While at Rhythm & Hues Studios, I worked on several key concept images of the environments in the Zack Snyder produced sequel to 300, the 2006 blockbuster. Using raw photographic stills from the set, I was able to create realistic concept illustrations of the surrounding architecture and give Rhythm & Hues and the VFX department a clear direction to follow for their final matte paintings.
The set below serves as a public forum in Athens and appears multiples times in the film, when major decisions are to be made, such as the trial of Ephialtes seen here. The location demanded a level of grandeur; to imply the sense of power and pride of a nation, without looking evil. Below are a matte shot and our concept side by side, where I extended the set and established general lighting and color directions. The focus remains on the characters rather than the architecture, thanks to the contrast created by the cool ambient lighting and the flames. The look in the final film follows.
In the following shot a clearer view of the ornamental helmet can be seen behind the steps. I refined a pre-existing design with the help of Rhythm & Hues art director Kenneth Nakada, adding details and textures in order to make the scale of the helmet more believable. A shot of the final film follows, where flames were added in post-production.
In this close-up of Themistocles, my task was to matte-paint the background columns and surrounding walls for the VFX team at Rhythm & Hues, who would then project them on 3D geometry. This allowed room for realistic camera movement in the shot as it appears in the final film.
Similar to the previous shot, here I detailed the walls and columns while maintaining the lighting and mood established by the other shots in the film and by the matte shot of Themistocles.
I was tasked with designing another key moment in the film: the ending of the first battle between the Greeks and Artemisia's army. Here, Aesyklos and Themistocles stare into the sea of blood littered with ruins of their ships and dead soldiers. Initially, I opted for a red sky that would symbolically reflect on the bloodshed, but upon refinement, shifted to a gray color scheme for both the sea and the sky. This helped emphasize both the blood in the water and the fires in the horizon.
The following were ideas for a desert sequence that appears briefly in the film.