Starlight Grotto


SKU: starlightgrotto1 Category: Tags: , ,


This one actually started out as a Vue d’Esprit lesson with my son Ian.

While working on it with him I saw the possibilities as a wallpaper. I worked up my own version and Ian said I could post it as long as I told everyone the original inspiration was his. So here’s our first “collaboration”. I hope you like it!

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97 reviews for Starlight Grotto

  1. Mario Carini [basicmember]

    When there is no sun, Mother Nature provides its own illumination. A dreamy landscape.

  2. Anonymouse

    It looks rather like something you’d see on Pandora at night. Beautiful, in any case.

  3. Klikevil

    Honestly I can’t believe this isn’t rated the highest, in my opinion this is probably the best piece of artwork you have.

  4. Klikevil

    In my opinion this is probably your best piece of art work it’s absolutely amazing and beautiful, absolutely flawless.

  5. jlpilkin

    A red version of this would be spectacular. I am currently looking at a red version via a colorization filter and I am liking what I am seeing. A true red render, however would look much nicer.

  6. Brian

    Ryan, you have outdone yourself. This work is absolutely gorgeous and inspiring. How coincidental that I was writing in one of my short stories for fun about an underground river and you posted this piece shortly after I had finished writing that scene. You put a picture for my story, unintentionally! Thanks again!

  7. Marta B

    My company has Dell dual screen, square monitors and this rendition on my screens makes me feel like I’m on Pandora in Avatar. I feel like I can put on 3D glasses and have it jump out at me. Thanks, Ryan

  8. Jeff R.E.

    Looks like Ian has got the gift. Nice one!

  9. Aline

    I haven’t been visiting your site for a while and I was amazed by the wonderful new works you have created – but THIS is the most awesome I’ve ever seen! Thank you for so many incredibly wonderful pictures, Ryan!

  10. zephyr

    when viewing the “stars” more in the far periphery it really almost seems like an illusion, and that you are truly looking up into some ethereal galaxy

  11. Donna

    This is beautiful. I love all your grotto renderings, but this is a different. As soon as Halloween is over, this is going on my desktop!

  12. curtis

    Nice work Ian! Really alien world feel.

    I’d love to see some more collaborations with your son and yourself in the future.

    Maybe ian will take over for you someday and keep the Digital Blasphemy tradition alive! awesome job Ian!

  13. Joss

    Hey Ryan, you continue to amaze me with your creations.

    I’m not sure how you’d go with this, but I think it would be cool to see a video screen capture of you making one of these pictures. It would really help to see how one of these amazing works of art come to fruition.

    Thanks you all your work.

  14. Max

    I’ll have this one on my screen for many months, unless you create something even more fantastic that this. There’s just something about it that’s so intriguing. I wasn’t fond of the dual screen because it splits, what I think is, the focus right down the middle. I cropped a version from the triple screen leaving off the left third of the image. I quite like it. 🙂

  15. celmendo

    Crop it to size, the composition is a little bit different and it works for me most of all.

  16. John

    Definitely prefer the pickle jar version.

  17. Henry

    Kinda cool lol.

  18. Lidia

    I like the pickle jar version. It’s kind of like having a ‘night’ version.

  19. Michael

    I love the darker version in the pickle jar! Any chance we could get a 960×854 version of the pickle jar for my Droid X?

  20. bart

    I like it. Can we see Ian’s version?

  21. zlynt

    the water has good depth to it, but the walls seem to be lacking depth and texture.

  22. Walo

    I noticed these as well in the 1366×768 one.

  23. JK

    I see them in the 2560 version, didn’t look at others.

  24. Chris B

    I think they’re in all of them… i’ll take them as being dead glowy things 😉

  25. celmendo

    On the pickle jar versions there’s two black blobs in the glowy things, bottom left. Is that supposed to be there?

  26. celmendo

    I like both but think I’m going with the pickle jar version more. The main one is just too hazy and lacks definition to me but I liked seeing the water stream out. Pickle jar wins my desktop on this one. THANKS Ryan

  27. Chris B

    Can make day & night versions of the depths of a cave! well with the help of Ian I guess 😉

    I like them both, they’re different enough that they both have different feels to them. Good job with both, now to decide which to use…

  28. Geep

    The pickle jar image is darker and mysterious, and its pretty, but not as great as the original to me. I might use it sometime, but for now the original stays up. 🙂 Great job though!

