The general concept is a furtistic domed-city. In particular, Liam's was influenced by the underwater city of the Gungans from Starwar, while I was instantly reminded of the Dome plantations of Darling in the Franxx
Darling in the Franxx
On the key point of the concept that Liam wanted was the "dome" being made up of interlocking beams that form in between angular negative spaces that is similar in shape to those on the outer panels of the drone design I had done earlier (as the drones are manufactured inside that city). These spaces would then be filled by a force fields that "complete" the dome ( in a very similar manner to the Gungan's shield in the mood board above.
. Using that instruction and my inspirations , I quickly got out this simple sketch of what the city could look like
Drone design for reference.
At first , seeing how the drones were the main antagonist of the movie, I presumed the city would have quite a classical "menacing design as well, represented by the sharp angular beams that surrounded the city, along with the irregularity of the shape of the dome, which made the whole thing having a very "biomechanical" look to it ( like an insect nest almost, which in my mind compliments the idea of the drones being launched from it). I was also very fond of the alternate design of the dome's pattern and the the taller beams outside - which had a much more artificial feel to it.
However, as it turns out, Liam didn't wanted the city to looking menacing, but in fact, more clean and more utopian-like, so as a result , I scraped the whole thing apart from the side view shot I had, which I cleaned up and did some colour adjustment to create the base look for the new city. From there, it was a simple process of refining the little details toward the final illustration, which included thinning the dome beams down, cleaning up the base of the dome, refining the skyline inside and changing the dome's colour to a more sky blue tone.
As part of the refinement process, I did some testing shots with the city inserted into the intended background as well. Naturally, the base city with it colour scheme would stand out way too much in the desaturated palette of the shot.
This of course led to what I would consider the most challenging aspect of the entire process - adjusting the city to fit the background. This was broken down to 2 areas - adjusting the angle that the city is drawn in ( the shot is from a top a rolling hill looking down toward a valley where the city is located , therefore it should have a slight angle to it) , and adjusting the colour settings to match the environment. Luckily, we didn't have much problem with the texturing aspect due to the distance of the city in the shot as one fear that I had was that the painted look of the illustration wouldn't be able to match the detail of the live action background. And so, the 2 main problems were tackled and the final tests shots that I made came out looking not half bad at all, even if I do say so myself.
Being my very first attempt at combining illustrated assets in real life, I say this had provided me with a lot of useful knowledge, particularly in the colour settings of the Photoshop and Clip Studio which undoubtedly would prove useful for me in the future. As for Liam, he was really happy with the test, as it provided him a good frame of reference to do his own adjustments as well. A very good end to my final extended project.