Update - 16 Jan 2021
For the first few days working on the project I've managed to convert everything for rendering in Redshift, setup some basic procedural materials and lighting, and I started making a basic ground destruction sim.
I'm not happy with the fracturing yet, the pieces are too large for one, but I also hit the limit for my 32gb of ram using a hybrid workflow between boolean fracturing and the material fracture node. I have some ideas for a more custom solution here to hopefully push the amount of geo in the scene a bit further, and also keep things nice and quick for iterating later on. I'll experiment more with that and once I'm happy with the fracturing I'll get to adding dust and particles.
As a bonus thing I started working on a shield concept around the cyborg too. I'm not happy with the animation on it right now, but the general look (with some more layers) will probably be really nice. I'll keep working on it.
Update - 10 Jan 2021
I will be creating visually interesting FX by playing with the contrast between light, and darkness. To start off the planning, I wanted to set the stage. Where does the scene take place? I instantly thought of the map Aberration from the game Ark: Survival Evolved, and I will be drawing a lot of inspiration from that. A hot, scorching alien planet, the surface being nearly completely unprotected from the hot radiation of outer space, and dark, radiated, looming creatures living below the surface:
Like stated previously, I want the FX in my shots to represent light vs. darkness. Darkness, in this case, will be represented by the monster, and the underground. I will draw heavy inspiration from darker creatures of World of Warcraft, since I love the contrast in those designs. The FX here will also be very organic in nature:
I want the Humanoid character, and the FX from that character in this case, representing light. I will be drawing inspiration from the design in Star Craft's Protoss, and some designs from Warcraft's Alliance. I want this character, in contrast to the heavily organic monster, to be bright and distinctly fabricated/structured, with lots of shiny, reflective metal/plastic surfaces:
I'm starting on this challenge late. 1,5 months late, to be exact. And all the work will take place on a fairly slow 4-core cpu and an old GTX 1080, so I have to limit myself to 1-2 shots maximum, and any environment work will have to be secondary to the character work. Hard work ahead. Because of this limitation I will do all of my work in Houdini and Fusion exclusively and, most likely, I will have to take some shortcuts in compositing to sell the final result. A blend of 2D/3D will be the answer.