Moonlit Citadel


SKU: citadelnight1 Category: Tags: , ,


This is a night version of my 2008 “Citadel” update. Here’s the original I rendered in Bryce way back in 1998.

I hadn’t been able to finish the multiscreen version back in 2008 due to a bug in how Vue 8 rendered clouds when you change the aspect ratio. In the summer of 2011 I opened the file in Vue d’Esprit 9.5 and saw that the bug was fixed. It took my alternate box nearly a month but I was able to finally finish the multiscreen render.

It looked so much better than the Vue 8 version that I have replaced the single-screen with the new render as well.

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98 reviews for Moonlit Citadel

  1. Zorz [nonmonthly]

    This is probably my favorite of all of your pieces, especially the triple monitor version. Any possibility of getting this as a print? I would hang this in at least a few rooms in my house. I love it!

  2. Benke

    If its possible I would definately vote for more updates of old images. πŸ™‚

    Just a note – the image thumbnail is still displaying the old image.

  3. Benke

    Wow! I noticed this update by accident at the login screen and thought it was a new one. Took me a little research to find its an updated one. Its a really great piece! I’ll give you my first 10 rating for this one! πŸ™‚

  4. Dennis M.

    Any change this might make it to the prints section in Zazzle?

  5. Mike Perry

    I downloaded a rendering of your “Moonlit Citadel” a few weeks ago that I really like but I can no longer find on your site. the file name was citadelnight11280.

  6. LBates

    I have one monitor only. As I have done with other pictures in the past, I downloaded the smallest multiscreen and “centered” it. The old version is one of my all-time favorites and this new render looks FABULOUS!!!!

  7. Lawrence

    Ryan, Definately worth the wait. It looks great. Thanks so much for making it. I finally have the complete collection. πŸ˜‰

  8. Labanimal

    I was looking forward to this – its so much sharper and more focused! – its definately better than the older single screen render! Will you be adding this revision of the single monitor versions in the pickle jar?

  9. Molly

    I’m not sure how I missed this one, but it’s just amazing.

  10. Mike

    The multiscreen render improved an already excellent image.

  11. Brett

    Wow thats both an amazing render and an amazing amount of time to make it

    Its my background now

    Thank you Ryan

  12. Ryan

    The multiscreen render took nearly a month on my alternate box but it is finally finished. I tried to render this back in 2008 but the version of Vue I was using mangled the clouds when I stretched out the aspect ratio. The problem seems to be fixed in Vue 9.5 so the time was finally right to finish the task. I hope it’s worth the wait!

  13. Ryan

    I am getting the multiscreen for this one ready on my alternate machine. Hope to have it ready before the end of the week (it’s not the fastest box in the world).

  14. Alex H

    any chance they’ll be making an appearance?

  15. Ross H

    Just absolutely breathtaking!

  16. Jeffrey

    I see that the daytime version has multiscreen. Why do we not have this for the night version. I really like it.

  17. Dennis

    Ryan, I really like this one. Are you still waiting for that patch? I want the dual screen….

  18. Aeolwind

    Any chance you might be conviced to add Moonlit Citadel to Zazzle? This is probably my favorite of all your recent works and I really need a poster for my wall and a mousepad to go with the Skinz I had made for my laptop =P.

  19. Dennis

    Hello Dennis J… πŸ™‚

    Ryan, I am waiting for the dual screen version as well. No worries. I would rather wait for perfection than rush into mediocrity. But in the mean time… have you given any thought to the blue sky version I suggested?

  20. Dennis J

    Thanks for the quick reply. I’ll be DL’ing it as soon as its done, but there are many others here that I love till then. Thanks man

  21. Dennis

    Any kind of ETA on the triple screen version for this? I know you were waiting for an update before.

  22. Ryan

    I’m still waiting (impatiently) for the software update. The triple-screen that I did render really looks pretty bad (the clouds are just formless blobs) so I would rather not post it.Sorry for the wait!

  23. Steve

    I tell you I really love the night clouds on this one vs the day clouds.

    Patiently waiting for the dual screen.

  24. AlilDevil

    I hope that you do decide on making the 4800×1200 one. reason is I hate to chop off the bottom half of your painting just to use on my triple screen monitors.

