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Scenery Porn

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Damn, where's my camera?

"Geographic conditions indicate an aesthetically pleasing view nearby. Organic lifeforms may wish to take note."
Hammerhead's V.I. Mass Effect 2, Project Overlord DLC

Scenery porn is the emphasis on luscious backgrounds with great detail, lovely lighting or both. It means that the makers put in extra effort for something that might not have direct influence on the plot. Of course, there are extra points to be earned when the scenery actually enhances the plot in some sort of symbolic fashion.

In live-action movies, scenery porn is in effect when extra effort is put into emphasizing a beautiful surrounding, usually wide-open landscapes. Stage productions can have copious amounts of this trope with elaborate sets and backdrops. A main characteristic is that the scenery is almost treated as a character in its own right, either as a passive onlooker or with a more active role, depending on the setting of the show (if the scenery is literally a character with a mind of its own, then it's a Genius Loci). Awesome Music makes it all the better..

In literature, scenery porn manifests itself as long paragraphs that go into more detail about the setting than necessary, such as describing at length the mountains of the Swiss countryside, or name-dropping all the streets in Chicago as the character turns on them. It's the author's way of proving that they're familiar with the setting in real-life, and while it's a great bonus for people from the area, it can be seen as Filler to just about everyone else. On the extreme end of this, some works are popular entirely because they are nothing but Scenery Porn.

Often used to show that The World Is Just Awesome. Compare Shoot the Money. This can be distracting in video games when part of an Empty Room Psych, though with the advent of higher and higher-powered consoles and computers, ever-increasing levels of scenery detail are now possible. Silent Scenery Panel has a high chance being this. When the landscape evokes horror or despair rather than wonder, it's Scenery Gorn. If a video game is using a single moment of this as a trick to make the game feel vaster than it really is, it's a Video Game Vista. Also compare Costume Porn, Gun Porn, Description Porn, and its Super-Trope, Awesome Art. Not to be confused with when someone "knows" the scenery.

Compare Real-Place Background.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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  • Air New Zealand Safety Videos: If you've never heard of the Cook Islands before, you'll want to go there after seeing the white beaches and turquoise water in "Safety in Paradise".

  • Wanderer above the Sea of Fog: The painting is rendered in exquisite detail, in the artist's usual somber style. The landscape is draped in rolling fog, giving an impression of an ocean, but mountains and forests are visible through the fog, and the landmarks of Saxony and Bohemia (which Friedrich sketched in the field) are clearly recognizable. The light source is coming from below the rock that the man is standing on, illuminating the fog and silhouetting the foreground ridge.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Many of the Land cards are pretty impressive.
    • Particularly notable are Mirrodin's metal fields, Ravnica's city-scapes and Zendikar's impossible rock formations. This is particularly noticeable with the full-card art variants for basic lands.
    • Many of the newer land cards from blocks go together with other like-blocked, same colored, lands to make large, overly detailed pieces of art.
    • The Invasion basic lands are particularly impressive, with all of the five basic land types having at least one example each of what could be considered the "definitive" Plains/Swamp/whatever.
  • Pokémon: A lot of the backgrounds in the card illustrations are gorgeous, especially in the Holon series.

