Nice work so far, this definitely has the LOTR feel to it. To improve it, try to remove the soft haze that looks like it has been painted in. It is a little distracting, and would work better if you found some cloud / smoke elements rather than paint that in with a soft brush. This has improved already in the updates, but could still use more work.
I agree with the decision to push the foreground element back a little. It felt like it was hovering before, and was had to judge scale, but works better now.
Keep at it, look forward to updates.
Digital Matte Painter // Forum Moderator
yes, as Nick said, you should really get away from that soft edge brush. Also note that you have a perspective issue with the ground on the left (you joined two photos, and the left part doesn't match the rest); It's also too softly blended!
Keyline of the day: Get away from soft brushes!!! :)
"Digital Art is like magic...and we are all it's Wizards"
Looks good so far. Keep in mind the final framing. It will help to centralize the focal point. The left side of the bg mountains look a little cloned as well. They may or may not be, but it is nice to see some varied distance when it comes to mountain tops. That is one thing that really sells the LOTR mattes. They seem to go off into the distance with this terribly foreboding sense of fear and loss.
Matte Painter/ Digital Artist
Matte Artist Digital Environments