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what is matte painting?
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Default what is matte painting? - 05-09-2005, 05:11 AM

Hiya. Just thinking a little about stuff, please forgive my pseudo-philosophical meanderings.


I know some people (George Lucas?) have said that painting has become photography of the modern age, but I'm still thinking that it's important to know the basics of traditional art to function well as a digital artist.

So.

Though I'm not a believer in a purist attitude towards creating art, I do get a little pensive when I see the amount of matte paintings floating around out there that are 'just' a bunch of images slapped together without really knowing much about what's going on underneath it. Are we now matte painters simply because we know how to composite images in Photoshop?

What would then happen if someone requests a matte painting where this approach is impossible, for instance in cases where the subject matter is completely fictional? Would we then be able to fulfil this request, if all we're used to doing is taking existing material? I don't think so, since this photo-compositing approach is in effect not using our own imaginations coupled with our artistic skills to execute what we're seeing in our minds. I'm not saying it's un-creative, but it's an artificial limitation that we're imposing on ourselves and on our creativity.

Basically, I think the term 'matte painting' is being used a bit too frivulously at the moment, (and I've done it myself as well). Any opinions on this ?


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Matte painters - painting
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Default Matte painters - painting - 05-09-2005, 05:41 AM

I seem to only paint fictional backgrounds, I don't like the idea of photo-stitching may way to a great image. (in my own time anyway)
I learn more from just painting what should be there by hand over a period of about 60 hours or so.

Understanding light and painting without reference images should be done as an exercise from time to time.
You see where you go wrong if you compare what you were trying for with what it might actually look like.
:idea:


I squint to see distant objects.
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Default 05-09-2005, 08:27 AM

This kinda hints at my thoughts. Though in trying to stay a positive member of a community that I enjoy visiting, I have kept my mouth shut, because I am certainly no professional of the like of Ryan Church, Johnny Dusso, etc.

I think matte painting is receiving a large amount of interest right now and there are people who are saying, "that's what I want to do...I want to be a matte painter". In fact though, it's just one of the many jobs that an artist can have out there that use essentially the same skills as other modern digital artists.

But more on the the subject you're speaking about, as far as what matte painting really is...I see alot of the same thing too. And that's alright, becuase people are always going to try to imitate or mimic things that they appreciate and just because your not up to professional standards yet doesn't mean you should take other "artists" comments and design snobbery to heart.

I went to design school myself and what I experienced in school is very typical I guess in everyday art appreciation. It seemed like everyone wanted to do anime, and not many understood the importance of shading eggs, painting color charts, understanding the elements of design , etc...no, everyone wants the straight shot to being what they expect to be and it's a shame, because not only have the teachers and institutions caved to the newer generations expectations and give crap work passing grades, it affected my own quality of education, and I'm pissed for it. I was just shy of graduating cumme laude and I don't feel like I even tried to get the A's that I received...and where am I now for it?

So yes, I see something wrong with slapping photos together to make a complete image that everyone else will go ga-ga over and dump accolades on a person who just knows how to use the software well or well enough.

That's what school was to me. I knew the software, and it's all just tools to me. I got beyond the thinking that Photoshop is my magical piece of ware that with the right plug-ins and tutes, I can be a master like the rest of the world. There were ALOT of people who who going to school that didn't know a thing about the software (i tutored some of these people) and they expected to pass even though they couldn't even get beyond the interface of the tools.

All jealous negativity though I think. Don't know...I'm still searching my feelings, and RE-researching the theories and concepts that are behind creating pieces that our eyes have ben trained to accept as pleasing in their composition, colour, etc. Whether I'll be financially successfull with the processes that I happen to enjoy, I don't know...but obviously the industry has embraced getting the job done no matter what, and so have lifted the weight of guilt off of the shoulders of the artists who stitch photos together with a few layers of paint to create the illusion of masterpieces. And they're getting paid for it. So what is the price of success in the film industry? It's not the art world, it's the film industry. Just like you have musicians and you have the record industry, for which is another decade of experience that I draw perspective from.

Most of us know when something is good or not, so I think it's safe to say, that if you can spot problems in other peoples work, then re-assess your emotional responses and continue on with positive progress and self-education and of course practice and I think you'll get more enjoyment out of just doing what you do. I'm not there yet myself, but I'm still on a path that I feel will give me continual enjoyment of my work.

To summarize, yeah, there's images here and there on this site that I could just go on about in regards to problems that could be worked on, but I look at the fact that I don't even have any work that I feel is good enough to give me the right to say anything about someone elses work.
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Default 05-09-2005, 08:45 AM

BTW, my major pet peeve when determining how good a matte painting is, is looking for elements that are supposed to be in motion such as water(falls), birds, vehicles, etc.

If it's been put into the matte painting already, then you're already taking away my need to imagine the scene as if it was real, and not a static image. If I see a waterfall, it better be removable to put the cg water in place. I understand that the artist is typically trying to convey everything they imagined the scene could be made to use for, but that's usually not your job as the artist. You're just creating an environment for someone elses story to take place in. Don't stymy someones imagination by throwing in extra elements beyond what's necessary to evoke an emotional response to the "reality" of the environment.

I came here to see matte paintings for the specific use in the film industry. Otherwise there's thousands of other sites I could go to to look at CG art.
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Default 05-09-2005, 09:35 AM

I hate it when people say things like, Photography killed painting, or with photography there is no need for painting. While at school I attended an art history class in which the teacher told us that with the advent of photography representation in painting became obsolete. Needless to say I left with a very low opinion of the teacher and never returned to that class.
It seems to me that when people think of photographs they think that these miraculous machines have the amazing ability to capture “reality”. To me, and I think to anybody who knows anything about photography, this completely misses the point.
I think the reality of any photograph is manipulated and ultimately dictated by the photographer, the same way that objects and people represented in paintings are the product of careful study and deliberate choice. Whether photographers or painters we make these choices because we are trying to communicate something.
For a matte painter people’s faith in photography is a key weapon because these deliberate choices will always confront the viewer with the weight and reality that photography is supposed to magically capture.

I think there are two kinds of matte artists out there, those who come from a painting background and confront the plate like a painting and those who reside in the digital realm and achieve their work using the skills of a very sensitive compositor, collaging and blending seams. I don’t think we should get into a discussion about which is better. Both are valid. In the end, the effects company or the director will decide which approach is more suited for the story.

Thanks for getting us thinking plaf!
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Default 05-09-2005, 10:06 AM

well, i guess i should post my opinion since im the new gen wanna be painters, my background is not about art, im a multimedia technician i know how to do a lot of stuff but painting is not one of them, i want to learn by experience, by studing colors, lights shadows referencing to the real world photos etc...i dont want to pay any art school couse i dont have time to study right now so im buying the gnomon school dvd's and spank my ass off to become a matte painter eventually, what i love about matte painting is the ability to create something new that anyone have ever seen or think and make it realistic to the point you believe its real.

My father is an artist he paints he sculps and he understands everything i dont about art form function and the details... and i dont even have a wacom i paint with my mouse for god sake...so ima limited...for now im trying to paint the basic of all, the works that every matte painter should have in its portfolio, summer to winter scenes and day to night...the basic of all to let me learn values and the distribuition of colors etc etc...

So yes im one that uses some photos but i want to paint too, im doing a work now for a contest here in Portugal, and im not going the vectorial freaky way like everyone is going to do, the trendy way that everyone loves, im going to make a matte painting, and use photographic elements and painted elements too...and maybe just maybe if i do 100% what i've imagined i could win...im going to do an surrealistic hyperreal image the theme is (Self Portrait)...

