Winter Solstice


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Auroras are a favorite theme of mine. I’ve always used Lightwave to make them before but I thought it would be interesting to try out Apophysis. This is also my first render using the new Vue d’Esprit 9.

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117 reviews for Winter Solstice

  1. euro16v [liferplus]

    I still use this background on all my work machines primarily, love it!

  2. Rick (Horseman) [basicmember]

    The magic of our Canadian Northern Lights takes us to the universe of the gods.

  3. skipwest

    The Turning

    ‘Tis the time

    Winter solstice time

    Frost in rime

    Bells in chime

    Rays are long

    Sun grows strong

    Praise in song

    Winter will be gone

    -Skip West

  4. Somebody

    This looks epic! I love the sky and I’m a huge fan of cold winter pictures but I wish the landscape was better. The snow looks grainy and the bear could look more real. If those where fixed it would be the only background I would use!

  5. Yishai

    I get chilly just looking at this piece of art.

  6. Jeff R.E.

    What a gorgeous scene. Everything the great North has to offer.

  7. LHensey

    A nice, relaxing scene. I expect the comments at work to begin shortly.

    I’m just sad that I use a two-deep taskbar in Windows. The poor polar bear is just about lost at the bottom of the screen. 🙁

  8. Cornflake

    A beautiful background that’s not too bright but not too dark…

    And finally a new one with dual screen available for download right away!!!

  9. Speedy J

    So very beautiful….Bravo


    Marco from Miami

  10. Speedy J

    So very beautiful….Bravo


    Marco from Miami

  11. Sean

    Reminds me of Thule Greenland. I kinda miss that place.

  12. Joel

    Dude I like it. I think you originally called it “Underneath”, which I thought was fitting for this image, the sky and aurora have an oppressing feel, huge and insurmountable, like the polar ice cap as seen “underneath” it. The sky’s the limit.

  13. CR Douglas

    Another fantastic image, Ryan. Thanks!

  14. kunoh

    I use Zbrush for normal mapping character models for my job. It’s interesting to see it used for something non-character related. This looks great! It caught my eye even before I saw that you used Zbrush on it.

  15. Ian

    As an afterthought, are the icebergs able to be removed for a pickle jar image?

  16. Ian

    I really like this new scene, unfortunately for me, the first thing that caught my eye was the sharp lines at the bottom of the icebergs. With the size of the polar bear, and the size of the waves, there should be some sort of affect on the icebergs. Not as in rocking back and forth, but in waves crashing up the side somewhat, or even a smooth area on this side to simulate the icebergs blocking the waves.

    Overall the scene is stunning and was set as my desktop wallpaper almost immediately.

  17. Paradox

    love the whole aurora, cloud with moonlights peeking through and the small pockets of stars. when i saw this i knew i had to renew my membership :D. keep up the hardwork!

  18. Ryan

    Sorry about that. I made some improvements to the scene when I did the multiscreen version and I saved that as a new file. I went to open it a couple of days ago and it crashed Vue! I’ve been trying to figure out how to re-open it for the past few days. Should just bite the bullet and redo my changes…

  19. Thom

    Are we going to have the polar bear’s legs fixed liek you promised? 🙁

  20. kellzilla

    Click the appropriate resolution’s link, right-click the image that loads, then select “set as wallpaper” (or whatever your browser says).

  21. Jerry

    For years I could right click and “save as wallpaper” would appear. Now it says “save image as …” What do I do with this to make it my wallpaper?

  22. Michelle

    Wow, just wow. I’ve never seen an aurora in person but that is breathtaking. I love the movement in the clouds too and the pockets of stars on the other side. It’s almost as if the wild light and the fixed lights are playing!

  23. JanisMC

    Thanks Ryan. As always, you are a genius.

  24. Fandeboris

    At first I thought OK, then I ‘really’ started to look at it. It quickly went up my Richter Scale. There is a lot of stunning things going on, for us cloud watchers

  25. Coda

    Everything looks wonderful except for like the bottom inch of the wallpaper. The polar bear looks like a plastic toy model, and the snow looks fake too. Other than that, it’s great!

