One note here on rendering an AO pass with the imported ivy. Since Ivy Gen exports out the ivy I generated with cards to represent the leaves, there was no way for me to render my AO pass with the ivy in the scene. To get around this, I used my alpha mattes for the FG and BG ivy, and painted out where the AO was over the top of the ivy in the painting. To compensate for it, I increased the sampling rates in the V-Ray GI and shadows to keep the occlusion from the ivy in the beauty render (Fig.11).
Paint Work – The Fun Stuff!
Using the mattes that I rendered out, I adjusted different parts of the image to get the right exposure and color based on my reference images. These were done simply with adjustment layers at the top of my layer stack so I could adjust it at any time (Fig.12).
I added textures to add weathering and break up edges to help take away the perfectly straight edges from the model. I also added highlights to help separate edges to help the forms read better. I painted a stronger sky light influence by lightening up the top facing faces on the architecture. This again helps convey form in the structures. A good thing to always keep in mind is that even though you light your scene in 3D, it doesn't mean you can't make it stronger. Depending on the mood and stylization you want in your scene you can push and pull the light with paint and adjustment layers, along with passes, to help you get there (Fig.13).
I added vines to add detail in some areas and help take away the repetition of the architecture. I try to follow areas with detail with areas of no detail to create a contrast and not overload the image with excessive noise. I also try to keep all the detail in the focal point, which I wanted to be the statue.
I used my reflection pass for the ground and painted it in with an alpha mask and kept it very subtle. This gives the ground a wet look, and adds another opportunity to introduce some spec hits off the wet stone. To add even more interest in spots I painted puddles and used the reflection pass to tie it into the painting, again keeping most of the detail near my focal point (Fig.14).