SKU: thunderhead2k161 Category: Tags: ,


I was born and raised in central Illinois, which is very flat country (flattened by a glacier 10,000 years ago), and cumulonimbus clouds are our versions of mountains. I first attempted to model one back back in 1999 using texture mapped spheres. This version with 2016 technology uses Vue’s Spectral 2 clouds.

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69 reviews for Thunderhead

  1. Ben [basicmember]

    I think this reminded me of the eye of a hurricane. I set out to surf in as many eyes as I could. I was able to get out in 6 of them. There are tornadoes all around and a big black and green burled wall and crystal clear blue sky in the middle. Otherworldly… Wonder if you could reproduce that?

  2. Paul Gibbs [basicmember]

    Hi Ryan this one is great..but the lightning has totally disappeared on the 1080×1920 S4,HTC One image. I was looking to put it on my Nexus 5x

  3. Michelle [lifer]

    Is there a reason you put a face in the clouds? It jumped out at me immediately and appears to be intentionally placed. Not a fan of the way the water was rendered but overall this is one of my favorites.

  4. Susan [nonmonthly]

    A storm to avoid

  5. Jeff [lifer]

    Incredibly realistic render. Great work.

  6. david w [basicmember]

    wow! that looks pretty threatening! great job!

  7. John M. [lifer]

    Looks great…until you get to the water part. Doesn’t have that ‘glass’ look that you would see from the water. I know from the past rendering programs you used, the water looked real while the rest of the environment looked fake. Now it is the reverse of that. Get the water right, and you have a winner here!

  8. Chris Oradat [lifer]

    I love the desktop layout for this scene. My wish is that the iPhone version would have the window slid a bit more to the left so the bolt was visible.

  9. Joe Walker [lifer]

    Don’t comment often and I’m from the great plains so more used to seeing these Thunderheads barreling over rolling fields of grass, but still outstanding visual capturing the energy and beauty of the thunderheads off in a distance (while remembering that you don’t want to be caught out in said fields of grass underneath one of these.. :)… ) While all your work is great, I think I do like these nature-scapes that isolate singular elements (example Haiku, Red and Gold, At worlds Edge, etc..) probably spend the most of the time as my backgrounds

  10. docster [basicmember]

    Love this, Ryan รขย€ย” a good representation of what my grandpa used to call “rolling boilers”: the crazy storms that often blitz across southern Lake Michigan and zap the Holland-area of our west coast. By the bye, I’ve got a couple of million tons of Illinois gravel that the last receding glacier deposited up here. You want it back?

  11. Gary [liferplus]

    Not reality… with a nice sized storm out on most oceans you have some white caps. Even on some very nice sized lakes.

  12. doc [liferplus]

    Just awesome !. Really cool.

  13. Jenanne [liferplus]

    You’ve hit it out of the park again, Ryan!

  14. Susan [nonmonthly]

    I love it – the contrast between the lightning, sky and the water

  15. ChrisW [basicmember]

    Being from Oklahoma, I have to say…seeing this thing takes my breath away, in both a good and a bad way. Hate to see one of these things coming my way, but it’s beautifully done. Nice work, Ryan! Ever think of doing a tornado?

  16. Steph [liferplus]

    Outstanding – this instantly became my work wallpaper and have had dozens of compliments (and website referrals!)

  17. Jason [donormember]

    I have to say you have outdone yourself on this one. Truly a work of art.

  18. hurtzDonut [lifer]

    Looks like the atomic tests at Bikini atoll.

  19. Ben [liferplus]

    The trees in the triple screen make it even better when I didn’t think it was possible.

  20. RissFish [lifer]

    I currently have it as the background at work and I get compliments all the time (hoping it gets a few new people to use this site)!

  21. Steve H [liferplus]

    It looks like a very realistic oil painting- very cool!

  22. Zach [lifer]

    This is absolutely one of my new favourites, Ryan! It’s just outstanding! The colours are beautiful, and it is incredibly emotive! It’s another one where I wish I had more displays to squeeze in just a little more of the scene.

  23. Eric [basicmember]

    Fantastic image again. Would you please provide a dual 5:4 (2560 x 1024) render?

  24. celmendo [nonmonthly]

    I love my desktop every time I see this on it. Very peaceful to me. Thanks

  25. NikB [liferplus]

    As a long time visitor and member, I think this is one of your best ever. And given the high standard of your work that’s no mean achievement!!

  26. Fskjoett [lifer]

    Cant wait for the multiscreens ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Lews Therin [basicmember]

    Love it! Went straight to my desktop.

  28. Molly [plusmember]

    Definitely one of my favorites now!

  29. Tiberius [basicmember]

    The best in a long time! Thank you!

