View Full Version : School of Visual Arts Matte Painting

01-15-2009, 03:35 PM
Use this thread to turn in your assignments for David Mattingly's 9 AM thursday digital matte painting course at School of Visual Arts in New York City. I'll set up a new thread for each week's homework. Remember, all homework must be in by 12 midnight on Wednesday. Get your homework done during the week so you can arrive at class fresh and ready to learn.

Any student who has a problem posting images should e-mail me at david@davidmattingly.com. I'll help you if I can, but please don't wait for the last moment. At the top of the "Work in Progress" section is an excellent explanation of how to post images by Maryam called "How to post image". Please read that! Also, preview your images before you actually post them--if is doesn't look good in the preview, it won't look good online.

I look forward to any mattepainting.org member offering critiques of the posted work. A professional eye will be most appreciated!

David Mattingly

01-15-2009, 03:52 PM
Please post your homework for week one under this thread. For the first week, you need to copy 5 to 8 photographs in as photorealistic a style as you can. Don't get too involved with specific detail--get the overall look and feel of the photograph. Also, don't do people (or choose something without people as the main focus of the picture). This is a matte painting class, so choose a landscape, a castle, or a simple cityscape, but not overly complicated. You will be spending some time with the photo, so choose something you find attractive.
There are lots of terrific examples at: http://www.mattepainting.org/vb/forumdisplay.php?f=9
This is the sketch thread of mattepainting.org, and this is the sort of thing I want, only using a photo as your source material. This is your chance to get used to the tools in photoshop if you have never painted in it before, so give yourself an hour or 2 for each piece, and experiment. Don't work longer than 2 hours on any one piece.
Please do not sample color off of your photos, and do not use any photography directly--you must paint everything in the images you submit. You will need to develop the ability to see spacial and color relationships in your composition, and cheating will do nothing to move along that process. And please, don't run a filter over a photo and think I won't figure that out.
Regardless of how large you work, reduce the size down to under 1000 pixels, and submit your source photo, and your painted version side by side. Squint at your painted version and see if it looks like your source. Ideally, your viewer should not be able to tell which is the photo, and which is your painting when doing this squint test.
David Mattingly

01-15-2009, 05:28 PM
I think this is a great idea! Really encourages a good creative atmosphere where feedback is the norm. Ill try and offer up some suggestions when the assignment work starts to get posted up too.
Look forward to seeing what your students come up with! Sounds like a good starting exercise, too often overlooked. Cool stuff!


01-20-2009, 05:17 PM
Deborah Saez_Digital Matte Painting Homework_School of Visual Arts_homework week 1

http://s469.photobucket.com/albums/rr55/Bica01/ - Images

Hope I did this right XP

01-21-2009, 07:30 AM
You get extra credit for being the first one to turn in your homework, and the first one to figure out how to post your work. You got it almost right.
The one thing I need you to do is post the image on the site, so viewers don't actually have to go to photobucket. Here is the link to a detailed tutorial on how to do it:


Basically, rather than posting the link to photobucket, you need to post the code so that you picture show up on mattepainting.org. It should look like this:

put your image address here. (i.e. http://www.deviantart.com/yourimage.jpg)

I am going to post 2 of your images below this, using exactly that format. In this case, (http://i469.photobucket.com/albums/rr55/Bica01/sunset_wallpaper_brazil-1600x1200.jpg)



Also, if you would make your source, and your copy the same size (and under 1000 pixels max), that would help people to evaluate how closely you have made your copy. I'll post everyones grade after midnight tonight. Please bring the full size copies of your work to class so I can review a few of them at the full resolution.

Thanks! You did a good job here.