  26. Geof

    I’ve never seen an aurora in real life so I can only imagine they are as pretty as what you’ve created here. I really like this image and just updated my background from the Halloween image, to this one. Thanks for all your hard work.

  27. MattV

    Fantastic job Ryan! This has made the list as one of my favorites!

  28. sigmaman

    Looks mihty fine to me mate. Love it!

  29. Elisa

    That would be a totally sweet xmas background i would “NOT” mind anything spacey ^^ If there is a possibility for that please let me know.

    So long Elli

  30. Elisa

    That would be a totally sweet xmas background i would “NOT” mind anything spacey ^^ If there is a possibility for that please let me know.

    So long Elli

  31. Elisa

    Hello Ryan,

    thank you for the dual and triple screen versions =)

    I wanted to ask you if there is a posibility to ask for a dual n triple screen wallpaper in a mix of the colors silver purple-pinkish and blue that could match my visual stunning Gui style?

    I dont mean this wallpaper but i didnt find the request button so i just ask for a wall here ^^ hope you dont mind..

    That would be a totally sweet xmas background i would mind anything spacey ^^ if there is a possibility for that please let me know.

    So long Elli

  32. Dan

    I love it Ryan! You are great at making these kinds of wallpapers and I really like these kind. The sky, clouds, mountains, water, icebergs, and even the cold drift with the polar bear walking on. Just a whole awesome package!

  33. Seth

    First, I love this wallpaper, and it went up on my PC the moment I saw it. Thanks, Ryan!

    Anyone notice the iceberg looks like a cupcake that fell on the floor? Mmmmmmmm… cupcaaaaaaakes…

  34. chandler

    i love the matte look of this, as opposed to the much more common glossy looking scenic renders you’ve made. it matches my pc great

  35. Andy

    Incredible work Ryan!

  36. Melissa


    Thank you Ryan!!

  37. Mars

    Now were back on track!! Nice!!! WOW!!!

  38. Tyler

    I tend to agree on the foreground. It lacks the resolution of the sky which overemphasizes the fact of each being created in different programs and slapped together. Ryan could touch it up easily though.

  39. Scarr

    Beautiful work. The sky is exquisite.

    Unfortunately, with the perfection of the sky, the landscape looks a little underdone.

  40. D

    On the far left of the multiscreen render, the rock has a rather unnatural tiled texture. (beneath13x7680)

  41. FranK

    Hi! Ryan, Brilliant winter wallpaper again. is there any chance of updating this wallpaper without the cloud effect and seeing more of the aurora borealis….just a thought. again thanks Ryan.

  42. Hunter

    Ryan, your skies are getting better with every wallpaper. They really are amazing.

  43. Daniel

    I love the special look of the night sky in winter, and this wallpaper captures it better than any I’ve seen. Wonderful.

  44. Firefly

    I really like the up swept wave effect of the aurora borealis.

    Good work.

  45. celmendo

    ’nuff said

  46. Walo

    I love this one. It feels sublime. I’ve got so many LCD screens to update lol.

  47. Sovereign

    Nice new winter wallpaper!

  48. Troy

    The positioning of all the elements in this one is near perfect Ryan! Possibly my favorite winter image you have done.

  49. Abby

    LOVE IT! I can’t wait until you have a dual screen rendered. It will be going up at work. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!

  50. Nate F

    Defineatly seems like an update on Arctica. Which is great! Had been hoping for something like this recently

  51. Kana

    Very nice! I love the rendering of the ice and the way the aurora blends a bit with the background stars.

    I would like to possibly see a pickle jar version of a clear sky, though, so you can see the full aurora and stars. Keep up the awesome work!

  52. Becca

    As soon as this one is a multi-monitor version, it is going up on my desktop here,.

  53. Mark

    Well done, Ryan. If this is your first render using Vued’Esprit 9, I would assume they’ll only get better! This one is wonderful. Keep up the good work!

  54. FranK

    hey!ryan, what a gem. we are heading into winter so no better way to guide us. looking forward to your christmas/new year atractions

  55. Brandi

    I love your aurora wallpapers. I’d say the experiment with Apophysis was a success!

