Hide and Seek

Finally done my mermaid render / digital art. This was the longest single frame render I’ve ever done, since I used an insanely high resolution (15000 x 8000) in preparation to print a high quality wall sized canvas. The total time was 54 hours to render. Half way through rendering I realized I probably should have done it in parts so that I didn’t risk losing so much if something crashed.

There was a mix between the original render and additions in Photoshop. All the coral, fish, rocks, and characters were rendered. Background, contrast/colour adjustments, and some small texture adjustments were done in Photoshop. The final Photoshop document ended up over 2gb with all the layers, and is the first time I’ve had to use Photoshop’s large document format (psb). Render was done using Cycles (cpu only).

This was a fun piece to sculpt and model all the little sea creatures and (hopefully) tell a fun micro-story. Critiques more than welcome.


looks good, too crisp and clear though… too bright as well. I know there’s a trade off between realism and clarity sometimes, but I think you went for too clear in this case. Also, some bump mapping, on things like the mermaids tail. I know there are fish with very smooth scales, but… well I would at least give it a test render.

There is a build of blender with volumetrics, seems to make render times insane though. But adding some world volumetrics with the rays of light interacting with the edge of the rock would help her seem more hidden

very fun artworks ! can we have your hardware specs use for this project ?

Yeobe, thanks for the comments. Yeah, I could go for more of the mystery aspect by putting the mermaid in shadow more. The scale texture is actually done after the fact in photoshop as I was having a hard time getting it to work in Blender, so that’s why no bump. I haven’t given cycles volumetrics a try, I’m not sure how I would go about getting the rays of light to interact with the rock, as right now they are added in photoshop. The only volumetric type thing I did was a z-buffer node to add depth the further back things go.

Sharlybg, my computer is running an i7 2600k @ 4.4ghz, 16gb of ram running @ 1600, gpu is a radeon hd 7870 which is why no gpu render (sad face). I did most of the mesh sculpting using a Wacom Intuos 3.

That’s quite a large image to render, turquoiserabbit! I’m glad nothing interrupted the rendering process during those 54 hours!

I think you did a very good job with this image, and it should be quite a sight to see. Some of the details that can get lost when viewing here on a monitor should show up much better once it is printed at full size.

I really appreciate all the different species of fish and coral you’ve included here. I take pictures for a saltwater aquarium store, and recognize some of these straight away. I also understand how difficult it is to recreate the look of them. The fish aren’t as bad, since they look good in regular daylight, but the corals can be insanely difficult to recreate. They’re either transluscent and/or react at very specific wavelengths, and in normal daylight they just look brown and crappy most of the time.

Of course in the computer we don’t have the same constraints placed on us! Anyway, great job! Was this for you, or for someone else? And how big are you planning to print the final image? I’d love to see a photo once it’s done, if it’s possible.

The plan is to print it out at about 4 feet by 2.5 feet. I live in a basement and my wife wanted something colourful to put up in our living room, especially before winter hits. So that was the inspiration for the image. Also the reason for the rich saturation. Aside from printing it for my wall, I’ll also be adding it to the 13x19 prints I sell on my site.

And yeah, the coral was the trickiest to model since they all tend to be quite intricate. I was even planning on a few more varieties, but the project was already starting to take longer than I wanted it to, and there is something to be said for just getting an image done instead of working on it forever to try and get it perfect.

It looks very nice. It will make a great poster.

Of course, any render has to consider the color-profile of the physical printer, and the fact that it will probably be converted from the RGB to the CYMK color-space during that printing step. I learned a lot about that, the hard way, when creating my first mural-sized poster (a digital restoration of a 1930’s-era painted mural in a public space, to be hung in the same place as the original).