Here are a few layouts that I created as an exercise in composition, lighting and colour.
chéd 'haunted house' scene, is mainly an exercise in composition; I tried to strike a rough balance between the moon and the house. I also experimented with contrasts, creating a striking contrast between the moon (and its light) and the cold, dark blue environment, as well as blurring the moon to provide additional contrast with the sharp, detailed house.
The extreme sense of depth, incidentally, reminds me of tilt-shift photography, a method where the immediate foreground and background of a wide-angle shot are out of focus; this leaves a small, very specific area in focus, and so it replicates macro photography and creates the bizarre - but beautiful - illusion that everything in the photograph is miniature and close-up.
Picture number two was more of an exercise in varying colours slightly. I took the concept of areas in shadow being bluer than sunlit areas (as the only light hitting them is directly from the sky) and used it to add a subtle but dramatic effect to the left hand side of the image.
With this picture, I wanted to make it really apparent what direction the main light source (the sun) was coming from (the right). I really went to town with the addition of sunlit highlights to the edges of the tree and the structures on the left, whilst maintaining a gentle but consistent gradient to lighter shades on the right, implying the presence of the sun without having to draw it.
This third and final image is more or less the culmination of everything that came before it (except, perhaps, colour theory, but colour schemes as consistent as this don't allow for it).
I wanted to experiment with the idea of a colour scheme helping to set the mood and the atmosphere of a scene - for example, blues and greys work well for night scenes. But I liked the idea of everything having a dirty, yellowish quality, as though the air is dusty and the environment is poorly-maintained. That notion gave birth to this slightly post-apocalyptic, 'shack in an eternal scrapyard' scene, and as the environment already had a certain character to it, I found it much easier - and more fun - to litter the layout (quite literally) with details and quirks.
Again, I employed blurs to maintain the illusion of depth, which I think works especially well in this picture. Especially with the dust - the out-of-focus particles that appear to be passing right by the camera lens worked really well here, and helped to make it the type of scene that you feel you could almost step into and explore. Needless to say, I'm extremely pleased with this one.
That's it, really. If I think of anything else to say, I'll go back and edit this post, but that rule applies to all my blog posts, so just take that as a given and we'll leave it at that.