DMP Mini Challenge_007 - January 2015 - Architectural De-Modernization


one question can we able to change the textures of the base pale at some point to match with the environment i mean the texture of bricks or like that,


Welcome Anna Lisa!

Please create the thread in the main forum, not embedded in this thread. Thank you!

You must use this base image plate, the reference/inspiration images are there for that only, reference. Create a world based on the worlds noted (Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Penny Dreadful). It MUST be photo real in the end, and so using photos or 3D is recommended, unless you can paint photo real as well.

Thanks, glad you can join! In a real production environment, it’s whatever the director/art director wants. In this case, we are acting as that. Please take the base image and go off of those rules set forth, that is, extend the image on any of the sides to fit the base aspect ratio with nice composition in respect to the referred worlds noted.

You sure can as long as it matches the theme (Penny Dreadful, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter) as this month, you are de-modernizing the plate to be in a more period piece. However, this building already can fit in that world. So I would only change it if you need to. It’s the extended buildings around it that needs to match together.


Each month we feature a professional guest judge from the industry in order to assist us in judging these monthly mini DMP challenges. For the month of January, please welcome Jason Horley.

Jason graduated in 1993 with a Higher National Diploma in Illustration, and for the first few years of his career illustrated book covers and magazines. His path towards film began In 1996 when he joined the Disney studios in Paris for 5 years, working in the Background Painting Department on Hercules, Tarzan and Atlantis. In 2000 Jason moved back to London and joined Framestore as a Matte Painter, transitioning his professional work to digital. He became Head of the Matte Painting department at Framestore and worked on many films including the Harry Potter series, Sherlock Holmes, World War Z and Gravity to name a few. During his time at Framestore he also worked in the Art Department doing concept art and pitch work for upcoming projects. Currently, Jason is Digimatte Supervisor at ILM in London, and like before he is doing a mixture of DMPs for shot production and concept art in the Art Department. In his spare time he still paints traditionally, mainly acrylics or oils, and attends life drawing classes each week to try to keep the drawing and observation skills up.

Emmy nomination for:
Outstanding Special Visual Effects For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Special
for: Secrets Of The Deep • Discovery Channel • Impossible Pictures in association with Discovery Channel (2007)

VES Award won for:
Best Matte Painting in a Televised Program, Music Video, or Commercial
for: “Dinotopia” (2002/I) (mini)

Please, make sure to visit his online portfolio at:

Sherlock Holmes:

Harry Potter:



Give Jason a warm welcome into our community and don’t miss the rare opportunity to receive his feedback on your Digital Matte Painting work this month.


Super nice.
Welcome on board Jason. Here you have a great admirer of your art.
Hope i can finish my piece on time…



Hello Milan, David, and participating artists… and welcome Jason. :slight_smile:

Just thought I’d share a fantastic library database of thousands of hi-res Victorian-era photos that I found a couple of days ago: Wish I had come across it sooner! But noO0oo, I find it less than a week before this month’s deadline. It’s proving to be really helpful though. Anyway, I know it’s a little late but definitely worth a look for future reference!

LinkedIn profile


Good find! Handy link.


Great resource, thanks Thaddeus! I’ll add this to the DMP Tome of Knowledge!


And the winners for January 2015’s challenge are…

1st: Melaina Mace

Jason’s comments: Melaina has completed a very good DMP here, ending up with a nice clean result that is well balanced in terms of colour, values, and lighting, which shows she has an eye for what looks real and natural. There is a delicate touch in blending the original plate with added reference to create a believable world that fits the brief. All the added elements feel that they belong, so nothing jumps out as looking out of place.
Critique: Not too much to change here, but there are a few things i would do.
I would replace the sky. The colour of the sky is good and works well with the rest of the DMP, but it would be nice to have some detail, even if it was subtle. Just the odd hint of variation in cloud cover could help bring the image to life. I would also watch some of the edges on the added elements. At 100% i can see some white lines around the edges of some rooftops. These are small changes, and would be quick to implement, and apart from that i’d say well done. Good work!

