Highland Summer


SKU: highlandsummer3 Category: Tags: , ,


Highland Spring” is one of my most complicated scenes (it contains hundreds of billions of polygons) so adding realistic clouds for a summer version really knocked the render times through the roof.

I tried to mitigate this with my first attempt by making the clouds fairly opaque (the more you can see through the clouds the longer the render), but the final effect wasn’t quite up to par with the original.

Back to the drawing board and, two weeks of render time later, I’ve posted my final version of “Highland Summer” this morning. I’ve tried to make the clouds more wispy and “fog-like” and I’ve strengthened the shadows from the higher cloud level. The clouds, I think, are the most realistic I’ve attempted to render (detail crop here).

It feels strange posting a summer picture while the leaves are falling outside my window, but I’m sure my fans down-under will under enjoy a timely seasonal wallpaper for a change. I will try to get the multiscreen version of this going ASAP, but it will probably be a while. More renderers would speed up this process for me

The first two renders will remain in the Pickle Jar for your perusal.

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110 reviews for Highland Summer

  1. Wayne [lifer]

    Over the years, this still remains my favorite of all the renders you have ever done. Is there any chance of a 4k or otherwise multi-screen version? Thanks!

  2. Kevin

    Could we get multi-screen versions of this one?

  3. David

    Where are the multi-screen renders?

  4. Wayne

    I love this view, all about the balance of colors, composition of the landscape. Given the more powerful hardware you have now, I am desperate for a triple 16:9 version of this!

  5. Kelton

    Dual screen anytime? LOVE the spring and winter versions.

  6. mejakun

    Highland spring, summer (w/2 pickle jar versions), winter, and Xmas. One of my all-time favorite scenes. Dual-monitor for “spring” only, so I took “winter” and “summer”, flipped winter 180 horizontally, joined it to summer, for a dual-screen that works great, in rotation with other DB stuff.

  7. Norman

    This is stunning. i love it!

  8. Craig

    Hi Ryan,

    Thanks 4 thinking about us down-under……..you truly are a talented guy………KEEP UP THE FIGHT M8…Your 2011 collection is (what can I say?)JUST AWESOME!

  9. Karl

    There is no 480 x 320 resolution for this.

  10. MilesC56

    One of my new favorites!

  11. FaeBriona

    I love your multiple season takes of the same image. This is my favorite of the Highland series.

  12. Jeff R.E.

    I love this series. Another home run, Ryan!

  13. Peter

    I wish this one was available in 5120×1600 for my dual 30″ setup. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Pehaps one day ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Cornflake

    Even better than Highland Spring! Please render a dual wallpaper version!!

  15. JC Navarro

    I have to say, i didn’t think it was going to be so soon that you would top HighlandSpring, but this is without a doubt my favorite piece you have done. I LOVE IT. It makes me miss Colorado that much more.

  16. edmond87

    One of my favorites….really draws me in.

  17. Henry V.

    I look forward to the fall version when you do decide to put it up.

  18. Josh

    OMG youve really stepped it up with this one! Finally a version where the background isn’t blown out and it looks absolutely amazing! I envy your Vue skills!!!

  19. nickaix

    I did not think it was possible to like a wallpaper more than I like Highland Spring, but I believe it’s just happened! The clouds are amazing! My only wish is that the 1920 x 1080 crop was moved up just a bit, to capture the next rank of outcroppings in the distance and add even more depth.

  20. Squeaks

    And not just with this one, I would love to see a triple-monitor resolution, but I’m guessing it’ll take AGES to render! Thanks for the amazing work, keep it up.

  21. Spike

    I think this new render is a great improvement from the earlier version… well worth the wait!

  22. pmistry

    I wasn’t a big fan of the spring version when it came out, but I like this summer one and I think your autumn and winter versions will be great too.

  23. Cornflake

    I meant 3200×1200 ๐Ÿ™‚ lol

  24. Cornflake


    Can’t wait to use this amazing render, but do you know when dual monitor versions will be available? I would like to apply it to my 2560×1600 desktop. Thanks!

  25. Wraith

    I had to bring myself back to reality because I wish I could go there! Literally took my breath away. ๐Ÿ˜€

  26. Mike

    Without a doubt, this is your most impressive image so far. Keep it up Ryan! I already have a lifetime, but I may donate a bit to your hardware fund.

  27. Armadillo

    While I like the original cloud version, this new one is REALLY good. I’m very impressed. Good work.

  28. Jonathan L

    Yay finally. ๐Ÿ˜‰ lol


    Great wallpaper — it looks SO real!

  29. Ryan

    …is here. Sorry for the wait!

  30. Miguell026

    AWESOME RYAN! nice Summer modification!

    Highland must be you’re most beautiful wallpaper EVA!! =P

    keep it up! NICE WORK!


