The Shrouded Desert


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117 reviews for The Shrouded Desert

  1. D. C. Sessions [lifer]

    If you’re ever in central Arizona, about an hour east of Phoenix along US Route 60, you go right past Picket Post mountain. Not an exact match but surprisingly close.

  2. James Ray

    This has to be the most photo-realistic scene I’ve come across thus far. Excellent work!

  3. Ryan

    I use this still on my iPhone, Desktop Dual Screen and on my laptop widescreen. I try ur newer ones but i keep coming back to this one. A winter one will be cool.

  4. ed

    excellent detail, but i just don’t like the lighting.Maybe I expect too much dramatic lighting from these, given your other work(especially the fantasy ones).

  5. Michelle

    Eh, I still don’t really care for this one very much and find it kind of dull and boring. I really prefer the original one much more, which seemed much more interesting to look at more alien, but I guess those of us who do are in the minority. I’m sorry the initial bad feedback you got on the first one prompted you to resign it to pick jar status, but at least us odd balls who like it can still enjoy it. 🙂 A shame we’ll never have multiscreen renderings of the original one though. Even though I don’t have a multiscreen setup, I enjoy looking at the multiscreen renderings.

  6. Dave

    Looks like I am a bit different to everyone else. I liked the previous version and I like this version. The previous version reminded me of some scenes out of UT2004 (your is better :)).

    After checking out the previous version, I thought that a dual screen version would look unreal. It would add that scale and scope to the image. Just a thought.

  7. Daniel H

    The photo-realism on this is amazing. I love it!

  8. Graham

    I’m a fan of your abstracts but I really like this render. It’s so realistic that most people in the office are fooled into thinking it’s a photograph.

  9. Trogon

    Much better than the original. Personally, I like the sun peeking through between the mesas … reminds me of a sunrise here just last week (though without the rocks). Adding the vegetation helped a lot … I think that was what I didn’t like about the original, it was a little too baren.

  10. Michael

    Great render, one of you best

  11. Nathan

    Always been a big fan of your work. There is something about this image that i really like, but i just can’t put my finger on it. Maybe its because it is so different to most of the landscapes here in Australia. When i think desert i think red.

    Anyway, well done again.

  12. Not impres

    i like the clouds. but as someone else mention the white rining is a little photoshoppy. and hte sun needs to be somewhere else, like behind hte rocks peaking through.

    nice job though.

  13. Upem

    Reminds me of home, keep it up

  14. Alexis

    I definitely like this view a lot better than the original. I think this looks more believeable and realistic.

    I would even go so far as to say this looks like something I’d expect to see in the CA Mojave Desert, by Big Rock. Bravo!

  15. Danny

    In my opinion both versions are nice. They are indeed different in atmosphere – the first feels more Martian to me, and the newer one feels more down to earth.

  16. Jezlukin

    I keep sitting here waiting for the clouds to move. The picture is so realistic, I almost feel like I’m there. I didn’t get a chance to see the “grainy” clouds, but this entire render is Awesome… Just keep doing what you do. I’m continually impressed with your work.

  17. Albert

    I hate to write a critique as my first comment ever but am I the only one who’s bothered by the rining white outline of the rock against the sky? I’ve got the wallpaper up and everytime I look at it I can’t help but think some photographer (well, if this was a photograph) had been a tad overzealous with the Photoshop sharpen filter.

  18. Joel

    This scene is amazing.. especially the foreground. The plant distribution and rock formations are spot-on. The foreground looks like a photograph.

    I highly recommend everyone check out the triple wallpaper version– Even if it doesn’t fit your desktop, it’s incredible. Your new camera sizing style seems to minimize that “stretched” look on the sides (at least in this image) so it just looks fantastic.

    This far surpasses cinema quality IMHO.

  19. Netsquall

    You’ve outdone yourself with this one. The stunning, crisp realism really is what ‘digital blasphemy’ should stand for. It looks like you trecked out to the Mojave desert and snapped this one with a 10MP camera. Amazing.

  20. Netsquall

    I saw the first one, and can’t see how in the world you got from the first, to this. Its tenfold better.

  21. Eyal

    I see that now you are doing an iPhone wallpaper on a regular basis.

    Can you also make a Pocket PC theme as well?


    Eyal Hamtsany.

  22. Chris

    The 2560X1024 render is the best multi-monitor render of one of your images I have seen in a while. Glad to see that you have found a way to just widen the frame rather than crop to fit. Really great job on this one. Will be one of my all time favorites.

