Digital Matte Painting and Set Extensions

As part of my project I need to look at set extensions, both for the reception space to extend the height and also for the external scenes to change the sky lines. Matte paintings are used behind a built set, filmed action or scale model to extend the set or create a world that would be impossible or too costly to build. In the early days, matte painting was done on sheets of glass. Today it’s a digital composite.

Craig Barron, once matte cameraman at Industrial Light and Magic discusses matte painting.

“Good matte paintings are as much about design and planning as anything else,” states Barron. ” Long before anything is filmed, a matte shot will be carefully planned by us and the film’s production designer. This usually entails producing a number of small test paintings in which we figure out composition, colour schemes, lighting effects and how live action will integrate with painting.” (RICKETT, R., 2000)

matte_painting_5_by_astrokevin

http://slappylafunky.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/creative-inspirations-ron-crabb/ [sourced on 7/05/14]

An image like this would take many hours to produce, so a production designers job is to produce images or collaborate with artists to design scenes that portray the overall look of the film and act as a guideline for VFX artists.

The videos that I’ve found so far about Matte painting either use photographs or images to start with or draft up drawings then paint over, adding photo elements on top. This video is an example of how the image is built up using stages or layers to produce a realistic view.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-kdXbjwAME

 

 

From this I have thought about how I go about designing with matte painting in mind. I’m not trained in the art of digital FX like the VFX artists of  companies such as Framestore but I can design concepts  that convey the colour palette of the film or a certain look to some of the architecture.

I had a go at using photos and digital painting in Photoshop to try to produce concepts/matte painted backgrounds as a guideline image for colour schemes and lighting.

skyline1

skyline 7 purple

 

blend panorama C

This image is a progression from the first drawing with  background and foreground pieces inserted. To finish this digital Matte/concept I would need to add some detail and some more buildings in the foreground. When designing my locations where a CGI is needed or a space that needs green screen I will create a matte concept that will give a good idea of how I want the scene to look as part of the set design.

 

References:-

RICKETT, R., Special Effects: The History and Technique. London: Virgin Books, 2000.

You Tube and videos:-

http://slappylafunky.wordpress.com/2010/04/24/creative-inspirations-ron-crabb/ [sourced on 7/05/2014]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkYWop-G0p4 [sourced on 7/05/2014]

 

Categories: MA Practical Project, Post Production, sketchbook and visual diary, The production designer and art department, workshops and skills | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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