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  04 April 2016
Originally Posted by eyecon: From were I am now, our supervisors and leads are all mattepainters with 3D skills. Bidding is also done with both mattepainting in mind and 3D..


Leads - yes of course.
Supes - nope. It's usually a CG Supe who might be familiar with DMP from "making of" videos
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  04 April 2016
Originally Posted by hardy-guardy: Leads - yes of course.
Supes - nope. It's usually a CG Supe who might be familiar with DMP from "making of" videos


Yes that is true. I thought you were saying Department Supervisor. Well the leads should be able to handle the bids fairly well. But then again I am not in your situation so I really don't know.
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  04 April 2016
Originally Posted by eyecon: Well the leads should be able to handle the bids fairly well.


Pffft, no, don't trust the DMP leads where Oleksiy works, I hear they all suck!

My two cents on the topic:

Matte painting now sits firmly as a 3d discipline. 10 years ago it was maybe 50/50, depending on where you work, as to whether you would be considered a 2d discipline or a 3d discipline. Now, I don't think I could be convinced to hire a DMP artist who has zero skills in 3d. They don't have to be amazing 3d artists - just strong knowledge of projections even if it's just in Nuke, and they need to be comfortable exporting geometry and cameras for themselves from whatever 3d application is being used at the heart of the pipeline.

Our ENV/DMP team rarely creeps much over 10 artists. That may double, or even triple for a large show nearing delivery, but core crew would usually be 10 or less for us in ENV/DMP. So I just couldn't afford for 2 or 3 of those people to need the assistance of some of the others in the dept to be able to fully get their shots through the pipeline. A pure Photoshop painter, even if they were Caravaggio or Sargent reborn, would probably find themselves surplus to requirement before long. Even our concept artists now are moving more into being 3d concept artists who can quickly use 3dcoat or zbrush to create very fast 3d ideation and then paint over it as a last step - therefore being able to hand actual geo down the pipe to aid the build team and also to be sure they are working with accurate perspective and lighting that isn't something that can't be replicated later. That said, a matte painter would have to be at least a decent Photoshop painter to be considered for a DMP role.

I think 'environment artist' is a more accurate description of the modem matte painting role. At least at my current facility we are more generalist artists.

As an example on my current show, in the last week alone this is what I've had to ask of various people on my DMP team:

- concept work to establish an environment at a pure design level.
- concept work to establish mood and colour of a shot/sequence.
- matte painting to take a concept to a photoreal level.
- matte painting to improve CG that hasn't quite worked out from the build/assets dept.
- projection work in Nuke (or Clarisse depending on shot requirements).
- asset/geometry layouts in Maya.
- doing photogrammetry to create some 3d textured assets we can use in multiple shots.
- modeling, sculpting and optimising geo in Maya/zbrush/mudbox.
- creating shaders and textures.
- setting up lighting and rendering CG in passes.
- figuring out how to set up a complete environment to be used across a sequence from initial single shot paintings.
- doing slap comps, either simple or more complex to present shots in the best manner possible.

So in some ways, despite the fact we may not have to get as deeply involved in technical 3d work or serious, complex shader writing etc, I feel like in many ways the pressure on a DMP artist to know an entire pipeline and all its tools is greater than any other department by quite a large margin.

I both love and hate this... I love jumping around and doing whatever technical or artistic task is required at the time, as it never gets boring. I also love those rare occasions that a huge, epic shot is handed over to our ENV/DMP dept to be handled exclusively by a single artist.
I hate that there's a simultaneous massive massive massive expectation from sequence supervisors and CG supervisors for DMP artists to be able to do anything and everything, whilst also not acknowledging that they can often do a lot more than they are given credit for. I also hate that we generally become the 'fix it' department for the problems of every other dept in the last 6 weeks of a show. And that this is never properly planned or accounted for early on in the production. Lastly, I hate that every show, whether they have shot 50,000 perfect high res references or handed over a 500px badly compressed JPEG as a rough guide, expects a DMP artist to come back with a photoreal result. We all know that the ideal scenario for a great matte painting is that it's something that exists in real life and we happen to have thousands of shots of exactly that thing from the right angles and under the correct lighting conditions. But if that's not the case and there is literally nothing to work with, we are still expected to produce gold and allowances are rarely given for a lack of material.

