Advice, how to create a background of water and sky

First of, I am continuing learning and this is a hobby for me, so I can afford to take the long road and try loads of stuff. I am building a game and making some artwork for that, this image is the first reasonable attempt I made.

It shows one of the characters in the game, walking on a dock. The mooring poles and dock and sailor are coming along now. I am not unsatisfied. But, as he is standing on the harbor dockside, I’d like to stretch out behind him some water and sky. And I can’t really wrap my head around it. I’ve tried making a large plane for the water surface and then a vertical one for the sky, but it just doesn’t really work. I’ve tried using stock images, but that just ruins the overall feel. I feel like I am just not approaching this from the right angle.

Anyone have any suggestions?

New DockSide.blend (4.3 MB)

You can try adding a HDRI image for a world background, those work fairly nice for skys. but oceans are kinda tricky, the horizon kinda does that curvy bendy thing due to the whole round earth situation. but if you look here you can see how the clouds meet the ocean (from the viewing perspective)

Also note how the water’s blue becomes more intense and how the under and the tops of the clouds are lit, there is quite a bit of fine detail to understand about the interplay of light going on here

That is a nice picture. Makes the scene so happy.
I am already using a HDRI for the lighting, but that image is hidden. I am going to experiment.

Really for doing any scene, if you can go to youtube or such and find someone who is explaining how to illustrate it, very often they will lay out what you need to know in terms you will understand…a sad truth about 3d artists is many of us tend to be mechanics with the engine more than we are artists with the creativity.

I am far more mechanic then artist myself, that is probably a very apt description. So yeah, I browse Youtube and find what I can. I’ll see about what I can come up with.