Project Description

Well, I guess you can call this piece 'Fanart'. To celebrate Rogue One I wanted to try myself on something that has its roots in one of the biggest franchises ever created. Instead of going the obvious route and create something that fit the then new movie, I wanted to create a fictional scene you could imagine maybe happening between Episode 5 and 6. Two rebel agents spying out the Shield Generator that protects the second Death Star.
Starting

There went quite some time into this project and I managed to finish it right in time for the Rogue One release. Like most of my personal projects I also used it to play around and learn new stuff. In this particular case I tried to learn more about a plant creation software by E-On Software called Plant Factory. It's not the most intuitive tool and I admit that I didn't learn as much productive stuff as I wanted. Still I was able to get what I need for the scene I had in mind. The scene as a whole was composed and rendered in Vue. With Vue I rendered it with multipass options to have masks of all kinds of objects from within the scene as well as some highlight and shadow layers for enhanced detail.
With Sculptris I created the forest ground/surface. Placing the materials correctly was quite tricky.
An early testrender to check how I could composition the scene with the trees.
Above we have the final render. The vehicle models and shield generator are from Scifi3d.com. It was really tricky getting the lighting right and the final render in 6751x3000 pixels took up to 20 hours. In the process of rendering I also discovered a bug and had to wait for the technicians at E-On to fix it. That was a little frustrating because for a while I was not able to properly finish the render process for this and other scenes I worked on at the time. Once I got a fix it all rendered fine. I also rendered the foreground forest part separately from the dish and ships. Then, while already working in Photoshop I decided to go back to re-render some forest parts. I learned some new things for Plant Factory and decided to detail out the trees on the left side a little more. It paid of... they look much better than what I originally had.
‘Take It Into Photoshop’

I really wanted to make it look like a forest and used every tool in my arsenal to get it right. I ended up using tons of photo textures. I also did quite some overpainting to fix things that did not come out of the render well. The most fun I had was with the large ships in the sky and how they partially disappear in the clouds. That part really added some nice scale.
Overpainting

With the dish we have a good example of how I overpainted elements in the scene. From the beginning I wanted the dish to be unfinished and still under construction. So beside using textures and overpainting I also rendered a second pass of the dish with a grid material on it. That I was able to use to suggest the 'under construction' part. It ultimately worked better than I thought it would.
Additional Texturing

The render was a fantastic plate for adding more detail on. So I looked through my photo archive a picked out a couple of shots that might work well with the scene. In the example below we have a particularly nice part. Beside adding the photo texture I also had to overpaint it quite a bit to make it fit. Again a part I really like how it turned out in the final version.
The Final

Before I called the piece final I went into Adobe Lightroom to play around with the colours a little more. That can be a fun part since it can drastically change the atmosphere of your piece just by changing colours or shadows and highlights of certains tones within the scene. So the final version we can see below has a nice colour composition with some good depth and sense of scale.