DMP Mini Challenge 003 - September 2014 - Ancient Walled Kingdom


Welcome everyone to the third Digital Matte Painting monthly challenge, presented by CGSociety! These short monthly challenges will give you a chance to hone in your skills or learn new ones. We will be providing a different theme each month, with a base plate, as well as guidelines. It will be judged by myself, and Milan Schere with guest judges in the future. Guest judge for this month is Fabio Barretta Zungrone, a senior cinematic concept/matte painting artist at Blizzard Entertainment. More info here:

These are meant to be fun while at the same time, allow you to hopefully, create a nice looking piece in the end (and win some prizes if you place in the top 3!). These pieces will be a production style frame to be presented to the client for approval, so it could be a clean matte painting, or a concept in photo real quality. As always, supporting the story according to the theme is paramount in both technical terms, and creative terms.

All skill levels of artists are welcome in this challenge!

The prizes for top 3 placements are:

1st Prize: 1 x CGWorkshop, 1 xCGTOD, 1 x Ballistic Book of Choice, 1 x CGSConnect Membership
2nd Prize: 1x CGTOD, 1 x Ballistic Book of Choice, 1 x CGSConnect Membership
3rd Prize: 1 x Ballistic Book of Choice, 1 x CGSConnect Membership

Required in every monthly challenge to qualify for the prizes:

An early rough concept of your idea, at least TWO W.I.P’s (work in progress drafts) in the forum for critiques or you will not qualify. Your final draft must be delivered on or before 11:59pm PST on the last day of the month of the challenge.

To enter, simply create a new thread in this forum with the DATE of challenge and name such as: “September 2014 - David Luong”

For this month of July, the theme is “Ancient Walled Kingdom” and the brief as follows:

“Some call it the King’s Mountain. It’s walls were never breached due to it’s intricate design for efficient movement of troops on top and strategic placements of towers. It’s walls protected the kingdom against even a giant’s attack and can withstand attacks from the greatest artillery. The beautifully built walls protected all behind it with it’s great height and impenetrable bricks that were seemingly as hard as sapphire, but looked as plain as day.
Behind these walls lay a magnificent race and culture, and only those with an esteemed heritage or of noble blood may be invited in.”

Base Plate Preview:

Original, to give you a better idea of what the surrounding area was like:

Base Template Download, 16-bit .TIF full resolution

Base Plate Template and notes:

Objective: To create a full HD 1920x1080p digital matte painting production style frame . This can include “still frames” of animated objects such as smoke, water, atmospherics etc but this is to be a finished photo real still frame image as if presenting to a potential client.

  • Take the base plate we have provided, extend it as shown below, and work at double resolution of final output, which is 3840x2160. Template will be provided for you, just extract the base plate, carefully extracting the tree edges, and matte paint away. Post all works in progress images at 1000px wide, no larger. At the end of the challenge, post the full 1920x1080 HD resolution image, hosted on your own server (Don’t forget to save a duplicate for this image resize, not on the original working file!).

  • REQUIREMENT: Create a massive defense wall based on the brief on the left hand side, with also smaller defense structures scattered around the mountain hill in and around the trees. Building on the the original forest plate is allowed, but integrate it well!

  • REQUIREMENT: Create a complementary sky with clouds to go along with this plate.

  • REQUIREMENT: This image must be based on an ancient but advanced building culture (more than 1000 years old) with landscape being lush enough for this type of environment.

  • Tip: Focal length of the image is approximately 25mm.

  • Tip: Horizon line is very low in this image as it was shot slightly tilted up and much lower on the ground (see base plate preview).

  • Read the brief and come up with your own unique ideas based on the story, it should be inspired from the reference images and the brief.

  • Keep the green portion of the original base plate, discard the rest and use a mix of 2D and or 3D techniques to digital matte paint in the rest. Extraction cleanliness will be part of this monthly challenge.

  • Feel free to alter the original color of the base plate so that it fits into your new environment overall. But, match the original lighting as best as possible!

  • Works in progress (W.I.P.) MUST be shown here in order to be considered for prize placement. You must have at least a basic concept, AND at least two rough versions posted in the forum for critiques or you will not qualify.

Some inspiration for this theme:

We’ll be judging on clean matte edges, lighting direction and color accuracy according to the original plate, and creativity based on the brief in this challenge. Good luck to everyone! Please feel free to ask any questions here.

As always, you can ask general digital matte painting questions, and post WIP work not pertaining to this challenge in the regular DMP forum here:


Great! I’m in! Always want to make something like this. Looking forward to the special guest~XD


question: can we scale down the base plate and built on top of it?


Heyo Eric!

Great questions, you can build on top of the plate (structures and such) but keep the scale of the plate the same (so don’t scale it down). Hope you have time to join ya!! :slight_smile:


Hahahah, I wish I could, sounds fun! My schedules at work are crazy so lets see… If I find time at the end of the month maybe hahahaha.

Second question, can we change the mood or time of day, Say make the plate look like its in the afternoon or a day for night DMP.



Oh ok :stuck_out_tongue: yes you can change the time of day or mood!


That topic sounds pretty cool. :slight_smile:
Maybe I will be in this month, but not sure yet.


Heyo Tony,

Would be great to have you! When do you start in Vancouver?


Gonna try and make time for this one…
Superb topic… And love the way its been briefed…




I am pleased to be part of this mini challenge but I do have some questions… :bounce:

  1. Is it allowed to add a mountain and trees?

  2. Is it allowed to move/alter elements in the plate such as trees or mountains?

  3. When you say defenses walls on left hand side, does it mean that the majority of my defense wall should be on that side?

  4. The scattered defense structure; can it placed anywhere apart from the hill? The reason being that my defense wall extends to the top of the hill, can I place the scattered defense structure behind or and around that area?

Thanks a lot! :buttrock:



Heyo Guys,

  1. You can add more mountains/trees behind this plate yes.
  2. Do not move or alter textures on this plate, unless…see #4
  3. Yes, majority of huge wall should be on the left hand side behind this plate
  4. You can place additional structures and smaller towers and such on this hill peak or in and around the forest. But don’t alter too much of it, it must match the original lighting/values/tree style.


Hi David,

What do you mean:

“4. Majority of the wall should be left hand side…”?

We should see the wall mostly on the left hand?



Yes, that’s the idea! Though I’ve already seen one person creatively go about this already. Very interesting concepts.


Ah I see, should be interesting to see the output from the guys on this one.

I guess the challenge is on how to successfully do it while keeping a good composition… should be a fun challenge


This is cool, and I am in! :beer: Since this is my first time in this monthly challenge, I am really looking forward to learn a lot from you guys! :bowdown: :bowdown:



Is the challenge still open?
Can I submit my work?

Regards Vishal


You sure can, be sure to follow the rules outlined though. Good luck!



Where and how to upload my work



To enter, simply create a new thread in this forum with the DATE of challenge and name such as: “September 2014 - David Luong”

You can attach images to your posts, host them yourself on your site, blog, etc. or use a free image hosting website.

Good luck.


Guest judge for this month is Fabio Barretta Zungrone, a senior cinematic concept/matte painting artist at Blizzard Entertainment. More info here: