Planet Krypton concept art and matte painting


In a recent episode of Smallville (season 7, episode 5), we had a short flashback sequence at Entity FX featuring planet Krypton and the city of Kandor. I started early, working on a series of pencil sketches to explore different possibilities before committing to any CG. I referenced mainly the original movie for the natural formations, while also trying to innovate somewhat with the design. The first thing we knew we wanted a reddish cast to the the thing, reflecting the red sun of Krypton.

I had this idea about the building having a glassy look, which would catch and reflect the red sunlight and do some interesting things with it. I figured maybe the towers were grown, just as the fortress of solitude is an organic, crystalline structure, but that the towers were also carved and polished by human effort, and not as chaotic as the fortress.

I had this idea in mind of a cathedral-like structure, out in the middle of a vast wasteland.

And the final sketch…

I refined the landscape into a hi-res matte painting, while Kaz Yoshida built and rendered the structure in Maya. I then assembled all the elements into a final composite in After Effects.

Click here for the final comp and layer breakdown


Wow thanks for sharing.



Thanks for showing us how you did this :slight_smile:
I love seeing the workflow behind a work. its invaluable to see how others think/work :thumbsup:
How long did you have to finish the shot?


Really nice breakdown. I remember watching that episode, and thinking “I wonder who did this…” in that krypton scene. =] I always pay close attention when I see good CG.


Excelent work, from start to finish…
BTW, i love the show!



Wow,I am great to see the Smallville scene from cgtalk.
Smallville is one of my favourite.Thanks sharing!


Awesome! The second sketch is uncannily similar to something I drew on an airplane in 2002 :o


wow excellent!


wow thanks for sharing, I always liked the crystal design of krypton and I don’t think I’ve seen anyone imperilment the red Sun as you have here. I’ve tried my hand at designing a Krypton city but I always wonder how these structures actually worked as buildings because they don’t seem watertight (does it rain on Krypton?)


Judging by the look of the background, it doesn’t look like Krypton gets much rain…now that I think about it…isn’t water the basis of life?..or are they far too advanced to even need natural water? their sun IS about to die…which means they have been there for a while no?..or their sun is too big and burned faster?..

Oh…so many questions…

By the way…how did Superman get to Krypton in the latest Movie? …doesn’t his ability to fly come from our sun?..if so…HOW THE HELL DID HE FLY PAST OUR SOLAR SYSTEM!

Oh…so many questions…


He had a space ship like the one he came to earth in there was a whole sequence where he builds/grows the ship and use it to get to Krypton which was cut out of the film. the strange thing is that for a advanced civilisation that can travel faster than the speed of light kryptonians haven’t invented landing gear. :stuck_out_tongue:


Well…that explains it…:thumbsup:


Thanks for the post. Very nice.

I have a question, i’m trying to post something similiar but i can’t seem to post multiple pictures. How did you go about doing that? Thanks.


Thanks for sharing ! Wonderful !


its always so nice to see artists show others how, vs. simply show the end product and say: “I worked on this”. Kudos for taking the time to do so.

If I might throw out a comment regarding the shot in the same post, just as an overall comment for discussion - it seems as though the speed of the animations (with the exception of the speedy rockets) are perhaps a little fast. Effects like explosions and physics-based movements (i.e. gravity of falling ice towers) really really really help convey the scale of an object.

We’re used to seeing certain things move at certain speeds, and thats generally in tv film etc, when they use models to blow stuff up, they often shoot it at a faster speed and then slow it down later when its all cut together… the smaller the model, the faster the explosions, wrecks, dust bits etc tend to move. Slow it down, our eyes observe it as being bigger… more massive… heavier.

I think this shot would benefit from that… granted its after the fact, but with the exception of the rockets, i bet if you slowed this down 1.5X, you’d feel its realism grow and the shot become more powerful.

I hope I’m not too off in that comment - and regardless of what I just said, its a great shot, and thanks (like others said) for the sharing.




that’s rad, tbh… not much more to say!


Very nice man. love the composition and mood of this one. cool


When he escaped Krypton his father put him on some sort of emergency shuttle. Not enough time to plan anything. That’s the reason for the bugged landing :).


When he escaped Krypton his father put him on some sort of emergency shuttle. Not enough time to plan anything. That’s the reason for the bugged landing :).

Nice render and mate painting.
Thanks for sharing


nice job

i love watching projects from concept art to final composition :slight_smile:

nice movie scene :slight_smile: