View Full Version : Painting vs Cloning

10-21-2004, 03:53 PM
Hey, i have a question for any of you professionals.

I've just started to seriously shoot for a future in mattes and i find myself stuck on one issue: How much do i paint in vs how much do i just paste in from reference photos?

Everyone basically tells me to do whatever is necessary to get the finished product. They say that matte painting is mostly done with photos anyway. I've taken a shot at only painting and it can be done. It's just a matter of how good you are, and how dead on your references are. I also recently just "painted" using the collage method of pasting in pieces of images and cloning the hell out of the whole thing. Plus some painting in shadows and blah blah, the normal stuff... well, it came out looking great, very realistic.

I just have to say, it felt like cheating... So, am i wrong to feel this way?

I'm sure the answer lies somewhere in between. but generally in the professional world, how much collage and cloning is there? should i try not to rely on pasted images for large sections of my composition, is that frowned on?

I just want to make sure i'm not full of it when i tell someone i just painted a matte.

10-21-2004, 04:25 PM
I am no professional but im very devoted to matte painting, and i find myself using clone less and less everyday but a combination of both seems to get the best result for me. There is always 3d to fall back on for a matte painting too. If your doing a set extention or you need to do camera projection more simple moves. I dont think that cloning is cheating at all but there should be some more hand painted stuff in there. 3D is a powerful tool also for a mattepainting.

-Pat Nagle

10-21-2004, 04:35 PM
The producer and VFX supervisor want a good job and fast.
Use photo, CG, miniature model, paint… any thing you have.
But by copy and pasting alone, no one can get into this industry. (at least not in north America). You have to become a painter, one way or another.

Some times there is no photo and not even a good concept art.
And I find out in some cases, painting is faster than working with photos.

10-21-2004, 09:21 PM
I think using photos,minatures, cloning are the fastest ways to get to a finished matte in a production environment. It is at least at where I'm working. Painting will help when you are trying to tie it all together but overall it's using photos and miniatures. Trying to paint it all by hand is not neccesary, afterall you're cpying a photo anyways! The only exception is when you can;t find the right piece of reference or photo, in that case paint it!You just need to be versitile!

10-23-2004, 03:50 PM
I was a traditional matte artist before getting into digital matte painting, and for me personally, I hardly ever make a shot using just Photoshop paint tools. I just never found them good enough to pull off the level of photorealistic detail needed these days. And when I see a shot that has been painted entirely, I can ALWAYS tell. Even if it's a very nice painting, it still looks like a painting. Also, painting a shot from scratch is definitely the slowest approach.
Often, what I'll do is block in the composition and lighting using PS paint tools, then once I know where I'm going, I start using photography to give me the texture and detail that I need. I also like to make miniatures and photograph them for a shot, if it's appropriate. I built miniatures for Mos Espa (the city on Tatooine) for "Phantom Menace", and sculpted clouds out of dacron fiberfill for "Peter Pan". Nothing beats the textural reality of something real!
Also, I don't think most people really take the time to learn how to use PS's color correction tools (curves especially). This is vital, because PS can be quite brutal with photos. Knowing how to subtly manipulate photgraphy with a great deal of control, without pixel crunching your source image, is really important.
Employers don't really care HOW you get to the finish line, only that you make it on time and that the work is the best it can be. When I worked for dstipes, I asked him if he wanted my paintings in acrylic, or oils? He replied, "It doesn't matter. Use crayons if you want! Just make it look good".

10-23-2004, 05:21 PM
It is great it see Rick on this site! Rick Rische has been working professionallly since late 1980s in traditional and digital mediums. Look and you will see his name on some big films.

We are all fortunate to have him here.


10-24-2004, 12:56 AM
Thanks a lot guys. I really appreciate the advice. Maybe it's more of a pride thing where it just feels good to be able to say you painted it all yourself..
but you're all right. It takes a lot of skill to be able to blend photos.. and like you all said, it's the end result that matters anyway.

Just wanted a little reinforcement to make sure i didn't have a reason to feel like a cheater.

10-24-2004, 01:27 AM
It is great to see Rick on this site! Rick Rische has been working professionallly since late 1980s in traditional and digital mediums. Look and you will see his name on some big films.

We are all fortunate to have him here.


no we're not, I hate rick, he never returns emails! :lol:

just kidding, Ricks a great guy and an asset to this forum!

10-24-2004, 06:06 PM
Emmanuel.....so touchy!
Seriously, sorry I lag with emails. it's true, no excuse.
I just moved, and had to go in the hospital for my bum leg.

I like your website, dude!

10-24-2004, 11:23 PM
And let's not leave out how great 3D is as a tool for matte painting.
It's worth it to take the time to learn as much 3D as you can. You
definitely want it in your toolbox!

10-25-2004, 04:26 PM
First Emmanuel, now Rick. ...This place is going to hell. ...kidding guys, it's great to see you here. I was going to start a race to see who mentioned the lovable DACRON first, but I guess Rick won that one. :)



10-25-2004, 04:28 PM
Supercell....subsurface scattering.....DACRON DACRON DACRON...

10-26-2004, 12:55 AM
...heh, heh, heh.

Oh, those haunting "S" words. You forgot one... "Film that SH%T out!"

10-26-2004, 01:23 AM
LOL!!! I forgot all about that!!

Seung Ho
10-27-2004, 12:47 AM
Christian, I've seen you using finger paint and potato prints for your matte paintings, so don't try anything ok? ;)

10-27-2004, 12:59 AM
Christian does matte paintings using Pizza and Snapple. He smears them on his monitor. He cackles while he does this.

10-27-2004, 12:59 AM
hey christian....u still wearing the hat? I still can't get over how you could tolerate a wool hat in that hellhole!

10-27-2004, 01:26 AM
...Henrik: Now you've gone & given away all my secrets. That's the last time I spin you on to one of my finger / potato painting tutorials.

...Rick: This is true. The key is to keep the snapple smeared evenly. It's not uncommon to see a monitor with clear signs of snapple abuse. The reisdue builds up to form a murky film over the screen that isn't pretty. ...That's where the pizza comes in. The oil serves as a buffer & gives your monitor the sheen & respect it deserves.

...Emmanuel: I've actually switched to a cotten-blend variety that keeps me a bit cooler. :) The basement was pretty hot though, eh? You middle-floor dwellers had it easy with your windows & all of that "air" stuff.