Going Down

(If you click on the image you will get the full 8K resolution version)

This started as an experiment, in 2015 (!), that got stuck, then Brexit came along and gave me the inspiration to finish it. I won't claim it has worked exactly as intended - the designs on the hand gliders aren't as clear as I would like, and the rocket-urn containing Bowie's ashes is just too small in the final composition. Scale in general is a problem - it really needs the camera to be both close and far at the same time! Detail is a little uneven too - a side effect of making it over such a long time period, with large periods of inactivity, but it holds up at all the focal points. It also might be a bit too subtle for a political work - I don't think there is any room for ambiguity regarding the main message, if you look long enough to spot it, but many of the secondary/background meanings behind the various choices I made probably don't come across too well, and are probably just illusions in my head.

As an additional note, rendering that many clouds, at 8K (The final file is a 140meg 16bit png file - even the 8K jpg linked above is still 17meg!), was computationally insane - it took just under 17 days on a 6 core computer over clocked to 4.3Ghz to render this. Probably should have optimised it, but even small tweaks to the parameters can really change the look, and it took so long to make the clouds look right that I don't ever want to touch that shader again. On which note the clouds are fully procedural - had to be to go to the horizon, and its one enormous node tree. (There was still optimisation, as the original scene didn't fit into 16 gigabytes of ram for rendering, so I had to reduce detail to get it to fit!) I would actually claim this single image is as complicated as a some of the short films I've been involved with - there are 43 source files (mostly .blend), and it takes up 4.3 gigabytes, the largest file being the multilayer pre-comp exr file, at 1.5 gigabytes. I even had to use a script to break the image into tiles for rendering, then write a Python script to combine said tiles into the intermediate exr file ready for compositing. I kept regular renders as I worked, so here is a video showing progress over time: