On a separate layer, I painted puddle shapes with a darker value and screened the reflection pass over the top of the shapes with a clipping mask, so the reflection only shows up on the shape layer and nothing else. After some balancing of the reflection, I painted out stone shapes from the puddle layer to break it up and sell the fact that the water is at different levels on the stone ground. I also brought back some spec on the stone where the puddle ends so that there is separation between the puddle and the stone (Fig.15).
I added some spec to the vines and ivy to give them a wet look, as if it had just rained. This helped to tie everything together and create an overall mood. It also gave me a chance to add some low-lying mist and helped separate the FG pillars and the statue from the back wall, creating depth in the image.
For the statue I simply searched for an image of a statue that fit the mood that I wanted and color corrected and painted the lighting to help it sit in the environment. I added highlights to tie it into the wet ground and ivy. I also lightened the top faces that are influenced by the skylight and painted occluded areas, keeping it generally light by the skylight (Fig.16).
Summing this project up, it's important to always have an idea that you want to convey. This can be anything from lighting, mood, contrasts etc. Always look for references you can use from real life that will help you convey that idea and help serve as a springboard in creating your image. This will help ground your image in reality, no matter what the subject matter is. My goal was to create a mood, and I used 3D as a base to realize the image and painted on top of it to take it exactly in the direction I needed it to go to convey that mood. There are many ways to do this as an artist, but the most important thing, and what will make your image successful, is the feeling you convey in the image (Fig.17).
To see more by Anthony Eftekhari, check out Prime - The Definitive Digital Art Collection