this is great.
lovely effect and nice details.
its even better then the movie itself xD
In terms of process — where do sketches like this take place? Immediately before final renders or they grow with even more details after some discussions with (who, btw — art director, director?).
These took place extremely early on, way before the film was funded. Aaron Beck and myself had to illustrate the whole script to sell the idea to studios, so we would read the script or get some notes from the director each morning "i need a shot of the tourus from space" and that's about it. Everything is refined and designed much later once the film is in production.
Side question — did you have to draw any inspiration from District 9 for concepts? In some regard the two movies have something in common.