View Full Version : School of Visual Arts Matte Painting Week 8

03-05-2009, 07:33 PM
Hi all--

We have spring break this next week, so you will have 2 weeks to turn in your next version of your "City of the Future". Today in class we worked to get your concept sketch tracked to your plate, and many of you discovered the difference between working over a flat temp plate, and actually adding the painting to a moving plate. It is important to get your concept sketch broken up into a reasonable number of layers, brought into After Effects, and get a vision of what your final piece will look like. In the following 2 weeks, all of you who were using my temp plate to work over will need to get out and shoot a plate for yourself--in 2 weeks no one should be using that temp plate.

Remember when you are shooting that you must use a tripod. As Andrea learned, leaning it on a railing and trying to pan as smoothly as you can just doesn't hack it. Aim to have your final plate no longer than 20 seconds. Continue to work on your cities in Photoshop, but now you can start using photographic textures to make your buildings look more realistic. Remember that you are using photographs to texture, don't just take a picture of the Chrysler building, cut it out, and place it in another spot in Manhattan. This isn't texturing, that is collage. Make the buildings your own--don't just take existing buildings and add them into your skyline.

Those of you who I noted in your critiques as needing to get some more complex shapes in your buildings need to do some additional concept work. A 120 story building is not going to be a big cube with 30 story tall windows. Figure out a way to show scale, even if you have an expanse of light or glass in your building. The gradient tool can be your best friend here--big building collect big expanses of light, so you may want to light them from the bottom if it is a night scene, and have the light drop off as the buildings get higher into the sky.

I know some of you have less experience in After Effects than other, so if any of you get stuck, e-mail me. I am sure I can point you in the right direction.

So in 2 weeks you need to turn in:
1. A nearly completed "City of the Future", fully textured. We will work another week on it, but I want to spend that last week tweaking it to perfection.
2. A movie of your comped city, with everything tracked into your plate, to prove you did the work to get your city into After Effects.

To remind you, here are the required elements for your final shot:
1. You will need 5 elements to track into the final plate, like buildings, megastructures, whatever will be in New York in the far future.
2. One element must change color over time, like a billboard.
3. One element must float over the city, like a giant floating megastructure, or air cars, or space ships. You might like to look at Robert McCall's work for some floating structure inspiration.
4. You must replace some of the buildings with futuristic structures. This can be one of your 5 elements, but I want some of the work integrated into the existing city.

Don't forget that we have Jacek Jurga's report on Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” to start the class. Make sure it is the original 1972 version starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, not Gus Van Sant's 2002 shot for shot recreation cast entirely with children under the age of 10.

Have a great spring break, and stay out of trouble--that will give you more time to work on your city! See you at 9:00 on March 19th.

David Mattingly

03-10-2009, 09:19 PM
Do we have to have all of the 5 elements tracked into the movie for this week or just the main city?
also, are we using the quicktime version for our final or is there a better version?

03-12-2009, 07:52 AM
You need to have your cities tracked in with all the required elements, and rendered out to quicktime for display on mattepainting.org. Any student who does not have that up before midnight Wednesday will not pass this assignment. You also need to bring your cities to a near finish, and post a larger version of your flattened Photoshop temp file. I would suggest Sorenson 3 as a good output codec, but you can use whatever you like that delivers decent quality. Render it out at 1/4 size for display on the site.

Any of you who are not familiar with After Effects, and are having trouble reproducing what we did in class should e-mail me for additional help. You can also set up a time and get some direct phone support from me if you don't know how to set up your final outputs in After Effects. In any case, don't wait for the last moment, but plan ahead so you are not encountering a problem right before your city is due.

David Mattingly

03-14-2009, 03:33 AM
Well, I guess no camera = F at this time :)
I'll try to finish my sketch anyway.

03-18-2009, 04:06 PM


Jim McKenzie
03-18-2009, 07:51 PM


[YOUTUBE]<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/UlS9kDGuCJk&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/UlS9kDGuCJk&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>/YOUTUBE]


Jim McKenzie
03-18-2009, 07:52 PM
I cant seem to get the you tube video up, so here is a link to the youtube page:

03-18-2009, 08:48 PM
Below is a video of my Matte for week 2 of the Ctty of the Future assignment. This is, essentially, a road-map of where I will take the project the following week, and what I still have to accomplish. Some notes:

-The painting itself of my city is about 75% done. I want to better organize the buildings window lights. I think I can also better sculpt the compositional layout of my buildings, according to the left-to-right pan shot of the camera. As the camera follows to the right, I want the structures to build in height, then crescendo (in some respect) when the shot reaches near completion.

