I did a few other slight adjustments in Photoshop: I roughly painted some of the other buildings, the water and the sky in and I also did some minor color correction changes. This is the creative part of the creation process, when I can easily experiment and there are no constraints between creation and my imagination. Back then I came to the conclusion that my main focus should be the large building at the front of the image, so I abandoned the idea of the dock in front.
Quick note: One way I like to work is to separate some elements and to reference them later in one large scene. So I had one scene with the large building where I modeled and textured everything I needed, one scene with only the docks, one scene with just the boats etc. At the end I referenced them all in one scene where I did the light setup and final render.
The modeling of the main building was relatively easy, but because it had lots of details it took a lot of time. I love all those fine details and they help a lot, so I spent lots of time refining them.
One of the tools I like to use whenever I finish modeling is Lattice - users of 3ds Max know it as the FFD deformer - which I use to make irregularities on the entire surface (Fig.03).
For example I used Lattice to deform the roof, roof windows, terrace and chimney. Small details like the broken window, fallen roof tiles, grass etc. gave a nice extra touch to image as well (Fig.04 - 06).
Irregularities on some elements like wood planks and logs were sculpted in Maya with the Sculpt tool. First I modeled the basic shape of the wood, then I subdivided it once or twice and finally, with different shapes and brushes, I sculpted on the surface very intuitively. This tool is not powerful like ZBrush or Mudbox, but can be very handy from time to time. Fine details for large elements like the rock cliffs and pipes were done with the help of ZBrush. All shapes were sculpted with custom made alphas, a Standard mallet, and Clay brush (Fig.07 - 08).
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