Trying out a few things here. I’m sure I’ve done all this before but it’s taking me a while to work out how I want to go about this. This previs image is using a workflow inspired by matte painters and concept artists such as Chris Stoski and Rafael Lacoste. I first painted (very sketchily) a scene with druid oak by a lake with standing stones, and altar, and forest in the background. POV is a somewhat high ledge in extreme foreground looking down a bit.
So I set this as a background image in Blender, added a ground plane and dug out a ditch. Sculpting was very slow so I ended up just using proportional editing in edit mode – much quicker. Added a plane with a basic water texture. Also an oak (MTree addon preset) and various cubes to represent the stones. Background trees are billboards from Xfrog. At that distance I don’t think I need to use actual models.
Finally I rendered and used the compositor to cut out the sky background. I added a sky gradient in GIMP.
I’m finding using Cycles in the viewport tends to crash the computer in any but the simplest scene. I think I’ll use a very small viewport window set to render mode like with Vue, while using LookDev mode in the main working window. Also set the number of samples to 16 instead of the default 32. That way I can get an idea what the scene actually looks like while still being able to work on it.