DMP Mini Challenge 011 - May 2015 - Age of Destruction


Welcome to our eleventh Digital Matte Painting monthly challenge, presented by CGSociety! These short monthly challenges are meant to be fun while at the same time, allow you to create a nice looking piece in the end and win some prizes if you place in the top three.

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:
Post one rough concept of your idea and at least two work in progress images in the forum. 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: “May 2015 - David Luong”

Objective: Take the provided plate, extend it to a cinematic 2.40:1 aspect ratio and destroy the city, as if a superhero fight would have just taken place. This can include atmospherics but should ideally not contain animated objects such as vehicles or people, as we will be judging primarily based on the clean DMP itself.


Present your final image at 2048x853 pixel resolution.

We’ll be judging on realism and creativity within the given parameters of 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:


Hello David,

Hope all is well. I have a question regarding the plate extension for this month’s mini challenge. Do you mean we need to extend this plate to a wide shot like a cityscape and do destruction? Thank you very much!



How intact must the plate elements remain regarding their actual placement, should we try to remain as true to the original plate as we can or are we free to shift elements around?


Great challenge and will do as much as possible whilst working on other projects. How accurate do you want this? do you want this based on reality or do we have artistic licence?

Its the Municipal Building in New York and the building opposite through grand is not much to look at. If you want this at ILM avengers accurate or would you like us to be artistic and create something?

Its something I have learnt working on other jobs, just want to establish grounding.

Many thanks



Yes. That’s exactly what David means.


Just wanted you all to have fun. While the final goal is photo-realism as seen in AAA high budget movies, you have some freedom with the architecture. Just make it look like a generic US American metropolis downtown. Remove the people and cars, push things around, extend the canvas to make it more of a 240 ratio, post a WIP and then destroy the city by implementing holes, etc.
Enjoy it as much as you can since there are no continuity issues with other shots for this.


Thanks Milan,

awesome, made my job a lot easier, ha ha,



Keep in mind that it should still look as realistic as possible. Lighting, textures, details, etc.
But knock yourself out and have tons of fun exploring this super loose brief!!


Awesome! This sounds like a lot of fun ^.^ I’ll definitely try my hardest to put something finished up this month in between projects and classes


When you say it “…should ideally not contain animated objects such as vehicles…” do you mean "moving vehicles, or not even "destroyed vehicles as part of the environment?

Thanks for the help.


I am putting in destroyed vehicles,

a) its a style sheet,
b) Vehicles will be on a seperate layer,
c) Will give the hard modelling department an idea where to place street furniture, and vehicles,

So I am forging ahead with vehicles as part of the environment design. I am approaching this as I would for a job. Its a locked off static shot anyhow, and that should not affect much. Plus it will speed up the pipeline.



Hi David & Milan,

Are we allowed to skew, rotate or scale the plate in order to change it’s perspective? Not sure if altering the dutch angle is breaking the rules.




The dutch angle and the perspective can be worked with on this plate its a challenge I agree. I have managed to work with it.

If you are allowed to change it to the degree you want, I would be seriously upset.

Dutch angles are used as a compositional tool to invoke a sense of fear, off world, delusion often the view of one of the characters to invoke a sense of the world not being right.

The wide angle is used to establish a sense of place and being, normally with a straight horizon, when not done straight it adds a dynamic to the shot.

If you turned round at a VFX house and asked to straighten the shot and zoom in, you would be changing the DoP work, and vision. They get paid to make the shot decision not you. It would be incredibly rude. If you were working for my business and said this in front of the DoP/Producer I would take you off the project. Even to the point of firing you.

Not being mean, just being truthful work with the plate you have, you can do it.



Hi, we are new here, and this is our first DMP challenge, and i apologize for my scholastic english.
I have a question for this Challenge, could i use fire, smoke or waterfalls?



Hi Daniele, welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

Regarding your question, there should not be any animated elements in the final matte painting, as generally these elements would be composited later onto the clean plate.


Welcome Daniele, and right on the clarification there Andrew to Daniele!

Heyo Caroline,

Great for you to join us! :slight_smile:

Destroyed vehicles are ok as part of the scenery, but nothing that should be animatable or moving such as a regular car of ship or the such. You’re fine in that thinking Richard for your 3 steps.

Allo Dave! Please keep the same base plate and angle, only extending it in any direction to create that aspect ratio needed, which is 2.4:1


Thank you, David! Will do. :slight_smile:


Thanks for the feedback, Richard. Glad David could elaborate before I got started.


This challenge is very exciting, I love the subject of it. And I am so honored to be a part of it with all of you. Attached is a copy of my concept sketch. Please tell me what you think.


Forgive me but this is the first challenge I’ve entered and I have tried to create a new thread twice and they haven’t posted. I fear I might be doing something wrong.

Nevermind, it posted. I think it takes a minute.