DMP Mini Challenge 014 - May 2016 - The Sky Beneath Our Feet


Welcome to our first monthly Digital Matte Painting challenge in 2016 presented by CGSociety! We’re posting this super early also to give you more time on a finished piece. Please, follow the provided brief and guidelines. This challenge will be judged by David Luong, Milan Schere and one guest judge, at the end of the month.

All skill levels of artists are welcome in this challenge! Please, respect this if you decide to participate.

THE SKY BENEATH OUR FEET is a science fiction love story written by Milan Schere. In this vision of Earth, every power country has a space elevator, after Disnemerika has shown them all how to physically create one. Being the only territory to own two. They are constructed from top to bottom, utilizing natural gravity forces for stabilization in the building process. The male character goes off to explore Gliese 581 C, an Earth-like planet discovered by the Intergalactic Space Command in recent years, while his girlfriend stays behind on earth.

Brief: Create your vision of a space elevator set in an Earth environment of your choice using digital matte painting techniques. Your image is not limited to a view of Disnemerika’s main elevator in Torontokyo but you are free to set your scene in your own future vision of any place you want. In Milan’s story corporations have replaced governments, while war has become the most popular form of sports entertainment with hero soldiers receiving the same type of fame we dedicate towards professional athletes today. Be creative while striving to present an end result ready to be delivered to the client.

The prizes for top 3 placements are:

1st Prize:

  • A spot in CGWorkshop of choice
  • Feedback on your work from our professional guest judge

2nd Prize:

  • One digital copy of “Advanced Matte Painting” video tutorial
  • Feedback on your work from the creator Milan Schere

3rd Prize:

  • An ArtRage Lite license
  • One digital copy of “Introduction to Matte Painting” video tutorial
  • Feedback on your work from forum leader David Luong

Sponsored by:

Ambient Design ArtRage Lite - A realistic painting program for Windows & Mac OSX, part of the range of ArtRage painting apps from Ambient Design. ArtRage offers something different to the standard digital art program: a bit messier, a bit more room for inspiration, and extremely flexible. No other program offers the gorgeous textures, easy colour mixing and creative freedom that ArtRage does:

Procon Pictures - Providing VFX for film and television, Procon Pictures is currently producing The Sky Beneath Our Feet created by Milan Schere. With full on-set and digital services the studio can take projects from pre, through production to post. Find out more at:

The Sky Beneath Our Feet - Under the guidance of an award-winning cinematographer, the team, consisting of experienced industry professionals, is bringing a mesmerizing love story of two star-crossed lovers to life, finding its way into the heart of it’s audience like a beautiful vintage postcard from a time and place that will take you on an emotional roller-coaster ride. With its unique fast-paced storytelling style this project is an exciting film experience that will definitely stand out from the multitude of entertainment products being produced today. Visit the official website now:

Milan Schere - A visual effects artist with a decade of experience in feature film and television. His previous works includes movies such as Crimson Peak, Hanna, Dredd, Mama, The Strain and many more. After helping other director’s bring their vision to life for all these years, Milan felt that it was finally his turn to create the movie we would enjoy watching. The original script is based in a world he has been developing for a long time and all design principles his my own concepts. The project originally started as “Six Days: A Love Story” and one of the initial Styleframes has become the cover of Ballistic Publishing’s d’artiste Matte Painting 3, but it has now evolved into the development of a film which he hopes to complete within the next year. Check out more of his professional work here:

Disclaimer: Delivery of the prizes is the responsibility of the sponsors, not CGSociety.

Required in this month’s challenge to qualify for the prizes:

  1. To enter, simply create a new thread in this forum with the DATE of challenge and name such as: “May 2016 - Simone De Salvatore”
  2. Post a conceptual art piece visualizing your idea of the finished product without any format restrictions.
  3. Submit your finished piece and any supporting material before June 2016 by embedding it in your thread.

We’ll be judging on creativity and execution in this challenge. It’s a fine balance between originality in design and setting the mood, as well as photo-realistic quality. Good luck to everyone! Please feel free to ask any questions here.

Tips: The first few pages of the script are available through the Blog and should be enough to put you into the right mind set to get started.

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:


Glad we’re back :slight_smile: I’m away at the start of May but hoping that I can get this early start then finish off when I’m back before the deadline!

Good luck all! :slight_smile:


Really excited to participate in this one, since it’ll be my first.

Unfortunately there is a requirement of concept drawing as well, but I’m really bad at those ^^’
Does the quality of a conceptual art piece affect the judging of a final work?
Thanks beforehand for the answer.


My Uni deadline is mid May but I’m hoping to do this afterwards. Will there be another competition running in June? Is this monthly?


Hello Milan, David,

For the space elevator, shall we create something from Inside the elevator (as if we used it to go up or down), or a view from the exterior (maybe above the elevator) ?



Hi Sergey, good to have you on board.

Regarding your question about concept art, generally it is to convey a vision, and give a loose impression of how the end piece might look.

As long as it does this sucessfully it really does not have to be some amazing work of art, even then ideas can change through the process of the DMP.

As this is a matte painting competition, the final judgement will be made based on your finished matte painting, not the quality of your initial design.


Thank you for clearing that up for me =)
I’ll do my best then)


Wow ) Amazing news! I am so glad, that this challange is back. I will definitaly try and do something =) And wow first time I hear about Milan’s story and project. Pretty darn cool stuff! Interesting how transparent it goes =) I will definitaly follow that )

Huge thanks to David and Milan for bringing this back! You are keeping this matte painting community alive. These challanges were a pretty big reason why I’ve got a job. I can’t thank you enough really, but yeah =) Great news. I love May already )


Dear Matte Painters,

Just a heads up that unfortunately due to all the changes The CG Society is going through, this might be our only challenge for a while. David and I are trying to do our best to keep these alive for you guys but it has been getting tougher each time with the current state of the industry etc.
Please, make good use of this opportunity as we don’t really know when the next one will be happening.

Best Wishes,

As for the POV, I had an establishing shot in mind but you can get as creative as you want. In the end your originality in design, combined with photo-realistic presentation/execution will be the key. Have fun with it and then make it pretty!


Thanks Milan for your answer.

I’m slightly sad for this bad news…This forum with your challenges have discovered me the matte painting universe, and literally made ​​me love this art.

I hope this community will not disapear and I also hope David and you would be able to launch many and many challenges for the next months :slight_smile:

Waiting this time, I will try to take the maximum of fun with this one !!



How far futuristic can we go? I had in mind something like “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” or “Minority Report” but in your shot all buildings are pretty nowaday-ish. Just want to clarify so I wouldn’t go too crazy about futurism =)


I always love following the mp challenges, and i actually wanted to join in on this one, as i have some time on my hands…


Minority report is perfect. The level of futurism I was hoping for would match this

HOWEVER, another territory with a different cultural background might look drastically different while also having a space elevator within their environment?!? Just be creative. With such a loose brief you’re really just aiming for a cool image!

Well, we could continue them without prizes but there is a slim chance nobody would participate then. Even though this platform offers direct exposure to getting your work infront of many industry professionals. In the end it’s really all up to you guys. Generate enough traffic and we’ll get sponsors…


I enjoy watching these matte paint challenges, think I should give it a go. Cant paint to save my life but who knows , should be a fun way to learn right.


I cannot speak for everyone else, but for me personally the prizes are secondary, they are great to win and I would be lying if I said they didn’t help motivate me to win, but I would be just as keen to participate if there were no prizes at all.

Again these are my feelings, but I also think I am not the only one who feels this way.

What I can definitively say on behalf of everyone is that we love these competitions, they provide a source of not only inspiration, but also knowledge, I think that reason alone is enough to keep everyone coming back.

I hope you guys continue to run these competitions, even if they aren’t as regular, or without prizes, because they are awesome.


BTW, we are to post only finished work here or WIP is also allowed to be within our May 2016 thread?


Hello, you have to create your own thread “May 2016 - your name” and post in this thread all WIP and final work.


Thanks! =)


I was visiting this thread from time to time and… what a great news here! I’m in for this month! I wanted to take a part in one of them again and now I have that opportunity… for which, as always, I’m very grateful to David and Milan :).

As for:

I see it exactly the same way as Andrew - the official prizes are great but they are definitely secondary. I would take a part whenever I can - no matter if prizes are involved or not. By the way - if someone else sees it similar - now is the time to express it here. It would be great to keep it alive!

Best regards


I agree with everyone on the prizes. I see these challenges more as creating pieces that can be used in a portfolio to show off different skills and train yourself to work to a brief.

Im really looking forward to this month, Im hoping to get some stuff put together soon for a work thread.