Remember, that regardless of CG render passes looking failry convincing, there always is going to be various compositing techniques to create the final image.
Look at Matte Paintings back when they use to paint on glass, and look how much 3D is involved now, and what is going to happen within the next 10 years. Regardless of our opinions, the technology will grow, and new software will be written . . . The reason I wanted to get into Matte paintings was also the fact that I fell in love with the original paintings done by master artists . . . but I also like the fact that this is creating new ways of approaching Matte Paintings. I still use my artistsic skill, and Matte Painting experience, to apply it to 3D setups, and try creating various realism effects, just using a different CG tools.
I also do quite a bit of work for video games, where these techinques can compliment the approach, since it is still stylized, especially the fact that it would take me a lot less time to create a great base for a seamless 180, and/or 360 sky map, that I can spend time integrating photo elements, and/or paint additional sections. These renders would also compliment CG movies, cinematics, etc.
I will continue my experiements and will share future results with others . . . Also if you read my first post, this is related to landscapes as a rendering tool.
I also strongly believe that 3D artists are becoming more and more aware of the 2D approach and I know many very
talented 3D artist that can also paint . . . My point is combining both skills and taking advantage of technology : )
Another Software Vue 5
, worth taking a look at their studies, and coding.