View Full Version : School of Visual Arts Matte Painting Week 4

02-06-2009, 10:44 AM
Hi all--

Your final castles are due by midnight Wednesday. My criterion for grading will be simple.

If I look at your piece and say "Awesome!!!", that is an "A"
If I look at your piece and say "Nice!", that is a "B".
If I look at your piece and think "That meets the requirements", that is a "C".
If I look at your piece and see a problem with the perspective, or it isn't nicely textured, or there is some other technical problem, I won't say anything, I will just give you a "D" or an "F", depending on the severity of the problems.

So the most important thing about this weeks assignment is to produce a work of art. You are students at one of the best art schools in the United States, so I expect you to go beyond just painting a castle, and give me something artist.

Remember that this is the first time you are invited to use photographic textures. I expect all stone walls to have some sort of texture, whether it be painted, or added in using some of the tools I showed you last week. With the vanishing point tool, it is no longer a day long task to paint stonework on your castle. Mattepainting.org has a lot of great work on it, and feel free to take inspiration from some of the artists work(although, needless to say, no lifting directly from other artists work). Also, now is the time to find a great window, or a great door, to add to your castle, so do some research to get some wonderful details.

Some additional suggestions:
1. Is anyone home in the castle? Many of the castles on mattepainting.org will be set at dusk, or when night is falling, so you can add some lights to your castle. You might want to darken your scene a bit so you can add lights in the windows.
2. How about adding some local illumination? Maybe there is a campfire behind one of the walls, throwing some warm light on to the further walls. Not everything has to be lit by the sun.
3. How about doing something more dramatic with the tone of the plate. Some of you left the plate almost untouched, and since I chose this plate because it was so neutral, you might want to do something to it to make the scene more dramatic.

Use the techniques I taught you this week to get some form into your structures, whether that is using the dodge and burn tool, or creating multiple layers of your textures, setting them to multiply, and screen, and using masks to control where each transfer mode shows up. Don't forget to experiment with the transfer modes. "Soft light" and "hard light" often yield interesting results, so cycle thought the transfer modes to see what looks interesting.

With my commitment to transparent grading, I will post whenever I have changed a grade. At the end of class last week Jim McKenzie challenged me about the "C-" I gave to his perspective drawing. I thought his ellipses looked off, but his defense made me see that may be open to interpretation. I still think they look off, but we agreed that if his castle for next week is an "A", I will raise his grade for the perspective drawing to a "B". If he doesn't deliver an awesome castle, his grade will remain the same.

Next weeks classic film report is by Max Thomas on Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. Make sure it is the original 1966 version staring Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach, and not the dreadful 1995 remake staring David Hasselhoff, Duane "The Rock" Hansen and Liza Minelli.

Next week we will study color correction, and start on a new, one week project.

David Mattingly

02-11-2009, 06:29 AM

02-11-2009, 10:12 AM
Zhanna's Homework 4

Jim McKenzie
02-11-2009, 06:41 PM
I hope this is A material


02-11-2009, 07:34 PM
Well, yes, my castle is still without some details, but, my first step into mattepainting is done. I see a lot of things which have been made wrong. I will try to consider all my mistakes in the future works.


some "made of" stuff:


p.s. Jim McKenzie, your castle creates amasing atmosphere in my mind!

02-11-2009, 08:10 PM

02-11-2009, 08:24 PM

02-11-2009, 08:51 PM

02-11-2009, 09:07 PM
Jiyeon Kim was having trouble with login, so I posted this.


02-11-2009, 09:16 PM

02-11-2009, 09:27 PM

02-11-2009, 09:31 PM

02-11-2009, 09:42 PM

02-11-2009, 09:43 PM


02-11-2009, 10:03 PM
Let me start off by saying, I messed up big time this week. I became totally dissatisfied with my previous castle, especially after you said that I could do better David, and ended up redesigning the entire thing. Needless to say, I got in a little over my head, and today, wasn't able to bring it even CLOSE to where I wanted it to be. I probably should've ran this by you too David, but it was so last minute, that I just kind of jumped into it.