All told, I love modern environment work, especially when it's done right on a show. It's just problematic right now because each facility and show has their own preconceived ideas about how much the ENV/DMP team can contribute, and there's no consistency to this because we are still going through that transitional phase.

Really interesting discussion here, always great hearing people's thoughts and workflows. Nice to see more activity here again too!

N
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Nick Marshall
Head of Environments / Generalists
Double Negative :: Vancouver
www.dneg.com
 
  04 April 2016
Hi guys,

Thanks a lot Milan for bringing me in! Very good subject to think about for all of us and most of the things are extremely true! There is nothing much to add to it, especially after some legendary names herein, but if I was about to contribute to the thread, I would say that in my humble opinion, if one is extremely talented as an artist\painter he would always be valuable and able to find a job with a pretty good rate. I keep seeing a lot of studios continuously looking for strong matte-painters with an ability to paint being a dominant skill (of course, along with other skills, such as projection and some 3D!!). However, it all depends on the place where you want to work at.

In the film, a lot of major studios would like one to be versatile especially if one is meant to be kept for a long term. Smaller companies, possibly could hire one even only with 2D skills for a while or even for a long term, simply because it will fit to their projects (meaning, most of the smaller companies would have less ambitious shows ongoing, less crazier camera movement, so they can get away with just traditional dmp approach and they have enough of TD artists who can help out with technical aspects). Not always like this, but for majority…

At the moment I work in cinematics and there is a much wider artistic leeway in here. Our matte-painting team is pretty busy nowadays painting hundreds of shots in the craziest amount of time, but we also do projections and modeling, changing assets if need be. However, the procedural approach seems to be enhancing drastically these days and the workflow will keep changing, but true matte-painting skills will always be worthwhile when it comes down to hero establishing shots and brushing up some pure 3D renders.

With that being said, if I could add something to clarify the specialization and make it a bit easier for aspiring artists who apply for the job, I would say if a studio is on a lookout for a MATTE PAINTER, it should be an artist who has a strength in painting plus good skills in nuke and some 3D and he is NOT a modeler or pure 3D artist. If a studios needs someone who is well versed at all the aspects of 3D and\or TD and knows some painting the position should not be called “matte-painter” but rather “environment artist or td”. If it happens to combine both of those, then it is “environment generalist”. I know most of us love that romantic title “matte-painter”, but if it gets to the point where it has nothing to do with the actual duties, it should not be used to avoid confusing people (a lot of aspiring artists who are trying to get in always ask me what actually matte painter has to do, because based on descriptions at different studios it varies massively.)

It might mean that some position will be gone or changed etc, but at least when one sees “matte-painter is wanted” he knows what to expect when he is about to apply.

P.S. there is nothing that can stop one from learning new tools and features that come out these days aside from his\her unwillingness, however if one thinks ,at any point in his carrier, that he has learnt everything about traditional fundamentals and art itself, then he is on a wrong way of growing! We are all continual students in our craft and this is a beauty of the journey!

Just my humble opinion thanks everyone for sharing the thoughts! Great topic once again!
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Senior Matte-Painter | Concept Designer
www.igorstaritsin.com
 
  04 April 2016
Originally Posted by nickmarshallvfx: Pffft, no, don't trust the DMP leads where Oleksiy works, I hear they all suck!


You know - I'm the Department Grumpy Cat, Senior Doorman and The Voice of Truth at the same time I guess I can consider myself as a generalist now.
And you are right about Environments but most of the time it's done on shot by shot basis. :(
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  04 April 2016
Putting the magic back into the matte

It's true that the more "traditional" Matte Painting work has shifted to television shows with a medium range budget, where every trick in the book still applies, instead of complete environment builds but has 3D killed the magic for you guys or actually gotten you more excited? There is a tendency now for more artistic DMPs to become either concept artists or art directors, while technically oriented ones are evolving into environment TDs.

I remember a time when professionals would come here to share their breakdowns and walk-throughs as soon as their work was released. Be it movies, commercials, cinematics, or even still imagery like advertisement for print. What would draw you back into an online community where you'd actually stop by on regular basis because it tickles your interest? I personally don't mind those enormous crazy shots with 3D integration where your main thought when they're showing you how they did it is just perplexed wonderment at seeing to what extent they went in order to get it done,
however... I'm much more impressed watching a case study revealing clever cheap tricks that not only got the job done but completely fooled me because I thought it was created in a much more complicated way! That's what gets me excited. Smoke and mirrors all the way. Efficiency is true movie magic.

