Battle of the Peak

“There upon Celebdil was a lonely window in the snow, and before it lay a narrow space, a dizzy eyrie above the mists of the world. The sun shone fiercely there, but all below was wrapped in cloud. Out he sprang, and even as I came behind, he burst into new flame. There was none to see, or perhaps in after ages songs would be sung of the “Battle of the Peak.”

Suddenly Gandalf laughed. “But what would they say in song?” “Those that looked up from afar thought that the mountain was crowned with storm. Thunder they heard, and lightening, they said, smote upon Celebdil, and leaped back broken into tongues of fire. Is that not enough? A great smoke rose about us, vapour and steam. Ice fell like rain. I threw down my enemy, and he fell from the high place and broke the mountain-side where he smote it in his ruin…”

From “The Two Towers” by JRR Tolkien.


Technical aspects: A scene from “Lord of the Rings” that has never to my knowledge been done before by any artist apart from John Howe – The final battle between Gandalf the wizard and the Balrog of Moria on the summit of Silvertine or Celebdil.

Poser first, Bryce next, Corel Photopaint last. The order rarely changes… The Balrog of Moria was created using DAZ-3D’s Gorilla, heavily morphed with ExtremeMorph 3D, and with Rhino-3D created horns. The tail and wings were both from DAZ3D’s “Creature Expansion Pack”. Gandalf was created with DAZ3D’s Michael 2 morphed into an old thin man. Anton Kiesel’s “Fantasy Beard” and the Runtime DNA’s Hooded Cloak finished off the effect. The staff was created with Rhino3D and Glamdring, Gandalf’s Gondolin sword was downloaded from Renderosity.

At this stage my PCs motherboard blew up and took my data hard drive with it, so everything had to be recreated again from scratch, including the pose. 3 month’s work disappeared in a flash!

The posed figures were then exported into Bryce 5 and apart from Gandalf’s skin texture all the other textures were built up from custom Bryce 5 material presets. The fiery mane and wings were created with a variant of “Clay’s Volumetric Fire” preset and Bryce Metaballs carefully placed and scaled. A few spotlights and radial lights were placed the light spots in the scene. 3 renders of the scene were done and finally composited into one final image in Corel Photopaint. Extra flames, motion blurring and a bit of extra cloud were added to finish off the image.

Worlds in the Making