View Full Version : A few questions

12 December 2006, 02:56 AM
Ok, so newbie here with a few Q's.

So after looking around reading some tuts and looking at various other resources this question may seem obvious to you guys, however it wasn't to me. Matte painting, is it creating your own photoshop image from a reference photo. Combining multiple photos with a bit of color modifications. Or a mix of the 2. I've seen all 3 so far, just curious what the most dominant is.

The next question is, is photoshop a good program to start this with. I am thinking of getting that program, though will PSP be sufficient enough to get me started before I drop a few hundred.

Not the last question overall, but for this post. Should I purchase a wacom or a scanner. I already have a fairly decent digital camera. What items do I need to start this venture into digital painting.

I appreciate your time and should you reply, your responses.

12 December 2006, 10:48 PM
There's a popular misconception, even in this forum, that "matte painting" is defined by a singular process ("Buy yourself Photoshop and then do this..."). "Matte painting" has and always will be the process of filling in parts (or the whole) of an image that would be too costly to build at full scale on a movie set.

With that in mind, matte paintings can be anything: photos, 3d, 2d painting, even photos of hand-built miniatures, or any combination of those media. The goal is to make it scene appropriate and realistic. - that's it. The only thing that's not appropriate is using someone else's copyrighted photos for commercial purposes (I see no problem using them for your own non-commercial practice artwork).

The matte painter's goal, as I see it, should be to have an ideal image in their mind (or roughed out on paper or screen), then use whatever tools are avaialble to create that image. If you feel the tools are holding you back from getting the results you seek, then consider switching or upgrading.

As for hardware, I use a mouse for 98% of my work, even "painted" work, though it seems most prefer tablets for this type of work. I find that when I'm doing a matte (or any matte-like image) that I'm generally doing a lot of selection areas and value and color adjustments, which I use a mouse for.

Okay, my render's done - Hope this helps.

12 December 2006, 11:52 PM
Thanks a ton for the advice. Another thing, about how long for the average nature secene. I was looking at a wip of a forest with some mountains. A river with an aztec temple getting a glow from the sun. Now I know I'm not going to beable to accomplish that right off the bat, but about how long does a scene like that take. A few hours, days, weeks?

Also if you have advice on a simple process on how you start an image. Because I guess unlike most people I can't read a tutorial and by doing step-by-steps I get better. I have to develop that technique and the ability to do it, thus I ask for advice on how you generally go about getting a badass picture made.

12 December 2006, 01:13 AM
well, the time depends on the project.Normally a matte painting like you described can be easily made in a week.But Dylan Cole stated in his interview that he spent 5-6 months on Mordor painting for revisions,changes I think,so it depends on the project.

There's plenty of technics to achive a nice matte painting and everyone has lots of styles. As for me, I first draw a black&white sketch on a paper then paint the whole scene(photoshop) in a very simple way,just to create a basic composition and color check.Then I detail that painting.When I'm satisfied,I put photoreferences to the image,sometimes as a pattern on painted area sometimes the whole photograph.Sometimes I put 3d models to the scene (made in Maya)At the end I make color corrections,the glow,water,atmospheric haze like effects etc. Overall this process takes 1.5 or 2 weeks.

there are more technics to achive a good matte painting,I'm sure more replies will be written in this topic.Hope it helps..

12 December 2006, 07:57 PM
DO you take a PS or Painter blank document (or photo) and take it to the end?
What defines the use of 3D? How do you choose if you r gonna make a specific part based on a 3d rendering? Is this based mostly on your degree of knowledge of 3D making? If you know both to draw-sketch and make 3d stuff..what will u choose?

PS. Basically all the above is one question....dont get confused by the 5 questionmarks!!!:sad:

12 December 2006, 09:45 PM
Hi I hope this helps
matte painting is not only just blending one or more photos together , it is a complete concept, it starts since the concept work, knowing the final output . I mean if you are going to need it for visual effects you first of all when reading the script you talk with the art departament the director about the look and mood of the matte painting. after that you have to start sketching,
by the way , photoshop is the proffesional standard tool for matte painters around the world. and the best to me hehe
as the guys above me said , this is an art full of different techniques . 3D , 2D, photos, etc only working and developing a technique trough years, will tell you what to do with the next matte painting projects you will have, there's no specific line to follow each artist has its own technique to achive this or that
definitly a wacom is a most have, a really powerful and helpful tool , that a mouse will never compare to it
the time you spend at doing a specific matte painting is ruled by, your experience, in art, in software in process for visual effects , I can tell you I can spend a week in a matte painting like the one you described but other guys can do it faster I asure you. as long as you learn more you will become faster and better , so keep learning .we all learn daily more and more ,that's the only way . and practice, practice a lot

12 December 2006, 11:18 PM
Nicely put. :thumbsup:

But...just to avoid mis-understandings...

................ it start since the concept knowing the final output I mean if you are going to need it for visual effects you firt of all when reading the script you talk with the art departament the director about the look and mood of the matte painting. after that you have to start sketching,...........

....i think that many of us here will never read any script,or meet with any director. Some do it just for their own plessure.

12 December 2006, 08:16 PM
Like you I am just starting out, have a little sketch pad and scrapbook and collect photos do drawings and doodles that inspire you, collect colour swatches that you like. Cut out newspaper and magazine pictures that you like. Look around you take photos, All this reference material helps you with inspiration. I like to think my art is getting better prehaps not but i do this because i love it.

Good luck, just post something that you are working on even if work in progress we will help you out.


Erik Heyninck
01 January 2007, 10:51 AM
Me too I'm interested in doing mattes. My idea is that on one hand you do it for fun -of course: if you have no fun, do something else! art is about enthusiasm- and you can start doing things for yourself, but the aim, and that should be in it from the start, is that you work towards a project. Imagine yourself a movie in the style you like, skiffy, fantasy, drama, whatever, and you have to create a background image for a certain scene because that landscape, city,...does not exist or is too expensive or impossible to build.
Creating a blend of 3D, photo and paint is ok, and good to learn techniques, but is not matte. It can be illustration and as such lead to matte, like John Howe or Alan Lee's masterpieces were often used for scenes in LOTR and mattes were created from them, but in itself it is not matte.

I guess that, with some exceptions, the least you have a visible style, the better. The aim is something so natural that, well, it looks like it has not been created. Trompe l'oeuil we say in French. "Trick the eye". So no interpretation, only realer than reality.

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