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tensai
05-16-2005, 11:16 PM
first of all, nice to stumble across this forum!

i have a question about the use of 3d apps in matte painting. especially with city scapes, people often use geometry to get the perspective right. do people also map their geometry inside the apps or just do the mapping etc. by hand in ps?

i understand it all depends on the project, but what would be your general / most used mode of operation?

although i love the opportunity 3D apps give us, i personally dont like using them much. so i use them only when i really have to.

a person that is most proficient in 3d will probably do a lot there. im just curious how that is for most people around here..

any thoughts?

tensai

homer
05-19-2005, 12:10 AM
In some companies 3d and matte painting are separate departments.

I think the best way is to use 3d rendering as guideline and then use still photographs for matte painting.

I believe more painting will make the picture more stylish and natural,
Which of course depends on the taste of art directors.

Some prefer CG, more crisp and perfect
Some prefer to get the feeling of the painting

In a perfect world you do what you personally think will create a better picture.

Daniel
05-19-2005, 07:03 AM
My humble 2 cents worth...

Basicly, everything is about saving a dollar and saving time. Sometimes shots are totally matte painted with little or no 3D. It all comes down to what is required for the particular shot (e.g. how much camera movement is needed etc.). 3D is very expensive so if it can be painted to save money or time... it is.

rrische
05-19-2005, 08:13 AM
My first exposure to digital matte painting was in ILM's matte
department. When I started, they had just finished the new shots
for the SE Star Wars trilogy, which was a huge breakthrough in
the use of 3D to create matte shots. So, the attitude was "of course
matte painters use 3D". It had become a natural part of the job.
And "Phantom Menace" had many many 3D shots created in the
matte department.

Having 3D tools in your toolbox is like having the color red on your
palette. How much do you use? It depends on the picture you're
making.

BTW, I HATE modeling, but I've only ever used Form-Z to do it.
Can anyone sell me on another modeling tool that makes modeling
fast, fun and easy?

thenextside
05-19-2005, 08:37 AM
Hey Rick,

I am by no means a seasoned modeler and have only used a few 3D tools. That said I have been focusing on XSI over the past few months becuse I knew it was being used for matte work on films like Sin City and Sky Capton. Just last week I took a week long training course at the NAD Center in Montreal wich was a great experiance. Anyway all that to say that I consider my self very green to the 3D work but quite enjoy XSI. Not to say it's a breeze but I do find that interface is nice and modeling is eficiant. And at $600.00 for a very robust entry level package you can't go to far wrong.

Cheers,
Tim

B. Kachel
05-19-2005, 09:45 AM
Hey Rick,

I am a big fan of Maya. The render eningine isn't the fastest but the modeling tools are great.

-Brandon

bcottman
05-19-2005, 10:16 AM
yes I am a maya man as well. although i cant really vouch for it as I dont have much experience with anything else but it works fine enough. I tried 3Ds max a while back but didnt really know what i was doing at the time so...

as for modelling, cant say I am much of a fan either. beats setting up UVs though.

tensai
05-19-2005, 07:47 PM
thanks for your replies.


this actually gives some insight in the decisions. when adding 3d it will take more time. (and thus more money). didnt know, thanks.

in architecture there are often already rough 3d models made. so people often start to mapp and add light and then often prefer to stay there.

reading Daniel and rrische's replies, i would like to ask: so most of the times matte painting will use 3d for added flexibility? (for camera movement etc.)? if you would just have one view for a static shot, or make a still, you would rather do it 2d than 3d.

as for 3d packages, i myself tried some cinema 4d which is supposedly one of the easier packages to deal with. you can customize a lot of the UI but its still a 3d program though, so...

i recently read about Zbrush and that is supposed to be something really different. more 2.5 D then the rest. maybe you should check it out?

now i know this going to turn into a 'which 3d package' thread...

tensai

rrische
05-20-2005, 01:18 AM
The decision to use 3D or not isn't based solely on time or money.
Most (not all) moving camera shots can ONLY be accomplished with
3D.

Certainly, designing, modeling, texturing, lighting etc. can be a
time-consuming process. You have to decide on a case-by-case
basis if it's worth it.
Let's say that you have a moving camera shot that flies through
a futuristic skyline. Preparing all the 3D assets for that shot might
take 6 months (or longer). Now, 6 months is a long time to spend
working one a single shot (IMHO). But let's say those same assets
are used to do 87 shots instead of just 1. Then 6 months isn't
a bad time investment at all.
In the case of a single shot, you might be content with building low-res
models and painting the surface detail and lighting in Photoshop.
In the 87 shot scenario, you'd most likely need to build high-res
models and procedurally texture and light everything to a high degree
of finish, since the number of shots means mutiple angles, proximity
to the buildings etc.

