Fantasy Castle

Recently I rewatched all the Lord of the Rings movies and felt a need to try to recreate those beautiful fantasy landscapes and castles:D.
Any criticism appreciated!
Hope you like it!
Fun fact: The final scene has 63 350 789 faces or 74 501 197 tris.
Blender 2.8


The LOTR universe is always great inspiration, I’m definetily getting some vibes from the city of Dale and the Lonely Mountain.
Here’s some impressions and suggestions:

First off, the composition is very static, the view of the castle is just straight on, and the straight road and two trees in the foreground adds to the static feel.

Another thing is a lack of depth perception, because there’s nothing in between the fore, middle and background, they seem seperate, and the mountain shadows seems off, because none of the elements interact.
This kinda makes the castle remind me of Omashu from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Furthermore, plants don’t grow directly on rock, adding some grass and dirt underneath plants and vegetation would greatly improve the look of the vegetation.

My suggestion would be to change the camera angle, to maybe look up towards the castle, make it look huge and majestic. Or from a birds eye perspective to add a sense of scale to the universe.
Then adding some area in front of, and behind, the castle, to create a sense of distance. If i recall correctly Dale supplied food to Erebor, some farmland and smaller villages might be an option.
Another neat trick is to use volumetrics to make mist and clouds to add a sense of distance, or maybe a mist render layer in compositing.

Another thing would be to add some life into the scene, maybe a carriage on the road, farmers in fields, banners on the castle, light in the castle windows.
Some wear to the castle would also add a sense of live. Also the bricks to build a huge castle would most likely be gathered neaby, and therefore be in a close shade of color to the mountains in the surroundings.

Lastly a focus in the scene would really help, something to lead the eye, as it is now, I don’t know what in the picture I’m supposed to be looking at.
Maybe some smoke from a dragon attack or something simple and mundane, but relatable , something that would be fitting in a day in the universe.

I hope you can use some of this input, and you see it as constructive, and not as bashing of your work, which is definetly not my intention.
I can see that you’ve put a lot of work into this project, and it shows.

Castle and texturing:

Compositor mist:

Volumetric Mist: