06-17-2010, 02:23 AM
Got a response tonight to an IM I sent a matte artist. Wow.
Some of the info I had got in little pieces through the years and had it re-iterated, some of it, awesomely, was matter of fact.
The threads and emails I've sent to folks started because I've been curious about this for a long time, and the few contemporary matte artists I know are purely digital, so I started hunting around while we've been discussing the couple dozen or so mattes we've seen up close
A decade or so ago I spent a lot of time with Ralph McQuarrie, who's known for his great use of cel vinyl in his illustrations. He used to joke with me about how he'd get teased for breaking out the acrylics and cv for his mattes-- so I was under the impression that the rest of the ILM dept were purists, slinging oil. Apparently, not so much.
To keep this short, suffice it to say that whatever could be done for speed and time and sanity were employed, mediums seemed to be the preference of the artist, depending on their background and inclination, and some were really flexible about combinations. The key factor in the quality of the work was the understanding that the artists strove for in painting realistically. Be careful with that word, maybe 'believably' is better. 'Photo-impressionism'.
In striving to get there, my take on it, all of the matters of paint quality (physical properties of the actual paint) were learnt and probably got to during their years of training, striving to be better painters (and remember, for the bad-asses of the 80s and 90s, it was hard to find programs where you weren't still getting pushed into that modern art crap)... these men and women were out for blood! Or not, no not really... :-)
I did get another response about the nature of some mediums used by others... and part of it seems to be more variations on a theme- I think we were right talking about alkyds and other minor tweaks you could make to paint to gain the best variations on paint film, sheen, consistency, workability, drying times... etc etc etc. Some did hold their 'recipes' a bit secret, but I have a feeling this was more insecurity than any cherished formula, the more I think of it.
More as I can, I'm wiped.