Underwater scene : lighting, color adjustment suggestion needed

Hi there,
I made this composition, and I’m quite happy with the result.
The only thing is I don’t really like the global feeling. It is supposed to be a warm and soft, but underwater (bluish) at the same time.
If you had some good advices for me, I would really appreciate

I changed my mind and made a new render with more light color and a gradient for the background.
What do you think about ?

I like the second one better. I would recommend adding some blue volumetrics to get the atmosphere look of water and maybe a Particle system of speckles that will add just a sense of floating dirt since you are near plant life the movement in the water will kick up sand. If you are using lamps to light your scene the volumetrics will look great with a little tweaking.

Hi, Peter Wolf, welcome to the community. The first thing I saw was that it was hard to see the forms of the otters because of the low contrast between light and shadow and similar colors used across their bodies. Bubbles are always helpful to an underwater scene. You could add bubbles in post. Overall, I like the 2nd one. The color palette seems more cohesive. Is that a male and female? The legs on the female look like 2 separate parts to me, maybe work on the feet. I think for lighting it might be nice to have a more clear idea of which way is up and where the lighting is coming from.

Hi Kaylee and Boder,
Thank you very much for your advices. I added more particles in the particle system, and also added some bubble (spheres with glass shader, tweaking the IOR). I think it now gives a better underwater feeling.
I also reworked the lighting, and the light rays, which are basically cylinders with volumetric, and added a very subtle global volumetric.
Regarding the feet, you’re right, and I didn’t notice it at first. But I don’t want to rework the shapes, since it is high poly and I don’t know much about retopology…
Anyway thank you again, it now looks better than before.

I think if you are using filmic color space you need to touch the colors afterwords.