  23. Brian

    I was one who was not impressed with the original. This one is awesome. I really like it.

    Thanks for taking another look.

  24. Sum1fun

    I really like the use of neon colors in your artwork. Please find a way to do more!

  25. general125

    I like this version much better than the original.

  26. Shannon

    the first draft:

    i enough the snape though thought it was a little overpowered by all the rocks.

    the colours were great.

    didn’t really show an idea of scale

    draft two:

    i like the colour a lto more

    and the rock seem less crowded

    the scale seems a lot better

    but there’s still something about ti that i really don’t care for, it seems, flat.

  27. Lidia

    This one looks a lot nicer than the original. The vegetation really does help with the sense of scale. And I like the fact that it’s a lot less sunny.

  28. Michelle

    I thought the first one was fine too, and in fact I like some things better about it. I thought the angle and shape was a bit more unusual and interesting, but this picture is gorgeous too. I’ll certainly be using both of them.

  29. Labanimal

    Perhaps we should complain about your designs more often, because you always come back with something better, that either amazes you, or blow you away! – This is one of them!.

  30. Macmage

    This version is %100 better. I love almost all of your stuff – the original was one I just did not like. THANKS of going back over it, this new verion is one I will use

    Way to go

  31. Joe

    I liked the first version and had it set as my wallpaper, but I like this version too. I think I have to live with this for a few days to see if I prefer it or not.

  32. Sean W

    WOW! This image is amazing!! I mentioned in my comment on the original that I do not like deserts; this image completely nullifies that dislike, if only to fully enjoy this image. This is a truly fantastic piece!

    The camera angle is more genuine, and helps put into perspective the majesty of the peaks. Plus, it really brings out the rocky textures. The vegetation is incredibly realistic, and the setting sun lighting up the clouds is awe-inspiring.

    What a well-done redo, Ryan, this is exponetially better than the first while retaining the same feel and landscape of ‘The Shrouded Desert’. This gets a 10!

  33. Joel

    I liked the original, but this one is definitely better.

    I actually think this is your second best image ever 🙂

    10/10 for me.

  34. Aaron

    I’m sort of shocked at how rude people are with their comments here: “Much improved…in fact, improved even to the point that I may put it on my desktop occasionally.” — How much more pretentious can you possibly get? 🙂

    Turn a blind eye to these wannabes – keep on pluggin’ away.

    Any chance of a dual-widescreen?

  35. J Crew

    this one is so much better. it def reminds me of the desert now

  36. Adrian

    Definitely a lot better than the first. Reminds me of that mountain thing in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The black/dark cloud area on the left side of the image doesn’t quite look believable to me, but it might just be my LCD.

  37. Marvin S.

    Better than the original! Though I liked the original as well.

  38. Timothy

    Yea exactly I agree with Aaron that many people are being rude instead of giving helpful criticism.

    I gave his previous image an 8 but this one is a definite 9 my only slight problem is it is slightly dark on the rocks facing us.

  39. Larry

    The split-file files are mis-named, but other than that, nice work 🙂

  40. Pillarman

    I liked the First version of this one, but the second blows it out of the water. This reminds me of desert rocks I climbed in Mexico. Very realistic! good job Ryan.

  41. Eric H.

    Ryan, you truly amaze me. This piece of work is brilliant! Anywhere I look, I see new reasons to love the image. Examples: The setting sun, the detail of the plants, the almost looming cloud system, and the high contrast between lights and darks.

    I also applaud your decision to not use a human figure to hint at the scale. The shrinking flora works beautifully.

    My first “10” in a long while.

  42. Tril

    My comment wasn’t meant to sound unfriendly…I’m just really picky about what I put on my desktop, since I spend a lot of hours staring at it 🙂 (And most of Ryan’s recent works have become favorites!)

  43. moonmaster

    Absolutely f@#king awesome. The first was good and then you hit us with this version. I really like the light on the right hand side and the dark on the left. I’m also impressed with how you looked at a picture that was an aerial view, thought “how can I improve on this?” and then make it into a side view with vegetation, detailed texture, and realistic clouds. You really brought the picture to life and I believe this is one of my all time favorites of yours. Keep it up!

  44. thorin

    2nd version a LOT better. If that were a photo, I would say it needs quite a bit of fill light.

  45. Rob

    While I liked the first version, this is much better in my opinion. Also, it looks a lot like where I live in AZ!

  46. David

    This is one of the few cases in your gallery where the dual monitor version looks way better than the single monitor version – much better composed.