Milan’s comments: This is the cleanest and most realistic Matte Painting we ever had as an entry in any of these competitions. Other than some edge work, it is technically well put together with a good sense of how much is needed in order to sell a shot and make everything work. Very professional work. My main critique is a lack of creativity. You stayed within a very clear comfort level and performed outstandingly but I would have loved to see some additional elements that might tell the story of this particular environment. Although Matte Paintings usually have no characters or animated objects, they can still radiate some life. It’s a gloomy day and while most people won’t be able to afford it, there could still be some lights on. Maybe one or two candles in isolated rooms where someone needs to do something that requires more visibility? Signs also elaborate on who lives where and does what. The street itself feels wonderfully empty and I know at most studios GAK is being handled by the assets department but some static objects, like barrels, bottles, etc. could have been left on the sidewalk, or infront of a door or something. Just some ideas to infuse a bit of energy without complicating things. Just a thought. Overall great and very straight forward entry. Very well done. Congratulations.

David’s comments: Congrats on first place here! Had a chance to write up a critique and give some final notes on this. In general, the most solid and believable piece for me. Nice, bleak and soot haze filled portrayal of London without any people or anything, which you can add in live action/3D easily later on. You softened the shadows very well on the main house roof, with just a few technical issues I’ve pointed out in the image below

  • Soften up shadows on the top part of building from awning like you did on the roof
  • Slightly too blurry in the middle BG buildings
  • Some .JPG compression artifacting on the edge of middle BG building
  • Slightly blurry edge on right hand side.
  • Final image not submitted at 1920x1080 (it seems to be 1749x983)

Thanks for entering in the challenge and hope to see you more around!

2nd: Dave Tipper

Jason’s comments: One thing i love with these challenges is the variety of results given the same brief. I really like Dave’s entry. The ambience has the feeling of the era, with its gloomy grey overcast palette. The location of a harbor works well, and the added elements are blended in with the plate very nicely. The composition is well planned out and well balanced. The steps screen right leading the eye in to the frame was a good idea, and adding the ships screen right and the distant steeple screen left keep the DMP well framed. Everything is well thought through.
Critique: From a far things look great, but as always i like to go in to 100% or more, and look at the details. Again, not much to change here in my opinion, but i would say that there is varying levels of grain on the reference used, especially in the sky, which would be problematic if this was a real shot. It’s something all matte painters have to be careful of. You may find the ideal piece of reference, but if it’s too grainy you can’t use it. There are ways of reducing grain, but it’s not always successful. It may be easier to replace the problem areas completely, especially with a sky which should be easy enough. Well done though on this entry.

Milan’s comments: Very good feel you have achieved here, Dave. A well deserved second place. As for critique, there are a number of technical things to point out, such as varying defocus levels on separate elements, etc. I’m not sure if this is a calibration issue on your monitor but the black levels could benefit from some re-adjustment. Always make sure your darkest darks are in the FG and they get washed out as you move into the distance. This is not exactly easy to do in a foggy night scene though. The lights were a good addition and gave you the finer edge. Nice touch. Unfortunately, I never got used to your railing on screen left bottom. In a professional environment, if an element is not working 100% then your art director or supervisor might ask you to toss it out and explore other options. I think you’ve gotten the best out of the existing set-up but the nature of the sloping ground and tricky perspective just makes everything feel a bit out of sync, if you know what I mean. It is your job to find a plausible solution in situations such as this. Currently, I just find it’s not ideal but it kind of works and is most likely even accurate. If you ever felt like re-visiting this image in the future, I recommend trying out some other things in that corner. That’s my 2 cents. Hope to see you again in February.

