One of the challenges of working in Vue is that the geo gets very, very heavy very quickly. My floating islands clocked in at about an hour for that single frame, not including post-processing, which poses a problem to any animation I'd want to render. Of course in a production setting this wouldn't be an issue, but for the same of time and playing with multiple programs, I came up with this.
By baking objects to polygons and setting them to object render layers, Vue rendered out alpha channels for all of my geometry that was in-camera.
By selecting these alpha channels in Photoshop and placing each selection on a different layer, I got a basic Nuke card projection setup. By setting all my camera and card settings to the same aperture size and focal length, I definitely sped up this process.
Once this was done, all I had to do was deform the cards to get a more realistic parallax, add some additional elements like smoke and scorch marks, and the work was ready to go!
Overall, I definitely feel like I have a solid grasp on the ins and outs of Vue now, as well as a deep understanding of Nuke's card projection setup, which I have been using longer. There are many, many workflows, processes, and looks that matte painting can accomplish, and I feel like I have a good understanding of most of them for a beginner.
I'm definitely looking forward to continuing my studies and practice in matte painting!