  47. Mike


  48. Anne

    I like that dusty, sandy quality it has.. it’s such a lonely and beautiful picture. I have to admit that I did like the colour of the previous Shrouded Desert, something about the orange-ness that struck me. But this is amazing, especially the clouds in the background.

  49. Ryan

    Funny you should mention composition of the dual-screen vs. the single-screen version. As I had mentioned with ‘River Valley’; when doing multi-monitor versions of my images, sometimes I have had to cut out certain elements fit the screen to fit the new frame.I finally discovered a way, with this image, to increase the horizontal F.O.V. of my “camera” while keeping the vertical nearly the same. The result is that I could keep the original composition and simply open up the sides.Look for future multi-screens to more closely match, and possibly exceed the originals. I may even have to go back and re-do some of the older ones (such as “River Valley”). I’m glad most everyone seems to approve of the changes!

  50. Chris

    It’s images like these that totally justify the lifetime membership. This is so well re-done, Ryan. Thanks for the changes. I’m sure there’s a dual monitor version coming; that’s going to be spectacular.


  51. Saranna

    I actually added the original to my background as soon as you made it – just never got around to leaving a comment I guess.

    But I do like the stuff you did with this one!

  52. Mike

    …you certainly pulled that one back from the brink. Much much better with the revisions. Certainly a lot more imposing!

  53. Alastair

    I too was not a fan of the previous work, but like many others my lifetime membership is justified over and over by images like this. Thank you for taking note and once again demonstrating your awesome talent in art.

  54. Overdrive

    Well, talkin’ about big improvements, this is really a good example! Shrouded Desert has become a completely different image, with great and very realistic details. Again sun, clouds, light and colours are superb, like in so many other recent artworks.

    Well done!


  55. Jeff

    This version is so much better. The only thing this picture may be missing is a lone coyote sitting on rock looking at the viewer. Great job!


  56. Darin

    This one is definitely better. The focal point is much more obvious and the details are stunning. Great job!

  57. travis

    Bravo. I applaud this latest render and your enthusiasm and passion in your work that lead you to improve and evolve your work. Keep it up.

  58. Jeremy

    It almost scares me how real this looks. I used to live in Arizona and that could easily have been a picture from my back porch!

  59. Pete

    I love this modification to the original, but it appears the full size images are rendered much more darkly than the thumbnail. Was that intended? I would like to see full-size copies with the level of light shown in the thumbnail. . .

  60. Lee

    Great job, I like this one much better than the last one.. now just need the dual screen 🙂

  61. Kyle C

    Ryan this is amazing. I liked the first version, but now I’ve seen this I’m blown away. The mood is so powerful and the detail so fine. Keep up the good work 🙂

  62. Jim

    The first version seemed a bit too monochromatic to me and not all that interesting. This version is much more appealing and looks more realistic.

  63. Manhawke

    Yes, this one is definitely better! However, there are some bright spots on the shaded ares of the formations that almost look like sunspots coming through the model. Other than that, it’s one of my main desktop images!

  64. Shane

    I love the way the clouds are partially iluminated. I think the background in this is one of my favorites.

  65. Justin

    I never post criticism. More often than not, if I dislike a piece of artwork, I simply won’t comment. As has been mentioned here countless times, everyone has their own tastes. So just because I don’t like something, I’m not going to go on and on about it. As such, I didn’t comment on the previous version of this image.

    However, I felt compelled to comment on the new version. It’s simply awesome. I love the atmosphere, and the vegetation really works to add the sense of scale that was missing in the original. Great work, Ryan.

  66. Ryan

    I took a closer look after reading Manhawke’s comment and I noticed the bright spots as well. I’ve cleaned these up in Photoshop and posted an updated version.

  67. Larry

    While the first release didn’t meet with my taste, and this one is much improved in my opinion, I found some of the criticism irrelevant to art interpretation, and frankly, a bit harsh.

    Keep up the good work Ryan (whether or not everyone happens to like every piece)! And happy birthday.

  68. kirnkorner

    I like this version much more than the original. It almost looks like a photograph!

    Great job on the update!

  69. MRaugh

    Heck, I liked the old one. The yellow tinge to everything gave the image heat and sold it as a desert.

    The new version is also awesome, but doesn’t really say “desert” to me. Maybe you should retitle it “The Shrouded Peak” instead.

  70. Astatine

    And… well, I was unconvinced by the thumbnail, the image composition doesn’t really work in 4×3, it’s a landscape but the rocky outcrop in the foreground makes it too *vertical*…

    But in 16×10 and wider, that’s _fabulous_.