    Thx again for all the hard work.

  25. Walo

    Hi, im new in the member’s area, I agree about a day/blue sky version, it will really look great. Thank you Ryan for your great work.

  26. Ryan

    Other artists may work differently, but I need a frame with which to compose my images. I do the 16:10 image first because it is easier for me to create the single screen version and then, after the single screen has been posted, I widen the frame and compose the multi-screen.I post the single-screen, take feedback, and then perhaps I will make changes to the single screen and repost. If I posted the multi-screen at the same time I would have to re-render two images before re-posting. It’s easier for me to have a “final” composition ready when I render the multi-screen version (which usually takes a lot longer to render than the single-screen).The only way I could release the multi and single screen images at the same time would be if I composed the multi-screen and then cropped down to the single-screen. However I do not think this would produce the highest quality single-screen images as the composition would be arbitrary without the frame that I am used to.I hope this makes sense. I do try to release multi-screen images on the same frequency as single-screens, it’s just that they arrive a few days after the single-screen is out. I haven’t released the “Moonlit Citadel” for reasons I have already stated.

  27. Dennis

    It’s not as if Ryan holds off on releasing them. It’s that he hasn’t created them.

    I have been here long enough to know that Ryan does not “thottle” his works. He releases them as soon as they are ready.

    On another note, the idea of a third version, with full daylight and bright blue skies is actually very appealing to me.

  28. LauraS

    I appreciate Ryan’s methods of releasing art, and as a dual-screen user, I don’t feel “left behind” by the delay in releasing the dual- and triple-screen wallpapers. Like Ryan says, the first version of a wallpaper is not always the final version. If he waited to release a particular wallpaper until all sizes were done and then decided to make changes to that particular wallpaper, he would have to spend the time re-rendering all of the sizes to match the final version. This would take a lot of time (as he has mentioned it can take 50 hours to make a dual or triple screen wallpaper), and doing that way would make the time between creating new wallpaper designs even longer than it is now. That is unfair to both Ryan and ALL the members. Unlike Nick, I am perfectly content to wait for my dual-screen wallpapers and I simply use the smaller versions on my monitors (in some cases, like “Untouched” I just mirror the wallpapers and it has a very nice effect) in the meantime.

    Thank you Ryan for your hard work, and I hope you won’t make it any harder on yourself simply to please 1 or 2 impatient members.

  29. Linkin

    I agree with Dennis in that a full daylight and bright blue skies version would be great to see.

    How about it Ryan? Any chance to see that in a future render? (I love this night version BTW.)

  30. Nick

    The amount we pay is irrelevant. The point I am trying to make is all images should be released at the same time. We all pay the same fee yet the dual-screeners and tri-screeners are always left behind. I do not see why he can’t just render all the images and then release them all at the same time.

    It makes little sense to release the small ones first and then release the large ones days or weeks later.

    Are should not be rushed…. exactly my point. Do not rush to get the small versions out and leave all of us with two or three screens waiting.

  31. mforce

    my membership expires in 10 days! :-O

    could we get a dualscreen 2560×1024 by then?


    i’m just impatient … of course i will renew! just want to get it up on dual displays at work πŸ˜‰

    the cloud issue sounds complex. nice reply from matt, btw.


  32. Dennis

    I have a widescreen at work, and dual screens at home. I found that if I take the widescreen and tile it for the dual screens, while it doesn’t fit perfectly, it doesn’t look bad at all. And while I am looking forward to the actual dual screen render, technical problems and rendering times are understood. Just sit back and enjoy the Vue…

    Did I do that? Sorry for the needless pun.

  33. Woodstock

    I confess: I am partial to your night scenes. I know it’s just my weird brain but they inspire me more than the day scenes. This one seems very rich to me, good shadows on the clouds, and I love the implication of fires/light at the base with the windows at the top. Superb!

  34. Benners

    This scene is brill, I can’t get enough. Any chance of a ‘noon on a hot summer’s day’ version to cheer us up from all the summer showers over here in the UK?

  35. JJ

    Another vacation,huh?

  36. Patrick

    We haven’t heard from you in over a week! I hope everything is alright and your just waiting to surprise us vs something majorly bad has happened that has kept you away from the computer.

