Boost depth and atmosphere
I identify colour and texture variation to bring out the depth and atmosphere in the piece. I use the simplest of brushes with a little Scattering turned on to get the visual ‘noise’ that I see in front of me. I’m not trying to duplicate reality exactly, but approximate the effect I see. This is an important difference.
The Scatter brush
Natural scenes like this have so much visual complexity that the best we can hope for is to capture the effect of all that complexity. I’m working on achieving the illusion of what I see, the visual impression, rather than a literal recreation of every dead stick and leaf. To that end, the Scatter brush works wonders.