Ok, we got the house modeled and textured. I'm not really going to show any pictures from the texturing process, as they are pretty boring and I don't think would explain a lot. I used a custom adobe/stucco texture on the walls, with the windows and roof made up of an aluminium texture with some added dark bits in the cracks. I put the whole thing through a "dirt" smart texture in 3D Coat that scruffed it up and added a lot of grime into the corners and crevasses.
As I mentioned earlier, I made the choice to model the house in sections, which I then loaded and created Unreal Engine materials for. This is also a pretty straightforward task, 3D coat creates UV jpgs for base color, roughness, normal maps and all the rest. It's basically plug and play.
Now the fun part! I used the same desert map that I used for my last 2 vehicle designs, but found a different POV and built the house. I did have to increase the size of every component by 1.7, which I figured out by loading the first section next to a model of a human. Doors are great for this, they frame the people and give you a very quick read if the sizes are working in comparison. Once the model was constructed, I adjusted the lighting, moved the camera around, adjusted the lighting some more...in general, just stuff you do to find your composition. The advantage to 3D is that when your design is complete, you don't have to do more thumbnails for scene composition, you just move your camera around and tweak things until you've tried all your ideas and picked the one you want. Unreal lets you create camera viewpoints with "Control+<number>", so you can cycle through different camera angles and compare them.
Here's the Unreal Engine render.
The other great thing about UE is that because it is a real-time render engine, you get great results the whole time you are finding your shot. I used to hate setting things up in Vue, running a 3 hour render, and then discovering that something was off in the high quality render that didn't show up in the preview. This is *much* more efficient.
The rest reminds me more of matte painting than anything else. I took the render into Photoshop, replaced the sky, added some mountains and some foreground interest and did a bit of color tweaking. Since I was happy with my 3D model, I didn't do a lot of paint-over to change parts, but this would also be the time you could "fix" low-res models with more detail if you needed to.
Here's the final image:
Thanks for following along with me through my design process from thumbnails to concept art painting. I hope you enjoyed it, and if you have any questions, feel free to drop me an email :)