View Full Version : School of Visual Arts Matte Painting Week 9

03-20-2009, 11:15 AM
Hi all--

New week your final "Cities of the future" are due, and I will check each one for the required elements. Please note that they are as follows:

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.
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.
5. I would like for you all to add at least one Trapcode Particular effect. I put an example of a slow smoke effect on my teacher folder that you can look at--add a Particular effect, and then load that in as a preset. As I mentioned, I have always found it harder to add a slow, subtle effect that to add magic fairy dust whizzing around the frame, so to get a realistic smoke effect will take some effort. By the way, the bump in the demo on Thursday was because I was trying to add a Particular effect to a 3D layer--that is not allowed in trapcode. You can, however, add it as a 2D effect, or add it as a comped effect.
6. For you After Effects experts, you can replace the sky. This is for extra credit.

Also, remember that this must be comped into live action footage. I have had students in past semester who have escentially created a flat version of their scene, then panned over it in After Effects. This will not be allowed for this assignment. It is sometimes hard to tell in the little low rez versions posted on mattepainting.org, but it will show up on the final, high rez version you bring into class.

Please post your final rendered version on mattepainting.org at 1/4 or 1/3 scale (something around 6 or 7 hundred pixels wide) before midnight Wednesday night, and also render out 2 versions for class. Both will be full resolution, one using the Sorenson 3 codec, and one using the animation codec. The animation version is for your files--you want to always keep a pristine version of your work in case you want to use it in the future. The Sorenson 3 version is for us to all look at in class--expect a live critique in more depth than I can do online.

This final city is a major part of your grade, so please make sure you have all of the required elements in your composition. I will fail any student who does not have all of them.

Some individual notes:

Max Thomas: You missed last weeks homework entirely, so you might want to e-mail me your progress during the week so your can catch up.

Dan Pochtrager: You must not use that temp plate for your final city. If you cannot shoot a new plate, you can use the new plate I put on the teachers folder. You can color correct you existing city in After effects if you like like I showed this week, or repaint it to match the new plate.

Dan Bradham: I raised your grade to a "C" because you did get the video in, albeit late. I did this because you have a nice project, and I didn't want to tank your grade, but I won't do it again. Get your assignments in on time.

Next weeks class will start with 2 film reports (we got a little backed up last week), one from Andrea Lowery on Milos Forman’s “ One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest”, and the other from Dan Bradham Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Stangelove”.

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.

Dan, make sure you watch the 1965 version staring Peter Sellers and directed by Stanely Kubrick, not the recent remake starring Steven Seagal directed by Joel Schumacher.

David Mattingly

03-25-2009, 03:59 PM


03-25-2009, 05:32 PM



Can't setup youtube window for better quality. U can watch it after ckick in youtube page only :-/

Jim McKenzie
03-25-2009, 06:18 PM


03-25-2009, 07:50 PM


03-25-2009, 08:54 PM

(Video is also available in HD through YouTube)

03-25-2009, 09:52 PM
Hi all,

Below is my City of the Future project - tracked into our live action plate. I wasn't able to get this to the level of completion that I had wanted, as originally, in my Matte Painting (in Photoshop), I had obscured too much of the original plate, where as a result, David told me to have the original show through more. In doing so, i felt I sacrificed alot of the natural charm, but tried to compensate by compositing in alot of atmospheric effects, like haze, snow, lightning, etc. I also spent some time in 3d - rendering out a set of dynamically influenced flags, which are probably not visible in this low-quality web render. The original New York City is all there, where mainly in the center, I time-remapped the footage to be a still frame, in order to make the noise not dance. On other spots it is dancing, but being in such close proximity to the painting, I wanted to add a sense of stillness to it. The original New York City is also visible on each side of the composition, and I worked my sky replacement around the structures. Some other things I did where volumetric lightning flashes, cloud simulation with a particle emitter in Maya, as well as some 3d snow, in order to add a sense of depth to an otherwise flat shot. In the end, since we had to put on a Compositors hat for this piece, it should ultimately be more about the overall shot I suppose, and not the Matte Painting itself.

Overall, I'm not satisfied with it, and I don't think it's my best, but hope it fulfills the requirements -- thanks!




03-25-2009, 10:07 PM

03-25-2009, 10:08 PM


Unfortunately, youtube is butchering the color of my video.

03-25-2009, 11:08 PM
Hi all--

We are 2/3 of the way through the semester. Next week we will have a one week project, and then we are off to the final multiplane project. I will be looking for a decent track on your city painting, along with the required elements. Once again they were:
1. You will need 5 elements to track into the final plate.
2. One element must change color over time.
3. One element must float over the city,
4. You must replace some of the buildings with futuristic structures.
5. A particular effect.

I am also looking for you to have added grain and noise to your plates since we were all working over noisy plates.