Everything's relative.

roguenroll
05-20-2005, 01:57 AM
dont mean to hijack, but any tutes on painting on prerendered 3d models in Photoshop, I assume they are rendered radiosity passes, grey clay color.

Thx

roguenroll
05-20-2005, 02:02 AM
My first exposure to digital matte painting was in ILM's matte
department. When I started, they had just finished the new shots
for the SE Star Wars trilogy, which was a huge breakthrough in
the use of 3D to create matte shots. So, the attitude was "of course
matte painters use 3D". It had become a natural part of the job.
And "Phantom Menace" had many many 3D shots created in the
matte department.

Having 3D tools in your toolbox is like having the color red on your
palette. How much do you use? It depends on the picture you're
making.

BTW, I HATE modeling, but I've only ever used Form-Z to do it.
Can anyone sell me on another modeling tool that makes modeling
fast, fun and easy?


As far as modellers, the ones I hear that keep coming up are lightwave, but if you'd like a pure modeller try Silo, or Lightwaves sister (the original, IMO better programmers from Lightwave)- Modo , nice app


modo (better reviews than silo, more $, i think though)
http://www.luxology.com/modo/

silo
http://www.nevercenter.com

but for a hellatious modeller, and full 3d app, lightwave
http://www.newtek.com/products/lightwave/index.php

personally dont have much experience with the other biggies
maya, 3dmax, cinema, XSI, etc.

EnV
05-20-2005, 04:40 AM
rrische wrote:
BTW, I HATE modeling, but I've only ever used Form-Z to do it.
Can anyone sell me on another modeling tool that makes modeling
fast, fun and easy?
Why not to try Blender?

http://www.blender.org/

It's an opensource 3d sofware, so it's freely downloadable from the home site (and it's only almost 3 Mb) and, once you have learned the few customizable interface principles, it is one of the faster and easier modeling tool. It's has been used for the previz of the battle between Spidey and Doc Oc in "Spiderman 2" (no joke).
Btw, it's also really an effective 3d software; this image, for example, has totally been made in Blender (besides the textures, painted in Gimp):

http://www.enricovalenza.com/img/ovoshipsnew.jpg

EnV

cameo
05-20-2005, 04:47 AM
Interesting read. I've come from the other way I suppose, studied 3D because I was interested in 3D environments/digital sets. Never knew much about matte painting but soon realised it was a massive part of digital environments. I would agree with Rick, 3D can give some great results and its reuseability is its strength. But there is a lot of setup time involved, maybe not so bad in a team but for one person its a long haul. I've been trying to incorporate 3D into my first paintings that are in progress at the moment. Really useful to get some primitive shapes down in perspective to use as a guide. The only thing with 3D if youre starting out is there can be a steep learning curve, and you do spend some time working technical difficulties out whereas photoshop by comparison youre directly painting or photo-composing which has less technical hurdles. I think they make great bedfellows though, 3D can become a big time saver when used correctly. Strings on a bow, as said before :)

NickATnitE
06-27-2005, 09:23 PM
This is a little off topic, but since I watched Eric Hanson's Gnomon Digital sets DvD's ( say that five times fast) Ive become very inspired and taken to camera projecting at the beginning of the matte painting process. using 2d cards is a great way to "block in" things that are time consuming to paint and model like trees and iron girders even clouds (though i usually paint those cause it's fun) it also helps you get a sense of where you need to "over paint" to accomodate more eloborate camera moves. I kinda just bounce back and forth between maya, photoshop, and after effects painting on top and reprojecting.


i recently read about Zbrush and that is supposed to be something really different. more 2.5 D then the rest

Zbrush is great for character modelling and has some features that could be really applicable to matte painting because it is more of a 2d paint modelling package to pump out hi res dispacement maps but it's best if you use it in conjunction with another 3d package. ie. pull your maya low res model into zbrush and paint the detail and into the model and export your dispacement map and or textures. Whats nice is it has some similar commands and keyboard shortcuts as photoshop, but it's odd wrapping your head around the new way of modelling\painting I still haven't got the hang of it.

Nick