CGTOD - Timothy Eustace - Matte painting with David Luong

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  04 April 2013
CGTOD - Timothy Eustace - Matte painting with David Luong

Good morning/evening!

I started the CGTOD Matte painting course/workshop by David Luong late last week, and wanted to start a thread where I can tally my progress. Everything I've watched and read from the course so far has been extremely interesting and infinitely inspiring, so I hope I don't end up being a let down by the final week.

As part of the course, I've been practising perspectives (identifying them and appreciating how they work), and also practising sky removals. I've used blue lines to mark where the perspectives meet up with the horizon (which is coloured in red)Images below --

Zero perspective image (untouched)

Zero perspective image (sky removed and replaced with a gradient fill matching the original sky colour)

I really like 1 point and 2 point perspectives, so I took a few more photos of 1 point areas than the others. The last (3rd) image is the one I decided to practice with (1 point perspective images first) --

For the above, this is the same as the other sky removal. I took a sample from the top and bottom of the sky line in the original image, and did a gradient fill behind the masked area. I must admit, the colour range and refine mask tools actually did all the hard work with cutting out the trees and canopies. I only had to paint the power lines back in for that one.
  04 April 2013
The next image I chose (2 point perspective) wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, but my lunch was cut short today, so I didn't get to clean it up (I would love to revisit it though).

For this above image, the first thing that caught me off guard with using colour range, was that the reflected sky in each of the windows was also being picked up. At first, I just manually painted the windows out in the mask layer, but in hindsight, I'm probably going to regret that if I ever do a different coloured sky...

It was easy enough to correct the masking around the buildings and the lower branches of the trees, but there are a lot of "halos" (is that what we call them?) around the upper leaves, so I'm going to need to give them more attention. I think I need to go into the mask and start painting out/in a cleaner mask that matches up better.

I have another image from the class that has reflected water that I'll work on during lunch tomorrow, and come back with my results.

In the mean time, I did a couple of quick thumbnails of what I'm kind of thinking for my final matte painting.

Here is the basic sketch -

And a quick grey scale filling to help me with my depth (I also saw some advice David gave another student about using colors from a photo to help with coloring).

Here is a few photos I found online (I have to chase up who they belong to, I don't want them not to get credit where it's due) - I was going to use the colors from their palette just for the concept drawing. I'll use my own photographs for the final.

Once I thought a bit more about what I'd drawn, I realised just how crowded my initial idea is so I'd like to open up one of the sides and widen up the overall image. I'll post more soon!
  04 April 2013
Just a quick one from the exercises again. I'm not sure if I handled it correctly, but I took a mask I created using the blue channel, and a mask I created using edge/colour masking and blended them together (since one of them handled the sky really well, and the other worked well with the water). I started going through the mask and getting rid of the "glowing edges" around the trees, but ran out of time (sneaking these in during my 45 minute lunch breaks).

Oh I also made another mask to blend the underwater rocks back into the newly coloured water/reflected sky. I'll keep practicing until I've nailed this of course. It's embarrassing sharing this to professionals as I learn, but I'm confident that I'll get better and better.

I have a set extension exercise to do tonight, so I'll have more time to put into that, as well as some more time put into my concept image.

Thanks you!
  04 April 2013
Just realized I haven't shared the context for what I'm trying to achieve. I understand it's quite a popular theme at the moment, but I'd hate to miss out on making something I love out of fear for the bandwagon. Hopefully it will also mean there is plenty of material out there for me to compare my work to. Fingers crossed that I can do something original while still keeping with the inspiration.

Here's some images that inspire me right now -

Property of all the artists and teams at Naughty Dog.

After reading "The world without us," and seeing the matte paintings and shots in "I Am Legend," not to mention my love of perspective, architecture, abandoned buildings/cities, and overgrowth, I naturally fell head over heels for Naughty Dog's "The Last of Us" when it was announced. Now I want a turn at trying to create one of my favourite types of image.

