Even though the precise ending is secret until the premiere, I will still show you and discuss the design of the final location; the city! I have completed the concept art for it, so let's take a look, starting with the layout of the location.
I want a grassy area that is surrounded by buildings (see the image above). There should be a gap between two of the buildings in the back to allow entrance to the grassy field from a road. As you can see, all other houses are built right up against each other. This is not really realistic, but I want the feeling of a dead end, that there is only one entrance and exit. If there was a gap between other houses, it wouldn't feel as surrounded.
When viewing the location from the side, we can see that we have a pretty strong slope from the entrance to the right, down to a large cliff. This view is a cross section, ignoring all houses to the left of the field that would otherwise cover it up. I imagine that the cliff came about because they dug away most of a hill to create flat land to build houses on. When standing on this cliff, the houses don't obstruct the view (since they are built much further down) and you can clearly see the sky from the ground.
As for the scale of everything, I think it is very difficult to envision exact meters and the relative size between this and the characters at this stage. I like the shape, but I will have to experiment with how large it should be to both look good in camera, as well as fit the story and pacing. Luckily in 3D, it is very easy to just scale something up or down when I get to try out the 3D models. Depending on how big it gets, I will adjust the number of houses surrounding it, since I do want the houses themselves to be fairly big.
Apart from the two layout images, I also painted a point of view shot with the goal of basically creating a frame from the film. It has a greater focus on the sky, the ground, and the general feeling of the scene.
I want to go for a pretty dreary and dark future, to give a strong contrast to the landscape the Old Man dreams about in the beginning. Grass and nature will be present since that is part of what the Old Man wants, but it will be mostly yellow and dead. I want the reality to not be nearly as pretty as his dream (which is most often the case with dreams in real life as well).
This means the city should be loud and dirty, the opposite of his silent and pure dream, with the sky close above the city being full of smoke and dirt. However, a bit further up is a fairly beautiful sky, just like when the Robot and Old Man watches it through the hospital window. There is still beauty here.
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As for the rest of the scene, I want a lot of buildings stretching out in the far distance. This to somewhat mimic the endless ocean in the dreamscape, only this time it's an endless sea of houses. The city itself should be pretty futuristic since we do have Robots that walk around and think, but it should not be overly fancy. Just like the hospital room it should be pretty close to what we have today. I don't want the architecture to be eye-catching or impressive. All the focus should be on the sun and the presence of the city as a whole.
All of the buildings will be fairly far away from the camera, and none will get an especially strong focus. That is why I have not focused on their design here in the concept art. Instead, I will save that for the 3D modelling stage where I can simply grab images of real building and model a bunch of simple houses directly and place them within the 3D scene. Using tools for creating large amount of different variations of these basic houses, I will hopefully be able to create an entire city that looks good and coherent.
This concludes the location concept art. According to my original plan, this would have been it for the concept art as a whole. However, I came to my senses and decided to draw the fourth character in the film as well; the Security Force. It won't get a lot of screen time, but it is indeed better to design by drawing than experimenting from nothing in 3D. See you when it's done!