What The Whales Saw


This has turned out to be one of my most popular images. I sell it on a regular basis from Redbubble and Society6, which is very cool. I thought I’d use this post to explain a little bit on how I came to create this image.

It really started off as an experiment at an underwater scene. The software that I like to use, Mojoworld, doesn’t do underwater images. You can create scenes with water, and make that water transparent (with full reflection AND refraction) but you can’t position the render camera under the water directly. So I had to try and find a way to fake an underwater scene.

The first step was to try and replicate the atmosphere of an underwater scene. I experimented with different densities to create a dreamy watery look. Once I got a density I was happy with, I then experimented with different colours. Eventually I settled on the above colour. The main problem is I couldn’t replicate the bits and pieces floating around in water that you might normally expect – so this ocean is a very clean one!

Once I’d gotten the atmosphere close enough, I then set about posing the models. I moved the Cthulhu model far back in the scene. I wanted to deliberately try and put the emphasis on the foreground whales, with Cthulhu appearing more mysterious. I’m guilty of over-using Cthulhu in a lot of scenes so I wanted to move away from that traditional scene of the old chap himself directly in view.

The whales are more to provide a sense of scale, but I really liked how they are central to the image. Luckily the render engine created their shadows which was very fortunate!

With all the models posed I rendered out the full scene but it still wasn’t quite realistic (yeah, right, because a massive Elder God is realistic!). I took the picture into Photoshop and experimented with the light rays coming down. If you look carefully there are also some caustics on the floor but I was more interested in the light play so that’s what I focused on.

So there you have it. It took quite a long time to get this picture right so I’m happy that other people also seem to like it. Let me know what you think in the comments below, always love hearing what you have to say 🙂