View Full Version : nhmchallenge Layer01

04 April 2007, 07:21 AM
last page updated with higher rez imgs of clean plate and extension

Hey guys :)
This is going to be my first challenge on cgtalk, first matt painting..and about the two :p

I have to admit i am biting of a bit more than i can probably chew here, but i figure i've got nothing to loose, only knowledge to gain :D
I've used PS for a while but never to a really pro level, i'm really looking forward to learning new techniques and seeing how "you guys" make your magic hehehe

I'll be kicking this off tomorrow (saturday 14th April) with my first shot at removing peeps and props
see you all then and good luck everyone.

original plate for reference of progress

04 April 2007, 12:47 PM
Nice to have you here Peter, good luck. Don't worry it's all about learning with this one, that was my focus on this challenge so we can all pick up a little from each other :)

Looking forward to seeing your work.

- Dave :thumbsup:

04 April 2007, 02:32 AM
OK first update. not much so far, but its a start.
I'm just working on removing the floor for now. I used your technique everlite, i Copied a section of the floor to a new doc and then cleaned it up and pasted it back into the original, then used distort and perspective to try and get it looking a bit more natural. I'm on PS 7 so i dont have the nifty perspective clone (or whatever its called).

Tips/crits are welcome :)

04 April 2007, 02:37 AM
Hey mate, it's coming on well so far. I didn't use any fancy tools or anything, i just cut, paste and distort using the basic free transform tool. I've just managed to come back onto mine now and i've pretty much cleaned everything up, i'll post it up shortly :)

Keep at it, plenty of time yet.

- Dave.

04 April 2007, 02:43 AM
cheers dave :)

its early days (only half an hour into it) but its lots of fun, sort of like trying to work out a complex puzzle. breakfast time now lol, but expect some more later today.
I muct say this is a great idea, if i were to try this on my own i'd probably give up, but seeing how others are solving the problems and seeing their progress is really helpful/inspirational.

04 April 2007, 02:51 AM
I muct say this is a great idea, if i were to try this on my own i'd probably give up, but seeing how others are solving the problems and seeing their progress is really helpful/inspirational.

You hit the nail right on the head with that one, that's exactly why i love these challenges so much, it gets you motivated into doing something where you might otherwise give up. It's also a good thing for your portfolio.

Oh and yeh, i'm beginning to see the puzzle thing :-) but it's inspiring to see how other people have managed to get through it, so i know i can. One thing that i've figured out with this one that i really like, is that for every piece that you need to patch over there's bits and pieces that you can pinch from other areas, and i've pretty much done the whole thing with little need to paint in areas, which doesn't happen very often.

- Dave.

Stick at it.

- Dave.

04 April 2007, 07:22 AM
Ok new update.
Didnt get as much time to play with this so far as i wanted, but i'm pleased with the results thus far.
I've also got some ideas of where i want to take this starting to form :D

04 April 2007, 12:23 PM
Going well, though i'd darken the floor down slightly to match the original.

- Dave.

04 April 2007, 12:26 PM
dang, that's a nice clean floor.

04 April 2007, 06:01 AM
ok. Back!
*damn women and their "wants" and "needs" :p*

proconpictures: Thanks! I'm really quite excited that someone likes it :D you've made my day hehehe

everlite: Yeah i'll play with the colours a bit once i have more people gone :)

okay. update time, seems most people are roaring ahead, i'm sort of..purring? lol
Let me know what you think thus far

Photobucket is changing the res, and so the pic looks a lot rougher and less good, things are not that blocky at full res.

04 April 2007, 07:08 AM
got an extra 40 minutes. so a new update :D

(photobucket makes the imgs a bit more grainy than they are actually)

04 April 2007, 09:26 AM
looking good so far :) Much better floor than mine that is for sure

04 April 2007, 07:44 AM
Thanks Linda :)

ok. 2 hours later and i've got the arches more or less clean. They were a LOT harder to do than i expected, but its was great, this is by far the most intensive photoshop.."shop" i've ever done :thumbsup:
I still have some bits to fix up in the second arch to make stuff straighter. same with the floor. but its getting there!

comments and crits are welcome

04 April 2007, 09:59 AM
It's looking good so far. :thumbsup:
And don't worry about being slow - I have yet to find someone slower than me and I'm no PS noob... :blush:

04 April 2007, 01:38 AM
Thanks sonia
Yeah i'm not too worried cause i really am taking my time with this, and i'm getting heaps out of it.
I'll try and work on some concepts today.

04 April 2007, 01:49 AM
Hey mate, no comments as such other than, it's getting there :) I think we can all agree with shared experience that this cleanup aint as easy as it first seems :)

- Dave.

04 April 2007, 06:57 AM
The cleanup is defenetly harder then my first impression of the plate! Oh well, yours is looking great. Keep up the good work.

04 April 2007, 01:35 PM
thanks guys :)
Its tough, but great fun and so far i've not hit one of those dead end blocks which just make you irritated :p
I'm going to try and finish the cleaning this weekend.

04 April 2007, 03:11 PM
Minor milestone reached :)

still need to add shadows/neutralize the lights.
But i'm pleased with how this is turning out so far.
Thanks for all the positive words and help so far.
Give me your C&C guys :thumbsup:

04 April 2007, 04:17 AM
Lights and shadows done :D

C&C welcome as always
now i'm going to do the set extension. *cracks knuckles*

04 April 2007, 02:00 AM
ok small "half" update.
just about to start working on the set extension again.
here is where its at so far (

so far its proven quite tricky lol.
damn you perspective! :)

04 April 2007, 05:48 AM
set extension done! with minimal headaches ;)

now the fun...and hard...part starts.
expect some concepts soon.

04 April 2007, 05:21 PM
Good cleaning! And good extension as well. :thumbsup:
There's just one little thing you apparently missed - that poster or whatever is it on the wall near the stairs on the left. Unless you meant to keep it, of course...
*expecting concepts* :)

04 April 2007, 11:52 PM
Good cleaning! And good extension as well. :thumbsup:
There's just one little thing you apparently missed - that poster or whatever is it on the wall near the stairs on the left. Unless you meant to keep it, of course...
*expecting concepts* :)

Ye gads! that sneaky little poster! I'll get rid of it right away lol.
Thanks very much for the compliments, working on concepts as we speak :D

04 April 2007, 12:38 AM
really nice, ha ha I had a sneaky little lady on the stairs I missed when I did my clean up :)

05 May 2007, 06:35 AM
here are some "concepts". More just trying to figure out how on earth i can do what the rest of the amazing people here have done..
I suck at this painting biz, but hopefully the worst is over now that i've sort of gone past the "working with no direction in mind" stage..where you're not sure what to do next cause you have no idea what's going to have to be done to get it all to work.

but i have a sort of rough sketch now..but i NEED crits to help me save it from the "lame" pile :cry:

I want to make a sort of wasteland, with dead cars littered around and broken buildings (think nuclear war/fallout games :D ) But i'm open to new ideas..
what do you think of the composition atm? i think its a bit weak..but i am not sure what to do to make it better..
that grey stuff will be sandy gravel..and there will be cars in the foreground, and a broken city in the background..
I have plenty of clear ideas in my head just not the painting skills to get them out, its very frustrating.
ah well, enough whinning, here they are.

I tried to imagine how a structure like the one we have would stnad up to time and i think the first thing to go would be the roof and most of the supports. I imagine they'd rust away and leave claw-like spikes.
I am playing around with having them sunken into the ground/covered up with sand and dirt beacuse i quite like how they sort of look like the ribs of a dead animal.
the back wall still needs "damage" as i think it wuoldn't be that intact.

I played around with using photos and also played with "painting" now i have to merge the two and take my time to do it properly.
If anyone has, or knows of any good pics or references that could help out here please show them/link them because i need all the help i can get here lol. I'm no painter and am finding this pretty hard as it is.
a good night's sleep should help, i've just been looking at an "unsatisfying" picture for too long. need a fresh start.

05 May 2007, 11:28 PM
I think the second concept with the beam things sticking up like claws is very interesting.

05 May 2007, 12:49 AM
ah well i'm feeling better. Slightly more in "control" and with a better idea of what it is i'm doing, or trying to do ;)
I was getting impatient yesterday as digital painting wasn't going to plan, i'm not very used to concepting straight in PS so i decided to just do a quick sketch and touch it up in PS. That worked much better, i found it easier to get my ideas down on paper.
I suppose straight digital concepting gets easier the more you do it.

anyway here is the re worked non grumpy concept :p


Those rusty looking things are car bodies. the rest is dust/sand.
The uncoloured part is ruins (which look a bit pointy atm, i'm just going to have to play around with that area, i want to see a bit of the wastland but i dont want the building to look like its standing on its own) and a mountain in the far left.

05 May 2007, 07:12 AM
sorry, false alarm, not a real update :p
just thouhgt i'd update and say thats its going really well so far, i'm thinking of making a few changes to the composition. Atm i'm just placing my photographic elements in place and starting to block in the paint.
i'm going to have to learn how to do sand lol. (anyone got any tips/tutes?)
But hopefully should be a good update tomorrow *fingers crossed*

05 May 2007, 12:14 PM
teeny tiny update.
even though its not really anywhere near finished a lot has gone on "behind" this picture. I wish to point out that i've NEVER done any painting before and so this is proving pretty hard hehehe (not trying to fish for sympathy here just putting things into perspective :thumbsup: ), but every time i mess it up i start it over and get a bit further down the path to finishing it.
I'm pretty pleased with how its developing right now (its gone through about 2 iterations so far)
I'm trying to not make it too similar to MarkyG's AWESOME concept (pfft i totally thought of it, like, TWO days earlier than he did anyway! :p ) and as it tightens up it will hopefully have a very different feel to it.
Please give me feedback on what you think so far. The idea is its a sort of post nuclear apocolypse, with mangled car bodies buried in the new desert thats eating the city.
anyway here it is so far. Sorry its not more :blush:

05 May 2007, 09:32 AM
still, always pay enough attention to persp and size relations.
keep it flowin'...

05 May 2007, 01:15 PM
Ok another small (but bigger) update ;)
But first.
proconpictures: thanks. is there any part of the pic you think is throwing it off balance?

I've started painting, there is a lot to do yet and the area shown isn't finished yet but i'm really pleased that its actually working haha!!

As i keep saying (sorry) this is my first time painting and i'm sort of learning as i go so i'm sure there are mistakes (please point them out) but i think its off to a good start.
early days but i'm now rearing to go on and finish! :D:buttrock:

I took on this challenge to push my boundaries and learn and its doing/done just that, so thanks David for organising all this! :love:

05 May 2007, 08:40 PM
I dont know if the huge skulls are too irritating in scale ... the sand is coming through really nice. keep it up. :)

05 May 2007, 09:20 PM
the skulls are definitly stealing the frame, don't forget that the museum itself is the main character
the sando looks nice and interesting in detail it would look better covering some museum ruins
I suggest that you do some simple 2d sketches till you're ok with the layout , because so far youu don't have a nice visual composition and I bet this will be a hard one to integrate and to give a general lighting and mood
good luck

05 May 2007, 10:33 PM
i think it is too early to point out details.
i am glad you are having fun. keep experimenting, not everybody lays too many things out at an early stage. once you have a working composition,
watch out for things that give size relations. like
cracks and texture. also be careful not to upsize your photo material too much.
but as for me, i think you should go crazy with this and try everything.
you'll figure it out as you go. it will be easier to give suggestions
some time further down the project...

05 May 2007, 12:47 AM
Thanks for the feedback guys :thumbsup:

just to clarify that was a cropped img, not sure if that was clear.
here is my (very rough lol) thoughts on composition.

the X's are what i'm going to get rid of.
And i quickly blocked in some sand to show what i was thinking in terms of "sand layout" :p
The skulls would be extreme foreground (as if the cam was on the floor) and then the rest would be receding into the BG.
i'm no very experienced in these matters, but i thought the cresent shape starting on the left and going down to the right would lead the eye across?
What do you guys think?

05 May 2007, 07:46 AM
ok. done for today.
Fixed the right skull so it matches the left one better.
added much more sand, though its still in need of some touch up..i just can no longer look at it objectivly lol. so it will have to wait till tomorrow :wavey:

please point out anything you think should/shouldnt be there :)

hmm i was trying to get the dune behind them to look like it was coming from far away and towards the screen, covering up the skulls. But as it stands i'm not sure it works...damn.
perhaps i should make the dune behind more seperate? also perhaps bring the car back in for scale?
or do you think that with some shading/shadowing i could make it look more "3D"

what do you guys think? should i change it?

05 May 2007, 06:37 PM
I like the sand behind the skulls coming down like in the 2nd last pict you posted with the the arrow showing your perspective. I think in this latest image that it looks to far behind the skulls to be covering them.

I'd like to see some of the ceiling that you've marked with X's to stay, i think it might look interesting to still have some broken ceiling in place.

Overall great work! I can't wait to see the final result!

05 May 2007, 12:55 AM
thanks bonniedickson :thumbsup:

Here is what i've done so far this morning. let me know what you think.
right direction? wrong direction?
should have this..not that?
feed me your thoughts!! :twisted:

05 May 2007, 07:36 AM
small(er) update.
Disnt have much time today. got distracted with CS3..which has been a mixed bag so far, first impressions is it seems far less stable :sad:
but we'll see how it goes.

anyay added in some block sand (i'm starting to get sand madness lol) and i'm playing around with the sky to get a feel for what i want. this is not it lol.
also playing with atmosphere a bit.

