This process took a lot of my time; it involved a lot of chopping up textures and realigning them, altering the layer properties, and playing around with them until the correct texturing was achieved (Fig03). From this "play", the correct surfaces arose. Please see the Fig03b file for some of the textures used. Some elements were hand-painted, such as the tentacles.
Fig. 03 - Click to Enlarge
The fog was rendered with Maya software. Because the fog didn't reflect in the sphere (that created the fish-eye effect), I had to use the Spherize filter in Photoshop as best I could, and then correct it by hand (Fig05).
I am pleased with the end result because it achieved my aims (Fig06). I needed to show some texturing with clear detailing. A lot the stone structures achieve this. I wanted to tell a small story about a city that had built barricades against the creatures in the river below it. This city probably relies on the river and has built up around it, but the black river is also causing lots of problems, such as tentacled monsters pulling down their defences!
It is also a crude metaphor for our civilisation's reliance on oil. In the future, I would like to incorporate more sophisticated storytelling in my images, whilst still creating aesthetically pleasing work.
The most difficult part was creating a realistic image from my slow and imperfect process. I am considering using a more pure 3D approach or a more painterly approach, in the future, so that my images will have a stronger overall consistency of style. I still think this piece has achieved a good creative middle ground though, and I am pleased with it.