The newer way gives me complete control. That may be a little dangerous, like drinking through a firehose. But I’ve had time to learn the process over the past two years. First of all, I now have my backstory to give me options for scenes instead of brainstorming out of nothing. I can choose a moment in time or deal with a specific issue in the story. Next, I can either sketch out a composition or jump right into 3d space and start blocking in objects, moving them around, and lighting them like a diorama. I can visualize the scene in its most basic form early on which is enough for me to judge its future success.
The fun part for me is the research. I dive into my books or go online and learn about the history of an object and personalize it for my characters. I build, texture, and place the objects exactly where I want. Instead of my hands carefully adjusting an object an inch or two, as if I’m working on a stop motion animation film, I can place it with precision.
All it takes from there is to light the scene, point the virtual camera, and hit render. I still have the ability to edit the image in Photoshop to stylize it a little. Finally, I paint.
It’s a process with more control, more options, and therefore it will require more time. However, the end result is limitless. In the past, where I might have struggled with the flame of a candle, I can have a whole street go up in a blaze and paint it just as realistically. It’s a jump in technology and opportunity. It’s recreating real life in the way I imagine it in my mind.