This is one of the loadingscreens that I made for Crusader Kings 2 while doing my internship at Paradox Interactive.
The image belongs to Paradox Interactive, and I have their permission to show it here.
The task with this image was to show an army marching into a city in the Holy Land. We started out by drawing Jerusalem, but having to portray that city in all historical accuracy and at the same time keep the elements we wanted (army marching in through the gate) turned out to be unneccesarily hard. The temple was supposed to be the Dome of the Rock, but I chose to change that to something that just reminded of it.
The image was made by first modeling a bunch of buildings in 3d, cloning enough of them to make a city, then render a scene with shadows, later add in some photosourced backgrounds, and paint over them to make a somewhat coherent detail density.
A screenshot from today's build showcasing the new population icons, and the recently-added Gaia planet. Ironically, the population missing from the shot is the Gaiads themselves (who aren't in the build yet).
Gaia is a super-habitable world where it shouldn't be, orbiting a red giant. Every continent is crammed with vegetation, and the oceans are green with algae-like blooms and colonial reefs; the night sky is lit with bioluminescent activity. The native centaur-like Gaiads are intelligent, but live deep in the monstrous forests with little or no technology. These self-appointed guardians of the planet are quick to anger and dangerous in their own environment. In ancient times there was a Human colony here (hence the name), but contact was lost when the warp lanes collapsed, and now there is no trace of it.