For this update I'll be going over my thought process of how I evolved this piece to its current stage.
At this point I am around 2 hours into the rendering of the lighting. The lighting came easy, but the biggest problem I came across was composition. I wanted the foreground object with thrusters to be the main light source of the arena in the middle. The angle of the light was a bit off in the picture, but I was planning to adjust that later down the line when I actually had the fighters placed in the arena.
Since people cannot breathe in space I decided to toss a dome around the arena that had a built in atmosphere After placing the dome I wasn't happy with how it took away from certain elements in the background, so I decided to scrap the idea and place the fighters in a sort of space suit, which I have yet to design.
In the following progression piece I ended up going a little too far by adding the lens flare so soon, but I couldn't wait to see what it looked like.
After another hour of messing with the piece, i felt it was a good idea to start exaggerating the depth, but how do you do that when there is no atmosphere in plane space? Part of the story of the piece is that it is located on an asteroid floating in the depths of space, where law enforcement has no say. This particular asteroid was once mined for its resources, but once the corporation was done mining, what use could it serve? Future politicians that decided to make some more cash saw an opportunity and took it. They decided to construct an underground fighting ring far away from mainstream society that was only accessible to the wealthy, and anybody willing to sacrifice their entire economic well being for the slight possibility of obtaining wealth beyond dreams. There is a lot of money to be made here, but at a serious price.
Who would be the contenders in the arena? The most nasty convicts in the known universe of course, and a few that probably didn't really deserve to be subjected to such inhuman routes of punishment. It doesn't matter what crime, how big or small, if you looked fit your death was faked to the public and you were fighting for your life in the arena.
The story won't stop flowing, but I need to hold myself back and re-ask the question, how do I add atmosphere to something that doesn't really have any to begin with?
The smog you see within the scene is due to all the machinery operating within the depths of the asteroid. All the lights and functions of the arena need some sort of power sauce, so why not some dirty, mechanical, possibly even coal operated pile of scraps at the base. Soon I'll be adding color to give a bit of a slums feel to it. More to come...
Suggestions, questions, critiques, or anything on your mind is appreciated in the comments below!