  31. Nate F

    extra render time was very much worth it. not really a fan of pickle jar versions. also, “hundreds of billions of polygons” wow!

  32. Hunter

    A little noisy at high resolutions, but an auto-contrast levels that out perfectly for me.

    I think this wallpaper is equally as good as your other wallpapers. The spring version when first posted was amazing – it was different to any other wallpaper, and it had immense detail, it was truly out of this world.

    This one though is more of the same, a brilliant twist to an amazing wallpaper, but not quite as eye-poppingly amazing as the original… but that’s to be expected.

  33. littlemom

    This is amazingly beautiful. And I agree with others your renders keep getting better and better. I love the clouds, but I always go back to the mountains, being my favorite in all the renders of this particular one. You outdid yourself on this one. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next. ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. byteful

    Yep and it has a tree in it’s mouth LOL!!

    Ryan… It is hard to believe but you are getting better and better with each piece of work.

    Thanks SO much for your continued efforts in makeing the world alot better looking with your Artwork.

  35. Marlowe

    Wow, this is really such a great piece both technically and the way its pulls the whole scene together. I also can’t wait to see fall and winter versions!!

  36. BenC

    Easily the best piece technically to date. Not sure if it makes me think of Summer, if anything I’d say it’s closer to winter – not everywhere gets snow in winter!

    As a ‘summer’ image I’m still a fan of the pickle jar version with the big white clouds but obviously this version is the best in terms of looks. Can’t wait until 2011 so I can use the multiscreen version ๐Ÿ˜›

  37. Iain

    Having just come back from Norway in September this is a cool reminder. Have a look here for a view from the other end of the Fjord ๐Ÿ˜‰ http://tinyurl.com/344vexh

  38. Max

    This version is not only the best version (obviously) but arguably one of your best works yet. Normally I’d be put off by the graininess but there is so much going on here that it’s the last thing on my mind. Fantastic work!

  39. will

    love it, cannot wait to see the fall and winter versions

  40. celmendo

    Still one of your best and I love everything about this update. Worth the wait. ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. The Guru

    I really like it a lot. I think I still prefer the spring version but this is a much more suitable one for a series, as the other summer one was too similar. There did seem to be some grain in this render although I seem to recall you doing that for a previous render because colour lines were too obvious in the final product.

  42. rev. sK


  43. Seastor

    Great to see you thinking of us – love love love summer highland! Just perfect for this time of year in Australia when the weather is warming up…

  44. Walo

    Seems the iPhone 4 version is missing.

  45. UPseudonym

    Looking good. Can’t wait for the multi-screen to arrive (probably in about 6 months! Maybe you can borrow some server time from Google).

    Also, the iPhone 4 mobile wallpaper resolution is missing. Looking forward to having this one on the lock screen, if you could find that missing res!

  46. Matt R

    This is the best you have done on your cloudwork. Very realistic. Sunray’s are very well done they make me imagine the peaks that are causing them but are unseen.

    It was already good, but you have improved it.

  47. Geep

    This one is definitely a keeper. The clouds look fantastic in it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. Alexandra

    I’m so glad you kept at it – this looks amazing and is definitely on par with Highland Spring, one of my favorite works of yours.

  49. Brandi

    Great! Thank you for putting clouds back in. I love the lighting and cloud work of this version.

  50. Tyler

    I tend to agree on all counts; especially the chilly vibe effect. If this were not labeled as “summer” it would be stupendous, but now the audience has a preconception of a sweltering valley. I’m sure Ryan will knock this out of the park on the very next rendition.

  51. dmackoy

    A wonderful update to the prior version. The clouds and the sun look amazing. Very nicely done. There is still a haze that make it appear less High quality, especially with the tree and the moutians on the left. Other than that, its a great update.

    One thing I was thinking, does this one feel slightly “colder” than the previous version? Has kind of a chilling effect on me with the high silver ambiance.

  52. PianoSinge

    I especially like the clouds, and how the water peeks through in places. Awesome! Thank you.

  53. Walo

    Clouds look great on this version.

  54. Gunslinger

    The spring version was the best work i have seen from you. till now. It’s really awesome. The flowers in the foreground make it perfect.

    Is it possible to make a view from the lake to the tree in the foreground. I think that also would look great.

    Iร‚ยดm looking forward to see the autumn and winter version…

  55. David Stac

    I like the view showing the distant cliffs. Adds more mystery to the picture because viewer now may have more adventure filled miles to exit the majestic canyons into the North Sea. Awesome work as always!

  56. Ryan

    Thanks for the heads up. The dropdown menu should have the right links now.

  57. Ryan

    Sorry about that. The 1600 x 1200 is now available.

  58. Kevin

    Seriously, where’s the 1600X1200 version?!?

