The lighting was very simple: only one texture (Fig.12) on a geosphere ("Sky”). But for the reflections, this texture was not suitable so I I used the sky material, VRayOverrideMtl (Fig.13). It allowed me to use two different materials for the reflection and illumination on one object ("Sky").
The textures for the reflection and illumination were created in Vue, with the minimum quality. The final texture for the background was created with the maximum quality. I then finished the textures in Photoshop (for example, some dark blue stains on a texture (see Fig.12) were necessary for the creation of dark blue reflections from the spectator). This texture was used for the background (Fig.14).
I switched off Visible to Camera in the properties of the geosphere ("Sky"), so that the background was visible through it. I then developed materials for the scene objects in a separate file with the same lighting as in the main file. In this additional file there were only objects necessary for lighting and those developed with a material in mind to speed up test renders.
I added contrast to one of the cocoons in the foreground, and dipped the bright lights in the distance (in Photoshop). Experiments with Max's fog failed right from the very beginning of the work, and so I decided to render VRay Zdepth as a render element. To make sure I didn't lose the sky in this fog, I also created a Vray Alpha. The fog image layers were then processed in Photoshop (Fig.15) and then combined back in Max (Fig.15).
I have tried to cover the most important aspects in the creation of my artwork in this article – I apologise if some think that I have not explained things enough. Have a look at the final image again and you'll see that there is nothing too difficult going on here – just time, and a love for art. I wish you all the very best success. Thanks for reading.