  71. CJL

    This POV makes a tremendous background. Nice and “contrasty” with lots of dark and not to many bright areas. The texture of the rock really comes through and I like the slightly ominous dark clouds coming in.

  72. Tony

    I like this one a lot better. It seems so much more realistic. At first I thought it was a real picture of a peak, but I knew that wasn’t true. Absolutely amazing!

  73. Chris

    Really like the rework of this image. The change of camera angle really adds to the majesty of the spires. I have always loved the part of the southwest that obviously inspires this image. Great work.

    Have noticed a lack of 2560X1024 renderings lately, the 2560X1600 are ok, but always seem to loose something meaningful to the image. For instance, looses most of the forground on this one and the top of the taller spire amd most of the lit up clouds… Still, I do have it as my background at the moment.

  74. Tim

    This really looks like a photograph! The vegetation and rocks are very realistic. Very nice!

    Only complaint is that the shadow side of the rocks is too dark. Especially on a laptop LCD screen.

    Another comment stated that the thumbnail is brighter….that is true and looks better than the large version. This would be totally excellent if you brightened the dark areas a bit.

  75. dfp

    Much better than the original version! Thanks for the update 🙂

    – darkfoxprime

  76. Ray

    I happen to like them both – but I agree that this new version looks even better than the first…

  77. Dave

    Completely bananas.

  78. jon

    Not one to criticize too harshly this one definitely surpasses the first.

    Again great work.

  79. Jon

    The other one was good but I like the colors much better with this one. The vegetation looks nice too. Keep up the nice work.

  80. George

    I must say I liked the first one a lot but this one is even better. Very, very realistic!

  81. bradbury

    I prefer the updated version to the ‘original’. This went on my desktop immediately. 😎


  82. GAIL

    Wow, it looks like a storm brewing in the deserts of Sedona. Storms at night start just like this…and look just like this. Ever been there? If not, you’re “channeling” some previous life. I like the darker image as it brings the sense of a monsoon storm just waiting to break.

  83. Kyle

    didn’t see anything wrong with the first, but this is stunning.

  84. Hegemon

    Reminds me of some of the scenery out in Sedona Arizona. If you haven’t been there, I highly urge anyone to go. You’ve outdone yourself on this one. I give it a 10

  85. Zac

    Wow, I mean just wow…

    The difference between my reaction to the two versions is staggering. This new one is incredible, I’d have never guessed that it wasn’t a beautiful photo, the other didn’t even intrest me.


  86. cebroo

    I take back my earlier comment about not liking desert scenes. I particularly like the setting sun it the background.

  87. Timothy

    Yeah I agree with one of the posters that people were unreasonably harsh and rude about the previous image.

    I thought it was excellent and was good enough to set as a wallpaper immediately. Its rock formations but a great image in its own right.

  88. Jason

    This one is not even on the same playing field as the previous image. I liked the other one, but this one simply took my breath away. I think the sun, as well as the staggering peaks in front of us and a little vegetation did it quite nicely. Props! The last image, my main gripe would have been too many peaks, I think as in this one, a few large more realistic ones due justice superbly

  89. Gabe

    Great image – extraordinarily realistic… I have to look hard actually to determine that it’s digital in nature. The first one was more obvious in that – and while it was good, this is even better. How do you put in so much attention to detail?

    Great work!

  90. alexM

    I just thought I’d comment again that after looking at this it is amazing how realistic it looks. I am very impressed with this one and I would definitely change my vote on this if I could to something higher due to the realism it has. As I said before, keep up the good work.

  91. Tril

    Much improved…in fact, improved even to the point that I may put it on my desktop occasionally. I particularly like the vegetation.

    Old rating: 4 New rating: 7

  92. iMark

    So much better!

    Thanks Ryan!!!!

  93. Lee

    Something felt off with the old one. This one I feel like I am looking at a photograph. Very nice.

  94. Strfox

    It looks good don’t get me wrong but it lacks much of the drama that I’ve found in your other works

  95. James (LM)

    That’s very nice – really captures the feel of the west far better than the other.

  96. Jamie N.

    This version is a million times better than the first.

    However it is spoiled by the artifacts in the clouds to the left of the rock. These look like the same artifacts that ruined “Morning Mist”. They make it appear as if you’re looking through frosted glass.

  97. Mark Burge

    The colors are much better in this one.

