View Full Version : Unofficial Matte Painting Challenge 1

07 July 2006, 05:18 PM
hey guys at last here's the Unofficial Challenge we've planning check it out!

this is a mini-contest outside of the bounds of the real CG Challenges that are run.

questions in this thread and your submissions in new threads please, read the instructions

thanks to leonard teo,roberti mibus,leigh van der byl,ballistic publishing for their support and of course, dylan cole, chris stoski and alp altiner thanks guys!

Sponsored by (

D'artiste matte painting book

The Prophet
07 July 2006, 05:31 PM
Awsome challenge, this was the only challenge missing. and a great subject too
hope i can make some time

07 July 2006, 05:44 PM
Alright this should be great!
I was thinking about trying out an underwater scene!!!

Good luck to everyone entering!

07 July 2006, 06:15 PM
Hi all,

this could be interesting..underwater... hm...:)

07 July 2006, 06:16 PM
interesting challenge. I may have to try my hand at matte painting.

07 July 2006, 06:27 PM
Not to be nitpicky, but at the bottom of the challenge image it says "2 >Secon< prize:2 ballistic publishing books. Just wanted to point that out. As for the rest, I'd love to see what results will come from this challenge :).

Regards, Erik

07 July 2006, 06:33 PM
Sounds great! What's the final file type and preferred resolution?

07 July 2006, 06:41 PM
I have a concept but not sure if it would be allowed. What if Atlantis was a city of futuristic technology? Ruined, of course, but what if my concept is a bit like futurism in ruins. Would that still count or am I SOL? I can adapt to needs... and I'd really like to do something like this. Mainly for the free books. :D

07 July 2006, 06:50 PM
I've been considering trying my hand at matte painting, would be fun to do something a bit different.

I'm in.

07 July 2006, 07:08 PM
hey guys I'm glad you;re excited with this project this will rock ! for sure

@sheppyboy2000 : yeah you can imagine all you want as long as it is based in real atlantis civilization , it could be a futuristic atlantis when all the ground is already underwater and the new city is the " new atlantis " just use your ideas to come up with something really cool the main idea I a big ruined or living city underwater based on the atlantis topic how do you imagine it? how do you picture it
just think of an idea this was a huge civilization like rome in the ancient times maybe it was an alien city thousands of years ago, try combining futuristic architecture with something familiar like other architecture based on the one we all know
hope this help

07 July 2006, 07:13 PM
is teamwork allowed?

07 July 2006, 07:41 PM
@coCoKNIght : no, it is an individual project

07 July 2006, 07:51 PM
Sweet... wel Ive never put my hand to matte painting before... this could be intrigueing to see what comes out of it

Im already starting to formulate an image in my noggin

07 July 2006, 08:06 PM
He He He....soooooo tempting....just do I have the time???

Good Luck to everyone and hope to try and enter myself :) :)

07 July 2006, 08:16 PM
well that's gonna be really tough but i can't miss it
i'm in.

07 July 2006, 08:19 PM
Sweet where do we sign up?

07 July 2006, 08:23 PM
Sweet where do we sign up?
you're gonna make an entry in matte painter forum.thread title Atlantis : your name : your entry..
read the image on the top man.

07 July 2006, 08:25 PM
Ya sorry, i just read that now. :) Hope to see you guys ther.

07 July 2006, 10:21 PM
WoW! This sounds more than good :) I think I try to do something.
But most important thing for me is resolution.

In how big resolution it must be?
in print size?

07 July 2006, 12:07 AM
ah at last!! this is a great opportunity for both matte painters and matte fans. I'm in! good luck everyone:beer:

07 July 2006, 02:13 AM
wow cool,
I wasnt too good on the last challenege bogged down at work and then this pain in the ass freelance job (bit off more than i could chew). So I want to do this one right!!!

But first i'll have to brush off the cobwebs off wacom and find the pen. I guess i'll have to cut my BF2 gaming time down to a lean 10hours a week, dam this is going to affect my rank.

Cheer The Huffer

07 July 2006, 03:27 AM
sounds like fun
I'm in!

07 July 2006, 06:38 AM
Well, considering it was my idea to do an underwater matte... I guess I would have to do it.

ps; My ideas are sometimes over zealous to my skill but I will give it my best!

