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2D & 3D Aspects
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am_242 is Offline
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Default 2D & 3D Aspects - 03-30-2014, 01:37 PM

I will be so thankful for a reply to this, I just have a concern regarding matte painting. Brief intro: - Firstly here is the level I'am at www.aaronport.carbonmade.com
I've been focussing on matte painting for a while now, before that I was all about concept art, worked in that field for a while too.

Ok, I have a dilemma. The bridge between 2D and 3D areas of matte painting are getting closer, and it worries me how to keep up with both. Learning all the 2D is absolutely necessary, I understand that. And 3D knowledge is too, to be competitive and fit into a VFX pipeline. But how do I maintain my painting skills in 2D, whilst continuing to learn the new tools, techniques and all the necessary elements of 3D software? Modelling/UV's/Texturing/lighting/Rendering/VRAY/MR/Mari/VUE/NUKE etc. Its quite difficult to keep up with it all. I can do a little bit of each, but not an expert at any. How much should I worry about the fact that I'm not very good about UV's? Or an expert in rendering? Or an awesome 3D modeller?

What should I focus on, is really the question I have difficulty answering. I know I need to know the tools, but keeping up to date with all the changes they feature along with everything else is extremely difficult. A little bit of advice would be great here. Especially from someone with work experience in this field.

Thank you for reading.
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gfilmman is Offline
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Default 03-31-2014, 06:01 AM

Well, you've touched on a few things that describe the depth of artistic and also technical skill set with software a matte artist needs, which is a hard role to fill.

Number one is being passionate about it, and spending a lot of time experimenting and learning. It really requires a lot of time, I would say it involves being a little anti social so you can stay on it. Try to balance this aspect, but early on it may hurt your social life since the curve is pretty steep.

The trick is not exactly being an expert at everything, but an expert at illusion making. You don't need to be an expert modeler, it's just enough modeling, with just enough texture, and just enough lighting, and clever composition choices to hide your tracks and sell an illusion in a timely manner. You are a magician who can cut corners in a sense, to sell the shot without requiring things be perfectly simulated in every corner of the screen.

Hope this leads you in the right direction. I'm sure others will have input, this is my philosophy, and I believe it's always good to figure out a solution, the shortest but most effective route to communicate the visual idea.

Your the problem solver in a way.
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Default 03-31-2014, 07:08 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gfilmman View Post
Well, you've touched on a few things that describe the depth of artistic and also technical skill set with software a matte artist needs, which is a hard role to fill.

Number one is being passionate about it, and spending a lot of time experimenting and learning. It really requires a lot of time, I would say it involves being a little anti social so you can stay on it. Try to balance this aspect, but early on it may hurt your social life since the curve is pretty steep.

The trick is not exactly being an expert at everything, but an expert at illusion making. You don't need to be an expert modeler, it's just enough modeling, with just enough texture, and just enough lighting, and clever composition choices to hide your tracks and sell an illusion in a timely manner. You are a magician who can cut corners in a sense, to sell the shot without requiring things be perfectly simulated in every corner of the screen.

Hope this leads you in the right direction. I'm sure others will have input, this is my philosophy, and I believe it's always good to figure out a solution, the shortest but most effective route to communicate the visual idea.

Your the problem solver in a way.

Firstly, I'd like to thank you for your time for reading, and replying to my post. I really think you have put a lot of my points into perspective there. Your right, its all about illusion, cutting corners. Matte painters are cheap alternatives to otherwise very expensive/impossible to build sets, or locations to shoot. A simple notion easily forgotten when your being blinded by everything each software package has to offer.

Well I have to say that not a day goes by without me doing something related matte painting, I think I fill the anti-social role, I'm not the most social person, I like the quiet life, so I'm quite the opposite. But you touch on important factors there, as you have to live it to even stand a chance. But I spend a hell of a lot of time on this field, because it is my passion, I just wanted to make sure that the time I was spending was going towards skills that would benefit the most. But Its probably fair to say I do need to brush up on my modelling/texturing/lighting/rendering/compositing until I'm totally confident in each, so they become just tools that I don't have to worry about using, so once I know these tools enough I can take it from there, and develop my workflow from concept to final composite.

Anyway, thanks again for reminding me what matters, I'am probably trying to learn too much software, all at once which is ultimately my downfall.
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Default 03-31-2014, 07:42 AM

You're welcome, I was glad to offer some help. I saw your tower and mill matte and I like where it's going, could fit into an animated film if a few things were done to it. Here's some more comments on that one.

Overall nice work, I like the concept, the colors and the lighting ideas.

I would encourage you to pick up a Digital SLR camera, or Film SLR camera, and play with focal ranges to get a familiarity with depth of field, how it makes objects not in focus softer, or blurred.

Adding depth and emphasizing your focal point can be accomplished in the compositing stage (After Effects or Nuke for example), and it's good to have your layers sharp for options at the compositing stage, but if you're showing a still frame like this (in the Artists Showcase folks), it would be beneficial to integrate some of that focal range, blurring to sell the shot and the depth.

Some people I've read don't like depth of field to get their idea across, so if you don't use that to sell depth, you can try other things like pushing atmospheric perspective. I believe everything can't be sharp and in focus, unless it's all in the distance as if photographed at infinite with nothing in the foreground. Even then, variety is a good idea, not everything soft, not everything sharp.

