The goal for this project was to match a concept that I chose as close as possible in 3D. Here's a comparison:
The concept by Lê Long really spoke to me because it reminded me of all the books, movies and video game worlds I got lost in. So I wanted to recreate this peaceful feeling of immersion, that comes with a good book, in my own 3D adaptation.
As the first slide might show, lining up a cube to the concept was impossible. So my plan was to stick to normal perspective for the majority of the project and only adjust the geometry to the concept, once everything was in place.
The clouds posed another challenge. I created the shapes in Houdini as .vdb but then had no matching shader in Maya for V-Ray, which captured the light feeling and pinkish hue. I went through a lot of iterations until I settled with a V-Ray Scatter Fog on top of a half translucent V-Ray material.
It was really helpful to have Render Elements of every aspect of the scene, including every light, for Comp. This made it possible to relight the scene and create some more shadows that made it look more like the original concept.