At this stage I had already realised that the composition and concept of my picture were incorrect. The work was too simple and not interesting. And it was at this moment that I had a problem. My computer could not render more objects and textures, which is why I went on and continued my work in Photoshop only. So I rendered Ambient Occlusion, ZDepth and an alpha-channel in 3ds Max, and then used the different combinations of these maps for the creation of the atmospheric effects in Photoshop.
First I added the sky and the forest in the background (Fig.10).
I then painted some reflections on the water and added several tropical trees which I took from photos (Fig.11). During the work I always played with gamma and tried to select the best variant.
Some of my friends told me that they found sky too grey and very simple, and so I made some changes to it (Fig.12).
I later added more detail, such as pterosaurs in the sky, the tree on the left and the lizard on the trunk. The image of the tree and of the lizard I took from photos, and the pterosaurs were painted by hand in Photoshop. I also added some small details here (like making the dinosaur legs look wet, for example) (Fig.13).
All this time, I was continuing to work with the lighting and colour gamma (Fig.14).
I didn't like the cover of the trunks in my picture and so I tried to correct it by hand by painting cracks and general roughness in Photoshop (Fig.15).
At this stage I had already represented how the final image would look, and I could tell with confidence that the work was doomed to be a failure. The picture looked lifeless and the composition looked unbalanced – all because I was too lazy to spend more time working with sketches at the beginning. It was therefore necessary to change the concept of the picture at this stage and to think about how to get rid of the problems in the image.
The simple and effective decision came from one of my friends. He suggested that I add a flock of small dinosaurs running away from the T-Rex. This was a great idea! Such an element was able to add more life into the picture and moreover did not change its basic concept. For these small dinosaurs I chose Ornithomimids. I painted them in Photoshop, and added some splashes and waves on the water to describe the movement (Fig.16).
With this change done, I still felt that the composition looked unstable, and it was at this moment that I realised the mirror when flipped horizontally looked much more interesting and dynamic (Fig.17).
So I flipped the image and added some deeper shadows, finishing up some details like duckweed, moss and more appreciable waves on the water (Fig.18).
A coniferous tree branch in the top right corner of the image was added to counterbalance the overloaded left-hand side, and this was the last element added to the scene to complete the image (Fig.19).
And that's all! I would like to admit that I was lucky with this image and had the opportunity to correct my error. However, such an opportunity doesn't always occur, and so I would once again like to mention the importance of the pre-production period.
Thanks for your attention; I hope this article has been interesting for you to read. Many thanks!