My prefered software of choice-
I do all my compositing in greyscale. This is my "grissaille" or greyscale tonal underpainting.
I then tone everything with a warm golden brown like a sepia tone photo. All my color is invented and usually airbrushed like oil glazes or watercolor washes.
I love painters natural media tools. The nozzle brush is particularly helpful in depicting big crowd scenes for me.
I took a couple months to teach myself this great Nurbs modeler. It's perfect for sculpting flowy organic shapes.
The Company that developed it, Robert McNell and Assc. is a stone throw from where I live.
This versatile 3D modeler is so important to me for building props and scenery. I sketch out all my designs in pen on grid paper. This is my springboard into bringing to life everything in FormZ.
I started using this back in version 5 and have been excited about the advances in each sucessive version. This is my defacto 3D scene design, lighting and rendering package.
I have been blessed with a page of my work in the Current Painter WOW! 10 book by Peach Pit Press.