07 July 2006, 09:58 AM
cool..great topic...:+) yeah i would also like to know on what resolution to do the image?

07 July 2006, 11:07 AM
The final rez for a typical, no zoom is 2k or 2048 pixels wide... though you may want to work double that rez and and scale it down for the finished to compress detail. The height is all based on what film aspect your going for 1:2.35 or 1:1.85 or something else. Hope that helps. If you plan to print for portfolio work or whatever make sure you set a high dpi like 250-300.

07 July 2006, 11:11 AM
Its gr8 , hope its great input for matte painters MIND EYE.

my portfolio (

07 July 2006, 11:15 AM
thanks Riktor for the info.. can you guess i havent done much mattes before? :D

07 July 2006, 12:37 PM
great ideer, not so sure about the theme, u must be fans of modern talking....... Atlantis is calling an SOS for love.... :P

07 July 2006, 05:26 PM
im in :)


this is a really cool idea :)

i rekon will all the mini challanges around htere should be a mini box under the avator to have the mini challange awards too :) that would be cool....

any ways....all have fun :)

cyb :)

07 July 2006, 06:33 PM
hey guys talking about resolution riktor is right, please try do your final images in film aspect, HD , 2k , 1:85 etc, 16:9 , final images must be not bigger than 1280 pixels wide good luck to everyone, I;ve been talking with the panel of judges and they are excited and waiting for cool images !

07 July 2006, 07:22 PM
OK, this may be a technicality in the rules but.....The lost city of Atlantis didn't start out underwater. It sunk. so, if we choose to do the city as "living" wouldn't it be above water? If it were built underwater, there would've been domes or the "people" living there would've been mermaids. Since this is an underwater matte painting, are we allowed to modify the city to be domed? I'm assuming the answer is yes, but wanted to make sure.

07 July 2006, 08:56 PM
@ MirageGraphics: yeah it didn't start underwater but who knows maybe it started underwater it is a legend so who knows, the rule is underwater civilization based on atlantis legend or the ruined city that we all know about

07 July 2006, 10:53 PM
Oh wow!! such a cool idea! I would love to enter but probably won't as I don't stand a chance XD.

07 July 2006, 01:59 AM
Finally you did it... great start for this challenge! :)

Now I'll have some inspiration and after that, I'll start a thread. Thanks for your efforts, James!

07 July 2006, 07:31 AM
sweet. I might actually join

07 July 2006, 08:37 AM
wah... its very good idea...

07 July 2006, 06:38 PM
hi i have finished and i updated my thread

is that wright or please guide me what should i do

My entry for Atlantis matte painting Challenge (//

07 July 2006, 07:00 PM
.. so fast??? its a nice image.....
can i see the original pic??

07 July 2006, 08:20 PM
This sounds like an awesome challenge! Of course it it comes up before I go on vacation, I guess I'll have to get some ideas sketched down while I'm unplugged for a week. :thumbsup:

I can't wait to see what kind of stuff can come out of this challenge!

07 July 2006, 11:49 PM
Cool challenge and a great opportunity to investigate the amazing world of matte paintings. Good luck to everybody!IŽm sure youŽll make wonderful works:thumbsup:

07 July 2006, 04:53 AM
jamesvfx: at what resolution should we build the final piece?

07 July 2006, 09:52 AM
try do your final images in film aspect, HD , 2k , 1:85 etc, 16:9 , final images must be not bigger than 1280 pixels wide

:blush: hee sorry but 2k what's exaclty means ?

07 July 2006, 02:49 PM
The final rez for a typical, no zoom is 2k or 2048 pixels wide... though you may want to work double that rez and and scale it down for the finished to compress detail. The height is all based on what film aspect your going for 1:2.35 or 1:1.85 or something else. Hope that helps. If you plan to print for portfolio work or whatever make sure you set a high dpi like 250-300.

here are all the answers to your questions.
Oh and 2k=2000

07 July 2006, 05:21 PM
So 1280X720, is ok?

07 July 2006, 02:52 AM
can we enter with more than one image?:)

07 July 2006, 09:51 AM

just a quick question for the mods...

are we allowed to do pics made with a pan as the intention...?

like dylans stuff for LOTR or RIDDOK?

or do we have to stick to the normal restricted screen size...

anyway..just thinking aloud :)


07 July 2006, 04:24 PM
What kind of resolution would you suggest?

Duh! scrap that, I can see the answer to this question a bit further up the page.