David’s comments: You posted the highest res here, even though you didn’t have to. And the 4K came out pretty well! A few things to point out as I was looking at the 4K as presented. But of course, scaled down to 1080p, things would meld a bit more and you won’t have to worry as much about the blurry detail. However, things like matte edges and sharpness or black levels will still come into play at a lower res. Overall, I love the mood and the open water dock feel here. Great dynamic range and balance of overall black levels and colors. Nothing super too dark or too bright. And of course, great use of The Prancing Pony signs there Bonus points in my book! Below is the familiar notes you got from when you took my workshop

  • Some blurry elements as pointed out, slightly mitigated when down ressing to 1080p, but should still be looked at
  • Some textures that could be blurred up just slightly, left side
  • Some buildings that are just silhouettes and could use detail to match the other parts of the scene which has it
  • Black levels on the lower lamp post vs ground near docks could be balanced
  • Boat behind the lamp post is messing with the silhouette just a bit
  • The FG lamp post on the right is on, but it’s still mid day, and is just a bit too yellow. Could desat a bit.
  • Far left hand side could use darker black levels to separate elements in Z depth.

But overall great, congrats on second place here Dave!

3rd: Dylan Pierpont

Jason’s comments: Another good entry here from Dylan that fits the brief well. Great blending of colours within to this chosen colour range. The smog, or mist, adds an extra level of atmosphere to the polluted city of that age. Adding London’s Tower Bridge was a bold move, so well done for that, and it works in portraying that idealized vision of London so many film makers want to capture when making films of this subject matter. Extra elements such as puddles and the piles of crates are also a nice touch.
Critique: The dark and ominous sky is very moody, so i think i would have played down the high contrast a bit on the main building, and building screen right. It’s good to have a focal point, which this does, but i would have tried toning it down a touch, lifting the black levels and bringing down the highlights. The contrast on this matte painting is just a bit too strong in my opinion. Monitor calibration is important for matte painters, as when working on film we have to be very careful with both black and white levels. Going in 100% i see a few edge issues. Not a big deal, but would be easy to adjust. Good job.

Milan’s comments: Awesome. Your image rocks. It’s more of a hyper-real illustration than a photo-real Matte Painting but the mood is incredibly romantic and I don’t mind the stylized feel of your final image. There are some logistic issues with the lighting though. It’s inspiring to see your painterly light-play with the pools and selective sun hits. Very artistic within such a narrow realm. However, you must respect more of reality and mother nature. If the front facade of the main building is receiving that strong direct light, some other stuff in the same general direction should also get a bit of that. You have to think on a global level with this. Matte Painting concepts often get signed off like this and it’s your job to then go in and make everything work in a refined and realistic way. Let’s say you’re 70% there and have to now clean it up. One other critique point I have is about your composition. The massive structure is cool and gives it almost a sci-fi feel, which I very much enjoy, but if you frame something in this matter it would usually have to contribute to the story. While in that case there is then not enough attention on the tower bridge itself! You have to pick one or the other. Either point out the obvious by making the bridge more interesting, or do the opposite by making it less of an eye catcher. Those are my thoughts. I like the painting.

David’s comments: Love the reimagination of the Tower London bridge, even though I know the scale is a bit off, it works in general with everything together. Great use of the element! I like the last sun light of the day feel of this piece with the contrast of the darker looming sky on the top left. The smoke stacks really make the place feel dirty in the atmosphere even if unintentional by it’s citizens. Nice and clear ground/roads leading through the city, and I like the wetness on the ground as well as those nicely stacked up boxes on the right! Here are some general notes, just like from the workshop :stuck_out_tongue:

  • Great thickness of smoke stacks on the left side. But on the right, it could be thinner, and less black as it’s closer to us and smaller in scale.
  • Some slight fringing on the top of the main building, some white specs.
  • Also not noted in the image notes, far left hand side of the gray building/lamp post is just a bit out of place. And maybe dirty/weather up the white building just a bit more that is to the left of the main lit building.

Other than that, great! Congrats on 3rd place here.