Here it is nonetheless, in all it's lack of glory :(

PS- it's based on a few different "Disney Castles" but at this stage, looks more like a dungeon...


02-11-2009, 10:10 PM
David, I know you'll probably reject this, but is it possible to have an extension of a few days on this assignment for me, in an attempt to "finish" it the way it should be done. You don't even have to grade it if you wish not to, but I really want to get it to a nice place, just fell totally short this week.

This 'was' my sketch...


02-11-2009, 10:30 PM
Beryl Chen_Digital Matte Painting Homework_School of Visual Arts_Week 4


02-11-2009, 10:57 PM
My standard for grading this week gets a little more subjective. in that first and foremost I wanted to be dazzled by your castles. I want to look at it and say "awesome!" Secondly, I want your castles to look photographic, and that you used the texturing techniques we learned last week.
I fear we may have lost some students this week, as we have some students that did not turn in work. Only the tough remain! So on to the grades.

Dan Bradham--The magic is happening in this one! Welcome to "Lord of the Rings" land. Nicely textured, and I like how the orange light is illuminating the front of the structure. I could quibble with your painting of lava here ( I haven't seen a lot of orange lava in my time), but this is a nice job. Awesome!!
Grade: A

Kate Conrad--Get those cows off my lawn! Just kidding--another great job prom you, beautifully textures, with a magical light infusing the landscape. You get a little "Esherish" with the top walls (referring the the great wacky perspective master MC Esher), and this would be improved by figuring out what walls face away, and what walls are directly illuminated. However, the feel of this is so nice I can't do anything other than say "Awesome!!"
Grade: A

Beryl Chen-- You need to concentrate on setting up a light and dark side--a lot of your form is lost because of the mushy lighting. Also, once you start texturing with a material, make sure that material stays the same color throughout. The much more saturated stone on the right hand side of the castle looks like the same stone at the back, but the color is quite different. having said that, you have improved your perspective a lot since the start of class. I'm not sure about he magenta checker walls--what is this, the castle of Sir Elton John? Meets the requirements. Grade: C

Etery--This looks fairly photographic, and I like very much how you have set up clear light sides and dark sides on your pyramids. I also like how you worked out the terraces like Machu Picchu. One thing you should start thinking about is cast shadows--if you had cast shadows from the stairway ramps, it would bump up the reality of this scene several notches. I also don't believe that the left hand side of the stairway ramp of the highest pyramid would be lit at all--that would fall into shadow. Overall, a worthy effort, and I would award it a "nice".
Grade: B

Jacek Jurga--No castle. Grade: F

Jiyeon Kim--You started the class late, and did not have the benefit of the perspective lecture, so I am going to cut you some slack on the perspective problems in this piece. But be aware that the secondary walls are vanishing to another set of vanishing points than the main structure, which really don't believe in a structure like this. Always start with 2 vanishing points, and work out your perspective using those. Then if you have some bits that will vanish to a secondary set of vanishing point, you can add those in, but even they have to be based on the first set. Having said that, this scene does have a nice photographic feel to it--your texturing is excellent, and there is a very solid form to the piece. I wish that you had warmed up the light coming from the huge torches. They are clearly orangish, yellow, but the light they are casting is cool. Always think about the color of your light. You could have also done some very fun things with cool moonlight here, contrasting with the warm fires in the towers.. So in spite of the perspective problems, I am going to give you a "Nice"
Grade: B

Brandon Lori--Everyone take note of what Brandon did here, and don't do this. He decided at the last minute to throw out what he had done, and start over. Unfortunately, he ran out of time, and this is very unfinished. His original idea actually showed a lot of promise, and would have been better than this "do over". In the remaining projects you have in this class, there will be 2 more that span several weeks. Please look at this as a progressive process, and take each week step by step, building up to the final. While this new castle shows a lot of promise, and I like your attention to detail, it has very little form, and no texturing. I expect better than this from you in the coming weeks!
Grade: C-