How do you feel about this art form and where does your passion lay? If there was a "follow" button to the DMP forum here, what type of threads/coverage would motivate you to check in here regularly? Which were the most impressive shots, breakdowns, movies,... you have seen in recent past? Things that keep your love for what you do alive? I'm really interested to hear why you want to become a Matte Painter today, or what fuels you to stay one, as the job position is currently undergoing this transition?!?
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  04 April 2016
Hey guys, and thanks to Igor for pointing me to this thread, it's been (sadly) more than a year since I last visited this forum and I guess that goes to prove how people lost interest over time.

You guys nailed pretty much everything by now so I just want to share my personal feelings on this:

Firstly, let me start by saying that, imho, Nuke and projections are a natural, organic extension of our work - the technique exists to support and complement the painting and not the other way around. And that's where the line is drawn for me. For the moment when I have to start doing full 3D Enviros and when paint work exists only to support and complement the 3D assets (such as texturing, paintovers etc) is the moment when I lose all interest in this job. Seriously. I am an artistic DMP and, while I have the knowledge to function as a pure 3D environment guy, I would much rather migrate to Art Director or Concept Artist if it comes to that...

And onto that note, I think an Environment department should include people from both sides, which is what we're trying to do at my current studio. We are having:

- Artistic matte painters as the backbone of the team - they handle concept art, matte painting (as in photoshop painting, you know) , Nuke projections and rough comps
- Environment TD-s for modelling and lighting
- Dedicated Texture Painters so that you don't use a matte painter time to texture things


Originally Posted by hardy-guardy: And lets thanks websites like ArtStation for that! If you check the picks from the board leaders or whoever is doing that selection - it's really really sad picture
https://www.artstation.com/artwork?...=matte_painting


I was wondering the same Alex; I don't know who's picking the images there, but they need a good introduction into what matte painting actually is.
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Last edited by Suirebit : 04 April 2016 at 06:08 PM.
 
  04 April 2016
1st thanks to Igor to actually remind me a CGSociety site back again Ahahah, hey everyone..

- I think all what was said, it's pretty much true in terms of changes etc. in dmp world. I actually like to do full shots from concept to the level of precomp/slapcomp from scratch as I did my last almost 4.years, where I was actually assign to sequences instead of shots.

Worst thing (to what I've seen) is: Software is changing super fast to catch up.. and you need to know it all perfectly..to get/keep job. There are so many that production requires now days like Photoshop, 3ds max, Maya, Nuke, Clarisse, Vue, Zbrush, Mari...etc.etc not to mention rendering software lol. And you need to be at the best to be productive as production want you to. I know most of them, I do use them daily, but I have friends that they are really in total mess.. and feel for them as I was at the same place when I was starting - sucks.
NOW IT'S ALL 3D DMP GENERALIST or Environment Artis position and that's exactly because of what (I won't talk about) - bidding is. Everywhere it's so sneaky - as you all know

And to add a few words: honestly here or mattepainting.org, I haven't been there for very long time, maybe sporadically once a year, just to let people know that I am alive.. from my point, it is just to be super busy and + I get to know so many people, that they see my work daily, that I don't have to really keep publishing it. + It's more about professional work rather than personal - which people mostly post somewhere. And in my free time I do alot of different things (oils, hiking, photography, travel.. etc)

I just wanted to add a few words quickly.


To add the final note? - That's why I want to switch to Oil Painting when I will be 40 !!!

But.. I must say, that everywhere I've been, I have had a great time and super helpful people around.

Have a great time guys!
G.
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  04 April 2016
Hello everyone, its great to see the people that I saw many years ago start out on this forum, looking around lots of you working in big ticket agencies which is brilliant.

As for me I am not in a big ticket agency (yet). I call my self a matte painter and in the last year have had sponsorship from a benefactor from the VES panel. He has introduced me to Nuke, Cinema 4d and have been quietly working in the background to improve my skills. I am not in the league as you guys, but that does not bother me in the slightest.

During the last ten years it started having to learn photoshop for me, which I have mastered. Then 3d modelling, photographic work, training as a BBC camera operator. I have been trained by the worlds best photographic lighters, and cinematographers. All because of this forum.

The thing that makes me carry on is that I enjoy the art, and have been trying desperately to get into the invisible side of it. Period dramas and set extensions when done right give me more appeal than the tent pole Marvel/DC/Star Wars films ironically. I am becoming a ninja at camera projections within cinema 4d (very underated 3d program) also within Nuke itself.

