Those are two very good questions, Ivan.
The bid time for a Matte Painting depends on the complexity of the shot.
Usually, the Matte Painter advises production how long a particular task should take. Working in a professional realm you have to be able to estimate a quote of how long something will take you.
I have written a brief for the
CG Talk Matte Painting challenge and provided a rough background draft to understand the mood of the shot. I would expect to see a first concept after 12-14h.
You would then receive notes and the turnaround for each set of feedback would be around 8h, which is one day of work. The number of rounds will depend on your supervisor's vision, as well as your proficiency.
On this CG Talk project, I would advise not diving into the final Matte Painting stage without at least 3 revisions. When working for a client I recommend trying to keep a visual balance
so that if you're asked to show a work in progress everything is at the same level. Try not to waste too much time polishing individual areas until everything is in place and well balanced.
The photo-realistic Matte Painting will take, depending on your technical and artistic skills, between 2 to 4 days (16-32h). The more frequently you present WIP during this process, the less time you will waste exploring wrong avenues.
Finally, depending on the schedule and how much time there's left in your original bid, there will be
another few rounds of notes with a 4-8h interval, of course depending on the nature of the notes, until your Matte Painting looks amazing or production runs out of time.
Ultimately, the client has to be happy with your product, and if they love it after the first client review session, you'll either get
another 3-6h to clean it up and add some final tweaks or you simply move on to the next shot. In the case of the
CG Talk Matte Painting challenge, Michael, Jaime, David, Damien and I are your creative leads, supervisors and clients.
To create a successful styleframe that will live up to the expectations it will take a DMP anywhere between 32-80h of serious work.
When I'm mentoring a Matte Painting apprentice or Junior Matte Painter, these are the expectations I'd have but I'll usually alter these guidelines based on individual levels of experience or knowledge/abilities.
It is also important to mention that within a studio environment it is important not to get attached to shots personally. You might have been working on a DMP for 2 weeks and by the time the client review notes come in you could be assigned to another big shot that requires all your attention. In that case another DMP Artist would pick up your work and address the notes. This can be quite nice, as the painting will receive a fresh pair of eyes and the next person working on it will bring a piece of their own vision to the image. This also means your working files have to be extremely clean and easily understandable by others.
In other cases due to various reasons the time frame might be so tight that one shot has to be divided into sub-tasks and areas, where multiple painters are working on one matte simultaneously in order to get the job done on time.
I hope this answers your first question in enough detail.
As for moving back to Canada, it depends on your preferences. Some VFX artists
move around the world, trying to be involved with the projects they personally prefer to be working on. Others are more loyal to
specific studios due to unique working conditions.
My wife and I realized London was not the best place for raising children and wanted to re-locate to somewhere we would feel comfortable enough to start a family.
We've done a fair amount of moving as well and so far Toronto has been our favourite place we ever lived in.
Mr. X helped us settle in and it has been a great experience being here since the first day we arrived.
Traveling can become a large part of your life if you're in the movie industry, so I recommend anyone to embrace the possibilities that come with working in
film, until you get too sick of living out of a suitcase and need to halt for a while.
Let me know if you have any further questions.