Beach after storm - Matte Painting WIP

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  09 September 2010
Beach after storm - Matte Painting WIP

This is my first go at matte painting. I'm not very happy with it right now and I would really appreciate some advice for improving the overall image.

The larger image is available here:


I took all of the images myself, with the exception of the clouds and a couple textures on the sand and wall. The original base image is from La Jolla beach in San Diego:

  09 September 2010
Welcome to the mattepainting part of this forum!

Imho this is quite good first try. I like the rainy feeling of the sky. You may get professional opinnions later, but just couple of my observations that might help improve the image:

- First thing that comes to mind that may affect that "not very happy" feeling is compositon. (Many of the later things are also related to this or ways to communicate image better) Points of interest are scattered and not actually "discussing" with each other. You have buildings at the right and (quite different style) city at the left, but everything seems to lead to empty space between them: waves, the wall, waterline, the bridge. You strongly suggest that at the middle should be something and now viewer has has to "work" to see your points of interest at the sides. It might help to give the image a little story like "what exactly did the storm do that is worth showing?" There are plenty of possibilities with composition. Investigate them to communicate things you want.

- Light is quite even, it is partly ok since this is "after storm" situation, but you could give some (high)light to the things you see as an important subjects and also some shadows where you need more contrast (or need to hide unimportant things with creative, but kind of realistic way).

- There might be something wrong with scale/perspective of the waves. If you compare size of wave details to foreground seaweed and then again to barrel or ships, they seem to get larger when going further. So maybe waves should get smaller faster.

- Light direction feels unclear. If you judge by sky, there is setting or rising Sun quite near horizon and it should probably give some orangish backlight. Waves at the seem to have some light from front/right as does the city at the left. Buildings and the wall at the right seem to have some light from left. Other things are lit quite evenly are hard to judge. Clearing the lights would help elements to integrate and also create some depth with shadow and higlight parts.

- Almost all the elements are backward from midground. Having some foreground element might help to create depth.

- Water usually reflects the color of the sky, it could have some more of gray/green hue of the sky.

- There are some very black spots at the right buildings, the left city and green ship. They seem to be far enought to have some atmospheric perspective. Applying that sligly more could also help to sell the depth.

And then some nitpicking (and artistic choices):

- Details of the beach could dissapear faster. It might be just my preference to have something easier for eye there. There is already quite a lot of detais at the one part of the image.

- Bridge at the horizon seems nice and massive, but it cuts the city in half. Maybe it could just go in to the city (but that depens a lot what do you decide to do with composition, if city changes, then this has to be considered accordingly).

- City and the buildings are quite dark. Some lights there or at the highway could create nice detail and some life also (helps people to see the human aspect- there is someone experiencing that).

- Oil from barrel was quite hard to get.

There something for starters. Hope this helps to polish the image.

Last edited by halen : 09 September 2010 at 07:59 PM. Reason: grammar
  09 September 2010
Halen, thank you very much for the constructive criticism. I really do appreciate you taking the time to respond. I'll definitely work on correcting the points that you mentioned. Thanks again!
  09 September 2010
^ Glad you found it useful. Looking forward for updates.
  09 September 2010
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