  29. Bob

    great image.. but it seems to lack a bit of definition between rock and water… maybe its a depth perception thing? and surface of water is (it IS water,right?)is kinda odd.

  30. TXLogic

    3840×1200, in particular! 😉

  31. AaronB

    I like it, but it seems hazy to me. Is it because of all the tiny points of light in the back wall? There’s too much blue light? My screen? I dunno, but if it was cleared up it’d be really great.

  32. Aaron

    I like this, It looks like a cool place to explore. Will there be any other varriations? Wonder what a green version would look like?

  33. Pierre

    Good work, Ian!

  34. rev. sK

    I hate to admit it but I don’t know what i’m looking at. Am I looking inside a cave? Is that rock bordering the top or are those trees? I like the colour just can’t figure it out what i’m looking at.

  35. Chuck

    This one rocks. I always love the cave pics you do. Everything looks great but maybe, and just maybe, add some kind of a little cave creature in a kind of obscure place in the picture just for a little life and mystery. I always like when you do that, whether its for scale or just another thing to draw the eye. This makes me want to create my own cave picture now. Thanks for the inspiration Ryan….

    As always, keep doin what you do and keep’em comin…

  36. Robert R.

    loks like PANDORA 🙂 But where are the avatars? 😉

    Splendid one more time! 🙂

  37. Dale

    Just bought a new laptop with a touchscreen and the resolution is 1600×900. It would be really nice to have DB backgrounds that fit perfectly 🙂

  38. Skrit

    The water surface texture reminds me of mixing water of different temperatures or salinity. The effect you have achieved with it is striking.

    The environment you have created is truly inspired, and hints at so much, like the beautiful ‘flora’ and glowing water, yet reveals little about the actual world.

    Have you ever considered doing a sequence of pieces inspired in the same digital ‘world’ depicting different places which, when taken together, reflect on a greater whole? Just a suggestion for something a bit different than your seasonal ‘cycles’ to consider for the future.

  39. John N.

    Just simply amazing! You should have Ian work with you more often if this is what happens! The stuff that dreams are made of as Bogey would say! Rated this a 10.

  40. Kevin

    Kudos to your son for an amazing idea.

  41. Daniel

    Can you possibly start making images in 1600×900 wide-screen? I cant fit the whole image in my screen…the images are either too small or too big.

  42. Daniel

    Can you possibly start making images in 1600×900 wide-screen? I cant fit the whole image in my screen…the images are either too small or too big.

  43. Ben

    Really cool idea but I feel like this one isn’t quite up to your normal standards yet. There’s so little detail on the cave walls and in the shadows, and in the background, that it feels like this was made several years ago. The amount of ambient light “haze” also makes it feel a bit stifled instead of like an impressive luminescent cave. Some of your other works are so immersive that you want to sit and stare at them for hours, whereas this one you feel like you “get it” with just a quick glance. It’s not bad or anything – I just think with some extra attention this one could really stand out and be a lot more special.

  44. Ryan

    I’ve played a bit of Half Life in my time. I know I wasn’t thinking specifically of the game environments when I was making this, but I’m sure the influence is there subconsciously.

  45. suab

    I don’t know whether you play PC games, but this picture reminds me of Half Life 2 Episode 2 – in the beginning of the game you spend a lot of time in alien caves, parts of which look a lot like this picture 🙂

  46. celmendo

    it needs some refining.

  47. Lidia

    I just wanted to add that this wallpaper looks magical. It’s been a while since I’d seen a wallpaper that evoked that magical feeling. I love it!

  48. John

    LOVEit LOVE it LOVE IT Ryan you have out done yourself. Best work to date Thank you

  49. FlareHeart

    I saw this on in my updates and loved it on first sight! My favorite color is blue, but I would love to see maybe some green lightning bugs, or some other small dashes of color, as an accent to the lovely scene.