  59. Abdul

    If we’re only going to have one 4:3 option, shouldn’t it be the larger one, and just have 1600×1200 instead of 1152×864?

  60. Armadillo

    The clouds could have been rendered better, but they really set the image apart and I prefer it.

    The one without clouds looks dull.

    If you insist on being cloudless, at least use the foreground from the cloud image. The cloud image foreground is really good.

  61. Kristin

    The clouds were a great idea of differentiating between summer and spring, but the looks of them did feel off.

    I do live hear the mountains and in the summer is does get a bit hazy, whether from the heat or from forest fires near by. Maybe that could help?

  62. Luke

    Can’t you have the cloud shadows, but not have the clouds in the image? Or perhaps add some rain and hail.

  63. Tworules

    I agree, the clouds didn’t work, and the summer version should probably have fewer flowers. Perhaps a summer mountain thunderstorm? May be difficult given the viewpoint. I don’t know about the fall version as many of the trees look like firs, but the winter version has high potential.

  64. Spike

    I prefer the pickled version for the clouds, but I agree the clouds are a bit stark in their appearance – the rest of the image is so soft and the clouds appear rather rough based on the drastic shifts in luminosity. I would love to see a version with a little softer clouds.

  65. Terebellum

    Can’t wait for the winter one though ๐Ÿ˜€

  66. Terebellum

    I think this one should be the spring one and the other the summer :p.I liked the clouds, now it is looks the same as the spring version =/.

  67. BenC

    I liked ’em. I didn’t they looked too bad, yeah they were pretty white bit I’ve seen similar in reality so I can believe them. This version is still excellent but is quite similar to the spring version. What about a summers night: with no clouds and the valley bathed in moonlight? Or better yet a sunset/rise type one, although not sure how feasible that’d be with the steep sides…

  68. Gary

    Where is the regular screen version (1600×1200)?

  69. Silver

    Much improved. Please make Tri-Screen asap!

  70. Chad D.

    Love this one, Ryan! Two thumbs up!!!

  71. dujeon

    This is so awesome, I’m really looking forward to the autumn and winter version, Thanks Ryan you are awesome

  72. Foz

    I’m missing the 1600×1200 res – is that now an abandoned res?

  73. Greg

    I don’t suppose you would consider making this an African summer? like with long dry yellow grass and maybe a fire? I think that would be awesome! summer isn’t associated with green everywhere in the world you know, especially not in South Africa where I live

  74. littlemom

    I love the clouds in the pickle jar version. And look foreward to your autumn and winter renders of this particular render. Awesome job!!!

  75. kellzilla

    I loved the clouds, they just needed a second pass to look a little more natural.

  76. dmackoy

    I hope there are others like me, but the clouds did wonders for the inital render and I miss them dearly. All they needed was a little tweaking. If you find some free time to look in to putting them back i know id be excited.

  77. Ryan

    I agree that the clouds are good to differentiate it from the spring image, I especially liked what they did to the color of the cliffs. I also agree that they look a bit to chunky. Perhaps if the clouds were wispier or more translucent it would still serve to make the colors more different from the Spring image, but get away from the cotton-balls look.

  78. Justin

    Is it just me, or does anyone else see a skull in this picture? I noticed it in the spring version (which I love).

  79. Ann

    I agree with Walo, I liked how the clouds made the image look different then the spring version… the clouds just needed some more natural texture or something.

  80. Aesir

    Maybe making the tree look more developed will help this version give a ‘summer’ feel

  81. Walo

    Adding a cloud layer wasn’t a bad move. The problem was that the textures looked unnatural.

  82. Abdul

    Can we get galleries of these seasonal pictures together. So we could see the four season progression all at once.

  83. Brian

    I don’t think of flowers when I think of summer….that is a spring time theme. Highland Summer has more flowers than Highland Spring and I think that is backwards.

  84. Greg

    The clouds were bad, but now without them it looks too much like highland spring. I think add some clouds, but not at saturatedly white as the previous ones

  85. Chris B

    Meant the Summer one you can’t see the jagged peaks.

  86. Chris B

    They were a bit too much too fake/plasticy looking though I do like how the clouds were merging into the trees. I like the 2nd version better with faint fog. One of the things i really liked about spring one is that I couldn’t see the jagged peaks. I don’t know why really but I do.

  87. Ryan

    I thought maybe the clouds were a little too chunky ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here’s a version without the clouds that I rendered first (last week) but didn’t post because I thought the atmosphere needed work. I like the scene as I have it in the original, but I think I will leave off the cloud layer in the final version. Consider this a placeholder!

  88. TheMaxPower

    Dear Ryan,

    In the summer the clouds would form in the early morning. It would be fog like hanging in the low areas. On the farm you look at your low lands early in the morning, fog in the morning means no rain that day. Low lying air condenses as the earth cools on a clear night.

