Morningtide: New Landscape Wallpapers in 3 Delicious Flavors

The beginning of this month is turning out to be a rather busy travel month for me, so instead of sharing a long piece of prose with you, highlighting a place worth visiting, I’m going to transport you to a strange, vibrant place, a product of pure imagination.

I’ll explain.

Nearly nine long years ago, I created a 3D scene in the now mostly-forgotten rendering program called Bryce. The scene wasn’t complex. A lake, a mountain peak, and a couple trees were all that was under its blue sky. I called it “Calm Peak”, and as simple as that wallpaper was, it was a clear step along my path of understanding what made a good image different from a boring image. (You can see the original, “Calm Peak”, in the Byteful Gallery.)

Then, in 2008, I returned to “Calm Peak” and started tweaking it. I wondered what the same place might look like if the atmosphere were actually interesting. You know, something besides typical boring blue with white stratus clouds. So I added some haze into the atmosphere and moved the sun to right about morning time.

Fast forward three years, I discover this often forgotten remnant of my early work. I realized that, knowing what I know now, it could be tweaked and made into something interesting. So last night, after some careful positioning of the elements in the scene, I left the computer to render the final scene at a size appropriate for even the largest monitors (2560×1600 pixels).

The Glorious Result

Morningtide - 3 flavors, Mango, Strawberry, & BoysenberryI awoke this morning to find a vibrant, warm image on my screen. But as I often do, I opened up Photoshop and started tweaking again. I tweaked its specific color curves using a “selective color” adjustment layer (a technique that has utterly changed how I work with color in Photoshop and worth an article all on its own), and I ended up being swept away by inspiration and created 2 derivative flavors of the wallpaper, as well.

So, long story short, I’m pleased to present to you 3 delicious flavors of a new wallpaper set:

  • Morningtide – Mango
  • Morningtide – Strawberry
  • Morningtide – Boysenberry

The one below is mango-flavored. Doesn’t it look positively yummy?

Get the new wallpaper in Widescreen (up to 2560×1600) →

Morningtide - Hazy Mango Sunrise flavor

All content released under a Creative Commons license. These wallpapers look great up to resolutions of 2560×1600. That’s over 4 million pixels of goodness to make your desktop look as incredible as possible.

How Color Transports You Across the Seasons (& A New Winter Wallpaper)

Today, I embraced the quickly-fading winter. Today, I put on my helmet and smiled as my bike’s tires hit an interesting mixture of road… and snow.

Despite the cold, it was a beautiful day for biking; and the sky was a pristine blue that, ironically enough, was very nearly the color of the wallpaper that I’m going to share with you today. Often, we travel less in the winter; so although your body won’t go anywhere, I hope that this wallpaper will help transport you to a more relaxified place in your mind and remind you to keep your focus on the positive: the warmer days to come.

As we enter the last few weeks of winter, I’m excited to present “Joyful Day”, the final piece from the Snowy Cascade wallpaper series. It’s the brightest winter-themed wallpaper I’ve ever released, not to mention one of the brightest wallpapers I’ve ever created. And what better time to brighten up the mood than in late winter?

In fact, as I type these words the wallpaper is set as my own desktop background, and it seems to exude an interesting mix of calmness and focus. Compared to most of the other snowy wallpapers, this one is much more relaxing on the eyes; and it definitely has the most relaxing color palette of them all. In fact, it’s probably the best winter-themed wallpaper I’ve ever created. So why does it work so well?

The Deceptive Yet Powerful Nature of Color

Well, if you haven’t done any graphic design before, you may not realize that the concept of color can be extremely tricky. Some have even said that color’s nature is to deceive, but it’s more accurate to say that color’s nature is to be relative and surprisingly unpredictable. For instance, have you ever tried putting a bright red shape right beside a bright blue shape on your screen? The edge where the red and blue meet will look really wild, creating a dissonance that is uncomfortable, to say the least. Color dissonance like this can even cause headaches. Yet other color combinations can produce a calming effect. How?

The reason for this is due to how your eyes and brain process color. As you probably know, a color is basically a specific frequency of light, and these frequencies can be mixed to produce interesting effects. In fact, according to some studies, seeing certain shades of blue can actually cause the body to produce chemicals that are calming. And I’ve experienced this firsthand.

How did I choose one shade… out of thousands?

Art is deceiving. At first glance, you’d probably never guess how much time went into fine-tuning the final shades of blue used in “Joyful Day”, but it was completely worth it. As I usually do, I relied on my own intuition for choosing the right shade. But there are thousands of shades of blue. Pick the wrong blue, and the work becomes cold instead of calming. Pick the right shade of blue, and you can change the dynamic of someone’s workspace, creating calm. Pick the perfect shade of blue, and you may even be able to evoke childhood memories of Easter.

The kind of excitement and expectation found during Easter and Spring is exactly the feeling I hope this wallpaper evokes in you. To me, this wallpaper represents the tail-end of winter and the promise of a green spring. (A time when, in my opinion, it’s much more enjoyable to travel.)

If winter is getting you down, let this radiant wallpaper transport you to a brighter vision of winter that leads to a swift spring. Remember, spring is fast upon us!

Get the new wallpaper in Widescreen (up to 2560×1600) →

Snowy Cascade - Joyful Day snowflake wallpaper

All content released under a Creative Commons license. These wallpapers look great up to resolutions of 2560×1600. That’s over 4 million pixels of goodness.