    Comic Books 
  • Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet has far more interesting scenery than characters, at least so far. His Copper strips, on the other hand, have both.
  • Archie Comics were prone to this, especially if Bob Bolling was behind the desk. Just look.
  • Brandon Graham's comics have weird and wonderful environments full of imaginative bizarreness and Funny Background Events.
  • Bryan Talbot is a master of this:
    • Luther Arkwright: Both Luther Arkwright and its coloured sequel Heart of Empire clearly had a lot of thought put into the Steampunk backgrounds, which were usually flooded with references to other issues, Victorian culture, Science Fiction, or random statues of Luther (after he died).
    • The Tale of One Bad Rat has gorgeous images of the Lake District of England, and had its genesis as a celebration of the landscape.
  • Cerebus features intricate pen-and-ink backgrounds rendered by artist Gerhard. The trade paperback covers are even more impressive.
  • Dreamkeepers has absolutely AMAZING scenery, beyond what most would expect from a comic book.
  • Moritat the main artist for the Elephantmen series has his work often compared to Blade Runner's fantastic Cyberpunk sets.
  • Geof Darrow, hands down. Though his work can also enter into Scenery Gorn due to squick, like when the main character in Hard Boiled wonders through the red light district.
  • George Pérez and his attention to detail are notorious in the industry. He fills out pretty much any scene he draws, even if he hurts himself in the process.
  • Jack Kirby liked to create so many distinct and strange fantastic machines and cities that Kirby Tech is practically a trope in and of itself. And then of course there are the vast and vibrant space vistas he could create, creating splendid backdrops in works like his Fourth World epic or his 2001: A Space Odyssey comic.
  • Mœbius, who is a major influence on the four artists mentioned above, is quite the master of this trope, ranging from the Arcadian forests of The Adena cycle, the strange alien worlds of Arzarch and the futuristic metropolises of many of his sci-fi stories.
  • Philippe Druillet takes this to insane heights with his multiple page spreads of epic, near-surreal landscapes. Now, if only one could figure out what the stories meant...
  • Even people criticizing Red Hood and the Outlaws have praised Kenneth Rocafort's art, especially the backgrounds. Issue 6 takes scenery, character, and costume design to a whole new level.
  • The 1908 scenes in Sasmira are nicely drawn. The chateau in said scenes also looks considerably better than its present day form.
  • Sky Doll puts great effort in settings that will only be shown for few panels. It helps that one of the creators is an architect.
  • Superlópez: The comic's cartoony style is combined with an astoundingly realistic attention to detail: if you want to know what a typical Spanish city looked like during The '80s, you need only look at a Superlopez story of the period.
  • In Archie Comics' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures series, the Turtles' world tour arc is kicked off with some breathtaking artwork of the cliffs of Tibet.
  • The series Top 10 is a good example of this trope in comics. Every bloody panel is filled with incredible detail of the city of Neopolis, as well as no less than three visual Easter Eggs per page.
  • Bryan Hitch. His Triskelion in The Ultimates is a sight to behold.
  • James Stokoe's comics like Wonton Soup have heavily detailed backgrounds full of Easter Eggs.
  • Roger Leloup of Yoko Tsuno fame loves drawing very complicated backgrounds of all kinds.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes sometimes does this when Calvin plays in the woods, or during the "Spaceman Spiff" strips. (Though arguably this served the plot in each instance to emphasize the natural world as a trope in Calvin's life — contrasting it with his television watching habits — or to emphasize the expanse of his imagination.) Incidentally, most of the alien desert scenery isn't made up — they're basically Bill Watterson's sketches of beautiful desert scenery in southern Utah.
  • The Perishers, as drawn by Dennis Collins in its heyday, had highly detailed background art. While not exactly beautiful — the strip was set in a fairly mundane British suburb — it's still pretty impressive.
  • Pogo has some fantastic scenery.
  • Prince Valiant is known for some of the best comic strip art of all time, especially regarding the landscapes.
  • Some Sundays, Rick O'Shay would have the characters admire gorgeous Western mountain landscapes.
  • The Wacky Adventures of Pedro has some rather colorful and abstract backgrounds.

    Fan Works 
  • Austraeoh spends entire chapters in-between the main storylines showing of the beautiful landscapes Rainbow flies through, particularly the first few chapters before she comes into contact with Windthrow.
  • Child of the Storm usually features the reverse trope, when looking to emphasis darkness and horror, but sometimes it slips into this when discussing the landscape of Hogwarts and its grounds, and Asgard.
  • Gallifrey in the Wholock TARDISode "A Moment's Diversion". The mini episode utilizes the "virtual-reality-Gallifrey-in-the-TARDIS" trope that's not uncommon in Who fic... as one of the locations that Sherlock Holmes and Beth Lestrade happen upon while touring the TARDIS. Beth wonders how real the breathtaking landscape is, and Holmes decides that it's very real. How, though, is left unexplained.
  • Maikaze did a great job with the landscaping in their portrayal of Gensokyo.
  • The Revolutionary Girl Utena and Penguindrum crossover fanfic Seinen Kakumei Utena achieves this via the elaborate narration in various scenes.
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! fic A Game of Masques has a scene where Yugi's apartment bathroom is described in loving detail. Oddly, the rest of the fic generally doesn't describe its settings at all.