07 July 2006, 12:00 AM
i seem to be stupid or some'
but i can't find any restrictions, guide lines or instructions.
i mean, the theme, size, res, everything...
could someone please link me?

07 July 2006, 10:46 AM

I still am not able to see the details regarding the challenkge. Can any one tell me where i can read the rules of nthe challenge and what is the topic of the challenge. Is it 'Atlantis'?

07 July 2006, 11:02 AM
it's in the start of this topic, here:

07 July 2006, 06:50 PM
Hi all.
I am new in this forum.
I would know final dimension (height,width&res) for final image.

07 July 2006, 06:58 PM
Hi all! I am new in this forum!
I would know the final dimension of the image (height,width and res).

07 July 2006, 04:42 PM
please erase that slashes in your's so annoying to see this page like that.

07 July 2006, 10:00 AM
Thanks Velarion.
Finally I have erased the slashes. :thumbsup:

07 July 2006, 05:01 PM
hey about resolution and final output I suggest that you work in a film aspect , 16:9 , HD , this is beacuse we're trying this to look like a scene from a movie , and that aspect will give you more chances to improve your composition

final images must be no higher than 1280, for example 1280 x 720

07 July 2006, 05:47 PM
Hi guys,

Okay, so i'm about to ask the stupiest question ... prepare yourself :-)

In a matte painting can you have movable things? by that i mean people, vehicles, creatures etc? i just always thought a matte painting was static, then had dynamic elements comp on top further down the production line?

I was just undesided whether or not to stick a vehicle in my Atlantis pick, if this was ok?

Is there like a definitve guide on what a matte painting can have, can't have etc, what make's a good matte ?

Cheers - Dave.

08 August 2006, 12:45 AM
hey david yours is a good question in deed. matte painting is based in scenarios , real cool enviroments done for films and tv, mostly set extensions of real footage and stablishing shots , the goal of a mattepainting is to show an enviroment that's impossible to create in real life for a lot of reasosn, cost,production budget, etc. as you see in the movies the matte painitng always have some kind of life, things moving, we don;t see them just as a still image, but the goal is to let the matte painting itself be the principal character in that specific shot,if you want to do something moving to make the image dynamic it can be great, and surely will have a nice dynamic and life feeling to it,

for example you can see some of the entries of atlantis how some artist add fishes or bubbles to it, or maybe a small submarine or diver ,but they did it pretty well giving life to it but leaving the greatness of the enviroment itself.
I hope this helps

08 August 2006, 07:07 PM
The deadline is 4. August 2006.
But what does it mean?
When is the latest date of delivery the final matte?
To beginning of the 4. August (to the midnight the third) or to the end of the 4. (to the midnight the fifth August)?

It is 24 hours difference, so I need to know:D.


08 August 2006, 07:22 PM
the deadline is august 4th that means during all that day from 12 am to 12 am august 5 the last entries should be uploaded

08 August 2006, 08:26 PM
Thanks for the info.

I guess (hope) I'll make it to the deadline, then:).

08 August 2006, 08:30 PM
thanx for informations Jaime, let us few more 48hours to finish this unofficial challenge... :twisted:

08 August 2006, 09:09 PM
Hi James,

So if a Matte painting was to be used in a real world project, it wouldn't have something moving, because it would look a little strange? ie the fish in my entry wouldn't work because it would look static while say a ship moves through the scene or something? (i'm confused :-)

I guess i'm struggling to grasp if a matte painting is a polished piece of concept art, to say here's what it will look like? or does it actually go into the final shot?

Sorry for been a little stupid, i'm very interested in this and understand 99% of what a matte painting is, but remain a little confused. If you're creating a matte painting for a real life project would you have to conciously make sure you don't have anything moving, like a newpaper been picked up in the wind or bubble as you mentioned. I think in a real world example these would be creating in post production and imposed over the matte animated, is this right?

Cheers James :-)

Now, two days to think about adding some kind of sub, mmmmm *ponders*.

- Cheers again - Dave.

