This is an image I have been working on for a few days. It’s been quite difficult, mostly as my desired camera angle requires quite a large volume space and so it can be quite hard on my old PC.
I tried many ways of making the water, ultimately settling on quite a simple method using noise textures controlling alpha with shadow rays. I’m relatively happy with it, although I’d prefer to be able to see more of the sky above the waves. I’d also like to improve the “grass” but perhaps modelling it in 3d would be better than using hair emitters.
However, I feel the image is a bit “birdemic”. I’m not sure what to focus on to improve the realism of the image. I’ve seen some fantastic renders that seem to use very simple HDRI and sun lighting (and low poly models, etc.), but my attempts seem to maintain a sort of “90’s CGI” look to them. The lighting is also a bit flat which seems to be a recurring issue for me. But really the creatures look a bit pasted on top of the image rather seated into it. But I’m not sure why.
What would you change?
Early attempts (various issues):