  37. Ryan

    I’ve just posted a status report on the Members home page. Sorry I’ve haven’t posted before now, but I have been busy this past week.

  38. Liz

    Oh goodness people!

    Just because you pay for something doesn’t mean that your money translates into “I am entitled to my opinions because they are automatically right.”

    As beautiful as Ryan’s images are, they are still wallpapers for your computer. If you are spending that much time staring at your wallpaper versus doing stuff, then maybe you need to get a job, a new hobby, or some patience.

  39. Jon

    At the renewal rate, the fee we’re all paying is only $15 per YEAR! If you think that’s an unfair rate for what you’re getting, then you can cancel your membership, but I think most of us are satisfied.

    After Ryan releases an image he usually has 50 people telling him how he needs to edit HIS art and make a re-render, on top of that he usually get’s the dual and triple done inside 3-4 days. It took much longer this time because of technical problems with Vue, but you already knew that because he gave the details in his last post…

  40. Collossus

    Yea Liz, aside from getting new and excellent renderings and saving them, or placing them as a background I really dont have the time to Analze every aspect of them.

    I really dont know where people get the time.

    Of course, I apparently found the time to write this on my lunch. oh well

  41. Bill

    I think good art can’t be rushed personally.

  42. Nick

    Images should all be released at the same time. We shouldn’t have the small versions first and then the larger versions a few days or even a few weeks later.

    If it was free I would not complain but we all pay a fee and us guys who need large always get screwed. Not sure if you understand how annoying it can be to have a amazingly beautiful image that you cannot use. Can’t you just release them all at the same time?

  43. Hunter

    I think that a planet version would look pretty good aswell, it would add more variation in colour to the image. If not a planet, then perhaps a smaller moon hovering over the bridge somewhere.

    Can’t wait for the multi-screen version (please tell me it’s rendering right now!).

  44. Nate

    Hi Ryan,

    I’ve been an off and on again customer for years now, and I just have to tell you… I love your work. This night citadel shot is just stunning! I agree with an earlier poster… I want to know what’s on the other side of that bridge πŸ™‚ Keep up the great work.

  45. Levis

    This night version is fantastic…great job

  46. Dennis

    I like the fact that this world rotates and that the big planet is currently behind the viewer. And I would love to see where that bridge leads…

    Oh, and while I don’t have a background randomizer, I just set my screensaver to the folder where I keep these… set them to full screen.

    When I come back to my desk, I often sit a few moments to watch a few of these works of art go by before I go back to work.

  47. Agni451

    I’m not quite sure what you do to change the image to a triple screen render (is it changing the focal?), but I think I’ve stumbled on a better way.

    – I don’t know how this would work if the camera wasn’t “level.”

    Anyway, if you are using the widescreen 16:10 setting, all you have to do is rotate (yaw) the camera 55ΒΊ to the right to get the right monitor’s image, and 55ΒΊ to the left to get the left image. Obviously the center monitor’s image is the original camera position. This means two things:

    – You render three separate images for a tri-screen setup and two for the dual, instead of one massive image.

    – You must use Photoshop to stitch the images together and clean up any overlap/missing pixels due to the “inexactness” of rotating the camera (use the clone stamp tool).

    If you are willing to do the extra work of cleaning up the stitched images (shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes), you will see that there is NO distortion WHATSOEVER in the span of the image. Ideally, this means that the three monitors of the customer should be at 55ΒΊ from each other, but it looks great if they are just in a row.

    I hope my post helps and doesn’t offend. You were my inspiration to get into 3D image creation 5 years ago (albeit a hobby for me).

    By the way, I really like this Citadel series- it doesn’t have the look of forboding that I usually associate with fortresses. It’s more of a Lord of the Rings look. πŸ™‚

  48. Fred

    Nice job.

    I would like to see it with the planet put back in too.

  49. Cirulon

    Love this one! I always love the night views, with things lit up. It adds so much depth and complexity to the render. Thanks, Ryan, and keep up the great work!

  50. Nick


    Your question was if you should wait on the multi-screen version of this image. As far as I can tell, your site prides itself on putting out the best artwork possible. I say give it a shot and see how the renders look, and if you don’t think it’s the best you can do, wait until you can fix it so it can be.