Back again soon.....
  04 April 2013
Hio Timothy,

First I'd like to thank you for checking out my CGTOD! Thanks so much, and also posting your wonderful work here online. Great that you're not afraid of the comments you may get from your work in progress, and that's what being a great artist is. Just letting go, and trying new approaches, getting feedback when you can, and constantly improving by practicing.

Your perspective lines are great, and quick sky replacements via extractions as well as removing the halos (aka, matte lines/edges) are going quite well. The inspiration of Naughty Dog's Last of Us is great, as they did an amazing job with the post apocalyptic world there. It's a great target for you!

Thanks again, and keep on the posting! I'm glad your'e enjoying it so far. I may drop by from time to time too
David Luong

I teach a DMP Workshop
  04 April 2013
Thanks for sharing Timothy. I should point out to everyone else that they can check out all the CGTODs here . We wil be adding new ones all the time.
Andrew Plumer
Supportive bystander
  04 April 2013
@ David! Hello! Matte lines/edges. Noted! ^_^
If you do drop by again, thank you so much for releasing your CGTOD. I really appreciate it coming up when I'm needing to push my skills further.
I'm a huge fan of having people critique everything I do so that I can improve on my work. I'd hate to ever become too complacent with my abilities as an artist.

The work that comes out of Naughty Dog is very inspiring, and I repeatedly look to their work to gauge the level of work I should be achieving.

@ Andrew! Thank you for your post! ( and thank you for your companies publications - they're terrific!) and of course, thank you for CGTOD. It will be cool to see what else comes out in the future ^_^
  04 April 2013
This is just a quick work in progress post to ensure I maintain momentum through out the 8 week course. I agonized over my previous concept and rethought some things. The kind of war-torn, over-run city scape, with forest and garden variety overgrowth was my original thought, but as I mentioned in an earlier post regarding the popularity of it, I was worried someone might look at my work, roll their eyes, and move on.

BUT! I still wanted to work on this theme, so now I'm going with a kind of giant seeds have crashed into the city, sprouting large plants and everyone has disappeared. That way the city will have general wear and tear caused by time and plants, as opposed to it being destroyed by people flipping out

(I'll work on my back story some more...)

The current collage of photos is below --

I'm not particularly happy with the perspective, and it feels kind of heavy along the bottom (it's missing the golden focal points), and I still have to add in more details and blending (I guess that's overwhelmingly obvious at this point - ugly masks everywhere!).
It also felt like I had way too much clumping up with the roots at the base of the street, so I'll keep working on that too. I think if I have time to model and texture assets, I'd like to redo the buildings in Maya so that I have more control over the cameras position.

Work in progress! ^_^b
  07 July 2013
Do you have an update? This looks very interesting.
  07 July 2013
Seemaschere! This might sound strange, but THANK you. I recently got back from overseas and went looking for this thread and couldn't find it! I could have swarn I did a search and name check too....

anyway! thanks to you, I received a notification and link, and found my post ^_^

I do have an update! Since my last post, I had an opportunity to do a lot of photography, so I can use my own RAW photos to put together the scene I have envisioned. I'm heading into the city tomorrow to get some more city shots, then I'll update this thread.

I also considered bringing the camera down lower too, to give me a bit more practice with set extensions and sky lines.

Thank you again, and I'll update soon ^_^
  07 July 2013
Thumbs up

Glad to see you found the thread again and look forward to seeing your progress Also side note, strange that this thread should have been showing on the front page due to it's time stamp. How do the threads show up on your end? Just curious of the default so we can get that fixed too.
David Luong

I teach a DMP Workshop
  07 July 2013
I usually always see the latest post first, by date as you mentioned. I now see your "summer clearing" post above mine

When I originally went looking for my post the link said I was accessing a page that didn't exist, then searching my history said I had no posts. I thought maybe I'd left my work for so long that it had been deleted >_< It's great to have found it again though! I really love the CGTOD class and have been keen to pick it back up now that I'm back home.
  07 July 2013
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