05 May 2007, 02:35 PM
I like what you are doing, the skulls are throwing the composition out. Prehaps replace it with a arm/teddy/bear even a coke can. The skulls would look good if the rear was replicating a shallow depth of field and was out of focus. But the building unfortunately needs to be the focal point. The cars on the other hand show scale and I think you may have missed a trick with them. Id suggest looking at the cars and seeing what you can do with them. You have done a brilliant job so far and im proud of what you have done in a short space of time. Just the skulls are wrecking it for you.

I am only being hard with you as I think you can pull this off

Lots of respect


05 May 2007, 11:37 PM
hey Rockhoppermedia thank you very much for your honest oppinion :applause:
Thats EXACTLY what i want! :)
you know you are absolutely right, I was getting too precious about those skulls..everything was working "around them" which is the wrong way to do it (bad habits die hard?)
Ok so i'm going to *gulp* scrap them and start again. Work on it all as a whole, rather than in parts..
hehehe there is a part of me which is screaming "what!!! get rid of them!!?" but at the same time i was feeling irritated..the pic wasn't working for me either and while the skulls and their sand appeal to me, if they bring the whole pic down then they defeat the whole point.
after all its only some skulls eh, who's gonna miss em ;)

I did this little mock up as well, because i was thinking about adding some focus to the pic later, this is just to give you an idea. what do you think?

ok..lets see what we can do now.
Please keep the (harsh) crits comming! :thumbsup:

05 May 2007, 06:57 AM
wiped the slate clean today..started again with fresh eyes.
Tell me what you think of the changes
I've also included a test for the foreground just to get a feel for how it'd be.
Atm i'm trying to decide whether to have anything there (out of focus?) such as the skulls..only different..or rubble..a car etc..
Give me the harsh crits! :twisted:

oh and i've started to work on the building. i'm going to switch a bit more to it now because i've just about seen enough sand for now :p

05 May 2007, 10:18 AM
Wow, looks a lot better now I bet you feel more comfortable with what you have done so far. I am really looking forward to see how hard you push it now. I will never pamper to someones artistic ideals, as a working photographer you have to listen to the brief. I have had and will have some constructive criticism thrown my way. The best artists are the ones who listen and work on it, I think you are one of those artists.

I am really exicited to see what you can do.

Loads of respect Rich :thumbsup:

05 May 2007, 10:58 AM
This is coming along nicely :) It seems you are exeriencing some of the same difficulties I have been having and that is basically decision making on what to go with.

05 May 2007, 09:46 PM
yeah the second idea is way better to me, great concept so far, maybe you want to show some more background buildings covered in sand or also as ruins

05 May 2007, 03:14 PM
(Bursts back into the room)

ok.its been ages..far far too long since my last update. and sadly my progress probably doesn't look like it should've taken this long. but other things got in the way and i hit a block.
The kind where no matter what i did it didnt work for me, and i couldn't pull back and see the picture as a whole.
Anyway i'm now reasonably happy with the sand's direction, and will try and make some serious headway tomorrow on the building.
The sand still does need fixing up in parts, merging, detailing etc..but the forground part has been the holdup..i just COULDN'T get it right. I think its about 70% there now..but due to the time restraints and i'm sick of working and reworking it i'll leave it as is.
please tell me what you think. and i'm sorry this update isn't that "big"
but the pace should start picking up now. I can see the finish line.

05 May 2007, 06:35 AM
Moving along at full steam now.
Here is todays work.
LOTS to do yet, much balencing and adjusting etc etc..
But i think its starting to show the signs of coming together :)
Let me know what you think, your comments and crits are invaluable :love:

05 May 2007, 07:25 AM
Hi guys :)
here is todays update.
still milling on this, fair amount to go yet.
but its getting much closer. need to decide on colouring/lighting, add atmospherics, work some more on the building, touch up a little bit more sand
but its getting there :thumbsup:

let me know what you think
EDIT, i know the sand is over saturated, i'll be fixing that up soon.

05 May 2007, 08:40 AM
My point of view the sand is too bright for this scene or the building and backround too dark.
I am waitting the next step.

05 May 2007, 09:22 AM
Hey, welcome back! :)
This version is definitely working out better than the previous one. :thumbsup:

05 May 2007, 12:06 PM
as for my point of view it is not the brightness but the saturation. maybe the light source or direction the light is coming from. try flipping the sky horizontally maybe to change the bg lighting and desaturate the sand a bit. (because unlike MarkyG ('s sandy place, your atmosphere is way colder if you decide to go with that sky.)
your sky is quite grey, the building red and that sand yellow right now. it will all come together in your final colour correction and most people i know leave that to the end but sometimes it helps fixing little things like that bit by bit along the way.

