View Full Version : "Urban Oasis" 2nd try - WIP

04 April 2006, 03:38 PM
This is a new try from my other thread (

It was really turning to shit. But I learned not to do some of my previous mistakes. This is my second try. It's still in progress.

04 April 2006, 03:45 PM
Wow. I had a look at this post and your old thread and there really is no comparison. This one looks much more professional and 'finished off'. Im not sure about the building to the right. It helps with the sense of scale, but seems to overbalance the painting to the right a lot. Other than that it looks fantastic, i love the setting.


04 April 2006, 03:52 PM
Definitely an improvement!
It looks a way, way better than the previous attempt!
space-sprayer is right in what he says...
The building on the right is too high. And it's too much in contrast with the smaller buildings.
But the oasis is looking fantastic, man!
nice colors! Very painterly looking.
Keep this great work, man!

04 April 2006, 05:02 PM
Wow, your work really amazed me ! I like the oasis a lot

04 April 2006, 06:24 PM
the execution is way better everything seems really good .but about composition, what is the center of interes?? or where is the focal point? I think we all know that the oasis is, but is not strong enough, I agree with space-sprayer about the right building, it is so tall , it capture too much attentionmaybe some higher skyscrapers in the background will help the composition

well done

04 April 2006, 05:19 AM
definately a much better image all around. I think it is true that you really need to think about the focus of the painting. Getting a nice landscape down is one thing, but having a center of intrest and a definate 'directional flow' will make it a good one !

Right now all the elements in the image seem to draw my eye towards the pond. So if the image is of a boat or monster in the pond then your on the right track ...

04 April 2006, 06:36 AM
much better :bounce:
cant wait to see it finished

04 April 2006, 08:11 AM
I have been following your original urban oasis, and I have to say this one is much, much better. It feels a lot more wide open and believable. One thing I would try would be to vary the height of the distant buildings, they all seem the same height. (Or maybe more buildings in the distance would work well to break up that line) Good work!

05 May 2006, 12:53 AM
If anyone is still following this thread, here is an update and possibly final version. Thanks for the suggestions. They really helped. If you have more improvements to suggest, please feel free...For me it is nearly finished, but 2nd opinions are almost more important than my own.


05 May 2006, 01:27 AM
awesome. that pagoda on the water totally makes the shot. Reall nice job !

one thing that you may want to think about is ariels/antennae and other junk on the roofs of the buildings.

05 May 2006, 03:41 PM
I really like it, and defiently agree with the above poster, it's beautfiul, all of it, keep on working with it :thumbsup:

05 May 2006, 01:19 AM
Nice, the only thing I would think about is the choice of color and construction of that pagoda. The red seems a bit glaring in contrast with the rest of the scene which is either lush or very grey. Basically, while the red is a good idea, it is jarring because it is not transitioned into, and it is not replicated anywhere in the scene. For instance if you had a red sun barely visable through some clouds (known to happen regularlly in urban settings), or you had some red foliage or seasonal colors in the trees it would make the choice of red on the pagoda a bit more sensible.

Overall I would say it's a 100% better image than when you started, and is very skillfully done. Good work; it's just that one tiny little bit that is annoying me.

05 May 2006, 08:31 AM
I really like the extra layer of buildings, it helps the depth of the painting. Gving the image a focal point was a good move too, although i agree that maybe the red should be reflected somewhere else in the painting too. The thing that still bothers me is that building n the right. It almost takes the focal point just for being so huge. A lot of attention is drawn away from the rest of the image. I think it looks much better on the other side.

05 May 2006, 10:03 PM
Thanks, space-sprayer, Kutkin, jamesvfx, Aneks, RiKToR, JIII and everyone else.

Your insightful comments really helped me. Here is the finished version. I hope I didn't ruin anything.

05 May 2006, 08:15 PM
This is a fantastic work of art. Shrinking the building on the right and adding the same red color to the foliage definitely helping to blend the pagoda into the scene.

I'm actually very new at matte painting, and was curious if you could direct me somewhere that would help me understand your technique on actually creating foliage. Its some of the best I have seen in a matte painting.

05 May 2006, 09:22 PM
Thanks, cac2889. Your comment is much appreciated. The suggestions posted by the other members really helped. Another thanks to them.