  50. ChrisSpera

    Ian did a great job laying this out and providing enough of a vision for you to translate it into a wallpaper! Looks like DB could be a family business!!

  51. Hunter

    Earlier in the year I was going to suggest to you an idea for a wallpaper… I thought one day “why does life have to exist on a planet similar to ours?”, then I started thinking about what life would be like on a totally different planet to ours, and in my mind I came up with a fake planet that had one side permanently in the sun, and the other permanently at night. What would plants and animals look like in the darkness, how would they cope? It was that second that I had a sudden image pop in to my head of beautiful, glowing multi-coloured plants and insects (think Fluorescence Bloom, but with a huge amount of plants such as trees, bushes, shrubs, etc.). It was a very digitalblasphemy-esque picture, and I wanted nothing more than to see my vision come to life.

    But then I remembered that your work is so good because of the creativity that you put in to it. It’s your style… and that’s why your website and images are so popular. If you blindly followed someone elses idea/picture, it wouldn’t be your own work.

    This wallpaper is similar in many ways (dark setting, glowing plants, etc.) – but I wish that the ceiling was cleared to make way for a starry night and larger plants like trees were scattered about in different colours (not just blue).

    Keep doing what you do best Ryan, and make sure you train your son in the art – my lifetime subscription ends in 2099, and I want to resubscribe that same year.

  52. Katie

    Could you add some lightning bugs? Other than that it looks great!

  53. JohnHodges

    A beautiful scene; no complaints; my pedantic nitpick is that it really doesn’t look like there are any stars in the picture; more like luminous plants for the surroundings, and perhaps luminous algae in the water. Glowworms on the ceiling of a cave would give the same impression, but wouldn’t light the water. Maybe there’s a big moon overhead to light the water, but starlight wouldn’t do it.

  54. David M

    First:: looks like Ian is inheriting your talent. Second: Most of us will never, even with training, be as talented as you (skill can be developed, but talent is harder), but I wouldn’t mind some skill. Ever thought about a side business where folk sign up, for a fee, to get monthly tutorials and/or behind-the-scenes “how it was made” videos of a recent wallpaper?

  55. Ewoontner

    Grotto was always my favorite along with Summerwood. It seems like you made a synthesis of my favorite wallpapers, and the result is stunning!! :)))))

  56. Ewoontner

    Grotto was always my favorite along with Summerwood. It seems like you made a synthesis of my favorite wallpapers, and the result is stunning!! :)))))

  57. Walo

    Watch out! Ian may take db away from you lol.

    I love this one. Send my “thanks” to Ian for that great inspiration.

  58. Tyler

    Hey that’s my name! Are you an imposter or what? I agree this is beautiful, and I think the simplicity is what amplifies that fact. There is honestly nothing more you could revise that would help any. That should be a compliment in itself.

  59. Missy

    This is really beautiful Ryan!

  60. Mordred

    This reminds me of the Waitomo Glowworm Caves in New Zealand. I was there in 1987 and loved it. We were not able to take any pictures so this is the best representation I could find of it.

  61. Henry

    This one is very dream like and very well done. I like it a lot. Have you considered doing some slightly different colors such as a gold-like color?

    And another pitch for super harvest moon. 😛

  62. Tyler

    It is a beautiful piece; it’s very serene.

  63. littlemom

    when I clicked on my email and opened this render it took my breath away. You can tell Ian that his idea was beautiful. Great job guys. When looking at this render it feels like a secret hideaway to sit and escape from the world. It has a really peace feel about it. It’s simply beautiful.

  64. Sixpach71

    Absolutely stunning. Puts me at peace just looking at it.

  65. Brian

    Wow. Cannot wait to get home tonight and change my wallpaper.

  66. Tony R

    I look forward to more collaborations Ryan, if your son maintains an interest in this and follows your footsteps, with your guidance he might become a real master! Love this one.

  67. Andy

    Yay! A nice blue wallpaper to complement my blue LED’s coming from all my hardware. Nice work!

  68. Greg in CA

    Just upped my membership for another year. $5 off anything these days is a big deal. Thanks!!!

