS. The trick worked, but not magnificently, and it’s not the best composition I’d come up with.

This one was done with the tricked out evee, and no cycles. It got the really nice reflections, but the lighting overall isn’t working quite right yet.

Here’s another one in cycles. The water is spectacular. Can I swim there? These images were mostly experiments in lighting and certain effects, but I can see so much potential to create something intentional, and using water and reflections.

There’s something weird going on where this artificial environment really speaks to me, and conjures vague memories for specific real places, or longings for them. It has, for me, a bit of a spiritual dimension, and that’s unexpected. It may all be in my head, because I’ve been doing a lot of swimming lately, and so it just seems like an ideal pool, and a place I’d want to be. I could swim over and investigate the orb, check out its branches, and tap on the reflective glass front. But to be there isn’t to be exactly in this reality. It probably just has that effect on me because I’m the creator and the audience.

Here’s the final image I settled on to make a print of. Here I ended up using cycles and rendering it in four sections, which I then stitched back together.

Hope you are enjoying coming along for a trip in my exploration of what my imagination can come up with when I use virtual reality as my brush and canvas.

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14 replies on “The Orb Descends Into a Canyon

  1. These are gorgeous. Reflective textures were one of the most exciting parts of my first foray into 3D and they continue to satisfy (which is just as well, given how long they can take to render!)

    Liked by 1 person

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