One note--We will start class tomorrow (after our movie reports) by looking in detail at everyones high rez renders, so all of these grades are subject to revision when I see the final versions tomorrow at 9:00

So here are this weeks grades:

Akim Phimin--Very cool! This still isn't a tracking project, but you did get the elements to multiplane very effectively against each other. Since you are on the other side of the world, and don't have access to a video camera, this is fine. You actually have a head start on the final project which is a multiplaning matte, just like this. Wonderful design on the buildings--even though they are simple shapes, you managed to indicate that these are really big structures.
Grade: A

Dan Bradham--The best part of this shot is at the end when the ship flies into the building with the neon sigh whizzing by. I wish the neon at the bottom had been as active. Always remember that the more motion your eye has to latch on to, the more your audience will forgive whatever defects there are in the shot. Also, what happened to the particular effect? Some rising smoke would have helped this out a a lot. If there had been a lot more razzle dazzle in this, it would have raised this to another level.
Grade: B

Kate Conrad--Kate e-mailed me saying she couldn't get her video up because of problems with youtube. I will grade hers tomorrow in class.
Grade: To be determined.

Beryl Chen--No Homework
Grade: F

Brandon Lori--You have turned in a very exciting scene here, but I'm not sure it meets the requirements. If you time remapped the footage to be a still frame, then you have tracked your elements into a still frame, which, no matter how you look at it, isn't tracking. It's panning over a still. I want to look at the hi rez final tomorrow to determine what you have actually done here. You have added so many dazzling effects here that the shot is attention getting, even if it doesn't fulfill the requirements of the assignment.
Grade: To be determined

Andrea Lowery--Please bring your After Effects file in tomorrow so I can see why the tracking is so bad. I have tracked this plate myself, so I know you can get a workable track on it, but your buildings to weave round an awful lot. Also, you space ship should be more placidly animated. It looks like one of the space ships from the old Flash Gordon serials--it changes direction on a dime, and flies in a way that defies gravity.
Hovereve, the painting of the cityy came a long way, and your buildings do blend in nicely with the existing structures. I also like the big dome on the left side. This would have been a "B" if not for the severe tracking problems. Let's go over it again using your project as an example, and see what went wrong.
Grade: C

Jim McKenzie--Wow! So much great stuff going on here. I love how you had the camera jump and go out of focus in the middle of the take as the ship speeds by--I assume that is a post effect in After Effects, but it gives a real sense of reality. I also like how you got the reflection of the little flyer in the river. There is a bobble in your tracking right at the end--is your track right near where those buildings are attached? But a very effective shot.
Grade: A

Danica Perry--No homework.
Grade: F

Dan Pochtrager-- This improved, and it looks like you did shoot your own plate, but the buildings are still very primitive. Your tracking looks decent, but for 3 weeks work this can't rise any higher than a "C".
Grade: C

Max Thomas--You e-mailed me earlier in the week saying you were frustrated by your lack of painting skills, but I must say that this plate looks substantially better. With a lot more practice, you might turn into a better painter than you expect! Also, this may be the best tracked piece of the class. You were working over a really noisy plate that was shot later in the evening, but his looks nearly perfect. I want to see your high rez render tomorrow--I may be willing to raise this grade if you have animated signs in the scene. This low rez version doesn't show the details clear enough to judge.
Grade: B

03-25-2009, 11:25 PM
hey David, I did get my movie finally posted around 11:15. It's up next to my still image.

03-26-2009, 02:28 PM
Hi all--
After an in class look at the high rez versions of your city of the future, I have 3 revised grades. They are as follows:

Max Thomas--Because you took the initiative to track your project in SynthEyes, and got perhaps the best track of the class, and have shown an improvement in your painting skills far beyond your average film student, I have raised your grade to an "A".

Kate Conrad--After a close look at your final piece, I am giving you a "B" for the final. While your city is nicely designed, you never quite got the tracking mastered to where it would stick together adequately.

Brandon Lori--Yes, Brandon did track the plate in using After Effects, and this is not just a pan over his flat painting. Also, this project has so many delightful things going on that don't show up in the low rez version that I award this an "A". Another great job!

Instructions for next weeks class to follow.

David Mattingly

03-29-2009, 04:25 PM
Hey guys,

Below is a re-post of my work from last week. In order to put it on my reel, I wanted to make a few personal tweaks, that for the class I had to put in, in order to fulfill the needs of the assignment, but personally, I felt would make the shot stronger if they where left out. The balloon and the blimp are gone, as well as some other bells and whistles. I did a zoom, instead of a left to right track as well, because I feel it heightens the drama more, and at the end, put a cherry on top with a quick shot breakdown. Enjoy!

PS - wow, the quality on YouTube is terrible...


04-23-2009, 03:12 PM
Bringing SVA matte painting threads together for reference