WIP - Kreola - Joel Hageman

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  10 October 2013
Thumbs up

The endless dense faces of buildings is what I had in mind. You could make it even more interesting by playing with the lighting and placing a mood. Maybe have a handful of faces in sunlight more, and some in darker shadowy areas. Its feeling too uniform a the moment. Don't be hesitant to experiment with your colours and overall mood
  10 October 2013
Straight Forward

Dear Joel,
Brilliant. This is the clearest vision possible of the shot. Very well done. Matte Painting is a film production tool; not to be confused with digital fantasy illustration. We almost never get to create a shot from scratch, and especially when working with a plate, all you have to do is extend it. In the most creative way possible, of course. Since this is a Matte Painting challenge though, the technical execution is more important, in my opinion, than creating a grand vista.
As for colours, I wouldn't introduce new hues to the palette. Rather pick existing ones off the plate and stay within a realistic range.
Almost there! Awesome.

Originally Posted by JoelHageman: Hi,

Thanks so much for the responses.

Seema - I'm glad this seems to be more on track. I was thinking that going back to a more basic design might be more solid. What I'm doing now is working on the geometry for the water level. I was thinking a simple approach might, at least, be a good start.

Torsten - There are things I could work on. Actually, one of the big questions I've had anyway is whether to make the water turn along with the BG buildings in the plate. The brief mentioned the citystretching off into the distance, instead of turning. I don't know what you think of that Seema. But I was thinking I could reduce the plate percentage, add around it, and if I got you right, Torsten, I could stretch the city in the BG and drop the canyon you were talking about in the FG, below the footbridges. Makes sense.

Ithink I could add more color and variety. I'll tell you the sketch in the first post, above, had some images of the Tunisian souks in mind, the hanging pennants and the balloons. And, wow, I'm glad youliked the earlier stuff. Inspiring is always neat So, that's great.

Idon't know. Tell me what you think. I think there's still stuff init I can work on right now. I'll keep working on it.

Thanks again.

I'm making a movie!!
  10 October 2013
Hey, thanks everybody. I appreciate your keeping up with this.

Hereís where I am. Still working on it.

Rendering the water is still confusing me at the moment. I didnít expect as much trouble with that. I do want to note that Iíve worked on some basic shape outlines for it, with the grid. I just need to work on matching.

I have the guard rails a little low, so they donít obscure the rest as much.

It would be nice to have the top/middle ground better figured out already, and have that part of the pic together the soonest. I think figuring out shapes and objects is hanging up the show the most on this pic.

I guess Iím thinking, from everything Iíve read, basics like that would still be what to get cleared up, for now. But Iím definitely listening up on tips and pointers. I can see how breaking up the right side with more varied lights and darks would help balance it. And distance in the background is more to the terms of the brief. And I've been looking up bridge design.

My video card seems to be affecting the contrast. Adjusting screen levels and brightness, I get almost no green out of the plants on the left. I just get wash out. Could be problems there.

Last edited by JoelHageman : 11 November 2013 at 12:03 AM. Reason: update image
  11 November 2013
James Colmer

Dear James,

Thank you very much for bringing your concern to our attention.

One beautiful thing about art is that every individual artist can
interpret the same creative brief slightly differently.

For this DMP challenge I have provided a photograph which was shot by
the amazing Fabian Nagel:
and some simple but very straight forward instructions:
Create a locked-off establishing shot Matte Painting based on the
provided plate.
Treat the Matte Painting as clean-plate without animation elements.
Convey a feeling of the city extending into infinity.
Retain as much from the plate however much you find necessary to
communicate the proper look, and
improve the overall appearance of the shot by utilizing Matte Painting
Your goal should be a production quality Styleframe ready to be
presented to the director for approval.

In general, this should be enough to go on but some artists sometimes
wish for additional information. In feature film production we often
have the luxury to be able to read through the script or screenplay.
As such, I wanted to let you guys have a sneak peak at part of the
original script. I chose to include a scene from the same sequence and
have explained in multiple threads that you should not use these as
dogmatic guidelines but only refer to it if you need further
background details or input. If this confuses anyone in any way,
please ignore the script excerpt completely.

