Fleeing the Sand Fury

“There were no oceans on Wesdraken IV, no open water either. Nothing to stay and moderate the wind as it swept across the arid surface. In a matter of hours, light breezes – aided by the Coriolis force of the rotating planet – would grow to the terrifying sandstorms called the “b’Hak Shayti” – The Devourer – by the local inhabitants. The winds in these storms were so furious that the driven sand would eat the flesh right off the bones of those lifeforms unlucky enough to be caught in its path.

Malena knew this all to well, but remained in the open until the last possible moment, intent on her task. The storm front rolled toward her with astonishing speed. The air around her crackled with static electricity generated by the path of the wind-driven sand, as she sprinted the short distance towards the outcrop of blackened basalt – and safety!”


Technical aspects: Capturing the essence of an approaching sandstorm was one of the most difficult parts of this entire picture. I had to resort to using a volumetric material in Bryce to get the effect. Again Skywalker’s Gallery and the Bryce Forum came to my rescue and provided some assistance with a custom volumetric material of their own. My gratitude and thanks to them!

The clouds were modeled as individual disks in Amorphium, with the volumetric material applied. The figure of Malena was posed with Poser – based on a video grab from a Ridley Scott movie called “Legend” – and then imported into Bryce 4.01. The project was then rendered on a Pentium III 700Mhz PC with 256Mb RAM. The render took an full 14 hours to complete!

Post-rendering was done with my new Corel PhotoPaint 9, fixing the joints, anatomical faults and hair on the figure of Malena. The Alchemy Swirl filter was used on the clouds to clean them up and finally some layered compositing with masks, the “Wind” filter and the Sharpen filter were used to create the wind-driven sand in the foreground and in the middle distance.

22 January 2001 – This image was awarded with the prestigious Golden Tori Award for the “Best use of Poser”. My grateful thanks to all involved.

Worlds in the Making