    I’d love to see “Shrouded Desert Night” 🙂

  98. Tom Ruo

    One big rock. Some clouds & not much else. Not one of your better efforts. Your web-site is awesome. This one is a bust. Sorry.

  99. freezal

    the change in the pov gives this a foothold that allows people to visualize themselves seeing the landscape through their own eyes. Better color and a less other worldly feel just add to the improvement.

    great job.

    and thank you for the comment and rating system and proving that our feed back is important and taken into consideration.

  100. Greg in KC


    Great job on the rework of Shrouded Desert. I think the perspective is a lot better than the first version. Keep up the great work!

    Greg in KC

  101. Kevin


    A belated happy birthday.

    I think this is a huge improvement. I wasn’t going to download the original version and now I can’t wait until the tri-screen version is available. I love the lighting, the camera angle, the sense of scale and the overall realism. I am continually impressed by your work and I’m even more impressed with your willingness to take chances with your art, accept constructive criticism and make changes when appropriate (and at times you should stand your ground like you did on Dispersion).

    Thanks for all your work and I encourage you to keep taking chances. I will not like all of your work, nor will anyone else, but by taking chances you can produce some phenomenal pieces. I much prefer that to a bunch of mediocre pieces that all look alike.

    Keep up the great work,


  102. Joss

    When I read that you had fixed up the other one, I thought you might have added a pink ting to it…but…man, I nearly fell off my chair!

    This looks amazing, it looks very realistic. Nice work!

    I must say though, that the clouds could do with some extra work, they look they have been painted on and don’t really fit with the style of the rest of it…to ‘grainy’.

    Anyway, keep up the good work and, it’s good to hear you had a good birthday 🙂

  103. Larry

    This one is amazing. It’s one of the most realistic I’ve seen on this site. Please post a dualscreen version soon

  104. Ryan

    I’ve posted a revision which should smooth out some of the grain present in the clouds.

  105. Bryan

    Hey Ryan, when I saw the RSS feed for “Updated Shrouded Desert”. I was like “oh ok, minor change. no biggie.” When I saw what you did to this image, I nearly shat myself. Way to go!!! One of the best and most realistic images you’ve ever done!

  106. Patrick

    I didn’t bother to comment on the other version as others seamed to be doing a good enough job.

    And again I agree with the others in that this is greatly improved over the prior version!

    There are three things that I would like to see changed… Well more suggestions…

    1. Fix clouds as they don’t seam to work

    2. The left side behind mountains seams overly dark to the point that detail seams to be lost

    3. No Dual Monitor Version 🙁 (*or tri for fokes with enough $$ for 3)

    Nice work!

  107. JT

    Amazing what a difference in perspective can do, isn’t it? I love the mind-blowing contrast from one side of the screen to the other, and the detail in the vegetation and rock strata is incredible. The original picture was too busy and crowded, but this is much more focused.

    The only spoiler for me, and where my too-technical mind has to take issue with the folks saying this is so “realistic,” is that geologic columns like these are made of granite, not sedimentary rock, which doesn’t have strata. Oh well, we can *wish* they looked this good. 🙂

  108. rw1171

    Love this one, much better than the last. Thank you for changing it. WOW!!!!

  109. celmo

    Great…still too much edge enhancement which is kind of distracting for me but WOW!

  110. Jamie N.

    Thank you for correcting the grainy clouds!

    Now, because I can’t find anything else wrong with it, and because I’m amazed at the grandeur and realism of this picture, I’m gonna give it a 10.

    Congratulations! 🙂

  111. Mark

    Much, much nicer! I really like the foreboding aspect to the left. Very nice – I’m looking forward to seeing this on dual monitor

  112. alexM

    This is so much better than the original. I like this one a lot more. Good work and keep them coming.

  113. Raj

    This is totally awesome.. I was kind of hoping that you would read the comments and do some changes to the original, but really didn’t expect it to change so much 🙂 Great work.. Keep them coming!!!

  114. Rick

    Way better than the original. The plants make it more real compared to the original desert waste land. If the rock was more red this would look almost like some areas of northern Arizona deserts.

  115. SteveS

    This is amazing – hard to believe it was man (or computer) made. Can’t wait for the triple-monitor version – this will be my new wallpaper.

  116. G

    This is fantastic. The vegetation, more natural colors and mist, new POV, clouds, contrast etc. are all MASSIVE improvements! Compared to the original, which was decidedly extraterrestrial in my opinion, this revision is beautiful and awe-inspiring. A definite winner in my book!

  117. Keith

    What an amazing job!

    That is incredible!

    LOVE IT!

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