First of all, what I intend to do in my Independent Study's (or IS) project is matte painting that we always see in the movies, especially in the films that have imaginary sets or fantasy scenes. Thus, matte painting helps us create things that never exist... exist.
So my idea is to create a new world, a new planet that contains different species, habitats, and cultures from our earth. I got the inspiration from blockbuster movie, Avatar and The Lord of the Ring.
Furthermore, the concept and theme of my new world was inspired by one of Thai mythologies, 'Himmapan' forest. It is a mystic forest, which is invisible for mortal livings such as humans, believed located in India or below Buddhist Heaven. This place also contains numerous types of strange creatures. For example, half human half bird (Kinnari), Maka Nareepon (a fruit that has a woman inside), half giant half deer (Mareet), and so on. In addition, Himmapan forest appears in many Thai's ancient story, such as Ramakien, Phra Suthon Manora, and Khakee. (you can get more information about Himmapan forest from http://www.himmapan.com/)
However, my world will not look alike the original Himmapan painting. The theme of the project will be a mixture of Thai art and modern technology, some kinds of 'Steam Punk' located in the forest. Here, I try to create a whole new world with differ plants, animals and cultures illustrated by a couple matte paintings that show the world's civilization and make audiences feel that they are real. These examples of matte painting below are similar to what I want to do. (images from http://www.dusso.com/)