  • Silverball Mania is remembered for its detail-filled all-chrome artwork.
  • The Walking Dead (Zen Studios) is shaped and surrounded by 3-D miniature scale models of various locales from all of the game's five episodes. If you're not playing it in virtual reality, the table environment stretches out without the walled confines of a typical pinball table, making it all the more beautiful.

  • Starting in the early 90’s a lot of baseball stadiums have been built with this trope in mind for most of the crowd. These parks lowered the outfield seating which meant the majority of the crowd could have a great view to the scenery beyond the field.
  • Pittsburgh’s PNC Park looks over the Allegheny River to the downtown skyline.
  • San Francisco’s Oracle Park looks out over the Bay. A long enough home run to right field lands in the bay where Kayakers await a souvenir.
  • St. Louis’ Busch Stadium has a great view of downtown, and of course the iconic arch.
  • Petco Park in San Diego provides great views of downtown.
  • There are many minor league parks that can boast this as well. They have an added advantage as they are smaller.
  • Richmond County Bank BallPark on Staten Island looks out over New York Harbor and to the iconic Manhattan skyline.
  • A running joke in Indianapolis is that they don’t even need a team, people will pay to just sit and look at downtown from Victory Field.
  • Admiral Fetterman Field in Pensacola sits directly on the bay.
  • ONEOK Field in Tulsa provides a great view of downtown.
  • Modern Woodmen Park in Davenport Iowa sits directly on the Mississippi river and right next to the iconic Centennial Bridge.
  • Fifth Third Field in Toledo Ohio sits in a district of renovated warehouses and provides a great view of downtown.
  • MCU Park in Brooklyn overlooks Coney Island.
  • Truist Field in Charlotte provides viewers with an amazing view of downtown.
  • American Football Stadiums and Soccer Stadiums have a more difficult time doing this since the configuration of a stadium can make it difficult to provide good viewing, and great scenery beyond the field. Nevertheless there are a few notable exceptions where at least a significant portion of the crowd gets an amazing view.
  • Seattle’s Lumen Field is regarded as Football’s most scenic stadium with the north end looking up the hill to downtown.
  • Pittsburgh’s Heinz field provides fans in the west grandstand great views across the Ohio River to downtown and fans in the east grandstand great views over the river and to the Bluffs on the other side.
  • Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium has a retractable roof. But it also has an enormous window at the north end which can also be opened and either way provides many fans with a great view of the downtown skyline. The stadium was even built at an angle to maximize the view.
  • Cleveland’s Firstenergy Stadium provides fans in the north grandstand a great view of downtown.
  • LaVell Edwards Stadium on the campus of BYU in Utah has great views of the nearby mountains.
  • Memorial Stadium on the Campus of Indiana University used to provide a gorgeous view of the rolling hills of Southern Indiana, which was particularly beautiful in the fall (football season). But sadly and to the disdain of many fans in 2007 they built an extension that enclosed the north end and ended the amazing view.
  • The Float at Marina Bay in Singapore looks out over a soccer pitch on a floating platform in the marina bay of the Central Region.
  • Some stadiums, particularly smaller ones, have the advantage of sitting among beautiful natural scenery.
  • Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar provides a great view of the iconic Rock of Gibraltar.
  • Roy Emerson Arena in Gstaad Switzerland has gorgeous views of the by surrounding Alps.
  • HPCA Stadium, a Cricket Grounds in the Himalayas of India.
  • Newlands Cricket Grounds in Cape Town South Africa has spectacular views of Devil’s peak.
  • Svangaskard Stadium on the Faroe Islands
  • Estadi Comunal in Andorra
  • Rheinpark Stadion in Liechtenstein
  • Hasteinsvollur in Iceland.
  • Changlimithang Stadium in Bhutan
  • Some people watch golf just for this reason.
  • Augusta National hosts the Masters every April. The tournament is strategically timed to coincide with the blooming of the azaleas and many other beautiful flowers.
  • Pebble Beach is on the famous Monterey peninsula along the California coast and hosts the U.S. Open about once a decade.
  • The Winter Olympics has always benefited from having many viewers who enjoy watching the scenery just as much as the competition.
  • The Tour de France chooses it's course to maximize the scenery for both the live and TV audience.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Tales from the Loop features plenty of gorgeous environments thanks to the art of Simon Stålenhag, which both inspired the game and is prominently featured in the gamebooks.