Watch your edges, they are quite important. And the foreground structure is feeling awkward to me at the moment. That's a composition, perspective and lighting choice that you should maybe try other options.

You don't have to do any of this stuff, but it might be something to consider.

Go for it man!

Last edited by gfilmman; 03-31-2014 at 07:47 AM..
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Default 03-31-2014, 08:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gfilmman View Post
You're welcome, I was glad to offer some help. I saw your tower and mill matte and I like where it's going, could fit into an animated film if a few things were done to it. Here's some more comments on that one.

Overall nice work, I like the concept, the colors and the lighting ideas.

I would encourage you to pick up a Digital SLR camera, or Film SLR camera, and play with focal ranges to get a familiarity with depth of field, how it makes objects not in focus softer, or blurred.

Adding depth and emphasizing your focal point can be accomplished in the compositing stage (After Effects or Nuke for example), and it's good to have your layers sharp for options at the compositing stage, but if you're showing a still frame like this (in the Artists Showcase folks), it would be beneficial to integrate some of that focal range, blurring to sell the shot and the depth.

Some people I've read don't like depth of field to get their idea across, so if you don't use that to sell depth, you can try other things like pushing atmospheric perspective. I believe everything can't be sharp and in focus, unless it's all in the distance as if photographed at infinite with nothing in the foreground. Even then, variety is a good idea, not everything soft, not everything sharp.

Watch your edges, they are quite important. And the foreground structure is feeling awkward to me at the moment. That's a composition, perspective and lighting choice that you should maybe try other options.

You don't have to do any of this stuff, but it might be something to consider.

Go for it man!
Thanks, I must admit I'm still new to matte painting as whole, only been working on it solely for about a year now. But wow, that's some awesome advice right there. I must admit I've never really thought of doing depth of field effects to my stills, but to blend the layers together, put emphasis on certain areas its a great tip, I'll be sure to use it now. I know when I've played around with cam proj/compositing in Nuke, seeing the layers just blurred slightly works wonders for believability, never thought about doing this out of a comp package.

Edges are a problem for me, particularly with foliage and blue spill. I know using the clone tool to cover up some of this along with colour correction helps, but I still struggle with this. Maybe I need to work on my extraction techniques, might be beneficial.

The foreground structure was a pain, as it was in my concept painting I felt I had to commit to it and try to do it justice, but I was never really satisfied with it. I was going to create it in 3D which would be a better option for something so close to camera, but I just went ahead and tried to create it with photos, but lesson learn't there it just didn't work out.

Thanks again for your tips, awesome! :D
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Default 03-31-2014, 09:47 AM

No problem, you seem eager and open to suggestions, which is a plus for sure.

I forgot to make note of a more prominent cast shadow from your architectural elements. They're receiving quite a bit of sunlight, so they'd need a obvious cast shadow to match, and then it'll look like it's sitting in there more.

Have a good one!
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Default 04-06-2014, 09:07 AM

Yeah, i think gfilmman has summed it up pretty well there. Also, to some extent once you are working professionally you can learn what you needas it comes up. For example i had to use mari for some work about a year ago, and hadn't ever used it before. It didn't worry me too much though, i just learned all the basics of the ui over a few days before i got started (in the evenings after work) and then learned any more specifics as i went. I was a bit slow for a few days, but you quickly catch up and figure out what you need to get the job done. I'm still not the best mari artist in the world but when i need it again now i just build on what i learned before.

But at the end of the day, you cant know everything, you just prioritise a bit and figure out what you need to know so that if you run into problems you have other ways to solve things and make a great image. All of vfx is about compromise at some point, ive seen some incredibly strange workarounds that had to happen at some points but as long as the final result doesnt suffer, its all ok in the end :)


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Default 04-06-2014, 12:08 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by nickmarshallvfx View Post
Yeah, i think gfilmman has summed it up pretty well there. Also, to some extent once you are working professionally you can learn what you needas it comes up. For example i had to use mari for some work about a year ago, and hadn't ever used it before. It didn't worry me too much though, i just learned all the basics of the ui over a few days before i got started (in the evenings after work) and then learned any more specifics as i went. I was a bit slow for a few days, but you quickly catch up and figure out what you need to get the job done. I'm still not the best mari artist in the world but when i need it again now i just build on what i learned before.

But at the end of the day, you cant know everything, you just prioritise a bit and figure out what you need to know so that if you run into problems you have other ways to solve things and make a great image. All of vfx is about compromise at some point, ive seen some incredibly strange workarounds that had to happen at some points but as long as the final result doesnt suffer, its all ok in the end :)
Thank you for your post, greatly appreciated. I have to say that is hugely satisfying to hear this, I was under the impression I had to know everything about every piece of software to stand a chance in todays DMP industry. This sort of stemmed from watching Garrett Fry's 3D MP DVD, I was shocked at how complex his approach was, and I just started to feel a bit lost, as I only know PS, Maya and a bit of Nuke. Its fair to say though I'am still in the very early stages of developing my work and approach. My 2D matte paintings still need a lot of work, as I'am making amateur mistakes, but every piece I create teaches me something, and for the first time I'am actually seeking feedback from the community so I can start to be more critical of my process. I guess the main thing I need to worry about right now, is getting my matte paintings looking professional before worrying about introducing other tools into my work. Thanks again for your reply and insight :)
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