Where to start - Matte Painting

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Old 11 November 2012   #1
Where to start - Matte Painting

Hi everybody,
After much reflection and considering that I've a strong background in photography, I've finally decided that my long-term goal is to become a Matte Painting and Digital Environment Artist for films.
I've followed a tutorial on Vue and Photoshop, which are programs that I already know well, and I realize that I am faster and understand better the workflow in this sector than in modelling and texturing.
In reference, I've some questions that I need some help answerings:
To get a job in Matte Painting / Digital Environment, which skills in the following software will I need to master?
Maya
Nuke
Photoshop
Vue
Others?

Any additional information, pointer or advice that you can give me would be greatly appreciates.
Thank you so much.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #2
It depends on companies and what they use. Definitely photoshop is must. And also if you check in company's matte painter requirement they expect some set of applications (most of them) like photoshop, maya or max, nuke or after effects , vue or world machine or terragen and some wanted scripting knowledge.

most important is:
Should be good in colors
Should be good in perspective/scale/projection
Should be good in attention to details
Should be good in overall composition
Photography is important but optional
Traditional art - optional
AND GOOD DEMOREEL

GoodLuck
Girish
 
Old 11 November 2012   #3
Thank you for your kindle response and your advice, which I will take on board.
In reference to the software application that you listed, please could you explain which parts of Photoshop, 3D Packages composition, composition software, environment software I will need to learn for Matte painting?
What do you mean by scripting?
Thank You.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #4
Basically, you need to know Photoshop to a level where you can do standard matte painting tasks without being slowed down by the software. Most will know photoshop inside out, but you only really need half of it to do matte painting work.
After Effects won't really be enough in my experience. You will want to jump right in and learn Nuke, particularly how to do Nuke projections using your matte paintings. That is becoming more of a standard practice these days...
You will want to learn maya to at least a basic level. Enough to be able to construct your own projection geo and do a projection setup in maya too. I think its a benefit to know how to model, texture, light and render an asset to drop into a matte painting too, but its not essential.

Learning Vue is handy, but I find I only use it very occassionally and for very specific tasks. I put it at around the same priority level as learning zbrush/mudbox (ok maybe slightly higher priority than that but its very rarely used in film).

On a more personal level you will need to be very motivated, be able to analyse and criticise your own work and be very forward thinking.

Hope it helps,
N

Last edited by nickmarshallvfx : 11 November 2012 at 11:34 PM.
 
Old 11 November 2012   #5
Can you use Adobe After Effects for matte paintings?
 
Old 11 November 2012   #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Melvincole
Can you use Adobe After Effects for matte paintings?


Yes and no. To do the actual matte painting photoshop is the standard. Its alot quicker and easier than trying to do complex matte paintings in After Effects. For the compositing part of the process, After Effects is fine but more difficult when it comes to fine control and conplex composites. Also Nuke has powerful and very user friendly projection capabilities, whereas you would have to use a 3d package if you are using After Effects (I think, unless that's changed recently?).
So if its just compositing your matte paintings then After Effects is fine, but its not industry standard, it gets tough with complex scripts and its missing the projection system of Nuke, so really its not the best bet... I'd always recomment picking up a PLE of Nuke instead. Once you get past that initial shock of going from a layer based comp package to a node based one, it gets a lot easier and you suddenly see all the benefits that nodal compositing offers. Give it a few months of solid effort and you'll never go back.

N
 
Old 11 November 2012   #7
Thank you glitches for your advices.

Thank you nickmarshallvfx for your exhaustive reply.
And so, Photoshop plus Nuke plus Maya are the necessary arsenal for a matte painter?

Later, Vue and a basic knowledge of ZBrush/Mudbox would a plus.

As I want to enter into films, some people have advised me to learn Mari.
What do you think about this?

Someone has advised me to buy a video of perspective and free hand drawing.
In your opinion, would it be useful for me to understand perspective and learn free hand drawing?
Maybe it would be better one on the composition and/or on the colors.

Thank you.
 
Old 07 July 2013   #8
DMP requirements

Dear Allanon,
I don't think there's a formula to becoming a matte painter.

Here is a typical DMP listing:
We are currently looking for a Digital Matte Painter.

Job Responsibilities:
  • Create photo-realistic backgrounds and environments to match the overall look and feel of the film,
  • Combine skills in painting and 3D animation with knowledge of design, photography, and digital modelling to create two-dimensional and three-dimensional images for film,
  • Contribute to the visual and technical attributes of the production.
Requirements:
  • Skilled in painting photo-real images using photo reference to create the highest quality digital set extensions, skies, elements, and environments,
  • Strong traditional art skills including knowledge of color, lighting, perspective, and composition,
  • Advanced 2D skills in Photoshop and/or Mari with 3D experience, preferably in Maya,
  • Ability to complete work within the bid time frame, while maintaining constant communication with production teams and other CG artists,
  • A Bachelor's degree in illustration, industrial design, or fine art preferred,
  • 2.5D / 3D projecting experience is a plus,
  • Strong knowledge of photography is a bonus, especially in relation to lenses,
  • Demonstrable skills in Concept design desirable but not essential,
  • Vue and/or Modo experience would be an asset.
All interested applicants should email their resumes with the subject reading “Matte Painter". Please include the address of your web portfolio in your resume.




What this means is that you have to be proficient at creating a final image that looks real. Even though Photoshop is standard, any company would still hire you without additional Software skills if your portfolio was extraordinarily strong!


What you want to demonstrate is a good understanding of lighting, perspective and color; not that you know how to push buttons. Supervisors look at final images and how well your "eye" is trained. Especially as a Junior, you will want to demonstrate before and after comparisons between your matte painting and the original plate. Build a strong foundation, then worry about knowing Maya, Mari and Nuke.
 
Old 08 August 2013   #9
Becoming a Matte Painter

Please keep in mind that softwares are tools. There is no formula to becoming a Matte Painter. You have to first be well versed in general art skills and develop a keen eye for lighting before you can dive in to photo-realistic work such as Matte Painting, in my opinion. Especially Mari is a complimentary to your workflow, rather than something you should base your skill set on: http://www.thefoundry.co.uk/article...il-retribution/

As for fundamental skills, I personally tend to mix and match along the way: https://vimeo.com/4223172

If you would like to build a solid foundation, you should consider a BA in Fine Art and then an MA in something like Visual Effects.
David's DMP course is also a very good place to start:
http://www.davidluong.net/cgworkshop/
No matter what level you're at, David will help you improve your skills and re-fuel your motivation/determination.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanonVFX
Thank you glitches for your advices.

Thank you nickmarshallvfx for your exhaustive reply.
And so, Photoshop plus Nuke plus Maya are the necessary arsenal for a matte painter?

Later, Vue and a basic knowledge of ZBrush/Mudbox would a plus.

As I want to enter into films, some people have advised me to learn Mari.
What do you think about this?

Someone has advised me to buy a video of perspective and free hand drawing.
In your opinion, would it be useful for me to understand perspective and learn free hand drawing?
Maybe it would be better one on the composition and/or on the colors.

Thank you.
__________________
I'm making a movie!!

Last edited by milanschere : 08 August 2013 at 07:41 PM. Reason: Spelling
 
Old 08 August 2013   #10
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