The only downside of matte painting is that to do it and do it right even as a hobbyist is that the software will cost eventually more than a family car. Nuke, Modo, Mari are amazing but pricey. So I have been looking at cheap alternatives, Fusion, Serifs Affinity Photo, I sometimes do my base modelling in sketchup then bring into cinema 4d for finalising. Quietly I am enjoying the 3d modelling side of life, (though I despise Blender Sorry Dave!).

I really appreciate David and Milan running the monthly competitions, I have yet to place in them but that does not bother me, the bit I enjoy is learning and the interaction with others. I have a reputation on the forum as being the ice breaker on MP comps on here, seriously no one posts for days, I show my whole process good or bad.

Noticed that the matte painting work I do get is fixing it in post, and lots of creeping right of tasks and responsiblities. It takes a lot of effort to instruct and train clients what a matte painter actually is. Garrett Fry has a awesome website where I can leave clients to peruse.

Whilst this forum is going I have one goal, that is to produce invisible art on a desk next to one of you guys. Keep up the good work matte painters!

Richie.
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  04 April 2016
Personally I spend probably 70% of the time doing 3d and 30% painting these days. The possibility of using 3d for full environments has led to Directors changing their mind over and over again. Deadlines becomes shorter and very little time is left to add those artistic imperfections that would give most matte paintings a natural feeling. In most films these days everything feels to clean and perfect.

I think the 2d approach still has it place in static shots and for commercial projects with smaller budgets.
There's still no renderer out there that can compete with a high-res photo in terms of realism and time-saving.
The good thing with being able to venture into 3d is that you can cut out the middle man so to speak. No longer do you have to wait for a TD to give you those light passes or a compositor to put your environment setup together in nuke. The drawback however, comes in terms of a steeper learning curve. Photoshop has become the most basic application you have to know among software's like Zbrush, Mari, Terragen that takes years to master on their own. And for those who has no interest in 3d whatsoever will soon find themselves struggling to keep the title of a modern Matte Painter.
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  03 March 2018
This was a very interesting read for me, and as this has not been commented in about two years now I would like to see what you think about this today? Has anything happened?

I am trying to figure out how to become a "3d matte painter" (or whatever the title is now) in the modern world. I am more technical that painty, and I adore you guys who are the other way around. So this development suits me right, but I think there should be a new title for this. Matte painter for me is a master painter that can add magic to a scene in a cost effective way, not a 3d generalist that fixes things because they have the ability to see what's wrong.

And what software is a must-have? I have Modo and Mari now. I am looking to add something to render large scenes (Clarisse??) as Modo can't do it (maby I should ditch Modo?). And as I understand it, Nuke is a must have? It's so expensive! Do I really need Nuke X or even Studio? I will have to sell the car..
Or should I switch to Maya, Max, C4D or even Blender? 
Is there a good gumroad, pluralsight, lunda tutorial that I should watch?

I will be really happy if you guys took the time helping me and others who will read this. 

Sorry if this took the thread in a new direction, feel free to remove this post if so.
 
  03 March 2018
We're not going to remove your post for being honest and curious. Thank you for keeping it alive.

Currently, there are some exciting developments happening all over. While the big
studios adopted the 3D conveyor belt system, thanks to more people
staying home and watching Netflix, we've now entered a 2nd Renaissance
of Matte Painting (or Filmmaking) all together! Environment work on
Marvel movies has become very technical. I've had to paint up entire 3D
scenes in Mari etc. Tip: That's where the UNPROJECT function is a DMPs
best friend. However, smoke and mirrors have fully returned simply
because of the time and money restrictions. The small screen is the new
Hollywood and real efficiency has become once again the key if you're on
a budget.
Look at Game of Thrones or Penny Dreadful. Those productions
don't have the luxury to make up their minds about the
position of a camera in an establishing shot two weeks before final
delivery. Matte painting has come full circle and we've returned to
creative problem-solving with a keen eye for painting with light. Actual
brush strokes have returned like LotR style. Meanwhile Environment
Artists have also evolved and their craft has become equally impressive
from a technical point of view! 

