Update - 8 Apr 2021
Here are some updates on my blockout for the scene. I started by blocking out by following my concept to test the composition and the sizing and to get a good look at how it feels once in a 3D scene by sculpting a landscape and using geometry brushes for the big shapes.
I realized that the silhouette was too blend for my taste, that there was no hero prop to guide the eye and "steal the show". So I added a crashed spaceship that would be iterated on further down the road, as a sort of relic from another civilization that the travelers stumbled on, and that would get the chance to explore.
I also started exploring the lighting and mood, we'll see how that goes.
Update - 5 Apr 2021
For this contest, I have in mind a rough landscape with tall rocky formations and a hostile soil in which only a few hardy and massive trees and strong adaptive shrubs can thrive. It is some sort of mountainous terrain in which the trees are trying to fight for their survival by spreading their roots on the little soil that is left, scattered on the rocks.
I intend to render it in UE4, with the use of some Quixel materials to support it.
From left to right, artists of the reference images: Aquapros aquarium; Black Myth Wukong environment; E-19, Gary Sanchez; Black and white thumbnails, Nikolay Bazuev.
Here below are some references for the foliage, ships and color inspiration of the scene.
Based on the concept of Gary Sanchez (E-19), I painted a thumbnail that would represent the composition, and feel of the scene, as well as the lighting and general mood, since I wanted this scene to feel massive, unexplored, wild and full of mysteries.
The creation of this thumbnail was useful to get a feel of the contrast between the rocky areas, the vegetation and the trees at the top, and to find a balance with the scaling of each part.