  56. Will

    wow ryan, this is absolutely fantastic. purely stunning

  57. Mike

    Now here’s one that really takes the viewer’s imagination places. Not that other recent ones aren’t good too, but this one’s especially powerful.

  58. Brian

    Very nice. Love the polar bear. Not sure about the technicals behind Apophysis but this aurora looks good to me.

  59. Hawk

    I think it’s wonderful. The only thing that kinda annoys is the clouds. They seem to get in the way of the beauty in the sky. They seem to be blocking it.

    I love the angled mountains of ice.

    Keep up the good work!

  60. Terry

    I don’t comment often but wanted to say I really like this, my favourite wallpaper of all time that you did was the original “song of the sky” or “sky song”… something like that. I think you’ve nailed it 🙂

  61. Ryan

    My 4 yr old’s favorite show right now is “Inspector Gadget”. Thank you Netflix (or as Jason calls it: “Net-toons”).

  62. Becca


  63. littlemom

    This is such a beautiful I love everything about it. Keep them coming.

  64. Shane

    I’m not always sure I want to change to the newest wallpaper that you post but this one was a no-brainer! Colors, clouds, lighting, it all comes together very very nicely.

  65. susanfrank

    thank-you for winter solace i really love winter scenes

  66. James

    Gorgeous is all I have to say. Can’t wait for the double/triple monitor versions of this.

  67. Foz

    I’ve just taken the 2560×1600 and cropped the height to 1024 so it fits my dual monitor setup – it’s fricking awesome!

    Have you done something different to the clouds? They look very real with the aurora bleeding through the edges!

  68. FlareHeart

    I absolutely love this one! I was awestruck when I saw this one’s thumbnail and it’s even better in full size! It’s my new favorite!

    Thanks for the awesome wallpaper!

  69. LisaB

    Absolutely beautiful 🙂

  70. James

    Thank you for including BlackBerry Storm resolution for this wallpaper. It looks fantastic on both my laptop and phone.

  71. Miguell026




    and the new software seems great by the way!


    you can do tons of mods in this scenario…

    if i was you.. next time:

    i would transform this one into a kind of a glacier coast at night with a nice moon and auroras in the sky! 😛

    like a beach.. but with ice instead of sand..


  72. BenC

    But I also agree with Max’s comment about the right most iceberg.

  73. Pat

    Awesome. Feels like a cold, moody, unforgiving winter night.

    Also, that iceberg in the foreground looks a lot like the one in Arctica. Not the same, but very close : ).

  74. Chris

    Now you’re going to make me change my desktop — I’ve had Tropical Moon on my work machine for a couple of years. Can’t wait for the dual screen version.

  75. Matthew

    Captures the winter perfectly. Doesn’t need to be clearer or more sky, it is gorgeous as is. The mountains shrouded in mystery and the hint of the northern lights – superb! Dying for the dual-screen…

  76. Scott

    I love the sky. The aurora mixed in with the clouds and stars is amazing. However, I think that on such a bright night, the snow should twinkle and shine more, it’s a little too flat.

  77. Michelle

    One of my favorites of the ones you’ve done this year.

  78. Eyal

    The only “problem” with this wallpaper is the fact that the bear is in the very bottom of the image, which makes it hidden by my Task Bar…

    Even though – it is a 10!

  79. Darlene

    Ryan, you never cease to amaze me. Absolutely beautiful!

  80. Darlene

    Ryan, you never cease to amaze me. Absolutely beautiful!

  81. Chris B

    Good Choice on the name. Plus now you can do a Summer Solstice, & a Spring & Fall Equinox 😉

  82. Josh

    I really love this. I also love the polar bear. Gorgeous.

  83. Tyson

    This is one of your best lately! I love blue walls…

  84. MythAvatar

    I think this is fantastic, the sky is perfect!

  85. Wraith

    Dark, but it adds to the overall feel of the scene! Love the lone polar bear. 🙂

  86. Jonathan

    This picture is stunning! It would be even better if the stars and mountains were more visible.

