A while back I had a project that I just couldn't quite seem to get right. I had painted and edited a dozen or so textures that I was excited and proud to show off, being more of a 2d than 3d effects artist. But, I just couldn't quite get the lighting right, or the camera angle.
Part of this, I expect, was my inexperience with lighting and rendering, but part of my lack of inspiration definitely stemmed from a tumultuous era of mental health. (Side note: seek help. If you think you need it, if you're overworked, sad, feeling empty, and disinterested, please seek help. I did, and my work and work ethic have improved dramatically. You cannot make good art when you are sad, contrary to popular belief.)
So, I decided to revisit this project, which was based on some personal belongings of the main character in my favorite book series! (The Kingkiller Series. Fantastic novels.)
In re-approaching this, I knew that the lighting was the first thing that had to go. I had this beautiful red lantern that was just sitting there, and it could give some amazing atmospheric light! So I amped up that point light, and tossed in a blue-toned fill light to counterbalance it and show off some more detail on the lute. I also threw in a volumetric and added depth of field to add more visual interest. Here's my lighting setup.
Here are a few of my painted textures as well. Pardon the tearing on them, they are quite old at this point.
Here are also a few of my node breakdowns, showing all my maps. I hand-generated everything from specular to roughness to bump. Of Course this isn't nearly all of them, but it's a general look at my setup.
So, you can see why I wanted to try and save this. I'll post an update when the render is done! Currently, it's clocking in at about a half hour a frame, but that includes some DoF, volumetrics, and high diffuse sampling.