I have been wanting to create something like this for a long time. I finally got to the point to do this.
I started it by blocking out the scene using basic shapes. And as for the camera, I knew that I was gonna go with either 35mm or 25mm lens. This is the time where it’s good to start checking the camera angle and start working off of it.
The most difficult part to do from the entire piece was trying to get sand and ground right. I wanted sand to be where the ground has dipped below. This was a challenging step but after messing around with displacement of both, it was working fine.
For me, topology doesn’t matter much because I’m only going for what’s looking best from the camera. This is definitely the opposite if I’m working on game assets or something where topology matters.
I texture as I model because I normally use projection method for texturing. Everything that is not in view with the camera, I won’t bother texturing them nicely.
The next part is rendering. I used Cycles X (Blender 3.1.0 Alpha) with 200samples. As for denoising, I used the denoising node from the compositing. This is the raw render. I also rendered out a mist-pass.
Post-processing is key!
For this step, I use Photoshop. I fixed some stuff that needed to be fixed in the render. As for other effects, I added smokes, glow and colour graded. This is one of the most important part of doing an artwork.
For a full breakdown with pictures: https://www.artstation.com/artwork/3qo3K2