Your character's pose can make a big difference. Again, the sketching phase made this a lot faster, since I already had a good idea of what I was looking for. With Transpose it's easy to get there (Fig.13 – 15).
For texturing the turtle I just used polypainting with layers. In this phase the map I had done from the mask of the detailing was very useful. I then combined all the layers to get a final look. I also exported the other layers individually in case I needed more control for the rendering. As well as a tan mark mask (Fig.16).
The shell was polypainted mainly with spotlight (Fig.17).
For rendering I went into 3ds Max with V-Ray to create a simple, sunny light set. With a VRaySun and a beach VRayHDRI (for environment and reflections) I got the natural beach light I wanted. The HDRI I used is available at Openfootage.net. There you'll find, free of charge, great quality material (Fig.18).
The camera is a standard 28mm camera. I used V-Ray materials with no SSS, since the reptile skin is rather dry and thick.
My rendering setup tends to be very optimized in terms of material reflections and glossiness parameters. V-Ray gives you all the control you need to make sure your rendering times don't get unbearable. A very simple parameter that can really help you on a complex scene with many refractive and/or reflecting materials is the Max Depth on the Global Parameters. Ideally you would want to limit the number of times a ray can be of reflected/refracted in each material, but most of the time in scenes like a decorated interior, that just isn't doable. So you have this global setting that will override the default value for V-Ray materials, which is 5. In my experience, 3 will work just fine in 90% of the cases. That's a lot of processing we're saving.
In this case there really wasn't much to reflect but I still lowered the default value to 2 (Fig.19).