The entire scene was created in ZBrush. After many sketches and trial renders, I placed the main objects more or less where they were meant to be. Thanks to this I could put everything into the ZBrush project with a particular camera setting and initial lighting. In this way, after making changes to individual objects I could quickly see how they looked in a particular scene. I was able to control the placement of details and the whole composition more precisely. The scene consists of many subtools, which were grouped after being placed in the proper locations in order to facilitate the process through greater order and control over the scene.
All of the individual objects have been textured in ZBrush. Painting directly on the object, I instantly saw how it related to the whole and, for example, where it was too dark or too bright, at which point the texturing was too detailed and which of these elements were lacking.
The idea was to make the scene as attractive as possible by texturing, while not spoiling it by overdoing the textures, which is unfortunately often the case. Sometimes it happens that clean, illuminated objects with, for example, ambient occlusion only look very appealing, and after texturing and adding effects they lose their attractiveness and, consequently, lose what is best in them. Therefore, I believe that texturing complicated scenes and objects requires a sense and a considerable amount of attention.
Texturing, or painting directly onto an object that's already in the scene, allows you to control the process and highlight the most attractive elements without disrupting or covering what is best in a model. The idea is for modeling and texturing to complement each other to raise the attractiveness of the scene, and not interfere with each other. In this project, due to the rock scenes and detailed models, I just tried not to make texturing too strong (Fig.07).
Rendering and Composition in Photoshop
I arranged, lit and rendered the whole scene in ZBrush using BPR. Then I combined and composed individual rendered layers: shadow (Fig.08), ambient occlusion (Fig.09), color, mask (Fig.10) and depth (Fig.11) in Photoshop. I added the background and some post-process elements such as light haze or color correction.
And here's the final image (Fig.12).
As often happens while creating new images, I encountered numerous problems and through seeking solutions I learned a lot of new things and techniques. I hope you like this work and that it will, in some way, inspire you.
To see more by Tomasz Strzalkowski, check out Sketching from the Imagination: An Insight into Creative Drawing