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2-The Making of 'A Twisted Prison'

Step 1
The scene started out as the quintessential raytraced chrome sphere floating above a red and white checkered plane. 

How can I make this interesting?

Step 3
Change the illumination model and make that chrome glow!

Step 5
What would some clouds look like reflected in the chrome? But they take so long to render...

Step 7
What if a tree grew on the stone?

Step 2
An uncommon aspect ratio adds interest to the scene.

Step 4
Get rid of that mind-numbing black sky and introduce some atmosphere.

Step 6
The chrome is getting boring and the clouds will have to come back later. Floating stone might be interesting.

Step 8
Replace the red and white with some more texture and tie that rock down so that it doesn't float off. A little adjustment to the aspect ratio, add the clouds back to the scene, et voilà.