Landscape piece camera projection WIPish


Hello everybody, well after taking CGMA’s class introduction to Digital Matte painting I’ve spent the last while learning Nuke with the help of several youtube sources and the Gnomon DVD’s, Here my 2nd go at the camera projections in Nuke:

I know that adding 3d water in the lakes and waterfall will looks A LOT better, but I"m not familiar with the particles effects functions of Maya like Bifrost. Is it something that I should care about as aspiring Matte painter or is it a job for VFX artists?

Any comments, feedback and critique is welcome :slight_smile:


Looking good!

A few pointers to consider;

Objects that have a high amount of displacement in the real world, such as rocks, typically require more detailed geometry, the close they are to camera. Some of your elements feel quite flat in your projection. I would also be tempted to do a very subtle, highly diffused reflection pass for close objects.

Would be nice to see your render of just the wire frame.

As you mentioned, the water definitely needs addressing, displacement, reflections, comp effects such as glimmers etc. For a shot like this, water would be achieved via either stock footage of a lake projected into the lake geo, or use various comp displacement tricks to make the DMP water appear as though its moving. The water feels a touch too reflective towards the back, typically reflections of water look more like this in reality:

than this:

You could use Bitfrost of PhoenixFD ocean planes, but render times would be over kill for something like this.

Could do with adding a little camera effects such a exposure changes, subtle lens flare/bloom

Add some trees around the lower areas, recesses etc

BG clouds/ mist are moving a touch fast.

Always be sure to build out the geo in real world scale with respects to relative distance between BG and BG elements.



Hi David, after a couple of weeks of work figuring out how to animate the water with Noise and Idistort nodes in Nuke and creating the waterfalls with particles fx in Maya, here is an update for that composition.

Thanks for the help!


It’s definitely a big improvement over the previous version.

The waterfalls are CG? They look very good, I thought they were footage! lol The only issue I have with them is that I feel there would definitely be a lot of mist around the bottom and more interaction with the lake as the water pushes from the impact.

Regarding the lake. Sadly this still isn’t working very well. I would consider just finding some stock footage or shoot a lake, roto out the water and project onto the ground / water plane you have in the scene. Over all the water just feels too settled and CG looking, im not sure you can easily escape that look within this painting. Failing the footage approach, Maya can do some great looking water plane effects with Frostbite, i recall there’s even a preset in their library that just drag and drops. There’s also PheonixFD which has a great water plane feature.

That rock to the right still bothers me :slight_smile:

A few other general notes;

Would be nice to have a more specific focal point, for example if there was a ruined castle on the center large rocky area or a bridge, maybe a LOTRs style cityscape in the hills.

Have some birds flying over the lake for scale context. (classic matte painting tool! :slight_smile:

The camera move feels very CG. Consider other options in future. One method many artists use is simply take a camera and recording the camera move, then track it, and add the camera into the shot. Try to simulate how a real camera would look in this type of shot. Traditionally this would be a helicopter shot, think about how a helicopter moves and where a camera will typically be positioned. These days it would be mounted on a drone most likely, but even drones look too CG looking lol :slight_smile: The camera should exhibit small amounts of displacement in the move, camera shake etc … very subtle.

Anyhow, the camera move is very important. When the viewer sees a camera move that is near impossible in the real world, it detaches them from the experience. For example most of the roller coaster camera moves from Lord of the Rings, the Bird shot from Jurassic World (where the camera fly’s in with the pterodactyls) over the crowd … these type of shots instantly look CG and break the realism. Try to think about how they would film these shots 40 years ago :slight_smile:

The mist layer behind the second layer of mountains bothers me a little. I think it’s because it’s such as defined plane. Would be good to have this mist appearing through the mid ground mountain plane (in front of)

Maybe some trees to frame the scene would help?

Watch the exposure on that center waterfall, it looks a little over exposed for me.

Aside from those notes, it’s definitely moving in a positive direction! :slight_smile: