The LEGACY of VFX: The world of master Matte painter Albert Whitlock

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  04 April 2010
The LEGACY of VFX: The world of master Matte painter Albert Whitlock

In order for us to get inspired for future challenges I will be posting now and then videos about the work of Traditional fx Studios.

It is time to honor one of the master of VFX.
He is a two-time Oscar winning effects specialist from Hollywood

Quote from wikipedia:
His film career began as a page at Gaumont Studios in London in 1929, before going on to build sets and work as a grip. Trained as a sign painter, he began a life-long association with Alfred Hitchcock, completing all of the signs for The 39 Steps and then assisting in the miniature effects for The Man Who Knew Too Much.

Whitlock began working as a matte artist during World War II. Recruited by Walt Disney, who was an admirer of his work, he would relocate to the U.S. in the early 1950s.

At Disney, where the head of the Matte Department was fellow-Londoner and near-exact contemporary Peter Ellenshaw, he successfully mastered the impressionistic approach to matte painting that he would become known for. He remained with the studio for seven years, helping with the design of Disneyland as well as film work, before moving to Universal in 1961. There he served as the head of their matte department, continuing his long collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock and many other directors, until retiring from the company in 1985 (though he continued to work on the odd production for a few years after).

His crowning achievement was the creation of over 70 individual matte paintings for the 1974 disaster film, Earthquake, which earned him an Academy Award. He won the Oscar again the following year for The Hindenburg, in which he re-created the great airship and its final voyage. Universal loaned out Whitlock and his team for some notable visual effects work on films including Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes, the David Lynch version of Dune, Mame, The Learning Tree and Bound for Glory. In the latter film, Whitlock created the famous Dust Storm with moving cotton-covered disks.

In addition to his film work, Whitlock is famous among Star Trek fans for the matte painting used to establish the huge exterior of the Delta Vega lithium cracking station in Star Trek (1966). The painting was later modified and reused as the Tantalus penal colony from the Star Trek episode "Dagger of the Mind." (Decades later, this recycled shot was replaced with a digital background newly created in 2007 for the remastered edition of the episode.)

Whitlock was also responsible for the matte paintings in History of the World, Part I, and appeared in the movie as a character hawking used chariots. He also produced background mattes for Brooks earlier film High Anxiety, and appeared in that film in a small role as "noted industrialist Arthur Brisbane."

Looking forward to your comments and Ideas on how we can implement traditional methods into our challenges.

:Daily Sketch Forum:HCR Modeling
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Last edited by RobertoOrtiz : 04 April 2010 at 01:12 PM.
  04 April 2010
Amazing work. Its really astounding how good special effects can be without modern CG.
I think it took more artistic talent back then to make it look real and Whitlock was a true master. I like his comment on making a convincing blue sky. If you get the sky right in color and tone then the rest falls into place..

It'd be cool to give us a background image either drawn or photo and see what we could make of it.
Looking back at some older topics I like the idea of
CgTalk Daily Sketch 1700 NTL "The Thing on the Stairs" PHOTO EXPERIMENT

CgTalk Daily Sketch 1763 NO TIME LIMIT "Drawings Come Alive"

Which kinda include elements of matte painting in that you have to try to match lighting and shade to get a realistic feel.

Last edited by brookselliott : 04 April 2010 at 05:06 PM.
  04 April 2010
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