The idea for this challenge was much like that for all the previous CG
Talk DMP contests, such as the Atlantis
or the Natural History Museum one, which was also plate-based and had
a lot of creative entries that respected the original plate:
http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=491139 or

That said, the main requirement of this competition is to extend the
given plate. Some of you decided to push the plate all the way into
the background and we felt it would be unfair to discourage anybody
from attempting such an enormous undertaking even though we did fear
that a few of the large scale concepts might turn out to be too
difficult to bring into a photo-realistic Matte Painting realm.
Naturally, we have been expressing this to all of you but it is not
necessary to re-start your work. Please, simply respect that other
artist's visions might differ from your own visualization of a
scenery. Once again, please don't use the extra background information
as a bible. You do not need to be looking down into a 200m drop. The
camera can be at the bottom or anywhere between the two, and so on.

We truly appreciate your participation and all the hard work everybody
has been investing into this Matte Painting challenge so far.
I personally hope to see lots of wonderful entries and would like to
apologize to anybody who has gotten confused about any specifications
of the contest due to the description I provided.

Please, enjoy the last week of our official DMP challenge. It is not
too late to join.

Kind Regards,

Originally Posted by JamesColmer: Huh?

No offence intended here Milan, but I have to say something because this bothers me.

This is EXACTLY the layout that everyone would have ended up with, including myself if we had used the plate verbatim and extended it using your original brief.

Where are the cliff faces with river 200m below? steampunk elements? upper middle class area? houses seamlessly carved into the rock...etc etc

Just simple questions, not meaning to be rude to Joel, but for the past three or more weeks we have all been following your instructions and spending our free time trying to satisfy all those requirements.

If this is the best interpretation I need to scrap mine and start again.

Joel, I liked your original layout much better, (minus the balloons)...this one doesn't do anything for me, and also has perspective issues. The right side rear buildings cannot exist in reality. I've painted over them as an example:

I'm making a movie!!
  11 November 2013
Originally Posted by JamesColmer: Thanks Milan, but I think it would have been best not to post the background info on what Flussdorf looks like directly under the INSTRUCTIONS....

"The aim is to bring his personal project "Kreola After Earth: Phantom Memories" to life. It is a steam-punk science fiction tale.."

"Rirei walks out to the open balcony and takes in the mesmerizing street view of Flussdorf's upper middle class section. The ancients built Flussdorf on two opposing cliff faces above the river. The gorge drops about 200m deep below and the houses are seamlessly carved into the rock. The lively appearance of the neighborhood resembles an old Tunisian Suk. Naturally, today's society on Kreola wouldn't remember any particulars of a market bazaar, nor planet Earth itself. Since the first generation of humans born on Kreola, especially the inhabitants within the walls of Flussdorf, have evolved into a multicultural community, understanding the need for one another, as the city itself expanded in every direction along the canyon.

Besides the significantly hot weather, the most memorable characteristic of this overgrown settlement is its unique ambiance with all the noise, smell and busy buzzing about."

Hio James,

I've just caught up on yours and Milan's post on the competition outline. I think what to take away here is that even though Milan had said "this is the clearest vision possible of this shot", and even though it may be his story we're supporting, the technical aspect of the vision of the competition and overall execution of all photo-realistic elements still stands. Milan may be expressing his opinion of Joel's interpretation of the piece, perhaps in it's purest and simplest form, but that is not the only and correct vision (even though this is from Milan, and it's Milan's story). There are 5 judges in this competition, and much like how Milan pointed out earlier ("One beautiful thing about art is that every individual artist can
interpret the same creative brief slightly differently."), as judges, we are also bound by that as long as it fulfills the technical requirements of the definition of a matte painting is first. The artistic form, and vision, will depend on many other factors of the individual judge.

There was also some confusion in the "Instructions" as having the story be in there, while it should just be in the reference and supporting section of the competition. That's up to the interpretation of the artists and the judges at the end.

Now Milan may like Joel's vision currently, but there is still a week left to decide to see how it will all end up. First and foremost, it must be executed in a photorealistic manner for the style-frame matte painting to even be considered. The second, is the artistic nature, which has too many factors to list, as I don't mind meld with the other 4 judges, and we're not in the same room.

