The geometry was deformed slightly with Lattice, Displacement and brushes, so I could achieve the natural imperfection and look of an old medieval town.
At the end, the scene had around three million polygons, and was lit with several light sources (Fig.06 - 07):
- A directional light to simulate the moonlight with blueish tint and soft shadows
- A large area light to emphasize the moonlight on the sides of buildings
- An indirect light coming from the HDRI in the background
- Small point lights for the street lamps, as well as spotlights.
For the textures I used projections that were mixed and blended, and only basic shaders like Lambert, Blinn etc (Fig.08 - 09).
Several elements in the picture, like fog, people or the dragon, were painted in Photoshop. For a more dramatic image I emphasized the moon, and made it larger than it really is. Fog was painted in several layers with a very Soft brush. The same technique was applied to clouds and some smoke trails from chimneys.
The people and dragon were painted with Hard brushes. For better control they were broken up into a few passes: one layer contained just color, the other one just light or specular (Fig.10).
The final image was composited in Photoshop. I did some color corrections, sharpening, glows and paintovers (Fig.11).