View Full Version : Steam Ship

10-27-2008, 01:51 PM
This is my first matte painting, so I'm not going to post it in the finished section even though I've worked on it quite alot. It would be great if you could really pull it apart so I can have a stronger piece. My background was originally in animation and then traditional painting for the last year and 1/2 so I think I have used quite a brute force approach to this painting. I wanted to created a dramatic city scape mixng old and new. I used loads of different photo's to construct the buildings and painted to fill the gaps and make adjustments. I also started with a really simple block layout in Maya to place the basic shapes. I read a really good tutorial on www.computerarts.co.uk that had some great tips - it talked about 3d projection although I'm not totally sure how that works. Is it only used when there are going to be camera moves? Also could someone tell me how much detail do you genrally go to? I would like to try and get some work matte painting when I have a little more experience, is the detail in the distance to rough for what would be expected in film?
Any help would be greatly appreciated


10-27-2008, 07:43 PM
Good effort there, I feel you really need a better composition to show your steam ship properly because now everything seems to be in focus. There are few perspective issues also and it will be more obvious when you fix your composition.

Try to add a depth of field and get rid of some details in the background. Keep in mind that city lights gets desaturated and faded when its far off from the camera.

Keep working on it. I think you just gotta simplify this stuff to get a better results.

Good Luck,

10-28-2008, 07:39 AM
Yep, I agree with what metalrahul is saying :) I've done a very quick mock up. I've also noticed that some of the perspective with the buildings is a little off in places too. Nice idea though, and it does look pretty impressive :)


10-28-2008, 08:02 AM
Very much better like this !
Very good job !

10-28-2008, 09:33 AM
Yep, I agree with what metalrahul is saying :) I've done a very quick mock up. I've also noticed that some of the perspective with the buildings is a little off in places too. Nice idea though, and it does look pretty impressive :)

Oh yeah light haze is another important factor to sell the night city shot! Good tip there moakley.

10-28-2008, 12:46 PM
Thanks for your comments - its really helpful to get the advice. I find sometimes I can't see the wood for the trees. I agree about the focus issue that metalrahul mentioned, I think now that I look at the original its serious overload. Moakley, thanks for the mock up - that looks loads better! I think I'll rework into the image, definitely add the fog and sort out the perspective too. I think I might just print it out to do that, I was struggling with the line tool in photoshop.
Thanks to all again for you comments.

10-28-2008, 01:28 PM
I dont think that what moakley mocked up is necessarily solves the problem. It helps to aleviate it by setting the foreground away from the background, and adding depth, but has left it feeling a little washed out.

I think what this painting really craves is better composition. Simplicity in a composition is very important. All the background stuff is so overly busy that it just becomes a jumble of visual noise with no place for the eye to rest, and no real visual path for the eye to travel through. You need to have a focus in the image, and then make sure that the rest of the elements dont detract from that or make it difficult to read.
I think you need to sit and design a solid composition with a camera angle that shows everything you need, but without having these things competing. Having a clear foreground-midground-background read for example will really help.
Feng Zhu has a good dvd covering shot design that you may benefit from:

Having said all that, i do think your painting has a really nice Bladerunner-esque feel to it. If you can keep that feel to a new painting with a more readable composition then i can see a really successful painting.
Keep it up!


10-30-2008, 07:11 AM
I've made some adjustments to give this piece a little more focus. I watched the Gnomon video Nick suggested, its got a great set of principles that I will try and apply in my next piece. A bit more work at the design stage should give me a better result.


.... moakley, how did you get the fog effect in your adjustment of the image? is it with a flat colour on a separate layer with transparency? I did mine with a brush and it doesn't look as good, did you get the glow with the dodge tool or in some other way?



10-30-2008, 07:29 AM
I had a feeling you were going to ask that for some reason :) I duplicated the image and then used the brightness and contrast. I then used the color adjustment tool and added some blue to it. I then, finally used the rubber tool to remove the areas that were in the foreground :) Hope this helps :)

It's looking a lot better now though mate, I love the steam ship and the sense of size is brilliant :)

A visual breakdown for you :)


10-30-2008, 07:44 AM
The glow is a neat trick. Once you are happy with your final image. Duplicate it as a new layer. Blur it using Gaussian blur (I set the radius to 4.2 pixels(up to you though :))) and then set the opacity of the layer to something like 30%.

10-30-2008, 08:22 AM
Thanks Maokley! Great tip, I appreciate the breakdown too. Here's the final adjusted image.

Cheers for all the help



10-31-2008, 12:09 AM
beautiful city