So what you have on your piece now James, is great, we just need to see all of the elements and lighting, textures and all finished to that matte painting form. The artistic aspect of it will be judged with what we have interpreted from Milan's story. I wouldn't scrap all of the work you did, it was great, in fact we featured it as one of the WIP of the Week's! Keep on going, and execute it to your best ability in a photo realistic fashion.

Sorry to high jack your thread Joel for this quick discussion. Please everyone resume your great work in the competition for next week!

If you have any other concerns James, you can PM me directly, or post in the general KREOLA support thread where Milan has now posted as well.
David Luong


I teach a DMP Workshop
  11 November 2013
This is where I am with it. I was hoping to be further along.

There's still a half and half look to it. The light side is still too light I think.

I didn't straighten out the road any more. The turn just seemed to balance a little more to me.

Also still guessing with the shape of the water level. I've done more checking with the perspective grid. But there's some sort of silly confusion that I'm not sorting out yet.

I pretty much didn't budge a lot from the original concept. I think it's to find time to finish.

As far as going with this design, I think it was for that reason. I was starting out a little late in the time line. So I felt it was best to just pick a concept and run. Plus I was following the threads, and it seemed one of the priorities was to get a basic pic together, avoid ambition, if needed, in order to finish. I wasn't sure. Maybe I could have made more of an effort. Maybe I confused ambition with design requirements. I just felt it was better to get the pieces together, as late as it was, and make it. I'm definitely having to work on it a bunch as it is.

I think I have time to get this more rounded up. I'd like to post more often, knowing now how my work process is going.

  11 November 2013
Joel, i think youīre right.

The main thing ist to finish this in time. I reckon that most of the entries will have to struggle with this tiny little detail. Well, including me.

Looking forward to your final.
  11 November 2013

Hey, Torsten. Thanks for the reply. Good luck on getting done, as well. This weekend could help. Your pic is matching more the concept, which is neat.

I need to comment on the my screen, just to say so. The issue with high contrast from my video card could be pretty big. I'm looking at things on a different screen here, and the difference is quite a ways off. I'm not sure what to do about that, except send a note along that the final should be seen at higher contrast, to the point that the door on the left should match the dark of the doors on the right. Wow. Something needs to happen.

PS - Sorry about the dark letters above. Had to run. Maybe I can edit that.
  11 November 2013
Congrats on the WIP of the week Joel! (actually posted a few days ago, but didn't get a chance to reply for you yet). Keep it up!!


We'll have one last WIP of the Week before the challenge ends this week too.
David Luong


I teach a DMP Workshop
  11 November 2013
Wow. I gues I better get moving. Very neat, David. Thank you.

Well, I'll tell you what also. I wasn't sure what to do with my display problem. But I checked the video card settings. I have an Nvidia. I looked up advanced and troubleshoot. Just to see what would happen, I brought the slider for hardware acceleration down from full to none, restarted and bam, everything looked like the other screen. I can see more range in the darks. So that is a big help now. And James, thanks for the note. I'll tell you what, my screen has an sRGB setting, so I went with that and that looks like a good setting to use as well.

I'm not sure what makes hardware acceleration give everything such a high contrast edge, but the fix should work better.

Thanks for getting back to me.

And thanks for the WIP of the week! Look at that.

I'll make some more posts.
  11 November 2013
  11 November 2013

If your screen is un-calibrated, try turning everything off and using sRGB IEC61966 with a 2.1 gamma. That should be the safest. Colour profile issues can be troublesome sometimes. To test it, you can always post a few different versions here and then check on a different device, such as an iPad or a public PC or even a smart TV. The important thing is your gamma. As long as you match your values to the plate, there will be no problems or bad surprises at all. That should be your best bet.
I'm making a movie!!
  11 November 2013

Thanks very much. I will definitely check into all the options.

Still gunning for this pic. Looks like I finally have a way clear for the weekend. Keep working on it.

  11 November 2013

This an update. I've been working on it all today. Really hoping for time tomorrow. This is where it is now.

Posting a final also in the MP finals. Thanks all. I'll keep working.

  11 November 2013
1024 rez, it probably looks more done than it is. But I'd like to try and find time today. Need to hurry out the door.

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