    Theme Parks 

  • BIONICLE, especially in its early years, was very fond of showcasing grandiose sceneries, most of which have been meticulously designed by the Danish creative agency Advance. Perhaps most notable are the backgrounds in the Mata Nui Online Game I and II, where the player had to traverse an entire island, often clicking through dozens of screens to get from one location to the other.

    Visual Novels 
  • Not only there's actual porn in DRAMAtical Murder and it sequel re:Connect, but the backgrounds and locations are gorgeously drawn. Case in point.
  • Katawa Shoujo has some really gorgeous backgrounds, specially a certain country field in Hokkaido where Lilly and Hisao have their Love Confession.
  • A Summer's End — Hong Kong, 1986 is set in Hong Kong and contains several very accurate settings, such as the seascapes of Sai Kung and the streets of Mong Kok. This blog post goes into the effort and research put into the set design of the game, and it shows.
  • Umineko: When They Cry invokes this effect in some of the background art of locations within the novel's PS3 port, notably the hidden mansion, Kuwadorian, the Ushiromiya estate and rose garden and the Golden Land, amongst others.

    Web Animation 
  • Most everything in the Colour My Series is drawn with great detail, even rooms or machines with little to no interactions.
  • Elephant's Dream. The sheer level of detail that was put into the machine is simply astounding.
  • One of If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device's episodes starts with some beautiful shots of Holy Terra and the Imperial Palace before the story proper begins.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Matthew Mercer, as the DM, describes all the scenery in Critical Role with amazing flair. Of particular note so far is the field of glass and bone from episode 8 and K'varn's stronghold in episode 10. He has a similar touch for describing particularly good kills and Non Player Characters. Double props in this case: because Critical Role is a tabletop campaign, he builds his images entirely verbally, and at least some of them on the fly.
  • Many videos on YouTube featuring serene music will accompany the music with gorgeous visuals that don't necessarily have anything to do with the song itself, either because there's no companion music video or simply because there are no performers to show; this happens with songs ranging from Pachelbel's Canon in D to more obscure electronic music.

    Real Life 
  • Reddit has a Subreddit named "Earth Porn" that is devoted entirely to real photographs of brilliant landscapes. [1] Related are the Subreddits City Porn, Space Porn, Village Porn, Water Porn, and Abandoned Porn — though that last one is more like Scenery Gorn.
  • High-definition subscribers to Oceanic Time Warner Cable in Hawaii get a channel (#1000) titled "Scenic Hawaii," which runs a 6-hour loop of mostly high-definition panoramas and aerial shots of the Hawaiian Islands.
  • Wikimedia's featured image category for Natural places and Panoramas.
  • The Great Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza are still a striking sight today, but in ancient times they were even more so. The Sphinx was once brightly painted in bold colors (some traces are still present around the ear) and the Pyramids were originally covered in smooth white plates of limestone that were polished until they shined. In the bright desert sun they must have looked spectacular and would have been clearly visible for miles.
  • List of National Parks of the United States
  • The screensaver on the Chromecast. If you switch to it on your TV, but don't cast anything the screensaver will show up, only instead of the stuff you might be familiar with from your computer, it will show some magnificent scenery porn with the image changing about once every minute or so. Depending on your tastes, this may be better than whatever you were thinking of casting in the first place.
    • AT&T's Uverse has started doing this, too.
  • Polymathically's photography gallery runs almost entirely on this.
  • The short film "Wanderers" shows what human space colonization might look like using digital recreations of real places in the solar system, but mostly it amounts to Scenery Porn IN SPACE!
  • Windows 10 and Windows 11 have some very beautiful lock screens.

Alternative Title(s): Scenery Pron, Spectacular Scenery


Starbase Yorktown

The Enterprise arrives at starbase Yorktown, for resupply, shore leave for its crew and a good dose of eye candy for the audience.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / SceneryPorn

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