But about matte painting yes no doubt...there are all this new people saying they are painter when they just use photographic elements and do no painting at all how could you be a painter if you dont paint ?...

But i think...this is normal...everyone here is able to see who are the real painters, the good and the bad ones, and the industry itself wont accept wanna be painters, only REAL painters so in time i believe things will go back to normal....
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Default 05-09-2005, 10:13 AM

The use of photos has brought a whole new realm to the world of matte painting. Any industry painter will even tell you how important photo reference is. And even though traditional art is very important so is the ability to blend an image seemlessly. If done right it is not just a collage or stiching a panorama togeher. More then likely you will be painting on top of the photos used. Also photos are taken from real life and they tend too look more real that is why they are used. Take Ryan Church for instance. His work is Phenomenal. Looks great, but it still doesn't look real. That is the main idea behind matte painting; is that it needs to look real. Whether it takes place in a fictional story or a documentary it needs to look real. There are many different ways to achieve a matte painting, and to say using photos is cheating or ridiculous is ridiculous. And by the way it is Yanick Dusseault (Dusso) not Johnny Dusso.


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Default 05-09-2005, 10:53 AM

Plaf, here is a link to a discussion thread related to this topic, just in case you missed it

http://www.mattepainting.org/forum/v...?t=407&start=0
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Default 05-09-2005, 11:16 AM

A lot of good and thought-provoking responses!

I'd like to stress, however, that I'm in no way calling the use of photographic elements or photo reference ridiculous.
What I'm thinking about is the matte painting art form and how it's changed from a painting task to a painting/compositing task - but in the end, you still need the artistic skills to understand lighting, perspective and all the rest of it, don't you ? That's what I mean and where my concern with purely photo-based mattes comes from.


dentsinger : Regarding your pet peeve: Yeah, I hear you. I often do stuff you shouldn't really do in mattes when I'm painting digitally. I guess it's because my pieces aren't professional - I do them on my own time to learn, and I like the images i do to be able to stand alone as finished pieces. I realize it's wrong, though, and I obviously wouldn't do that kinda thing if I were doing an actual matte painting job ;)
As far as you not wanting to criticise stuff, I think that if you care enough to sit down and actually type out some constructive criticism, people will appreciate it.

Quote:
obviously the industry has embraced getting the job done no matter what, and so have lifted the weight of guilt off of the shoulders of the artists who stitch photos together with a few layers of paint to create the illusion of masterpieces.
I guess it's inevitable that if something can be done faster by using photo source, it will be done that way because it's cheaper. It's not a bad thing either - at all! The bad thing is an artificial reliance on photosource that can put a clamp on your creativity (in the sense that you might not go for a particular idea, but settle for something you can more easily get in there).

Quote:
I think there are two kinds of matte artists out there, those who come from a painting background and confront the plate like a painting and those who reside in the digital realm and achieve their work using the skills of a very sensitive compositor, collaging and blending seams. I don’t think we should get into a discussion about which is better. Both are valid. In the end, the effects company or the director will decide which approach is more suited for the story.
I agree. There's also the whole new breed of 2d / 3d artists who can build their own "photosource" in 3d, light and render it, and then composite it all to get the finished matte. Certainly this is a valid approach as well. (I guess ANY approach is really valid when it's your job, innit)

Quote:
But about matte painting yes no doubt...there are all this new people saying they are painter when they just use photographic elements and do no painting at all how could you be a painter if you dont paint ?...

But i think...this is normal...everyone here is able to see who are the real painters, the good and the bad ones, and the industry itself wont accept wanna be painters, only REAL painters so in time i believe things will go back to normal...
I guess we're faced with a redefinition of the term 'matte painter'. 'Digital matte artist' would maybe be more appropriate. And I agree that in the end, the mad skillz will be the thing making the difference, leading through natural progression to jobs going to the best artists for that particular job.


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Default 05-09-2005, 11:19 AM

max : thanks for the link, I hadn't read that thread. will do.


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