There are some interesting points being made here, and I agree with most of them.
A 100% digital matte painter (as in: someone who spends 100% of their time in photoshop) is a rare thing these days - but they are still extremely valuable if they are genuinely good, and well worth the investment of TD to support them.
The thing I would most love to change is this:
And if at the end it looks creepy, no problem: we can always ask someone to paint on top and reproject.
:arteest: Sad but frequently true.
This relegates DMP to a somewhat ‘B-list’ position, where talented artists aren’t trusted to do the work from the outset, but are then called upon to fix everything at the last minute.
This, I think, is a disservice to the craft - and whoever figures it out properly will see the benefits in speed and quality and efficiency. If the pixels that actually make it to a screen were (mostly) created by an artist in a rush in only a few days - most of the build process prior to this was somewhat of a waste of time. :shrug:
I’ve been pushing for a different perception (hopefully with some success) - matte painting and projection should be considered as a key tool from the very beginning, and not a final step of CG touchups. It’s not a binary decision of going ‘2D’ or ‘3D’ any more - we can combine many different techniques within the same shot, project textures, render reflection passes, and so on - to get a photo-real shot in the shortest possible time.
The department I run is called ‘3DDMP’ for this reason, and contains pure matte painters, modellers, lighters, environment TDs, generalists, and everything inbetween. Matte painting is a key part of the machine, and I don’t see it disappearing any time soon.
If anything, renders are getting so heavy that lighters and dedicated ‘3D’ centric CG supervisors are starting to look at re-projection workflows to save on render resource. Photogrammetry is becoming an increasingly powerful tool - and has more in common with a matte painting workflow than it does assets. I’m therefore not seeing cutting edge developments ‘kill off’ matte painting as people seem to like suggesting from time to time - if anything they are making it more likely to be used, and not less.
In answer to the original question that started this thread - the single, big DMP establishing shots that one single artist can lay claim to ARE rare. Maybe that’s what attracted people to forums like this. Posting an image that would take several paragraphs to even START to describe how it was done is less accessible, and less impressive to someone looking in from the outside.
Possibly that’s why concept art continues to have the ‘glamorous’ spotlight, despite having far fewer paying jobs worldwide, and very few of those being the Mullins/Church/Tiemens/Lasaine role that most aspire to. It’s cool, obvious, accessible and easy to explain.
(For fun, check out how many people on LinkedIn claim to be ‘concept artists’ vs how many claim ‘matte painter’)