I have been expanding my skill set to include Matte Painting techniques such as 3D modeling, photo-bashing, and camera projections. These techniques add more subsurface detail and complexity to compliment my existing approach.
Maya's MASH instancing network allowed me to create a tree populated hill. Multiple tree models gave the terrain diversity and a naturalistic quality. Each model was given its own network in order to dial in the look I wanted.
I challenged myself to build this scene completely in 3D. I really enjoyed being able to move my camera around and change lighting scenarios on the fly. Much more flexible than doing the layout by hand. I used primitive shapes to add dramatic shadows to the scene.
With Gaea's procedural node-based workflow I quickly created multiple mountain ranges. By changing the seed value in my primitive shape nodes I was able to achieve vastly different variations while maintaining the look of the environment.
I use Redshift's Sky Dome with HDRI's to create natural lighting on my 3D scenes and models.
Through my Oculus headset I sculpt in Adobe Medium. I found it much more intuitive and faster than modeling in Maya. I'm then able to import my models into Maya and light them in my scenes.