I decided to concept some varied environments today in B&W and then apply separate colours to these, which would enhance the mood of the original B&W concept.
I think the above thumbnails are fairly readable, which is often stated the key thing when thumb nailing (Zhu, Chiu). In B&W I personally thought that the top two were the most readable and interesting, although once I added colour this opinion changed.
In the top left one, I had mixed the Venice Gondola method of transport with a murky swamp environment, and the applied green colour really improves the atmosphere of the piece and creates a nice contrast between the safe orange hue of gondola (seen better in high-res) and the gloomy surroundings.
The top right one was a midnight jail break sort of thing. I wanted to create a double focal point in this thumbnail between the structure and the (ex)prisoners, and I think the direction of the search lights and the search planes lead the eye quite nicely to the characters. Also the blue creates a nice cold, middle-of-the-night atmosphere which I think adds a lot.
The bottom left one is my new favourite, I took inspiration from the art direction in Rime for the colours. Although I don't feel a particularly vivid environment is portrayed in this thumbnail, their is a strong sense of realism created through the warm and cool colours.
The bottom right image is a sort of western/dystopian mongrel of a landscape, which depicts a group of nomads arriving at a security barrier at the foot of a town. Because the environment needed to feel polluted and dusty, it was almost a no-brainer to throw on a nice rusty red/brown.