View Full Version : School of Visual Arts Matte Painting Week 3

01-29-2009, 10:35 PM
Hi all--

Just a reminder that for next weeks class you must do a linear perspective drawing over your concept sketch, delineating all of the major features such buildings, walls and turrets, along with doors, windows, and crenelations (those regularly spaced gaps in castle wall tops). Any circular towers must have the ellipses that bound them drawn out in proper perspective. Remember the trick of setting up a "master ellipse" for your project, and then spacing out additional ellipse down to the horizon in regular percentages (Hint: the ellipse at the horizon is always flat, and the ellipse 50% between your master ellipse and the horizon is scaled 50% vertically.)

The finished product, when you put a layer filled with white behind it, should look line a line drawing of your castle, with everything worked out in proper perspective. So don't worry about texturing or detailing, your finished product for next week in a line drawing of your castle.

And remember, EVERYTHING IN THE PICTURE MUST VANISH TO THE HORIZON!! Everything in your drawing must converge to the vanishing points you set up. so leave your grid on while you work. You can turn the opacity for the grid down so it isn't obnoxious, but as you work, constantly refer to those lines of convergence. We ran out of time in class today, and although I checked most students grids before you left, a few of you didn't have your grid approved. If there is any question as to whether your grid is set up properly, send it to me as a .jpg over your sketch so I can double check it. It would be a shame to do any work over a grid that was improperly set up. Remember, if anything in your final drawing fails to vanish to the horizon, you will be failed for this assignment!

Jim McKenzie, you are responsible for next weeks film review. Be sure you see "Blade Runner, the final cut", or the most recent version of Blade Runner that Ridley Scott released. it is on the server at SVA, but I think there is an earlier version there also.

Remember, you need:
1. A one minute synopsis of the film. Just the major themes of it, not a point by point recounting of what happens.
2. Your one to two minute reaction to the film. Did you like it, dislike it, what was effective in it?
3. A short clip of a scene you thought was particularly effective. Clip the scene out of the movie beforehand--don't go hunting for it in class. Put the clip on a folder when you can find it to show the class.

Lastly, here is the schedule for the classic film project. Please remember your date--I may or may not remember to remind you, but you are responsible for the report on that date.

Ridely Scott’s “Blade Runner” –February 5 Jim McKenzie

Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”-- February 12 Max Thomas

Michael Curtiz’s “Casablanca” -- February 19 _Deborah Saez

Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy” –February 26 Dan Pochtrager

Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” –March 5 Jack Jurga

Roman Polanski’s “ChinaTown” – March 12_Amanda Schwartz

Milos Forman’s “ One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest” – March 19 Andrea Lowery

Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Stangelove”— March 26 Dan Bradham

Orson Wells’ “Citizen Kane” -April 2 Danica Parry

Billy Wilder's "Double Indemnity" -April 9 Kate Conrad

Franklin Schaffner's "Planet of the Apes" -April 16th. Jiyoen Kim (Make sure it is not the horrible Tim Burton remake, but the 1968 staring Charlton Heston)

Frank Capra’s “It’s A Wonderful Life” -April 23rd Beryl Chen

Derick Ramirez---I still need to assign you a film for the last class, April 30th. Have you seen David Lean's "The Bridge on the Rive Kwai?" If not take that one.

Remember, all homework is due on mattepainting.org next Wednesday at midnight! Late work will be failed.

David Mattingly

Website: http://www.davidmattingly.com

"One cannot step twice into the same river."
-- Herakleitos

01-31-2009, 06:13 PM
Hi all--
There was some confusion as to what the perspective drawing for the castle assignment should look like, so here is an example.
David Mattingly


01-31-2009, 07:05 PM
That's an excellent example!

02-01-2009, 11:30 AM
Kate Conrad e-mailed me with a question on how to draw archways. Here is a graphic on how to do that, and a quick ellipse reminder. Remember, base all of the ellipses in your picture off of one ellipse, your "master ellipse". Your ellipses will never look right unless you are consistent.
Thanks for the question, Kate.
David Mattingly


02-01-2009, 01:32 PM
Good evening.

exelent work!!!!

May I ask a questions? Can I build my castles with ellipses, circles, cubs using program tools, or I should draw them with tablet and pen? How are you drawing a perspective grid?(Are you use a special tool?)


02-01-2009, 03:16 PM
It's not going to be possible for me to answer your questions in detail, since I cover a lot in the classroom. However, I am posting my perspective lecture as a PDF file on my personal website, and many of your questions may be answered here.
Go to:


To create a perspective grid, draw a lot of lines horizontally across you picture (on a separate layer). Duplicate this set of horizontal lines, and change the color. Apply the transform tool to one of the layers in Photoshop, and choose "perspective" as the transformation mode. Place the box in the middle of the transform bounds on the horizon (this is very important or your grid will not vanish to the horizon) and set up your vanishing point grid. Do the same thing with the second set of horizontal lines for the vanishing points on the opposite side. Now you have a grid that you can leave on while you work, or turn down the transparency.

Hope that helps!
David Mattingly

02-02-2009, 07:51 PM
Thanks for that perspective lecture David. It was really insightful with lot of good illustrations and pictorial examples.

02-02-2009, 10:57 PM
Kate Conrad_Digital Matte Painting Homework_School of Visual Arts_Week 3


02-03-2009, 01:08 PM

02-03-2009, 09:13 PM
Etery--Your horizon is too high. Please look at my correction--all of your vanishing points are too high, so everything in your picture is vanishing to the wrong point.
David Mattingly


02-04-2009, 03:51 AM
Zhanna's Homework.
Thanks for lecture and usefull homework!
I'll be very pleased to get your comments.

02-04-2009, 05:50 AM
Good day, David.
thank you for the corrections :)
I've changed horisont line and hope, what it's ok with my drawing now.


02-04-2009, 07:50 AM

02-04-2009, 04:42 PM

02-04-2009, 05:36 PM
I hope David will allow me to participate in this step. Here's my perspective castle (part of it).

I'm not sure about bottom of my bridge. That was not so easy to me to calculate such big radius. And I hope I was right about my left vanishing point (I placed it far left from edge of screen :-)



02-04-2009, 05:42 PM

02-04-2009, 06:03 PM

Jim McKenzie
02-04-2009, 07:17 PM

02-04-2009, 07:40 PM

02-04-2009, 08:36 PM

02-04-2009, 08:54 PM

Derick Ramirez
02-04-2009, 09:23 PM




02-04-2009, 09:53 PM

02-04-2009, 09:58 PM

02-04-2009, 09:59 PM
In case you need to see the grid, here it is. I worked this document in two different PSD's then scaled the grid up to match this second comp. If it looks a 'little' off it may be, due to my re-scale in the final document.


02-04-2009, 10:14 PM
Beryl Chen_Digital Matte Painting Homework_School of Visual Arts_Week 3


02-04-2009, 10:53 PM
The grade for the perspective drawing is in 2 parts. First, if anything in your picture doesn't vanish to the horizon, you get an "F". That was the primary requirement for this week. As long as everything vanished to the horizon, then you at least have a "C". To get a higher grade, I needed at least a smidgen of inspiration and creativity. Some of these castles were really uninspired, and in the course of doing your drawings, I had hoped they would be "juiced" up a bit, but some of these are still pretty dreary.

We have one more week on this assignment, and we will be texturing and taking the project to finish this next week.

One note--I did invite all of you to e-mail me this week to confirm your grid was working, but only Deborah Saez and Kate Conrad actually did. Deborah took her castle from a low "C" to a high "B" based on my suggestions. You all might think about doing that also in future weeks. If you get lost, I will point you in the right direction.

So here are the grades! The bad news is we have some "F"s, but there is also some really nice work. Those of you who failed this assignment, remember that each week is a new grade, so you still have lots of time to salvage your GPA. Just bring your "A" game to the class in the following weeks!!

Dan Bradham--Interesting design, solid perspective. When texturing this make sure it looks old. This could verge easily into looking futuristic, but for this one, it must be old!
Grade: A

Kate Conrad--Not only did you turn in your homework first, but your castle shows quite a bit of inspiration. I will looking forward to seeing you take this to completion. Good job. Grade: A

Beryl Chen-- I was worried about your assignment last week, since your homework showed the least knowledge of perspective of anyone in the class. However, this week you got it! Everything vanished to the horizon, and your buildings have some dimension. Your design still leaves a lot to be desired, but I am grading you up just because you seemed to learn so much in just a week. Congratulations. Grade: B

Etery--You also e-mailed me, and you successfully corrected the horizon in the picture. Your scene is still very simple, but I hope you can add a lot of detail in the texturing process. I wish you had worked out the perspective on the steps going up the pyramid, instead of leaving these super large ramps going to the top. I'm giving you the "plus" for effort. Grade: C+

Jacek Jurga--Your perspective looks good here, but there is very little indication of the detail of the castles. This does show some promise--please give me some detail I can believe in on the final, and not just this boxy solution. Grade: B

Brandon Lori--Your perspective looks excellent, although I question the lowest ellipses--they should be flatter. Also, I know you are a super talented student, so I always look for something special from you. This is acceptable, but far from an inspired solution. Grade: B-

Andrea Lowery--Your perspective looks solid here, and you have a very castle like, if not terribly inspired design. Grade: B

Jim McKenzie-- What we have here is a castle for very, very skinny people, since it looks like the entire depth of the castle is about 6 feet. Base your structures on a box, and build out from there, so your don't end up with a dimensionless castle like this again. Also, your ellipses are definitely off. They should be much rounder by the time you reach the top of your picture.
Grade: C-

Danica Perry--This castle is also from the land of skinny castles. I am also very suspicious of the vanishing points on the wall connecting the big round turret to the smaller turret on the far right--this is not vanishing to any of the vanishing points. I'll have a technique for you in tomorrows class that will allow you to figure out how to give this castle some dimension. Grade: C-

Akim Phimin--your perspective looks right on, and you even got the big ellipse under the bridge looking right. This is still really simple, but what you have here looks good. For the final, lets gets a lot more interesting detail. Grade: B

Dan Pochtrage--There is no other way to say it other than this is not in perspective. Your grid is set up right, but you just didn't follow it. Also you ellipses are totally off. Sorry, this does not pass. Grade: F

Derick Ramirez--Your copies of photos are excellent.. While your color is a bit off, you location of the items in the frame is excellent, and I like how you got an indication of the texture of items without getting fussy. Good job even though you joined the class late. Grade: B
Now the bad news. Your ellipses on your castle are wrong. The lowest wall of the castle has us viewing the ellipse from above, even though it is above the horizon. Any ellipse above the horizon must be viewed from below, unless the castle is falling over. Since you based the entire castle on ellipses, the ellipses had to be right, and they aren't. Grade: F

Deborah Saez--You really improved this from what you first sent, and worked out the perspective problems. B+

Amanda Schwartz--This is borderline out of perspective, especially the furthest turret on the left hand side. If you had the turrets this much out of perspective on the final painting, it would never pass muster, but I am not going to fail you. Also, the design is uninspired--you should keep some castle reference in front of you as you work to have something to give you ideas. Grade: C-

Max Thomas--The highest ellipse looks much to flat, but I appreciate you your worked out the crenelations at the top of the castle walls. The crenelations at the top of the round turret are wrong, but I will teach you how to work out divisions on a curved surface tomorrow. Grade: B

Zhanna--You did some nice work here, but the castle has some very weird features, with the huge doorway with nothing behind it in the center. How about adding a backside on this building entrance in the final. Also, the left had side of your building would be about a mile long here as you have it here. It is too complicated to explain here, but the left hand side of your building is showing some impossible perspective, and the easiest way to fix it would to have your left hand vanishing point further out than it is here. But I do think the design is promising... Grade: B

02-10-2009, 05:03 AM
I noticed many of the windows of the castles are not correctly in perspective.
They have been eyeballed in. Sometimes it is because you think there should be equal distances between objects even when they foreshorten.
This is a tip I use in work to discover when things are wrong on complex perspective drawings;
A good way of finding the middle of a plane is on a new layer hold down shift with a pencil brush, then draw a rectangle along your perspective lines, then draw a diagonal from corner to corner - again with the shift key held for straight lines.
The point at which the diagonal lines crosses is the center of the plane.
This should help with correctly placing things like windows, as sometimes it is easy to get lost in your image.

02-10-2009, 06:58 AM
Thanks, graphmac. That is a really good tip. I appreciate your comments.
David Mattingly

04-23-2009, 03:07 PM
This is to bring all of the threads together for the School of Visual Arts matte painting class.