Sunday, November 21, 2010

The plan

I have been asking questions about matte painting in forums and this line that came from henrik at Somnio studios "painting nice looking image does not equal matte painting. I've seen some fantastic painters who can't do matte painting. I've also seen many terrible painters being fantastic matte painters. And everything in between.".

That made me realize that I know nothing about matte painting and it's time to change that.

He also created a list for me about what he is expecting from a junior matte painters:

1. How to paint and how to composite photographic elements.
2. Understanding SD, HD, film and how the images need to work at a a certain resolution.
2. Good knowledge of perspective.
3. Understanding, on a basic level, how compositing works.
4. Understanding green screens, keying and parallax.
5. Understanding cameras and lenses. Focal lengths, shutter speeds, aperture etc.
6. Curves and grading.
7. Clean matting, colour ranges roto etc.
8. Basic 3D/modeling/lighting/rendering.

Now this list is going to be a base for my learning and I will look back every now and then to see that I am getting closer those requirements.

To learn about composition, I´ve decided to go to school.
Escape Studios
It costs 11 000 euros, but I gain several important things from it:

  • Compositing basics
  • Learn the VFX pipeline that they use in England
  • Possibly learn using real movie footage
  • Get contacts

But the school is not enough. I learn compositing but I learn little about matte painting, so that is what this blog is about. Self-directed matte painting course.

Topics and Exercises
To break that junior matte painter requirement list down, I have written my self a set of exercises that I have to do before going to school.
This list is a first draft and I will possibly edit it in the future when I have better understanding what I need to learn.

  • Making interesting images - Composition, Contrast and Conceptions
  • Atmospheric perspective, 1/2/3 point perspective.
  • Background, Midground, Foreground elements, giving depth to a matte painting. Start thinking about breaking up painting into layers for compositing later on and giving control over animating it later.
  • History and present of matte painting.
  • Basic principles of digital matte painting

Theory Studies 1
  • Understanding theory, adapting and braking the rules.

Still image exercises
  • Cloudy day to night
  • Cloudy day to sunset
  • Summer to winter
  • Winter to summer
  • Fast concept

Video exercises
  • Video footage shot in a locked position on a tripod. Day to night study using curves and painting in lights and shadows. Cloning techniques, paint back in texture detail using the levels tool and adjustment layers to paint in highlights. 
  • Video: footage shot in a locked position on a tripod. Make plate extension where the camera will zoom out. 
  • Video: Using Nuke to import in Photoshop layers, and preparing them for 2.5D/3D compositing.
  • Video: Using Maya for 3D matte painting projections and techniques to render out for compositing.
  • Video: How to spot stretched paintings if the camera is moving too much, and adding additional projection cameras to patch up those stretch marks. 

Theory Studies 2
  • Grain averaging, and re-graining plates for matte painting work 
  • Study on Lighting/Shadow, sun direction, bounce light, specular/diffuse/reflection components of objects to consider while matte painting 
  • Sky replacement, matching lighting, black values, and perspective 
  • Experiment with different color schemes before settling, giving focus to the piece and having an interesting subject.  
  • How to create rough versions of matte paintings that have strong focus 

Here is also a list of all VFX studios in London that I have gathered:


1 comment:

  1. Nice!

    I'm also really interested in improving my skills and I'm searching for Maya 3D mattepainting videotutorials online and free, but I haven't found anithing yet.

    Do you know where I can find something?


    All the Best!