Hanging by a thread

“For long days Braedan drifted in and out of consciousness, his body raging with fever as the infection from his wounds and injuries took its toll, yet whenever he emerged from the fevered delirium he always saw her face hovering over him.

She bathed his wounds using her skill as healer and her precious water ration to soothe the damage inflicted on his skin by the “b’Hak Shayti” sandstorm. Had the laser blast been a direct hit to his chest, he would have died instantly, but the bolt had ricocheted off a nearby boulder losing most of its power before slicing deep into his ribcage. Malena’s crude but effective surgery had ensured that the bleeding had mostly stopped but he was weak from exposure to the harsh Wesdraken elements.

“You risk much by saving this wanderer’s life, Ashra”, the shaman hissed as he stood at Braedan’s feet, “you know full well that the wanderer’s lifeblood belongs to the tribe, and he should have been left to die so that his water will become one with the tribe’s.”

Malena tensed, disliking the shaman’s presence in the healer’s tent, poised like a deathwatcher, waiting for the man’s spirit to flee his body.

“If he dies, shaman, the tribe will have his water”, she whispered, the tension audible in her voice, “but not before then. He is of my kind, he is not Sadusi, so until then his lifeblood belongs to me, and not the tribe!”

She knew the knife edge that she walked on now with the Sadusi elders, for her fate as leader of the tribe hung by the thinnest of thread’s as did Braedan’s life…”


Technical aspects: An image depicting a more intimate moment in the annals of Malena was my intention with “Hanging by a thread”. Atmospheric lighting was vital and I spent months trying to get the exact effect that I had in mind.

Two volumetric light sources were used – both located in the single desert lamp overhead. Secondary dim lighting sources were placed at various positions to enhance certain features.

The shaman was created with Poser using multiple morph targets from MorphWorld 2.0 to create the “alien” anatomy. The hooded cloak was created with Rhino 3D, and various clothing parts from other Poser figures.

The lamp, trunk and urn were all created using Rhino 3D and the sheet and bandages for Braedan were created with Rhino 3D file and molded using Amorphium.

The final render in its full size took some 18 hours to complete. The members of the Bryce Forum provided constant feedback and suggestions throughout the whole process. My gratitude and thanks to all who had part in this creation!

Post-production was extensive. Corel PhotoPaint 9 was used to repair and correct the joint tearing on all figures. Malena and Braedan’s hair was enhanced and added afterwards and rendering artifacts were repaired throughout the image. The lamp light source was enhanced using the “Lens Flare” Effect and a 5% Gamma correction along with a Adaptive Unsharp filter was used finally.

The picture that originally inspired me to do “Hanging by a Thread” was painted by the Dutch Painter, Georges De la Tour, in 1643. The painting was called “St Sebastien Tended by St Irene”. De la Tour specialized in beautiful candle and torch-lit paintings and some of his more famous works can be seen at the Christus Rex Project.

Worlds in the Making