In my opinion, the two have separated and
successfully split up. When you set out to study VFX and
enter the industry creating digital backdrops, you must clearly pick 2D
or 3D today. Matte Painters are taking on a lot or all post production
art direction work by creating styleframes, which is the equivalent of
photo-realistic concept art utilizing DMP techniques. And environment
artists can light, texture and render passes in various packages such as
Maya, Modo or Cinema4D.

A lot of us had to pick recently. Some of us have
moved on but the same love of filmmaking persists. I
personally rediscovered my roots and the original intention why I wanted
to be in the industry. Leading others has now eventually lead me to
directing and in the most recent past I've had the chance to direct some
commercials, music videos and short films. Our friend Damien even got
to direct a feature which hit cinemas last year and is now available on
Netflix: https://www.wmfilmmakers.com/

David and I took up a passion project ourselves:
The Sky Beneath Our Feet  https://www.facebook.com/theskybeneathourfeet/


And that's why this forum has been suffering because everything together
has become a tremendous organizational undertaking. Coupled with Matte
Painting seemingly having divided into Art Direction and 3D Art, the
future of this space has been rather unclear for a while now. That said,
if there's enough interest we are happy to keep the ball rolling.
Besides all the huge VFX studios working on the blockbuster box office hits,
the majority of DMP work is in commercials, music videos, TV, VOD, even
YouTube and VR!! There is a big demand for Matte Painting again and this
might be a great opportunity to discuss all those aspects right here
right now!! 

Let us know what you all think.
Milan

Originally Posted by sirhaffy: This was a very interesting read for me, and as this has not been commented
in about two years now I would like to see what you think about this
today? Has anything happened?

I am trying to figure out how to become a "3d matte painter" (or whatever the title is now) in the modern
world. I am more technical that painty, and I adore you guys who are
the other way around. So this development suits me right, but I think
there should be a new title for this. Matte painter for me is a master
painter that can add magic to a scene in a cost effective way, not a 3d
generalist that fixes things because they have the ability to see what's
wrong.

And what software is a must-have? I have Modo and Mari now. I am looking to add something to render large scenes (Clarisse??)
as Modo can't do it (maby I should ditch Modo?). And as I understand it,
Nuke is a must have? It's so expensive! Do I really need Nuke X or even
Studio? I will have to sell the car..
Or should I switch to Maya, Max, C4D or even Blender? 
Is there a good gumroad, pluralsight, lunda tutorial that I should watch?

I will be really happy if you guys took the time helping me and others who will read this. 

Sorry if this took the thread in a new direction, feel free to remove this post if so.
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Last edited by milanschere : 03 March 2018 at 10:47 PM. Reason: Embed code error
 
  03 March 2018
Thank you Milan, nice to hear that you guys are back in the VFX-wizards seat again.

As I am not a native English speaker or have much knowledge of the VFX scene, I have some questions to clear things out for me, if that's ok.

So as I understand it, there are two lanes to choose from as a DMP today, 3d or 2d? Or is it Matte Paint = 2d and Environment Artist = 3d?

I saw a video of Steven Messing some time ago, and it blew me away. And that's what sparked my interest.
https://www.cineversity.com/vidplay..._Steven_messing

My question is, what path should I start if I want to do stuff like Messing?

And another one, I hold a Creative Collection license with Foundry now (Mari and Modo). It's time to upgrade it and I have some problems with Modo (clunky and bad at larger scenes), should I buy the maintenance or should I put my money on Cinema 4D (and projection man)?
And do After Effects work to start off with (Nuke is so expensive), or is this outside of the DMP scope?
 
  4 Weeks Ago
Quote: That said,
if there's enough interest we are happy to keep the ball rolling. 
Besides all the huge VFX studios working on the blockbuster box office hits, 
the majority of DMP work is in commercials, music videos, TV, VOD, even 
YouTube and VR!! There is a big demand for Matte Painting again and this
might be a great opportunity to discuss all those aspects right here 
right now!! 

This was a great read for me as well! I for one would certainly be interested in hearing more. I'm in a "jack of all trades" position at the moment, but Matte Painting has always been one of my favorite parts of the process. Would love to see some of the challenges return, or even just occasional updates on what everyone is doing!
 
  2 Weeks Ago
Something I am currently looking at is making environment  a category of forums alone instead of grouped in. It is so diverse now and many of the studios have moved away from the "matte painting department" instead opting to merge 3d concept, Layout, etc what would be the ideal group of forums to put together in your opinion or do we just group everything into one colossal Environement thread? 
 
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