  51. Travis


    It seems to me that you just spent a lot of extra time (2-4 days) working on the dual screen render of Citadel. As many stated previously, you pride yourself on posting quality work, and I appreciate that equally. Why not save yourself the time and major headaches of trying to render this image at night and getting it to look right if you know the software patch is on the way. It may take some time, but we are all patient when it comes to your work.

    I’d like to see your newer work. I know we’ll see the dual screen at some point, there’s absolutely no rush. Keep up the dazzling work.



  52. Mengistuh

    Let me advertise for you. It’s free. I aint lying.

  53. Pritesh

    Well done Ryan. We all knew a night time render would look great, but you have surpassed all our expectations! Absolutely awesome!!!!!! Definately worth the wait!

    As for the Vue d’Esprit software update, I’d wait a while until they fix it. Maybe its just me being a perfectionist, but I think that if ur gona do some editing, then do it properly when the update comes out. That way you will be even more pleased with the results.

    I’m gona give it a 9. Only reason it misses out on the 10 is because of the no moon. Would it tempt you to slip the moon in some where?

    Keep up the great work mate!

  54. Michelle

    You can see the break down of the ratings by clicking on the picture’s rating after you vote. Here is the break down for this one (as of 7/6/08 2:44 pm ET). First column is the possible scores and the next column is the number of votes those scores received.

    Score No. of votes

    1 1

    2 0

    3 1

    4 0

    5 0

    6 2

    7 9

    8 19

    9 41

    10 32

    Total Score 920

    Total Votes 105

    Average Score 8.762

  55. Carmen

    I absolutly love this moonlit version ryan, the color and detail are simply amazing. Keep up the awesome work I always look forward to your new and awesome wallpapers.

  56. R0ck1t

    Whilst I think most of the images produced are awesome there not all as good as each other. looking at the number of 10s it seems a few people just mindlessly vote all the images as perfect and the best in the collection. Now I vote usually between 6-9 and leave 10 for the stunners, (Haiku, Fluorescence), I wish more other people would do the same, I mean if you like them all equally and can’t see any room for improvement fair enough, but the guy voting 1 mindlessly and consistently is as bad as people voting 10 mindlessly and consistently.

    Not that I don’t like the images but people should think/look/ponder/compare before they vote so the newest image doesn’t jump to the top of the ratings every-time. (Of course it seems less-regular visitors then even the vote later on.)

    It seems internet polls never give accurate general opinions, one even said Hugh Laurie has the 2nd worse US accent. That’s practically blasphemy.

    I gave this an 8, better than the day one, although I still like the day versions sky and clouds and fancy an image of just that.

    Can’t wait for the next one hope it’s an abstract.

  57. Gabi

    Well, now I know I was right about the sinister aspects of the daytime view. Evil forces are definitely gathering around the base of the bluff. Try it with ‘hardly any moon’ effect. Could be really creepy, with hundreds of tiny glowing eyes only showing up when you enlarge the picture. Sorry, getting carried away. Lovely job, boyo.

  58. Timothy

    This piece I think is great as usual Ryan and well worth waiting for.

    I just want to make an observation when I click the voting results for Moonlight Citadel there is one person who has voted 1 and not only this image there are a lot of your other brilliant images that have received undeservedly 1 votes.

    I don’t think any of your images this year deserve to be voted a 1.

    Either these people think that 1 is the highest vote or they just like voting a 1 all the time. If so why did they bother signing up?

  59. SethR

    The night version works much better for me too, both in terms of my personal taste and because I prefer a darker colored wallpaper. Keep up the good work

  60. Deanna

    I’m loving this one. I, too, like darker wallpapers and the lighting on this has such a nice “feel” to it. I love the twinkles on the bridge and the lighting on the Citadel itself is just beautiful.

    …and there is no “but.” πŸ™‚ Thank you again, Ryan. Really nice.

  61. Logical

    I noticed the low ratings too Timothy. A 1 is supposed to be given to the wallpaper that you consider one of the worst on this site. Every wallpaper from this year should easily beat all of the old ’97 pics due to graphics, even if a person liked those ideas better.

