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Old 11-09-2012, 05:14 AM   #1
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David Spittle
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How well do matte paintings of forests work for projection and 3D camera moves?

General question - how easy is it to acheive a believable results when animating a camera move using a matte painting containing a forest for example?

If you have a decent enough painting with elements extracted on to appropriate layers is it a walk-in-the park or is it a completely different kettle-of-fish when trying to use this for camera moves?

Here's my position - I am learing to matte paint - I'm getting good enough results that I could probably use this at work - my 3D generated landcapes tended to suck a lot more so than my painting anyway.

I'm familiar with setting up projections in Max, and also have AE at my disposal (which I've never used for this type of thing by the way).

I've not got time to experiment at home at the moment but am wondering whether I need to learn any more techniques before taking on a project like this.

Would I be better off creating 3D trees for my foreground elements or should I be trying to shoot video of trees keyed (excuse me if that's not the correct term) from a sky for example and project onto geometry?
 
Old 11-12-2012, 06:52 PM   #2
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in a real production all the FG forest would be 3D, at ILM for example we are turning into environment TD's / 3D generalist than a regular matte painter, why? because nowadays directors know they can do whatever they want with the virtual cameras and they know and you must know that they always change their minds and there can be lots of changes in camera animation, so if this happens you know you can't stick to a single projection because if there's a change in camera angle your projections is now a waste of time and you will have to start over, so learn as much 3D as you can because all matte painting departments are now 3D, and with the trained eye of a matte painter you will just be more efficient than before.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:58 PM   #3
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Hey, thanks for the reply.

So for each shot, do you render out a high res frame of your fully lit/textured/shaded 3D scene and then project that back onto your forest geometry (if the camera moves are simple)? or do you render full GI per frame?

And say you did have full creative control over a shot with no-one to change their mind, then would your aproach be to only use a matte painting, even for you FG objects?

I kind of arrived at matte painting as I wanted an efficient way to improve my landscapes and digital environments though on the projects that I work on, the (engineering) focal point will always be produced in 3D.

I have GrowFX; I've not yet learnt whether this needs to be integrated into a matte painting workflow or not.
 
Old 11-13-2012, 01:16 AM   #4
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we model, UV. light , render and do first pass comp of everything
projection are rarely done these days
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:05 AM   #5
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Thanks for the reply. Here's my first matte painting so far (had to ditch some image quality to upload) - would something like this work for projection? I was thinking that 3D trees would be a nightmare to render, particularly with this amount. I can produce pretty realistic 3D trees - it's just rendering is so slow...

I'm pretty much trying to learn the most efficeint way to get realistic (ish) results where I can do simple camera moves. For real projects I won't be going for such dramatic lighting - just something that looks cool and the attention will be on the engineering solution...
 
Old 11-14-2012, 07:27 AM   #6
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really nice for a first time matte painting! well done, , nice color, composition and technique, keep it up ! 3D is just a technical side that will be easier you already got the trained eye
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:18 AM   #7
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Thanks man that means a lot. This is number one of five that I'm producing for the CGWorkshop Matte Painting 1 course. It's been nice having a mentor - and David Luong has been great.

I'm just trying to not dillute the workshop forums with too much 3D related stuff as that's not the focus of this course.
 
Old 11-17-2012, 11:15 PM   #8
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I can only confirm what Jaime has already said. FG forest is 99% full CG these days.
DMP projections are mostly used for static shots/cameras and distant scenery without to much parallax.
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Old 11-18-2012, 01:06 AM   #9
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What software do you guys tend to use? and do you fake lighting or go the full shibang?

And do you have a huge load of processing power?
 
Old 12-15-2012, 04:25 PM   #10
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My guess would be that being ILM they would have one of the largest non-military processing power in the world available . I also got curious about the 3D environment workflow. Do you import the geometry to the comp program and do the lighting and rendering there or re-render the geometry/lights for each shot and comp it after? I'm asking because i'm also starting on matte painting and may as well learn that way instead of traditional projections then thanks.
 
Old 12-15-2012, 05:23 PM   #11
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It is very dependent on the shot(s) when deciding an approach. If you have lots of shots of the environment from different angles or extreme camera moves, you will be better suited to using a full 3D solution. If its a one off shot with minimal camera movement, you may get away with a little more and find that a 2d solution gives you more flexibility and a faster route to a good result...
Interesting to hear Jaime say that at ILM the guys are more like TD's and they aren't really doing projections these days. At dneg the matte painters are definitely still doing a lot of projection work, but the more senior dmp's who are handling larger shots on their own will do their own TD work if required (and if not already done by the build and lookdev team).

Matte painters do have to be very generalist though. In the past year, I've done concept painting, matte painting, TDing and compositing...
 
Old 12-15-2012, 07:16 PM   #12
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Sorry for asking, but what do you mean by TD work in DMP context? Lighting and rendering? Or some more advanced stuff like procedural modeling/simulations/particles when needed?
 
Old 12-15-2012, 10:35 PM   #13
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I've never been involved in particles and simulations (at least not at work). The TD work that i've done just involves modelling, texturing, lighting and rendering. Not necessarily all at once, sometimes a model might have been built and it just needs texturing and rendering with the rest of the matte painting in the scene. Other times a lighting rig for the scene may have been done already but a new shot comes in with a slightly different angle that gets sent through to matte painting to finish up etc, so it changes all the time.
But basically your estimation was right, i can't see the matte painters ever getting asked to do anything that gets too technical (again i can only speak for where i currently work, and these things always change i suppose...)

N
 
Old 12-15-2012, 10:47 PM   #14
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cheers
 
Old 12-15-2012, 10:47 PM   #15
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