Long time since I was here. Thank you Milan for pulling me back in.
This is an awesome topic. I think it was just yesterday that I was talking to a colleague about the forums and how amazing it was back then.
Mattepainting in most studios has transitioned to Environments. I know that ILM, Digital Domain, Scanline and even Dneg have a larger team of TDs than mattepainters. Even their mattepainters are now TDs. My everyday work currently has been more on the TD side. Working on modelling, lookdev and comping shots. There is very minimal Photoshop painting and we only use that to sweeten our renders, like adding cracks and breaking the straight lines plus a little texture.
It is by no means that traditional mattepainting is dead, its more of an evolution to the craft in my opinion. As our movies become more complicated and shots more outrageous, it only makes sense to build a whole environment in 3D where we have a option the change the camera and render multiple shots in one sequence ( or set of sequences)
In our workflow, we render to a certain degree and when it still needs a bit of a push, thats when we fill it up with DMP.
At times DMP now tends to get really boring, stuck on Sky Panoramas and Enviro Panos, or adding textures, however there are still a lot of instances that DMP is the only way to go, making things faster and more efficient.
The craft is not dead or dying, it has evolved and we as traditional DMPs, we have to evolve with it. Not because its the only way to go, but because it open larger possibilities on pushing the craft further.
If you think about it, an environments team is basically a whole studio now. Composed of artists who can model. texture, lookdev, render, paint and comp. Not to mention Roto and Track.
Well, thats jsut my 2 cents