    I’m guessing it’s someone trying to sabotage this wallpaper’s rating because it is beating another that they really liked. That’s especially likely with “Moonlit Citadel” since right now it is first place all time with a 0.11 point lead.

    Keep up the good work Ryan. None of the wallpapers you’ve made since I joined deserve a 1.

  62. Compuzen

    Awesome man. I loved the last one and you outdid yourself on this one. As soon as theres a split screen for 3 monitors I’m switching to this one

  63. Derek

    I think this is your best night pic in awhile. Good work!

  64. Melissa

    Liked the day version but the night version is awesome!!

    The colors are soo cool…..

    Keep up the Great Work Ryan!!!!

  65. Dave

    Please don’t hold off on multi monitor version. Who knows how long they could take to fix this bug?

  66. DaveShaw

    Hi Ryan, really nice night version.

    Hold out for vue for a while please. I’d love a decent multi mon render.



  67. Mike

    This looks very cool! I love when you make day and night versions of the same scene πŸ˜€

  68. Dan

    I agree, this nighttime version is just as good as the day. I like what seems to be fog in the lower left quandrant. At first I thought it was some weird low clouds, but that’s my best guess, low lying fog, which is in the right place and compliments the scene.

  69. P Keith

    That’s just amazing! I love the way the light “glows” from the base of the building. Fantastic.

  70. Tim


    Totally awesome! I didn’t really like the day version, but this is way good. Lighting is excellent. Great job Ryan!

  71. Hawk

    Love it! Nice lighting from below, nice lighting on the bridge. The fog is excellent.

    Looking up in the sky, I see a distinct lack of moon. Would it have been too bright? Yeah, maybe too bright. Or maybe it’s too far up in the sky to see.

    Could there be a different, darker moon around this planet? Possibly looming just above the right-most part of the structure?

  72. Akhila

    I was not really a fan of the daylight version..this one is really cool. I loved the lighting and the bridge…the clouds look fantastic. I think not having the moon there helps the picture. BEAUTIFUL!! πŸ™‚

  73. mj

    I really like the look of this image, I too hope they are able to resolve the issue with the wide FOV renders.

    A little off topic, I was wondering if you are still working on adding items to the store. I am eagerly awaiting Starbirth (2008) and Cosmos as posters, have a nice place picked out in my home.

    Again, nice background!

  74. Laura

    Wow! This is fantastic! I love the angle of the moonlight and the lighting of the city and bridge. The fog at the bottom of the gorge adds a nice tough as well. While I love the “planet distroying moon” that appeared in the original artwork, I don’t miss it here. The clouds look a little distorted, but that doesn’t really bother me. Overall I love this one, again well done on the lighting!

  75. Hunter

    Yep. A masterpiece once again. I don’t know how you do it, but your artistic skills must be sky high!

  76. Nathan

    Great work! I like the night version quite a bit better than the daytime one (which is also very good).

    Thanks for all the great images. People at work are constantly asking me, “Where is that?” They get all confused when I tell them, “Nowhere.”

  77. Ryan

    Well done yet again! As for the multi-screen versions, I would hold off because you’ll probably end up re-doing them anyway and I think most people are ready for something new, though I may be slightly biased because I only have one monitor πŸ˜›

  78. Magnus

    I Like this night version alot more than the day the lights on the bridge and the red lights around the citadel make this look amazing

  79. Philippe

    It looks really great. I like it more than the daylight version.

  80. DrScriptt

    Haayyy. That looks very nice. I’d say it’s on pare with “Sierra by Moonlight” (very very nice night scenery). I’ll be getting a print of this one. πŸ™‚

  81. Greg in KC


    Wow… that grammar in the email was something else. Hope their technical expertise is better than their grammar.

    Anyways, the moonlit version is absolutely amazing. I have a dual monitor setup at work and would love to see a dual-screen version sooner rather than later, but if you feel that waiting for the next update would improve the quality of your work, then I’m all for it.

    I’ve been a member for almost two years and am considering a life-time membership… Thanks for all your hard work.

    Greg in KC

  82. Gary

    First, I really like the new moonlit image. I think it looks even better than the day image.

    As far as rendering the dual or triple image… I say wait. I’m happy putting the day image on one screen and the night on the other screen. I think a dual or triple image would just be a waste of your time. Move on to your next creation.

