Hi, so this is the first time I show my progress, so I'll try to describe how I render my works. (I'll try to go more in-depth next time if anyone is interested.
Software: Photoshop CS6 + Intuos 4
1. This is when I sketch out thumbnails and choose the one I want. My outline is kinda messy but I don't really mind because I'd cover it up eventually.
2. I start rendering in grayscale to check the values. This also helps me to focus on the materials of Lightning's armor.
3. Here's the fun part. I create a new layer and add in colors. I also used the multiply, overlay and soft light layers. I put lightning texture on the background because it looks too plain.
4. I slightly tweaked the composition as there was empty space on top.
5. Now to further refine the lightning and the foreground.
6. Lightning's skin looked quite dull, so I added another soft light layer and painted her skin with a red tone.
7. Now, I go nuts with the liquify tool. (Not really, hopefully I don't abuse it.)
8. Here on, I asked my friends for critique, they said their eyes were directed to the white foreground and her boobs. (Yes, her boobs!) So I tweaked the composition again and added typography.
And there you go!
Hopefully this can help someone out there, though I'm still improving my art too.