  69. Dave T

    This kind of art is what drew me to DB in the first place. I like everything you do, but these surreal landscapes are my favorite. It looks like a pool of mercury; don’t know if you thought of Qin Shi Huang’s tomb as you created it, but it’s what it made me think of — jeweled stars above and rivers of mercury below.

  70. GeneralB

    Blue blue blue blue blue blue blue.

    I want green to get some love. 😛

  71. Fandeboris

    I would like to give this one 9.5. I can not see this one being done over in another season or color scheme. The blue and the highlights are what make this for me. The soft haze didn’t hurt either.

  72. Will

    looks great! reminds me of Avatar. id love to see different color versions like you did with fluorescence, or a “rainbow” version

  73. Scarr

    Hey… maybe try to make a less blurry render of this? It seems like there is a mist or something in the grotto.. it would look really cool if it was more crisp!

  74. Julie G

    It’s great to see that your son has inherited your eye for beautiful scenes. I love this, and I love that he gave you the inspiration. Keep it up, Ian!

  75. Sanalith

    What a lovely collaboration! Please tell Ian he has a true eye for beauty. Thank you both for sharing this with us!

  76. Gary

    You might want to get some more ideas from Ian… I mean if he can inspire a new direction and give you a few new ideas all that much better.

    And I love your Blue modes!!!!

  77. Bruno

    This is beautiful! For sure, this will be my next wallpaper as soon as the multiscreens are added. Thanks, Ryan, and keep the good work!

  78. Brandi

    Tell Ian he had a great idea. I love how this turned out. Love the look of the water. I’m thinking Ian needs his own gallery soon, too. 😉

  79. Josh

    Back to the blues, eh? 😉

    Seriously though, it looks fantastic. Very ethereal.

  80. DJ

    This absolutely amazing but its kinda hard making out the detail of the rocks and flowers in the fore/background. Other than that great wallpaper 🙂

  81. Jonathan L

    Truly the student has overtaken the master. 😉 lol

  82. Sean

    I like this one a lot. It almost seems like a bit of a compromise between realistic scenery and an abstract. The water is kind of strange, but it adds to the appeal.

    On a side note, as of this comment, the RSS feed link to this is wrong (at least through Google it’s pointing to the wrong page).

  83. Lidia

    Wow, this wallpaper is beautiful! Congratulate Ian for us! I think it is so sweet that you’re teaching him to do what you do. We look forward to seeing more “collaborations”.

  84. betsey

    tell Ian to give you more ideas–this is brilliant!!!

  85. James

    This is my favorite wallpaper in awhile. Beautifully done.

  86. Mark

    Ryan, this has to be my all time favourite. Thank you!

  87. Geep

    Its perfectly lovely. Tell your son he has a fantastic eye for design. 🙂

  88. Jens

    Good work. But did you forget about rendering a 1600×1200?

    Or did you drop that resolution?

  89. Dan

    Tell your son he does fantastic work! : )

  90. Victoria

    I love the way the texture of the water – very crystalline. The shadowed areas really give the illusion of space.

  91. The Guru

    This one looks fantastic! Nothing as far as change requests comes to mind at the moment. I’d be happy if it stayed the way it is. Also, I was wondering what happened to Highland Summer. Did you take it off to rework it? Were you unhappy with it? I rather liked it.

  92. Ryan

    The 1280 x 1024 links is there now. Thanks for the heads up!

  93. Kristin

    Absolutely wonderful! Gives you the feeling that you are looking at something no one else has seen; except that only you have special permission to see.

    Great work from Ian and yourself.

  94. StCos

    Looks awesome, but where’s 1280×1024?

  95. Morphino

    10/10, very beautiful.

  96. Ryan

    Highland Summer is still in the gallery, but I don’t want to “feature” it until my new render is finished. It’s chugging away slowly on my other box, but should be finished sometime this week.

  97. Spike

    I like this one pretty well – I’m a big fan of secluded and serene, as well as alien, and this one is all of those things. The flora and water are nicely detailed and intriguing. I have a high appreciation for your monochromatic images, though I do feel a mild lack of variation in terms of color with this one – I think a mild (and I do mean mild) hueshuft towards blue or violet, perhaps in the water, would be a nice effect.

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