Painting a castle scene made of gold.

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  02 February 2014
Painting a castle scene made of gold.

Hi guys

I was wondering if there is any good matte painting reference out there that feature any entire architectural structure made of gold. I am currently tackling a scene that I have to create a matte painting of a golden castle sitting in a desert. The castle element is a big foreground element, and I am having trouble finding very good reference, since really there aren't many real structure made of gold.

The last resort would be create the entire element from scratch using 3D, but I want to see if there are other options before I go down that route.

Any advice would be great!
  02 February 2014
Hi Fanko,
You have set yourself a tough challenge there. The problem with golden or metallic structures is that they are heavily dependent on the reflections of the rest of the environment, so the usual photomanipulation approach often fails because the reflections are all different and don't look consistent.
We faced this problem doing the matte paintings on Thor, as half the buildings in Asgard are made of gold either partially or fully. We found that for anything that is on the background we were ok just painting it to look correct, but for midground or foreground elements we had to resort to doing them in CG. We had lots of buildings where we would render all the buildings with a gold shader and then use bits of that render to reproject onto the geo and use normal photomanipulation techniques to do all the rest of the non-gold structures, and fake some of those reflections in the gold if needed.

Of course, that only really works with locked off or nodal shots, or shots with tiny amounts of parallax, for anything more than that, we had to go full CG because you would expect to see movement in the reflections.

So it will depend on what you want the final result to be, but for a castle made of gold i would probably take the CG route...

Hope that helps,

Nick Marshall
Head of Environments / Generalists
Double Negative :: Vancouver
  02 February 2014
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