Regarding the foliage...well, I'm also quite new to matte painting, so I'm pleased with your remark. This may come as a disappointment perhaps, but I started with a few photos of vegetation, which I cut and pasted into this piece. I tried to harmonize the colors and contrast with Brightness/Contrast and Hue/Saturation. However, this made for an artificial look and didn't look convincing. The binding element, painting, is what brings everthing closer to reality, in my opinion. So, with a 1-pixel brush (the canvas is about 1700px wide; should've made it bigger!) I started picking up colors from the canvas, in this case the pasted photographs, and painted with this 1 pixel brush. However, I also use a custom brush made of many one-pixel dots to accelerate the process. However, what works best, unfortunately, is the one-pixel painting process.

Well, I hope this was of help.

05 May 2006, 11:04 AM
This one is coming along much better than the last one. I really like the touches of color.

Some things which I think need to be addressed however are (brace yourself):

- If the light is coming from right to left the left side of the far right building should be darker.
- the facing side of the far right building doesn't match in scale, color or style to the left facing side.
- Considering the variety in height of the buildings in the front row, I would expect the buildings in the back row of that block to be visible. I feel like if you define the front row of buildings as the foreground, and the backrow of buildings as background, you have a giant void in the mid-ground.
-The black levels in the foliage doesn't really match the black level of the front row of buildings, atmospheric haze taken into account and all.
- Shadows under the trees to give them more depth
- Shadows from one bilding to another, so that there is a sort of randomized depth to the buildings to a slight degree.
- emphasizing the glow off the right building could be dramatic.
- This is "hollywood" go ahead and give that sky the extra zeal it deserves. Especially since you already have the 'picture perfect' pond, you might as well not have a drab hazy day.
- Front most group of trees on far right shouldn't be hazy, they're in the shadow of the far right building.
-Perspective is too extreme I believe on far right building. With current perspective, buildings in background would be about 20-25 stories tall. They're only about 12 - 15 on average, but that's pretty hard to tell for sure.
- No trees reflected in pond.
- There's no space on the corner of the far right building for structure and support.
- More diversity in the trees painted in: color, noise (use some 1 and 2 pixel textured brushes, even leaves work great for breaking up that "smudgyness"
- The far right buildings far edge could be softened a bit. It's too sharp, too cg. Just in general try to desquare as much as you can, nothing in the real world is perfect straight.
- A few of the buildings could be blurred a half pixel or so. You have a variety of sharpness in your building sources. Definitely a case where consistancy would be better than accuracy.
- Just to give the picture more variety possibly consider warming the top half of the image slightly. Giving it that sort of lazy late summer afternoon look.
- If a building isn't recessed and receiving a shadow on its right side, it should have an ever so slight highlight. Especially if it's above the shadow of the building to the right of it, then it should have a slight highlight. "light wrapping", to be more accurate.
- The perspective on the sky feels like I'm still looking up more than level. It might help to vertically compress it to fake the perspective a bit more.

Use the old "squint test" if it looks right when you squint at it, the lighting is probably right. If you squint at it and it looks flat, it needs more work. Don't give up now It's coming along great it just needs more time, more attention.

And just as an example I very very very very very roughly sketched up some of these changes for more clarity:

05 May 2006, 11:49 PM
Hi AndreasReally nice matt paintng i think the the oasis need to be bigger
Nice work :)

05 May 2006, 11:24 AM
Gavin, I haven't thanked you for your great critique. Thanks, really, for taking the time. Based on your comments I (hopefully) corrected the image and this is what came out.

05 May 2006, 04:14 PM
First off. The improvements are fantastic. However, I'm torn on the lens flare. I like it, it doesn't bother me aesthetically, but technically it doesn't work. If that's the location of the sun, then the shadow of the far right building down't make any sense. And you'd have to do some more work on the tree's shadows as well. Overall I think it just breaks realism a bit too much. Maybe instead of a flare you could accomplish the same thing compositionally with some warm dusty light.

Also the far right building is still bright. It needs to come down about 10-20% in brightness

05 May 2006, 10:36 PM
I agree with that one guy, it's a good improvement, but definitely be very careful about those lights. the extra colors and light that you have added to the matte do detract from the overall realism slightly. I would make those warm highlights you added a bit more detailed, and definitely look at a few photo references for the lens flare/light wrap to get it just perfect.

Overall dude, a tremendous peice of work.


10 October 2006, 05:51 AM
Damn that is nice! Did not expect to see an awesome matte from ya! I can agree about the lensflare. The colors in the sky can be a little more subtle in my opinion! Good luck this one, looking forward to seeing this one finished!:thumbsup:

10 October 2006, 07:40 AM
really nice matte. The lake looks very calm and peaceful.
How about desaturating the sky a bit to lead the interest more to the lower part of the image ?

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