The things that live on the surface obey no rhyme or reason
The big wireframes are volume scatter bounds to get the mist started. A few texture mapping empties are visible as well.
One thing I noticed from doing both hair strands (creature) and particle instances (grass) is that instances are significantly slower than strands in the viewport, but significantly faster in the render.
This testrender paintover was about the only concept sketch I did on this scene, to establish the creature before making it in 3D.
In the caverns far below the earth, only old stories tell of an overworld. Anything who grows curious must be content with vague descriptions and the force of imagination.
I didn't have a clear goal when I started this one, it was more an excuse to dabble in brutalist architecture and glacial tundra landscapes, two things I've been wanting to try for a while. It was also a decent first test for the Rock and Grass Essentials, since grass at least is hard to find underground.