-Nothing in this (haze, hot air balloon, landing deck lights) is animated yet, but will be next week.

-I plan on doing a sky replacement, as I intend to put a dramatic night sky behind the mega structures.

-I hope to do a volumetric light pass in Maya, so I can attempt to back light my architecture.

-I need to "match grain" with the footage, and put each asset (painting and footage) into the same color space. Currently they are not, and the grainy'ness of the footage is a bit overpowering.

-I want to differentiate some of my architecture, so the city looks like it was built over time, and not over night. I plan to add some more gritty industrial flavors and textures. Something less aesthetic, to make it look more realistic.

-I need to more seamlessly integrate my rocky terrain into the overall image, as right now, the ricks just kind of 'sit there.' I want the shot to feel like a wonder city in the midst of a winter thaw.

-I masked out some areas in my Matte to make "New York come through more," like you instructed last week, David, but don't know if it's apparent in the compressed nature video on the web.

That's about all. Hope this works for the week 2 specs.



03-18-2009, 08:52 PM
PS- The presentation on this video isn't as nicely packaged, but I'm saving that for the final version.


03-18-2009, 08:53 PM

My external HD is very dead at the moment. If I can revive it, I will upload my tracked footage, if not...this screen shot will have to suffice. I am working on it.



03-18-2009, 09:01 PM
Hey Jim--

Your youtube video did not post because you only need the ID of the video, not the entire youtube address between the youtube BBCodes, not the whole URL. So your post will look something like this:

"IgCxA-9cHeQ[(add a forward slash here)youtube]"

only where is says (add a forward slash here) you add an actual "/".

So you have this:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlS9kDGuCJk[(add a forward slash here)youtube]

but what you actually want is this:

[youtube]UlS9kDGuCJk[(add a forward slash here)youtube]

Preview your post before you actually post--if the video doesn't show up in the preview, it won't show up on the actual post!


03-18-2009, 09:13 PM

hey, so, my video ended up turning out really hazy and shakey, even tho i used a tripod. I'll probablly end up reshooting it, sorry for the terrible quality of the tracking and the video!!


03-18-2009, 09:13 PM



After Effect Video

p.s. Yes ... too many missing details, missing shadows, simple textures and more ... but ... I'm gonna make it real nice in future ;-)

03-18-2009, 10:06 PM
I don't have my pan finished.


03-18-2009, 10:11 PM
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/Kqgs0g4tS-s&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/Kqgs0g4tS-s&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

03-18-2009, 10:14 PM

here is what i have so far i need to get those cars moving separately though.

03-18-2009, 10:35 PM
sorry my video file is still uploading
It has been uploading almost two hours
I will post it once it done
I am sorry!!http://i566.photobucket.com/albums/ss104/BerylBerylChen/hoboken2.jpg

03-18-2009, 10:45 PM

03-18-2009, 11:22 PM
Hi all--

Hope you all had a great spring break! It looks like some of you had too great a spring break, and we sadly have a lot of "F"s here.
This week you were all warned that if you did not post a video of your project with the objects tracked in, you would fail this assignment. So it was better to have some video to show, no matter how badly tracked, than to not have anything. I also expected your cities to show some improvement from your concept sketches.

So here are this weeks grades:

Akim Phimin--
Grade: Wow, you went from a terrible concept sketch to a very nice piece here. One thing I am confused about is what exactly is painted, and what is the original plate. I assume the only thing you added to this are the 2 organic buildings, an the bridge. Rather than sketching everything in the sketch, I would rather you just worked over you plate so it was clearer what you added in to the project. Having said that, I love the design of the buildings, and the bridge is really nice, and very convincingly painted. The organic/egg shaped building on the left is too flat, though. Painting white structures is a very difficult thing, and you need to hold out enough tonality in your white side to still give the structure some form, like you did with your bridge.
But the point of this assignment was really to take a love action plate, and track some painted elements in, and I think your plate is a stitched together still photograph. So I am going to give you a D for completing the assignment, but an A for the design of the buildings and the bridge.I have to give you much respect for completing the assignment at all, living in Moscow with no access to a video camera!
Grade: D/A

