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Old 01-18-2013, 03:20 AM   #1
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matte painting an interesting look to the past...

a lost art perhaps? The "move magic" series is kinda interesting to watch. Not sure why i was fascinated by this, but it was...

http://youtu.be/o8bdTmU8F0s
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:49 AM   #2
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Oh man, what an inspiration. These guys were such incredible artists - it's so cool seeing actual large paintings being created for films. I remember working on a project many years ago which Robert Stromberg supervised the matte painting for, so his name instantly rang a bell. Of course, he's much older now than he was in this video!

Cheers for posting this, I got all nostalgic for the all days of film making while watching it. These guys had no CTRL+Z.
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:13 AM   #3
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Lost art? Wasn't it mentioned in shot breakdowns that a lot of the big vistas in "Ninja Assassin" were actually static matte paintings hung on the back of a sound stage?
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CGIPadawan
Lost art? Wasn't it mentioned in shot breakdowns that a lot of the big vistas in "Ninja Assassin" were actually static matte paintings hung on the back of a sound stage?


I honestly don't know... I just thought that the methods they used to combine shots and artwork was incredible.

I suppose it could still be done today, I just wonder how much larger the images would need to be to match the resolutions of today's digital stuff.. "huge" is the thing that comes to mind
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tswalk
I honestly don't know... I just thought that the methods they used to combine shots and artwork was incredible.

I suppose it could still be done today, I just wonder how much larger the images would need to be to match the resolutions of today's digital stuff.. "huge" is the thing that comes to mind


I can't find the featurette or article anymore (it might have been on CG Talk) but I was really surprised to see shots of Rain standing on a fake building rooftop and behind him was this flat painting of the rest of the city.

I was like: "No way they can get that to work."
And I saw the finished print and I was like: "Ok... They did."
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:04 AM   #6
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Translights and painted backdrops are occasionally still used in film and tv industry to provide scenic backgrounds. Not everything needs to be shot on a greenscreen.
 
Old 01-18-2013, 08:45 AM   #7
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Equally awe inspiring is the adjacent episode to the one from the OP:

Movie Magic: Action Miniatures:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQ9OP47dExI

There's a nice part there where they solve a depth problem for a crash sequence of a miniature bus falling from an overhead bridge by adding an out-of-scale fake parking meter and car fender into what looks like the foreground in the 2D space of the frame for the low-angled shot.

It was actually needed to cover the bus when it falls to lower left corner, but it also resulted in solving a depth problem. Genius.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by earlyworm
Translights and painted backdrops are occasionally still used in film and tv industry to provide scenic backgrounds. Not everything needs to be shot on a greenscreen.


Yeah.. I couldn't find the original in-depth feature.. but AWN also ran some notes on the scene I was talking about:

http://www.awn.com/articles/article...-blood/page/2,1



THAT cityscape behind them was just a matte painting....And it was shot in-camera.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:10 AM   #9
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I've been in awe of the old master matte painters since the 70s. One of the greatest thrills of my days at Lucasarts was when I got to visit the archives building for one reason or another. As I wandered around the shelves (which they sort of frowned on), I saw a big box of the original matte paintings from SW & Empire. They were standing up like record albums in a rack, each sheet in its own reinforced wooden frame. I couldn't resist flipping through them (carefully!) and taking in the genius that created those irreplaceable works of art.

One of the really neat things, which they mention in this movie, is how they created focus through detail. At the center of the painting it would be fairly tight, but even then not as tight as you'd expect. But out at the edges or in the distance, it was just impressionistic blobs of thick paint. I distinctly recall the Death Star hangar interior being a great example of this. The stormtroopers in formation standing out at the edge of the painting were literally just 3 or 4 blobs of paint. Expertly proportioned and placed, for sure, but far less detailed than you'd expect.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artbot
I've been in awe of the old master matte painters since the 70s. One of the greatest thrills of my days at Lucasarts was when I got to visit the archives building for one reason or another. As I wandered around the shelves (which they sort of frowned on), I saw a big box of the original matte paintings from SW & Empire. They were standing up like record albums in a rack, each sheet in its own reinforced wooden frame. I couldn't resist flipping through them (carefully!) and taking in the genius that created those irreplaceable works of art.

One of the really neat things, which they mention in this movie, is how they created focus through detail. At the center of the painting it would be fairly tight, but even then not as tight as you'd expect. But out at the edges or in the distance, it was just impressionistic blobs of thick paint. I distinctly recall the Death Star hangar interior being a great example of this. The stormtroopers in formation standing out at the edge of the painting were literally just 3 or 4 blobs of paint. Expertly proportioned and placed, for sure, but far less detailed than you'd expect.


This is an interesting point.. I get chided about it sometimes... but now and again I see proof that it's true:

"Sometimes the films looked better because they weren't made in the best image".

Things like low-resolution cinema projection, film color issues, blurs.... I really like experimenting with those things. Because honestly I think the reason why something looks so good is "you're imagining something you only think you're seeing".

When I bring this up.. people say "Aw.. that's just a crutch for shoddy FX and graphics.. a fluke of the old days.. you don't want to do that anymore by design."

But see?!? Matte painters did it "by design". If you ask me I'd happily pull a few of their tricks in again in the modern era - even if it meant compositing in some slight blurs to "rub the image in".
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Old 01-18-2013, 10:03 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CGIPadawan
This is an interesting point.. I get chided about it sometimes... but now and again I see proof that it's true:

"Sometimes the films looked better because they weren't made in the best image".

Things like low-resolution cinema projection, film color issues, blurs.... I really like experimenting with those things. Because honestly I think the reason why something looks so good is "you're imagining something you only think you're seeing".

When I bring this up.. people say "Aw.. that's just a crutch for shoddy FX and graphics.. a fluke of the old days.. you don't want to do that anymore by design."

But see?!? Matte painters did it "by design". If you ask me I'd happily pull a few of their tricks in again in the modern era - even if it meant compositing in some slight blurs to "rub the image in".


It kind of makes me think of the popularity of Instagram photos. I guess from a technical viewpoint, the effect degrades the overall clarity of the image, but seems to add atmosphere instead.
 
Old 01-18-2013, 02:45 PM   #12
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In the animation field, the hand painted Neo-Tokyo backgrounds from Akira still amaze me
 
Old 01-18-2013, 06:11 PM   #13
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I recall a interview with either Ellenshaw or McQuarrie, who said that to make a painting work on film, they had to purposely paint it a little looser. Most would assume that the more photo-real the better, but time and budget were always big issues (some things never change!). An artist who could learn to just put the minimum amount of paint needed to work with a particular film stock (different stocks had differing levels of grain and color receptiveness) had a budgetary advantage.

The masters would sometimes put the paint on so heavily that it would cast tiny shadows when lighted properly, which added to the visual complexity of the image without any extra work. There was really a whole grab-bag of tricks and techniques that have simply gone by the way-side with the switch to digital (which is not a bad thing, just a different thing).
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:27 PM   #14
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I LOVED Movie Magic as a kid. I wish there was a current version of this show.
 
Old 01-18-2013, 08:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lagavulin16
I LOVED Movie Magic as a kid. I wish there was a current version of this show.


Sadly, it would be like Cinefex has become: People leaning over monitors looking at wireframes.

"Here we see artists (Wizards!) at work on Harry Potter 27: Grumpy Old Muggles. First, a wire frame is constructed in the computer. Then, texture painters fill in the colors. And like MAGIC! it appears on your local movie screen for you and your whole family to enjoy."
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