  30. Pete [basicmember]

    I always loved a good storm and good storm pictures as well – very well done! I only wish there were multi screen versions…

  31. T3chn0g33k [lifer]

    You should consider rendering weather on other planets. Both in and outside of our Solar System for future projects as time allows. Your tools and skills, I think, are ready to assume this challenge.

  32. ANNA [nonmonthly]

    I love it! I’ve always been a fan of the clouds. I love pictures of storms and this one is amazing! Looks so real as if it were a photo.

  33. Kim Human [basicmember]

    My new favorite!

  34. Ryan

    Mobile users might want to down the 4K version and choose their own crop.

  35. Kelton [nonmonthly]

    Using the 2560 by 2560 in a Galaxy S7 puts the lightning bolt off screen to left. Any ideas?

  36. Omar Calderon [basicmember]

    Really nice I want to see a night version of this too!

  37. Husker4Life! [basicmember]

    I also grew up in Illinois (Chicago area) and LOVE a good thunderstorm. I believe you captured the fury & majesty of the thunderhead. Excellent work on this one!!!

  38. Ozaawaagosh [nonmonthly]

    Love this Awesome Render, Great detail, as a mariner I am up close and personal with weather like this, Awesome Job My Friend

  39. Fancytattoo [basicmember]

    Here comes the rain, oh and get out the surfboards. Absolutely breathtaking. No saving Willie here, just get outta the way… I really like this rendering!

  40. Telaria [nonmonthly]

    Took my breath away when I saw it. VERY NICE! Well done, Ryan!!

  41. Ville [basicmember]

    I really like this! Storms over the ocean are incredible to watch, and this render captures it perfectly!

  42. Glynne [basicmember]

    This is awesome – you can almost hear the thunder.

  43. Rodewaryer [nonmonthly]

    …as thunderstorms usually are. Great work, the cloud render is vastly improved though you still deserve credit for the water on the 1999 attempt. Another great one Ryan!

  44. Paul [nonmonthly]

    Love it, Hope to get 3840×1080 dual mon.

  45. Tom [lifer]

    Great. Love it. @ Jesse: I agree.

  46. Jesse [liferplus]

    I really like this one, Ryan. Nicely done.

  47. Morgan [lifer]

    Pretty damn close to what I fly around… Very nice

  48. Ryan

    3440 x 1440 now available. Sorry!

  49. Paul [liferplus]

    This would be set immediately, but sadly there is no 3440×1400.

  50. Steve [liferplus]

    Ryan, this image is truly stunning. One of your most simple, yet incredibly elegant and memorable pieces to date. Thank you for sharing your art with us!

  51. Littlemom [liferplus]

    The clouds on this are AMAZING!!! they are so realistic. Defiantly a favorite of mine for sure!!!

  52. Mario Carini [basicmember]

    Spooky! But it looks so real. The gods must be angry indded!

  53. Brent [lifer]

    I love this! It looks a bit like an H-bomb and a thundercloud… would love it in multi screen, specifically 3840×1080.

  54. Dustin [liferplus]

    I love thunderstorms and always love your stormy backgrounds, this one is no different! It’s incedible! Well done!

  55. Scott [plusmemberlifer]

    Beautiful – powerful and striking – a photo would be a poor second to the imagination this image evokes ๐Ÿ™‚

  56. Amanda [nonmonthly]

    This is stunning! Sea, storm clouds, lightning, it has it all. I love the way the cloud seems inches above the sea, and the many different colours and shades of blue. A real winner for me.

  57. Holly [basicmember]

    any weather-related imagery is awesome. this rocks!

  58. OpelCarl [nonmonthly]

    One of the best wallpapers you have ever made!

  59. Sean [nonmonthly]

    Ryan, this looks great! However, in the iPhone 5/6 backgrounds the lightning is cropped out. Can you center the lightning in these?

  60. Kelton [nonmonthly]

    This has raw power and foreboding in it. Very nice and a great update!

  61. Todd [nonmonthly]

    If I could rate higher than a 10 I would. Living in Cleveland I have seen my share of these on the lake. It looks like you took a photograph. Keep it up

  62. Aaron [lifer]

    I love all of your work, but I think this is one of your best. Fabulous job!

  63. Amanda [lifer]

    I could not love this more – going on the desktop at work right now!

  64. Jon [liferplus]

    This is great Ryan. I love it.

  65. Miggs [nonmonthly]

    This reminds me of this one time i was in Florida watching storms off the coast. I am blown away by the realistic touch it has now thanks to 2016 technology.

  66. JC [nonmonthly]

    I can’t wait to see the multi-monitor version…

  67. Rose [lifer]

    Not only is it realistic, but the color pallet lends very well to being used as a desktop wallpaper and still be able to clearly see icons. =D

  68. John [liferplus]

    Storms are awesome. Nice job. =)

  69. Patty [basicmember]

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this was passed around as being a ‘real thunderhead’.

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