    And keep up the good work πŸ™‚

  83. SMHarris

    Love it, thanks!

  84. Mike

    As a multi-monitor user, I say wait for the patch. Don’t waste the machine time now and have to redo it later. Move on and revisit it some weekend when you’re not producing anything.

  85. Jon H

    I like the moonlit version even better. The moonlight really highlights the curves and features of the building.

    As far as the muliscreen, you may want to give it a go for now, and then when they release the update, you can just run a re-render of the same image some weekend when you’re not working on anything… I guess it just depends how long it will be until the update is released.

    Great Job!

  86. Ted

    This feature is now practically useless. It is a great idea, but the fact that clicking on an image brings up a little Flash preview window that has no options to download/view the full size image makes it pointless. I liked it far better when each thumbnail served as a link to the image in the regular gallery.

    Sorry, but this thing ain’t doing it for me.

  87. Pauly

    I couldn’t disagree with Mike more. It could take months for them to fix the bug. I’ve learned that when software developers say, “oh yeah, we’ll fix that in our next patch”, what they really mean is, “we’ll get around to it when we feel like it.”

    I’d rather you put up a multi-monitor version now and then go back and fix it later (if they ever get around to fixing the bug).

    Just my two cents.

  88. Sean W

    This is a nice rendition of this piece. Makes you think of a warm summer night with a cool breeze. πŸ™‚

    I think you have whatever workaround method of fixing the clouds down; not only are they much more believable, they look just like clouds you might expect to see in a calm summer night sky. Well done!

    As for the multi-screen image, the gent who commented that patches can take a while to come out has a good point. Also, I think that if you start on another project and wait for a patch to come out, you might not have time to be able to do a multi-screen render of this one when the patch is released. It might be good to get this one taken care of, and let future pieces benefit from the patch when it comes out.

    Happy Fourth of July everyone!

  89. Mengistuh

    I still say that you should advertise your stuff for FREE at (my member number is 65340). More people would see your stunning artwork and you could earn quite a bit more for the beautiful work that you do. With your permission, I could sign you up and advertise for you…FREE.

    This piece is so mysterious. I really like how the moon is not in the picture (even though it might liik good in it). It doesn’t detract from the actual focus — the Citadel.

  90. Mengistuh

    Please excuse my bad typo! It should be “look” not “liik”.

  91. Chris

    You’ve outdone yourself again buddy.

  92. Scott

    The day version didn’t grab me–just not a fan of that kind of colour scheme–but this is gorgeous.

  93. Josh

    This one, I agree, is even better than the original. Absolutely stunning and gorgeous!

  94. Kevin


    When I saw the day version I thought it was nice. When I saw the night version my first thought was fantastic and my second thought was I can’t wait until you post the 4800×1200 image so I can use it as my desktop. My vote is to go ahead with the multi-monitor renders now and then move it to the pickle jar when you get the fix (if it comes) and can render it again.

    Keep up the great work.



  95. wnmnkh

    As a person with some programming, I doubt they will release the patch anytime soon (it may takes months, if not years.)

    I also notice that ALL of multi-monitor renders have same problem with clouds.

    I’d say for the people with little patience, go for the multi-monitor render and redo after the patch if you have time.

    By the way, very nice pic!


  96. wnmnkh

    As a person with some programming => As a person with some experience in programming

    Actually, I don’t think the clouds in multi-screen are that bad…

  97. kellzilla

    Ted: “This feature is now practically useless. It is a great idea, but the fact that clicking on an image brings up a little Flash preview window that has no options to download/view the full size image makes it pointless. I liked it far better when each thumbnail served as a link to the image in the regular gallery.”

    The title of the image in the preview is now the link to the regular gallery. I find that weird too, and was expecting to be rerouted to the gallery by clicking on the preview picture itself (since that is more intuitive), rather than clicking on the picture pulling up the next image in the glances. Wasn’t until I reread the announcement blurb that the titles lead to the galleries.

  98. kellzilla

    I was looking forward to this VERY much, and am happy to see you went through with it! I love it to pieces, and especially the bridge/ravine. (The fog is the perfect touch!)

    I need to set up a cycling/randomized desktop in order to play with all these superb images!

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