Dan Bradham--Dan, this breaks my heart! You have a great looking project here, but you didn't do the tracking! You had 2 weeks to do this, and not getting the tracking part done leaves me no other choice than to fail you on this section. You have one more week, so I expect you to turn this into an "A". You have a very "Blade Runner" vibe going here, and you shouldlook at some of Syd Mead's concept work for that film. You have lots of nice opportunities for animated signs, so let's pull this together next week.
Grade: F

Kate Conrad--I love your concept here, but all of your add ons to the city are basically white, with the existing plate showing very dark, silloutted buildings with lots of tiny internal lights. My question is what is illuminating your added buildings to be so much brighter than what is on your plate? I think you need to color correct all of your painted elements (which we will go over in class tomorrow) so that they more closely match your plate. You can still have large lighted areas, but you should do it like large light from the city are lighting them up. Right now it literally looks like the buildings on the plate are in a separate, dark universe, and everything you have added is in a dusky, much lighter universe. This still has the makings of a wonderful city, you just need to make it match the plate better.
Also, track your flying ships in to the plate, and then move it with a null. Right now it they stick to the camera--a sure sign they haven't been tracked. But the rest of your tracking looks good.
Grade: B

Beryl Chen--All of your building would sit into the city better if you had gradient lights coming up from the city to illuminate them, and your removed the bright blue right hand light on all of them. Since there is no bright blue on the buildings in the city, that light stops them from looking like pat of the city.
Your tracking looks good, but please take off those black clouds whizzing by! Any reality at all you have going in this is destroyed by them--it looks like the spirits of the dead overtaking Manhattan!
Grade: C

Jacek Jurga--No homework. Jacek, I would recommend that you drop out at this point. This is no way for you to pass the class with this additional "F". Sorry, I understand that work pressures are interfering with your class work, but you have to do some work to make this class worthwhile.
Grade: F

Brandon Lori--I wish that you had posted a larger version of your painting so I could better see the progress you have made on your city, but I can see you already have great integration into your plate, and some well thought out designs for the building. I will also be showing you how to add grain to your plates tomorrow so that the painting won't stick out. Please post a larger version of your painting when you see this so others can see what you have done.
Grade: A

Andrea Lowery--I agree that your tracking is, what is the word I am looking for....
but you did track it, and I give you credit for trying. Be sure to bring you AE project to class so I can take a look at what is going on.
On the bright side, your buildings look so much better that I am going to mark you up just because you improved so much between the concept sketch and this version. Now your buildings have interesting shapes, and sit well into the city. Really nice design pass.
Grade: B

Jim McKenzie--Great job! I know from your e-mail that you shot this video yourself, and it is an awesome panorama. Your buildings look nicely designed, and well tracked in . This has the makings of a beautiful final project.
Grade: A

Danica Perry--This would be a good time to remind you to back up your projects as you work on them. Your painting is coming along nicely, but the assignment this week was to track your buildings in. If you had posted your video, this would have been a decent grade.
Your painting has some nice atmospheric perspective, but watch that buildings that are at roughly the same distance to the camera have a similar amount of atmospheric perspective. For instance, the dish on the top of your center building has very little atmospheric perspective compared to the building it is mounted on. Grade: F

Dan Pochtrager-- You need to shoot your own plate on this assignment, and not use my temp plate. This plate is not acceptable for the final. Also, I see almost no work done on your buildings from 2 weeks ago to now. I am not going to fail you, since you did track in the buildings, but you have a lot of work to do for the final on this.
Grade: D

Max Thomas--No homework
Grade: F

03-18-2009, 11:44 PM
I was having some trouble tracking but here it is late. I still have to light up my billboards and tweak some stuff.


I realized I could parent nulls linked to multiple trackers to give myself one continuous track for the entire length of the video. The video is extremely dark for reasons I can't determine =( ) looks fine in after effects.

03-19-2009, 02:00 AM

I fell alseep soonafter posting my work up last night, and saw your request to see a larger image, David. Here it is -- a screenshot of it from AE, since I didn't have the Matte on a BG plate in Photoshop, b/c of us using the video for that. I'll also bring it in tomorrow. As I said in my previous post, I need to better organize the lights, amongst many other 'compositing' things, in order to bring these two into the same world. Thanks


04-23-2009, 03:11 PM
Bringing SVA matte painting threads together for reference