For the lighting I didn't do anything innovative. I wanted to achieve an atmosphere that made it feel as if you were in the undergrowth. To do this I placed a V-Ray light in a position that worked with my Environment map. For the background I used a standard omni light with a low coefficient multiplier and also turned off Projecting Shadow. I put a VrayHDRI map in the GI and reflection/refraction environment slots (Fig.08).
The setup in V-Ray was really basic, just like my PC. I do not have powerful hardware so I didn't push the settings too much (Fig.09).
To me, compositing is one of the most important steps in this type of project. Along with lighting it is the step that adds a new dimension to the image. This is a very important part of the process, which can improve the look and mood, but if is not done carefully you can end up destroying the image.
For most of my projects I use Photoshop to complete the image. After compositing all the different elements (Fig.10) I carry out color corrections, Curves adjustments and play with the Levels before applying a Depth of Field filter using the V-Ray Z-Depth map. For the final touch I use the Magic Bullet LooksBuilder (Fig.11).
Originally I created this image as a test for a project that I wanted to share with my friend Nicolas. It allowed me to test and validate different points of the workflow and was both good training and a lot of fun. One day I hope to meet this guy during a walk in the forest!