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.