From technical point the challenge was to depict a realistic orbital shot while meeting the requirements of a storybook illustration and layout design as well as i343 expectations. Due to 6k native resolution a lot of time were spent on detailing, including ships, debris and surface below. Fortunately the printing quality were able to capture all these tiny bits.
I still feel bungie did right by us with Halo: Reach. The ability to play our own Spartan right to the end and the last stand at the end knowing it wasn't just Noble teams sacrifice to save the pillar, but our own as well. It's poetic that we always wanted to play our own Spartan while we played Chief, only to have our character be the one that insured that Chief would be the protagonist that we all knew that he would be.
You did an amazing job portraying the ship's escape and the hopelessness on and over Reach.
I opted for 3d because I wanted a cinematic look and feel, like a shot from Halo game or CG movie. It is possible to paint everything in 2d, though you may spend too much time laying out correct perspective grid for space ships. Also you don't need to model everything, just get the basic shapes and paint the rest. Here I did quite a lot of geometry, but all of the ship lights are painted.
The background is a traditional digi matte. I used some orbital imagery as a base and painted in all the missing details, changed colors etc.
I would love to see a painting where u show the diffrent stages of your process.
In my worklow before i merge layers i duplicate and then merge, blending the other layers out.
So if im finished i have diffrent subfolders which images from the very beginning.
Maybe u can do this once as well, i guess lots of ppl would enjoy it