  87. JK

  88. Chris

    Great work on this one Ry. I do like how the lighting came out.

  89. Logan

    You really nailed it on this one. Reminds me of a trip I took to Alaska.

  90. Ryan

    I changed the title after I uploaded it (got cold feet) but didn’t rename the files.

  91. Chris B

    really chilly… may have to light a fire.

    My only question is why it is entitled “beneath” lol

  92. Tim H

    All I can say is wow, very well done ryan. Keep up the good work !

  93. Mike

    This is definitely one of my new favorites, but my only gripe is with the polar bear. He seems to have really strange lighting… he’s dark on top and the light source seems to be coming from the ground in front of him. Other than that, it’s great!

  94. Vaul

    Not much to say on this one other than I love it. 🙂



  95. Mike

    Song of the Sky as been my favorite Auroras for years and still holds to be a classic, but Winter Solstice has taken its place. Cant wait for the Multi-screen.

    Nice Work

  96. Johnny

    I think the Auroras turned out fantastic. Their color and wispy effect come together perfectly.

  97. John

    I like this piece a lot, but I feel like the ice peaks in the foreground lessen the effect of the piece somewhat. Their smoothness suggests to me a warmer temperature, as you’ll usually get smoother ice when it’s been melting, whereas I think the overall effect you’re going for is a very cold one.

  98. Duncan

    Reminds me of Iceland, except Iceland doesn’t have polar bears.

  99. Geep

    Every time I think you’ve done a spectacular work, you top it with yet another fantastic one. As much as I like B&W Highland, this one quickly went up on my background.

    I love the blues of this and how the lights dance across the sky. And the bear is a great touch too. 🙂

  100. Aaron

    Aside from the icebergs this is the image most often seen on winter nights here in “nordern” Minnesota. Ice coupled with the Aurora Borealis.

  101. Woodstock

    I really like this. It captures both the dark and the light of the time of year. And I love the bear in the foreground.

  102. Tyler

    This style is where you shine most Mr. Bliss. I can always tell which renders are your best by how much emotion they evoke. In this case I feel enamored and mystified by the sight of that sky in such a frozen wasteland. All of the critics from your last work should hopefully take a seat now.

  103. Thom

    Awesome! Thanks for the quick response. I’ll be looking forward to the new version.

  104. Ryan

    I noticed that was an issue with 16:9 screens after I posted. I will try to post a new version for 16:9 shortly but for now you could try using the small icons option. Sorry about that!

  105. Thom

    …it’s unfortunate how the polar bear’s legs are chopped off by a full sized Windows 7 taskbar. 🙁

  106. James H.

    This is truly a spectacular image. The problem I’ve always had with Harbinger is that the clouds are strange, almost solid, and somewhat ruin the aurora in the sky… these are beautifully rendered.

  107. Greg

    oh wow… epic render mr Bliss! love the dark feel! so glad these new images are coming pretty frequently these days

  108. Tor

    I feel the need to turn on a heater now. Looks good.

  109. Tiffany

    Wow. Absolutely love the “new” aurora borealis. And the polar bear is a great touch. 🙂 Thanks for the new wall paper!

  110. Richard H


  111. Anthony

    Really great stuff, here. I was certain that I wouldn’t have to change my wallpaper again after downloading Highland Winter, but this will look great on the Droid. Also a great pick-me-up after a rough weekend for the Hawkeyes.

  112. Max

    Finally something to replace “Starlight Grotto”! DUAL SCREEN PLS OMG! 😛

  113. Nightwynd

    This is beautiful, but I wish there was a tad more color to the aurora….make it stand out a bit better.

  114. Nightwynd

    This is beautiful, but I wish there was a tad more color to the aurora….make it stand out a bit better.

  115. Max

    I just noticed that the smallest iceberg on the right seems like it’s floating in the air. The iceberg looks displaced from the scene because of the way it reflects on the water. I think the contrast is too sharp between the dark shadow on the side of the iceberg and the apparent lack of its shadow cast on the water.

  116. Scott

    …but I agree with Max about that one iceberg.

  117. Kate

    The sky looks AMAZING. And I love the polar bear. 🙂

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