The picture that’s lodged firmly in my mind, representing the aesthetic I’m thinking of, is of a bright blue sky over a blackened wasteland or dark city where the blue light seems not to touch. Imagine a clear blue sky and mountains in the background where the peaks are lit normally but halfway down the gradient has already shifted to a pitch black. Then imagine a foreground scene near to you in a dimly lit area of packed dirt and scrub, as if a single lightbulb were hanging over the scene in a root cellar, and in that circle the tanned human shapes are struggling in some primitivist conflict. The rest is darkness stretching to the mountains, implying some great expanse of darkness like the land of Mordor.
This picture is nearly perfect because you just have to imagine the sky in the background is blue.
Here are some examples of things that could be happening in the foreground scene:
This next one gets the color palette idea across:
Here’s another one that would be perfect if you shooped the sky to be blue:
Not everything should be completely primitivistic, like you could have some Tron-like stuff mixed in (or AI turrets with the eugenic correction factor verification sticker), but it should be something like 80% prehistoric as in Levallois flake weapons and turquoise necklaces.
Here’s a random DeviantArt picture that captures the basic idea marvelously:
I wanted to include pics of Aku city from Samurai Jack but it’s too red. Technobabylon is better:
I’m starting to realize all I did was reinvent the Technobabylon art design.