Creative Retouching, Interviews & Making Of Stories

LightFarm Studios: Harmful Nature Artwork and the Story Behind It

Our friends from LightFarm Studios, Brazil are back as guest contributors with their amazing new artwork entitled “Harmful Nature,” as well as the story behind it. Nothing is more inspiring to me than seeing the beautiful execution of an art project from its inception to its final creation.

I hope you enjoy their latest contribution as much as I do!

LightFarm Studios: Harmful Nature

Harmful Nature – Making of from Lightfarm Studios on Vimeo.

Harmful Nature is the new promo video from Lightfarm Studios. Conceptually, the image speaks to the dark and tragic metaphor about impossible love as depicted by the classic tale of the Diver and the Mermaid.

Click to enlarge the images below:


We used the latest in 3D cloth simulation technology to model almost everything for this piece, from the shipwreck to the corals, but to obtain the most realistic results possible, we photographed the live model in a diving pool, which allowed us to seamlessly blend everything together.

From the underwater shooting session to the post-production, we combined all of our knowledge to create a piece that is as real as it is dark, always aiming to break our own limits as artists.

The idea came to Rafael between renders at Lightfarm NZ. While sketching a deadly mermaid, Rafael had in his mind how  relationships can become destructive and how bad relationships can lead to possession. The feeling of losing air to breath freely and the quest for true love was the emotional back bone of this dark piece.




From concept to final image, we had heaps of little challenges. Rafael wanted to do a full CG mermaid because he thought it would be hard to shoot an actual model underwater, whereas I pushed to do the shoot so we could blend the real girl better with the CG body and the enviroment. We wouldn’t easily get a diver suit to shoot and that was when Marvelous Designer came into the process. Raf was confident we could get great results out of the render and I was happy to retouch the real girl with the mermaid tail.



The process of actually creating the image started with the CG scene based on the drawings, as you can see in the video. The shipwreck and the dead, deep sea brought a melancholy feeling to the frame. The music, which is a remix from the Super Metroid soundtrack, had everything we wanted: water bubbles, the dark piano beats, and the female chorus which reminds us of the hypnotic singing of mermaids. Thanks to Sam Dillard, the amazing composer of this epic soundtrack, for kindly letting us use this piece.



From a retouching standpoint, it was a dream for me to be able to work with such beautiful renders as well as with Mark Carter’s great photographs. Thanks to model Natasha Johnstone’s hard work under water, it wasn’t too hard to blend her with the CG tail.

After the shoot, we had to match the image again with the CG light and virtual camera orientation so we could get it all perfect in the final image. From the outset, we pictured this image as very dark and desaturated, just like the deep sea. The grading challenge was to balance the light and dark areas without losing contrast and still maintain our original vision.

Here at Lightfarm, we try hard to imprint our feelings into our images. We always want to say something without words and make people think or feel something new or sometimes even something familiar. It can be a funny feeling or a deeper feeling. I guess the more you can touch people at any emotional level, the better your art is working. For us, an image without a feeling to communicate is like a body without a soul.

We welcome you to visit us at and try to decipher some of the meanings and feelings we wanted to convey through works like, The Verge, Hunger White, Drunk Aliens, Evil Octopus, Cyber Feeling, Pimp Jesus, and so many others.



That’s also the reason we love to make these behind the scenes videos. It’s a lot easier to communicate with people through video. After all, with video, you have 24 images-per-second plus music to get the rhythm right. It’s also a great way to advertise ourselves while inspiring people, especially other artists. Most artists are afraid to expose their process. We are proud of the process we use, and the publc response is as inspiring for us as it is for other artists.

In the end, we are just artists willing to keep creating and pushing our own limits. Rafael Vallaperde and I have being friends and co-workers for more than six years now. Our friendship has put us in a healthy creative mood of always trying to do something better than we did yesterday, which is something that defines our philosophy at work and in our very lives. We see life as an intense experience that requires balance between the work we love and the life we want to live.

A Lightfarm Studios Production
Model photography by Mark Carter
Natasha Johnstone as the Mermaid
Soundtrack by Sam Dillard
Fish models by Tim Klanderud

Vimeo URL:

Official story by LightFarm Studios:
LightFarm Facebook Page:

RA INNER CIRCLE EMAIL Join our Inner Circle Email to receive exclusive discounts, early access to new courses and more!

Powered by ConvertKit

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *