Fusang is a mythical world-tree that appears in several examples of ancient Chinese literature. The story that has been passed down from the Classic of Mountains and Seas refers to a mythological tree of life that is also a residence of ten three-legged crows. They are the spirits of the suns and have been carried out by their deity mother Xihe to light up the world. The original manuscript only mentions the ten suns and the tree, but just like other mythical stories, the account gradually evolves into a narrative. Legend has it that one day, all three-legged crows rise in the sky at the same time, scorching the earth and causing people great pain. The legendary king, Emperor Yao, then commands the lord of archers, Hou Yi, to rein in the suns. Unable to reason with the behavior of the ten suns, Hou Yi shoots down nine suns and leaves one to keep working on its duty.
The art direction of this environment uses surrealistic elements in photorealism, combining these two styles to present the visual impact of how these mythical imageries, which would be difficult to see in reality, could be depicted in a real-world scenario.
One of the references is from Polish photographer Dariusz Klimczak. The themes of his works usually portray bizarre or surrealistic characters and objects within a desolate landscape. He is an expert in using his own photography to integrate the unusual elements together, but the photo manipulations remain photorealistic and coherent.
The game Death Stranding was used as the reference for lighting and atmosphere. The fictional universe of the game is set in a world after a great catastrophe that eradicates most of the living, and along with the event, explosions cause craters worldwide. In a sense, an apocalyptic world is like an undeveloped world as both lacks the trace of civilization. Over time, nature will eliminate the mark of humans, and everything reverts to its original state. The lighting and the atmosphere in the game perfectly depict a world without human intervention, which becomes good references for establishing a starting point for the thesis development.