Honorable Mention: Tntb

Jason’s comments: Good DMP from TNTB. The overall colors work really well and overall the feeling of a city in the late 19th century is well observed. Adding street advertising and shop awnings is a very effective way of capturing the period. I also like the variation of street surface and materials, and the different specular highlights that produces. For what could be an uninteresting ground surface adding these touches really brings the DMP to life.
Critique: The sky is a little blown out in the whites. Again, we have to be careful of black and white levels in matte painting. When a sky gets too bright it’s not then possible to grade it down without those blown out white areas going flat grey. So in dark areas or light areas of a DMP there should always be detail to pull back on and avoid clipping when it gets composited. At 100% some of the reference is sharper than other parts which are slightly softer. In production we’d possibly need to replace some areas, but for this exercise this is a good entry.

Milan’s comments: Congratulations Tntb on the honourable mention you have achieved here this month. I have one major overall critique point for you: You have put a tremendous amount of effort into your image but it somewhat lacks visual unity. By that I mean, that you have concentrated on individual elements and pockets, rather than the overall picture. You notice this on lighting discrepancies, such as mismatching shadow intensities. Your Matte Painting would now need one final round of balancing in order to bring everything together. For this you must think on a global light interaction level, analysing how the light behaves within your environment as one, instead of how each separate piece fits into the puzzle by itself. Things I really enjoy in your piece are little creative decisions you have made, such as breaking up the ground surface and adding GAK like wood crates etc. Good job. Keep it up.

David’s comments: Pretty cool piece here too. Love the texture you have overall on the ground, and the general dressing of the set on the ground. It’s got nice contrast in this image. Some technical notes for you in the image

  • Some matte edges pointed out
  • Blurry textures in some spots, top left
  • Lamp post in the far left FG could probably be just removed, it’s a little too blurry, and cut off to help with framing
  • Bottom left barrels and fruits maybe catching too much top environment light, darken intensity
  • Fade off your light intensity on the main building, so the bottom of that pointed out sun area isn’t so bright in intensity, drawing your eye away from the focus point
  • Some slightly too green black levels in the distance, and maybe a tad too bright
  • Lift up black levels a bit more so it melds closer to the horizon clouds in the far BG (not the boats)
  • Smoke stack getting cut off in the bright BG, keep it consistent in opacity, unless you want to add light wrap in general to it
  • Add light wrap from BG bright sky to FG buildings nearby.
  • Boxes in FG just a bit too blurry.

Congrats on the honorable mention! We could only choose one, and so many other there that were great too.

The winners will be getting:

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

Congrats to all! Thanks to everyone for joining, and we hope to see you next month for February 2015 (which will be announced soon!!)


Congratulations guys! Really professional work! Not entirely unexpected though as your all in the game and film industry :slight_smile:

Bring on the next brief :D!!


congratulation to all the winners… Melaina Mace, Dave Tipper, Dylan Pierpont and Tntb. specially i like tntb`s work bcoz his work is really outstading. particularly the colour level of mattepaint and the detailed work. :keenly:


Great results guys. It’s interesting to see how people take the same base image in so many different directions, but in the end they all support the brief very well.


Congratulations to the winners! Really beautiful work, I’m happy to be on this challenge with you guys :wink: Keep it up!


wow thanks and congrats! I bet that was a difficult one to call - so many great entries. :slight_smile: dave


Congratulations guys, very impressive work here, I look forward to joining in soon.


Congratulations, to all the Winners! :slight_smile:


Hey !
Very good choice.
Congrats to winners !
Rendez-vous in the febuary challenge !



Congrats all!! So much awesome work this month. :drool:


Congrats to the winners!! You did a great work


Congratulations Melaina, Dave, Dylan, and Tibor
and to everybody else too. :slight_smile:

There were so many fantastic entries for this last challenge. I agree with Joel that it’s fun to see how people approach the same image and turn it into something so different. I personally feel this one verged on being almost too close to call. So David, Milan, and Jason, I can’t imagine how you guys managed it
must’ve been a tough decision and interesting process. Have to admit I don’t really understand the results though. Sorry, no disrespect intended, just a bit surprised with the final shakedown. When it comes to artwork, I know it’s all very subjective
so kudos to everybody and major respect!

Excited about the next challenge
and driving my wife nuts by talking about it.
LinkedIn profile


Congrats to the winners, all well worthy of the prizes.