A dark art or simply a craft to be mastered? Whatever your preconceptions, these tips from fi ve world-class matte painters should guide you towards the light …
1. Familiarise yourself with the shot. Is it going to be traightforward matte paint, or will it require a 2.5D rojection or full 3D projection?
2. Create two or three concept images and get approval n one of them from the Director or VFX Supervisor.
3. Check that your monitor has been correctly calibrated or colour and contrast.
4. Collate all the images you’ll need. These will include ackground plates, 3D renders and reference stills.
5. Shoot any additional stills that might be useful.
6. If you’re working on a 3D-projected matte painting, ask the modelling department to hardware-render a wireframe from the Projection Camera.
7. Check whether the compositors have any specific requirements for you.
8. Import your personal settings into Photoshop, including shortcuts and custom brushes.
9. Decide whether you’ll paint at 2K, or a higher resolution then downsample. Set up your Photoshop canvas slightly larger than the fi nal image.
10. Import the concept drawing (and/or any hardwarerendered wireframes) as a background layer.
11. Switch to log colourspace and run a log-to-linear LUT on your monitor.
12. Import your images into Photoshop and organise your layers with care.
13. Now paint to your heart’s content, using reference images where you can.
14. When the work is complete, get sign-off on your final image by the Visual Effects Supervisor.
15. Lastly, save out the layers discussed with the compositor, following the studio’s naming conventions.