Andrea Lowery--This is well textures, but suffers from a lack of a decision about the direction light is coming from. The bricks almost look like they are in dappled sunlight, but there is no dappled sunlight on the ground. Even on the shadow side, the big carving above the doorway has some sort of illumination on it. This castle would have much more solidity, and believability if you had made the light side several times lighter than the dark side, and been consistent on the light direction. The inconsistent light is what is keeping this from looking photographic. I do like your flags, and the time you put into developing the details in the castle. Nice.
Grade: B

Jim McKenzie-- This has a nice feel to it, and your texturing is good, but you still didn't address the fact that this castle has no depth. remember last week when I talked about figuring out how to make it look like it had some dimension? This is the same layout as the drawing we had the disagreement on. I still don't believe the ellipses on this--the higher ones should still be rounder. Still, this has a nice atmosphere to it, but doesn't rise about a "nice"
Grade: B

Danica Perry--This one came a long way since last week. Your final has a really nice mood to it--I really get the feeling that nothing good is going on inside this castle. I like the spotty texture of your structure, and the spiky foreground. This still isn't the most amazing perspective piece, but you did manage to get some dimension into your castle from last week. I'm giving you a "nice" because I like the mood you achieved.
Grade: B+

Akim Phimin--This is one of the more photographic solutions turned in this week, and I love how you rounded the facetted turrets. I also like how you warmed the light side, and made the light very believable. This does have some dazzle to it, but like I said last week, the scene is still pretty simple. Maybe if you had another structure on the ridge between the archway, it would put it over the top. I'm just wavering between a "nice" and an "awesome!"
Grade: B+

Dan Pochtrager--You castle still shows the same perspective problems it showed last week--you have to study that perspective lecture I handed out in class, and work out your ellipses. No ellipse that is above the horizon will turn down, but all 3 of your ellipses turn down. I hate giving you 2 "F"s in a row, but you will never be a matte artist if you don't get some handle on perspective. Also, as you are working, look at castles. This castle looks like no other I have ever seen, and keeping some inspiration up as you work would help to ground you in reality. If you have a second monitor, put some castles up that you can refer to as you work. I worked with the great Peter Ellenshaw when I was at Disney, and he would nearly always have a piece of reference in his hand as he painted, even if it didn't relate exactly to what he was painting. He always claimed it was to keep him in touch with reality, and I hope you can take a hint from the master. If you want to take another try at this, I will revisit your grade, but this effort is just not up to expectations.
Grade: F

Derick Ramirez--No castle. Grade: F

Deborah Saez--Your piece is a good reminder that before texturing, you need to have the forms worked out since texturing can often flatten out form. Your tower tops here have been flattened out by the texture. Photoshop beginners will often take a photo, say of a gold bar, and use it to texture something in a piece, not understanding that the gold bar texture will look nothing like gold in another context. Your textures must go over the form, and still interact with the lights and darks in the scene. Often, "hard light" and "soft light" can be very useful to overlay a texture and not destroy the form. Still, there are some fun elements in your castle, so I will give you a "meets the requirements".
Grade: C

Amanda Schwartz--I appreciate how you did different versions of your castle, but you would have been better off devoting all of your time to getting one version to a higher finish. This has some serious perspective errors in the tower ellipses, and you still haven't decided on a light direction that would give this a proper form. Below meets the requirements.
Grade: C-

Max Thomas--They must have built this castle exactly one week ago, since this is the worlds cleanest castle! I would have loved for you to have used some more interesting stone to texture your castle. The ellipses also look too flat here. Both of the towers would look better if they had more dimension to the ellipses. I do like how you paid attention to the cast shadows (although what happened to the cast shadow from the bridge after it enters the doorway? It's there, and then it disappears. I have to give this one a "That meets the requirements".
Grade: C

Zhanna--This has a nice surreal feel to it, but when all is said and done it is a photomontage, without much concern for the correct perspective. You do seem to have a gift for sandwiching different elements together in an interesting way, but I would encourage you to buy a good perspective book, and force yourself to draw out a scene, and not rely on just putting a bunch of photos together. I don't think you were aware that you were required to base this on my plate, and since there is none of the original plate visible, I am not going to grade this piece.

04-23-2009, 03:09 PM
This is to bring all of the threads together for the School of Visual Arts matte painting class.