Nier Re[in]carnation Fan Art
A brief explanation of my process for making concept art
Special thanks to 株式会社 WACHAJACK, especially the really talented Art director Koshi Tsukamoto who I work with regularly for helping me every step of the way~!

For this piece, I wanted to make a realistic scene out of an existing screenshot from NieR Re[in]carnation, when a prince and a decomissioned soldier run away from their kingdom that was about to fall into chaos. 

There were very brief glimpses of the city from the game, so I had a lot of freedom to work with how the kingdom would look like. What I decided to go for was a large medieval town mixed with some technology built into it. I felt like trams and industrial smokestacks would also bring out the NieR vibe. 

Screenshot from NieR Re[in]carnation

At this stage, I start with creating a few thumbnails in order to get a feel for the direction of how I want the piece to look like. This is probably the most important stage for me whenever I have to start a new piece.

I don't aim for a perfectly drawn image,  but rather try to solve all the problems of  design, composition, lighting, and mood as soon as possible. The more thinking and testing I do beforehand, the better it is for me later on when I have to refine the image. 

From my experience in game development, making several thumbnails is also good in case the team wants to revert to earlier versions of the explorations.
First block-out
I blocked out most of the city according to my thumbnail, starting with really simple shapes, getting the camera in the right position. Then, I would make a second pass on the more important buildings where the viewer's eye would follow.

I often checked the night time version in render view as I was creating the buildings to see if the local values by themselves worked out in darkness. 
Model with rough textures
Unfortunately, a lot of the details had to be faded out because of the lighting but it was still fun building it anyway :)
This was the first pass I did after putting the image together in Photoshop. The lighting could have used more work and the values were not really there yet. 

With some feedback from my art director, I was able to tweak the lighting a bit more to get to the final result.
In order to fix the extremely dark image,  I found that it was easier to subtract light than to add light after the render, so I went back into 3D in order to get the lighting to a point that I was happy with before returning to 2D.
Final Image
I started to be more satisfied with the image after balancing the lit areas and  after fading some  areas into darkness. Adding fog to separate layers of the castle walls also created more depth to go into the distance.

 I'm happy with how it turned out in the end, and  just as I finished the piece it  was just in time for Women's Day :D
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