08 August 2006, 11:11 PM
well talking about submarines and that stuff , just imagine your entry if it were part of a movie, imagine a camera pushing in , very slowly and the only movement we would see , are the ray beams from the volumetric light above, some school of fishes anf that would be great , no need for submarines or divers it all dependes of your taste and the topic of the image , you can still add a submarine if you want , I'm sure judges will not even count it or judge it, but they will see how dynamic are the images , remember the matte painting is the goal , not any other elements

08 August 2006, 01:15 AM
but the school of fish would look static, if this was placed into a real world shot they would need to be animated? is this right, i'm talking about a real world matte painting. I think i need to understand what exactly a matte painting is. Am i right in saying that a matte painting is a background used in a final shot for film. ie, one example been Empire strikes back, the shot where Han and crew dismount the M.falcon on ... the sky city (forget name :-) and greet Lando, we see an image of the ship and the cast walking away from the ship. To break this down the ship and background was a matte painting while the actors were comped into? What i'm trying to understand is that you couldn't paint another ship onto the matte, say flying past in the background, because it would be static. Oh i'm really confusing myself :-)

Imagine this Atlantis matte painting when finished was wisked off to a film study and comped into a shot, would they see it as a problem if say you had a school of fish in the painting? or anything else that isn't static? or say a nice scenic view of the alps that had a plane painted in the background would that be an issue?

Sorry for been a pain in the butthole, i'm just learning & trying to understand this from a generic point of view, if in a real world project do matte painters have to restrict themselves to static elements?

Anyway ... :-)

Back to the contest, what's next? after atlantis, do you guys have another one planned? can't wait to try something else, i learnt alot from this one :-)

Thanks again - Dave.

08 August 2006, 10:49 AM
Imagine this Atlantis matte painting when finished was wisked off to a film study and comped into a shot, would they see it as a problem if say you had a school of fish in the painting? or anything else that isn't static? or say a nice scenic view of the alps that had a plane painted in the background would that be an issue?


I think they paint stuff on layers. All cloud pieces should be on their own layer, so that you can animate and move them in after effects or something. Also with lightning bolts, you paint them to their own layer and then just turn them on and off with a bit of animation and that works. So here you'd probably paint the bubbles etc. on their layers so that they could be animated later to slowly drift and move....

I think for example the lava erupting from Mt. Doom in The Return of the King was done that way. Just put each and everyone of the fish/bubbles/clouds/whatever to it's own layer

08 August 2006, 01:57 PM
Hey david
I am new at matte painting myself but here is a nice long audio interview with Alp Altiner that will explain everything your asking and then some :) interview with Alp Altiner (


08 August 2006, 01:57 PM
I think seeing the Dylan Cole demoreel ( can answer to some of your questions. :)

08 August 2006, 07:08 PM
Hi James,

I have prepared 1 more artwork (Its my 15hrs in single day efforts). And posted in same thread
My question is that,
1) Is it ok in same thread or I have to make anotherone?



08 August 2006, 06:40 PM
Hey cheers for the links, really great, just downloading, can't wait to hear what Alp has to say, great respect for these guys. I just received The Ballistic Matt painting book through the post a few days ago and i can't but it down, i'm even sleeping with it and reading it on the train to work!!! (sad i know :-)

This is a really great book for anyone who doesn't own it, well recommended, Ballistic never fail to impress.

Well back to the contest, good luck to everyone. For me i'm just glad to have been able to take part in this contest, prior to seeing this i would never have created the artwork i did. But given the contest i really set myself a goal to see what i could do, explore new ideas and techniques and though the finished result is far from perfect it's something i'm proud of and can keep in my portfolio for a long time to come. I think that's the really prize people get from these contests, while looking over some of the great entries, each one of these artists now have a fantasitc piece of work they didn't have 2-3 weeks ago.

Please, please setup another contest as soon as possible.

Good luck to everyone :-)

- Dave.

08 August 2006, 06:56 AM
Well, vote is close )) But i don`t actualy get how it will go :shrug: :love:

08 August 2006, 07:22 AM
I don't get it either.
Well, not sure. I suppose it will be in some thread (?).

And I'm leaving now.... will be back after a week, so.... may not be able to vote:shrug:.

Great challenge

08 August 2006, 10:10 AM
oh, do we vote? come on guys how's this gonna work?

- Dave.

08 August 2006, 11:41 AM
As it was said we vote for 10 finalists and then winner will be chosen by Alp, Chris and Dylan :wise: :)

08 August 2006, 11:53 AM
It's all a little too quite for me, * tumble weed blows past*

- Dave.

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