01-21-2009, 08:44 AM
Hi Deborah - The sketch you posted in a good first effort. It matches the original pretty well. If i may offer up some critique, try and really focus on getting the same values down as those in the photograph. For example the bottom right corner of your photo gets really quite dark, yet is quite light in your sketch. Also, notice with colour that the red in the land jutting out just under the sun is very saturated in the photo, but is much more of a dark grey in your sketch. Looking a little more closely will really help. Also, this may sound like a strange concept, but painting confidently with a hard brush will really help your painting pop, even if your colour choices aren't perfect. Its a hard thing to really let go and paint with confidence, but it will make a sketch really look solid.

Look forward to seeing more!


01-21-2009, 09:14 AM
Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate your insights, as always!
David Mattingly

01-21-2009, 12:03 PM
On top of what Nick said, granted I dont know the assignment, but really be looking at the big picture too, not just making sure the picture is dead on with every little detail. Why these colors are working or not working, scale, value etc.. Blocking in shapes and working out from there is a good start, for me at least. Nice work!

01-21-2009, 12:38 PM












Alex Jenyon
01-21-2009, 12:58 PM

The problem with these kinds of assignments is the tendency to paint what you think should be there, rather than what you actually see!

Take a really close look at some of the colour values you have chosen in your paintings. For example:

#2 (the castle by the lake):

What colour is the castle wall when it catches is the sunlight? Is it really a greeny-grey?

#7 (the alpine field):

Are the distant forests actually green?

...and the last painting (the lake)

What colour are the distant mountains? They certainly aren't grey...

Hope that helps


01-21-2009, 04:20 PM
thank you nick for the critique, and thank you teacher for the extra credit. I will keep what you said in my mind for whatever painting assignment we have next :D

01-21-2009, 04:47 PM
ajschwartz1: Its a great start, I especially like the boat painting. You captured the lighting and mood well.

Good work!


01-21-2009, 06:36 PM
Hi, I hope this works.....
Kate Conrad_Digital Matte Painting Homework_School of Visual Arts_Week 2

01-21-2009, 07:01 PM
Hello mattepainting.org, please give me your best crits!

Here you go professor:











01-21-2009, 07:06 PM
For some reason I can't figure out how to post my images, so here is the link to my photobucket page just in case
Kate Conrad

01-21-2009, 08:00 PM
kate - The images in your photobucket account look very strong, look back in this thread to see more info on how to post the images here. Its dead straight forward once you get the hang of it. One thing i notice from glaning through your photobucket page is that you would benefit from using more confident brush strokes in some cases. Most notably the sketch with the rocky cliffs and desert floor in front, where the shrubs would work a lot better if they were sketched in more cleanly and didnt blend so much with the sand.

dbradham - Some of these work better than others, but in general they are pretty good. In the first image you dont seem to have paid close attention to your reference material. Others such as the snow blowing on the mountainside stay very accurate, not just in proportions but in colour and value too. My guess is that David Mattingly wanted you to realise through doing these how difficult it is to paint what is really there as opposed to what you THINK is there, as Alex mentioned earlier. Practice makes perfect, and you can see big potential in these.

ajshwartz1 - Alex gave some really good advice there. I really noticed the difference between the colours on the castle wall in your photo compared to your painting. Make sure you are really painting what is there, and not what you just expect to see. Coming along nicely though, look forward to seeing more!


01-21-2009, 09:28 PM










01-21-2009, 09:48 PM
Hey here are my 5 sketches. It was fun. But for some reason the colors got ruined once I uploaded to the internet. Hmm....ok. See ya tomorrow.

01-21-2009, 09:53 PM

01-21-2009, 09:54 PM

01-21-2009, 09:58 PM
Hi everyone,

Here are my five paintings/sketches for the week. As David instructed, I tried to spend 1 hours time on them, and to keep them rough, but descriptive enough to get the overall image across. I've found that, personally, in some cases, I'm not familiar with the specific types of brushwork I need to implement, in order to successfully render, for example, the terrain of a mountain. Encountering specific problems such as that, in the future, I'll be studying traditional painting reference more closely, in an effort to gain knowledge of the 'techniques' used to properly illustrate such organic materials.

Pictured below are the photo reference, and the paintings/sketches. All suggestions are welcome, as this class is a bit of a switch for me, where most of my time, academically and professionally, is spent creating 'moving' images. Nonetheless, I look forward to growing artistically from the experience! See everyone tomorrow!







01-21-2009, 10:01 PM
Strangely, it appears that the images aren't showing up, which are loaded up on FLICKR. I'm not entirely sure if this is a browser thing, isolated on my computer, but if not, here is the hard link to my gallery of images:



01-21-2009, 10:02 PM
Here's my attempt.

This is the first time i've painted (since grade school, at least).
I use Photoshop every day at work, so I'm pretty comfortable with the program, but I'm lost when it comes to painting techniques...

Anyway, I guess that's why I'm taking a class.


01-21-2009, 10:33 PM
In an effort to rectify image viewing problem earlier I scrambled to register for another image hosting site. I tried uploading the images with this new site (imageshack.com), and still no luck. In any event, here are, again, links to the individual images. Thanks.






01-21-2009, 10:56 PM
Some nice work here for our first class. My main criterion on grading these is if I squint and flip my eyes between the original and the painted version, it should be hard to tell them apart because the color relationships, and the raw masses of the pieces are so close. Since you only had an hour or 2 for each one, detail didn't matter, just the overall "look and feel".
I know this was the first time some of you have painted in photoshop, and overall this was a very successful assignment.


Amanda Schwartz: You need to be more careful about your color relationships. The one with the blue boat is exactly what I was looking for--good color match, and confidently painted. Grade: B

Deborah Saez: We'll work on your color relationships this semester, but the picture of the people fishing at sunset is very close. Do that trick of looking back and forth between the pictures with your eyes squinted, and I think you could quickly pick up some of the draughtsmanship errors in these. Grade: B

Kate Conrad: The 3 dessert scenes are great--just what I was looking for. The trees at the lake is the weakest with the mushy trees. But your color matching is about the best in the class. Grade: A

Daniel Bradham: The lava flow and the mountain with the moon are terrific--dead on. Your color matching is very good also. Nice job. A-

Daniel Pochtrager: The misty chinese mountains is the strongest of the pieces. We'll have to work on your color matching. These all could benefit from a bit more time spent on each. B-

Danica Perry: You were perhaps the most ambitious--I did mention that you might like to concentrate on landscapes rather than doing buildings. Having said that, you did a great job on that overall red scene in Rome (I think!) I know you mentioned that the color went screwey when you uploaded it, and you may have got into another color space. Just bumping up the saturation would probably make that one match much better. The desert scene is perfect--I wish you had done more landscapes like those. In vertical scene with the trees, you should have blobbed in the cars. The copy doesn't match well just because you are missing those masses. The last one with the statue I'm impressed that you picked up the specularity of the statue--nicely observed. Grade A-

Brandon Lori: I happen to know you are a really smart guy, and I am surprised that you couldn't figure out how to post your images! Everyone else did. Your color matching is pretty good, except for the last one of the glacier. The quick squint test show that one needs a lot more blue. Grade: B

Max Thomas: I promise your eye for color will improve during the course of the class. All of your color is pretty weak here, but all of these could be fixed a lot with some modest knowledge of color correction. Don't sweat this grade too much--your show more promise than this mark reflects. Grade: C

So anyone who failed to turn in work gets a F for the first assignment! Depending on how many people dropped the class, that may mean 6 people. Not a great start to the semester for those who failed to turn in their work.
Thanks to all the mattepainting.org members who offered critiques. Please keep them coming!
See everyone tomorrow.
David Mattingly

01-26-2009, 12:30 PM
hallo, all



01-26-2009, 01:55 PM
Good day There are my works. They aren't very good http://www.free-lance.ru/users/etery/upload/f_497e22f5ef4ef.jpg:(

01-31-2009, 11:48 AM
hm..... No comments .. Perhaps I was late

04-23-2009, 03:04 PM
This is to bring all of the threads together for the School of Visual Arts matte painting class.