I started by creating an interesting environment for the subject building to sit in, creating a misty forest with an eerie atmosphere and exploring it until I settled into a dramatic view and composition. With this as a start, I can now tailor the world to fit the view.
Most of the assets I had on hand, but the forest floor texture was 3d Scanned with my trusty Canon D80 and Agisoft Photoscan and baked to texture sets. The result is a high resolution texture with about 4m square of coverage!
Sketchup was used to model the structure for its ease of use and speed.
I am using Unreal Engine to render the scene because I want to try it on different projects to see how far I can push it. I am pleased to say that although I have only scratched the surface, I am able to explore different artistic directions and have great control of the environment.
Epic has released many assets that have come in handy as well and I am eager to see what I can glean from them.