Swept Away

The Process

UntoldImage specializes in the creation of unique computer generated artwork of the highest quality and resolution. These dynamic and spellbinding images are a unique type of iterated 3D fractal that is very computationally intensive to render. We use 3 different operating systems and 4 different computer platforms in the creation of these images. First, two custom programs running under Windows XP and Mac OS X are used to explore different landscapes to generate possible candidates. An 8-core Mac Pro with 16GB of memory running 64 bit Linux then renders small image files for each of these candidates.

A group of 25 to 30 candidates may take several hours to render at a resolution of 600 x 800. The most promising candidates are chosen, and these go back to the editing process for further refinement and selection. The Linux rendering process is run again at a larger resolution, and then the final candidate selection is made. A total of 2 to 4 images typically make it to this point. A final output resolution is then chosen for each image, and these are sent to the Linux computer for final rendering. The time needed for each image to render is dependent on complexity and final output size, and a typical rendering time for a 24 x 36 inch image at 360 pixels per inch would take around 8 hours. I have rendered images as large as 74 x 124 inches, and this process took around 16 days! At this point, the final image is brought into Photoshop CS3 Extended running on an 8-core Mac Pro with 16GB of memory.

These images can get very large, and it takes a lot of computer power to handle them. The workflow is completely color managed with the best available calibration tools and profiling software. Final adjustments for levels, brightness, contrast and saturation are kept as adjustment layers with a final flattening process performed only prior to printing. The final output media chosen depends on the style of each piece. For fine art matte paper, semi-gloss photo paper, and canvas, we print on our very own Epson 9600 wide format printer with UltraChrome ink, using ColorByte’s ImagePrint RIP running on a dedicated Windows XP workstation, using custom profiles for each type of media.

For the ultimate in color saturation and wow factor, we use Kodak Endura Metallic photo paper, imaged using a LightJet large format photo printer, using a local pro lab. The final result is the most spectacular, high resolution, digital art you may have ever seen.