06 June 2007, 09:46 AM
I agree about colors. Desaturating the sand is going to help you out alot. very dramatic sky ... nice.

06 June 2007, 09:59 AM
Thanks for th comments guys :thumbsup:

You dont know how much help they are.

here is my proposed final version, if there are no major crits it i'll post it in the finals thread.
I'll be getting a higher rez version up very soon as well cause photobucket resizes them and makes them (as you can see) tiny
So check back soon for the high res :)

Also, i just wanted to say a big THANKYOU to the organisers and all the great people who helped me out with comments and crits. this has been a massively steep learning curve, but i think for a first time shot at matte painting it worked out well, i look forward to doing more. So thanks guys.

new pic in post below.

06 June 2007, 01:45 PM
A good friend of mine was kind enough to lend me some hosting so i could show the bigger res :D
here it is.

and the full size ( (pretty big)

let me know what you think :)

some things that have been pointed out to me and that i will try and fix up:
-at the back where the windows/walls meet the sky the edges are too crisp, need to soften them a bit.
-The dune behind the main building needs less grain/sharpness, the slope above and to the right of the pillars in the sand needs some more grain/sharpness.
-add a slight film grain.

06 June 2007, 09:03 AM
Looks like a painting. :)

06 June 2007, 11:22 AM
Looks like a painting. :) that good or bad? lol :p

here is an updated version. which do you guys prefer?
I've desaturated the sand a bit, do you think its better like this or more saturated like in the previous version?

and here ( is the full res

The building in the BG hs been blurred slightly, you can see it in the full res better, but also where the edges meet the sky.
Sand has been desaturated, though looking at it now i think the dust i've added has negated that lol :p
I might reduce the sandy colour (dust) in the sky..
and the "gap" of sand in the middle has been redone, less grain (seeing as it far away) and the closer slope has had grain added (seeing as its closer)
they are pretty subtle lol..maybe even not noticable..

06 June 2007, 11:38 AM
nice ideea, but I think it is too flat. u can play more with your light. It would be nice to have some highlightened/darkened areas and a less uniform lit sky...maybe some volumeric lights would help here.

06 June 2007, 11:56 AM
thanks bechira

I've tried to give it some depth with the increasing density of sand as it gets further away, but perhaps i need to push it.
I will try what you suggested :)

06 June 2007, 12:11 PM
I would put a light source (sun :D) on the right side of the comp just on the left of the front pillar and sunrays penetrating the windows that are in the center of the comp lighten the statue, so the rays will be from right to the left, guiding the aya more to the center of the comp (the statue)
...just my thoughts on this ;)

06 June 2007, 02:34 PM
thanks for the feedback, great idea, i will give it a shot.

[EDIT one problem i see as i'm adding a visible sun is that it could make all the light look wrong. cause all the dunes are lit on the sides away from the BG...or do you think it would be ok?]

I did this before reading your reply though so it doesn't take it into account.
I'll have a go adding a sun, might have to tweak the light a bit again though.
But let me know what you think of this one in the mean time ;) right direction?

full res (

06 June 2007, 03:00 PM
I don't know for shure how it will look like....but it needs more drama I think. Just try and see. ;)

06 June 2007, 04:17 PM
ok ;)
I'll replace this with a higher res version when i friend gets back online and i can get it uploaded to his server. but for now it should be enough to see what it looks like.
I tried to make it more dramatic.

06 June 2007, 04:51 PM
hmmm...I think the sun should be more to the right (and also u can make some glow/burned edges where the sun meets a structure - it's like contrejour), else the back part of the building should not be lit....and I was thinking to uncover the right wall more and let the light enter though pillars to lit the statue.

06 June 2007, 12:22 AM that good or bad? lol :p

Hehe! It's good. Something about the texture of the walls puts me in mind of old oil paintings. It's a cool effect. :thumbsup:

And you're right - you shouldn't be able to see the sun when the sand is lit like that. Hmmm... Unless you have 2 suns (2010? :D ) but then the shadows become a headache, I guess... :)

06 June 2007, 09:40 AM
Yeah, while i think the sun is a good idea, i think its too late for me to add it into this pic and make it work. the lighting is all wrong.
Instead i'll play with the brightness of the bright parts of the sky. which should draw the eye in towards the back of the pic.
other than that i think this pic is pretty much done. Unless anyone has any other little bits to point out?

06 June 2007, 01:57 PM
Updated early stages:

Clean plate with extension

Full size (


Full size (

06 June 2007, 03:19 PM
Awesome, awesome. I love the grey sky tones with the sand. Fantastic!


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