  89. Max

    I like the clouds but I hope to see a re-render where they are far less dense. They look almost plastic. The foreground is still incredible.

  90. Brandi

    I love the light shafts on this. Agree that the clouds are “too chunky”, but I like that there are a lot of clouds in this. Maybe stormy clouds instead? Or cloud different heights? I do like how they press into the sides of the mountains-that effect turned out well.

    I agree spring/summer can look similar. I think for this, lighting is going to be a good way to make the version different.

  91. Chad

    While I tend to agree some of the the clouds look a little “off” I do like the clouds being there (a lot, actually) and hope they make the final cut.

  92. Jamie

    First post which given that I’m posting negative comments I feel bad about. Love most of your work but this is not up to scratch. Far to similar to spring version and those clouds just look plain nasty.

  93. Sean

    It does seem pretty similar to the spring version. It might have helped if the clouds had been more diffuse. I was also surprised to see that the bird is in the same place in both pictures.

    That said I normally don’t post here because I’m usually so pleased with your images that it doesn’t occur to me to give feedback! (I’m bad with compliments.)

  94. Christian

    Looks gorgeous, other than the clouds. Just the misty haze would suffice IMO ๐Ÿ™‚

  95. Drew

    To me, this one isn’t worthy of the main gallery. The clouds don’t fit in with the rest of the scenery. Lower quality than the rest of the DB wallpapers.

  96. Tyler

    First off let me say thanks for an incredible job Mr. Bliss. Back when the spring render was released I foreshadowed the trials of the summer version. You should really flip-flop this and the spring however. Just like ‘Canopy Creek’ the one looks more like the other’s season. I feel a cool rushing wind when I see this one which is definitely not a summer mood. Swap them and then revise the new spring w/ the below feedback and you will be golden.

  97. Ben

    If you’d like photos to draw from, I’d be happy to send some your way. Spring is usually full of blossoms, and the grass is VERY green from being soaked all winter from resting snow. Clouds are wispy and there is often early morning fog. Summer transcends from blossoms into leaves, medium hue green grasses, and lots of afternoon Thunderstorms.

    Either way, love sun shafts in this one.

  98. BenC

    I’ve been a follower of your work for over 5 years now and Highland Spring is my all time favourite, so as you can imagine I’ve been pretty excited about Highland Summer!

    I am not disappointed!! Another fantastic piece of art! Not as good the spring version, but maybe that’s because it’s not new like the spring was.

    My only ‘complaint’ is that the eagle hasn’t moved!

  99. dmackoy

    Im very excited about the seasonal updates to this render. I enjoy the flowers on the hill and the overall feeling of the clouds as well. It gives it a matured feeling. These are just some thoughts I had on the initial render.


    The cloud near the ground is a little to much of a blob and is a little too solid white. Possibly add a little more transparency and/or disperse the cloud a little and it should be just fine.


    Mountians (left) and Trees (bottom right), appear grainy. It seems it might be due to the shadow issue with the clouds. The texture just seems out of place and makes them both feel unnatural (trees especially). Overall the haze throughout the image reduces the sharpness I loved in the first render.

    Hope these ideas help and jive with others. Looking forwards to any updates!

  100. Harry King

    Really all I can say is wow that is truly incredible and stunning.

    Only comment myself would be (from 1920×1080 vers.) that the clouds that aren’t shadowed by the mountains might want a touch more texture or brightness/contrast tweaks on their tops like how they are when shadowed. I reckon you would be able to discern their shapes even in that bright sunlight.

  101. Molly

    I love both Highland Spring and Highland Summer; they are among my top favorites.

  102. Chad

    Don’t know if it’s the clouds or shadow, but something is off in the look of this one. Sorry ๐Ÿ™

  103. Greg

    The clouds are far to white, they look very odd

  104. Walo

    There’s something strange about these cloud textures. These look unnatural.

  105. Steve

    Most of your summer/fall/winter/spring pieces are very distinct in how the seasons changes. I love this piece of work, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t see much of a difference distinguishing this as summer as opposed to spring. I feel bad saying something negative when I really do love both images!

  106. Karl

    The links all appear to go to Canopy Creek right now.

  107. Karl

    That would be in the drop-down menu from the gallery, not this page.

  108. Davy

    Loved the original of this image so much so that I used it for about a year. I really didn’t think you could improve on this image but wow. Looks like I might be using this one for quite a while.

  109. Albert

    YES! Finally, a down-under seasonally correct wallpaper!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU very much! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I generally put up whatever is the newest but to actually have this … thanks very much!

    And for the record, I prefer image 2 better. It was the most summer looking one.

  110. Albert

    And I forgot to mention, Highland Spring was one of my absolute favorite of your wallpapers .. so yeah, this is mucho great.

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