From the comments section of a 1996 drum and bass mix YouTube put in my recommendations (which I’ve been enjoying very much, going into the weekend!), I discovered Bryce: a fractal terrain generator, modeling program, and lost art.

Surprisingly, there still remains an active community for this piece of software and you can still purchase Bryce 7 Pro from Daz 3D, with the same iconic interface and rendering style. Top row of the gallery above was rendered in Bryce 2, and the bottom row in Bryce 7.

Precipitous Rocks, some Bryce work from the incredible Horo. Check out his web galleries and panoramas.

I love the look of Bryce’s output. It’s so.. vibrant and wistful, and yet has this pinch of digital surrealism you can’t quite pinpoint. It’s like a dream where you can’t quite figure out what’s happening, but want to see what happens next. In the age where photorealistic computer graphics are ubiquitous, it’s refreshing, and oddly soothing. And just perhaps, it’s the old drum and bass to the clean-cut EDM of today.

Mmm. Makes me want to make album covers.

About dotcomboom

Software developer, photographer... blogger...?
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2 Responses to Bryce

  1. Cammy says:

    It’s really imperfect 3D. Like it tries so hard to look realistic, but it doesn’t somehow, and it’s really charming on its own. Makes me think of old-school Lightwave 3D renders.

    (Minor suggestion: image links so we can see them in full. WordPress makes that easy, just click the image block, hit link, and then “Media file”.)

    • dotcomboom says:

      Man, Lightwave 3D, that was another one, wasn’t it? To me, these early CGI renderers have this artistic feel to them, like the computer is a painter with its own little ways of doing things. It’s clearly artificial, but in a way where its imperfections give it a human-esque personality of its own instead of stepping into the uncanny valley as you might expect.

      (Also, done and done, thanks for pointing it out!)

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