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bcottman is Offline
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Default 05-09-2005, 10:33 PM

I think that it is a valid discussion to have. the common perception of a matte painting seems that it is a 2d photo collage to pan over or do a simple projection zoom into. This minimizes what is expected to be accomplished with a matte artist and so work goes the 3d pipeline route. If the idea of a matte artist is changed from a photoshop specialist to "experts in designing and creating photo-realistic ENVIRONMENTS" as rick said, then more work would be left the hands of matte artists.

The title Painter infers that the artist's specialty is in creating images, not assets.

Just a thought
Brenton


Brenton Cottman

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Default 05-09-2005, 10:56 PM

I question the notion that there is a "common" perception
that a matte artist is anything but a matte artist.


Rick Rische
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Default 05-10-2005, 12:34 AM

I suppose i am generalizing. but I think attention directed to photo collage and photoshop techniques undermines the abilities of matte painters. other cg occupations have validity in technical acheivements. A matte painters validity lies in their ability to create believable images based on their artistic understanding. The focus paid to collage and photoshop techniques discredits that understanding and validity.


Brenton Cottman

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Default 05-10-2005, 02:28 AM

Not to beat this to death, but.....why do matte artists have a monopoly
on creating believeable images based on their creative understanding?
I know and respect MANY artists in other CG disciplines who are astounding
artists in their respective fields. And I know that these artists often resent
being called technicians. An animator creating a performance is not a
technician, for example.
To be successful in a CG production environment, you must strike a balance
between the creative artistic side and the technical side. Matte painting itself
has become EXTREMELY technical, FAR more than it ever was before CG.
I don't fetishize the technical side of things- NOTHING is more boring to me
than a software manual. But, ironicaly, I've amassed quite a bit of technical
knowledge (far more than I would have believed 10 years ago!) because
I want to be good at my job, and I want to be able to collaborate and
contribute in a group setting. And that means knowing a bit about what
others are doing, and how you can best integrate what you're doing with what
they're doing, so you can ALL give the client what he/ she wants.

Here at mattepainting.org, we talk about a lot of things, Photoshop nuts
and bolts, techniques et al. It kind of reminds me of magazines like
American Artist where everybody is talking about oil techniques, brushes
they like to use, where they like to paint, who their influences are etc.
I don't think discussions like that undermine their (our) validity as artists.
It's just peer gab, that's all.


Rick Rische
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Default 05-10-2005, 03:15 AM

There are a lot of things implied in what you guys are saying - I mean.. I hear a lot of old discussions and a lot of experiences in there, if you know what I mean. At least that's what it sounds like to an outsider like me, who's still got a naive pair of blue eyes.

That's not meant to be negative comment in any way, more like an explanation of my perspective on this discussion. We're in different places with a different basis for having it.


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Default 05-11-2005, 11:53 AM

Wow there are a lot of different points going on in this discussion, an I feel that I have to pipe in on some of them.

First I think the quote Plaf made from georgie boy is innaccurate, or at least that's not what he's saying anymore. He has said numerous times recently that making films is no longer the realm of the photographer it is really more about being a painter.

Now I am not a professional in so much that I have never been paid to do this work. but I have been doing visual effects on my own for years as it has always been sort of a driving need for me. I don't really know why, But like everyone else I have seen a huge surge in matte painting and people wanting to get into it. I think we can attribute that to this website! Maryam has gone and brought this art to the masses.
I am not entirely joking when I say this because before the advent of the internet or rather the digital age this was a secretive art form. before star wars studios would guard the secret with all the gusto of a magician guarding his tricks. Cause thats what it comes down to matte painters, compositors, vfx artists whatever they all are in the buisness of making an illusion, of suspending disbelief. I think thats what people forget especially in discussions like this, the process is not important.

If you use photos, painting, or potato skins it's the end result that matters. the illusion. after all the transporter effects in Star Trek was made from shag carpeting, waterfalls are nearly always salt, hell someone mentioned in a post a few months ago that he incorporated a pizza slice into a shot somehow. Do whatever works and is the most efficient use of your time.

as a matte painter you are called on to make believable environments. Notice i said believable and not realistic because believability is the most important thing and sometimes realism hurts a shot more than it helps. The optical rule of thumb was never have a matte shot on screen more than 2.5 seconds. nowadays studios break that rule all the time but if you watch for it you'll probably notice that the shorter shots always work the best. if it's on screen to long, the viewer starts picking apart the effect mentally and it pulls them out of the story and that defeats the whole purpose. Basically if people notice the painting you've failed.

as for all the "new school" matte painters that just paste a bunch of photos together... they will find their way. think back to your first collage/matte and what a pile of crap that was, everyones was but most people either find it or they don't, but at the end of the day all visual effects is photocollage in compositing.

I'm sorry this is such a long post, I guess I'm a little passionate about this subject. I just have one more point to mention and it's all over dear reader.

I just wanted to touch on another discussion we were all having about procedural approaches to environment creation. I don't think it will ever be a viable alternative to matte painting because it will always be trying to recreate reality instead of the illusion of reality. and to be quite frank the cheating is what I like best about fx. the houdini factor. I'm not a pretty man, not a smart man, not a rich man, not even a particularilly good man, but dammit I can make stuff look like other stuff and for now that's enough.

Nick
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Default 05-11-2005, 02:24 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by NickATnitE
...the cheating is what I like best about fx. the houdini factor...
I have to agree with all you say but cheating seems like completely the wrong word, its more about inventiveness and creativity. But I think thats what you mean having read your post.

JM
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Default 05-11-2005, 11:36 PM

Quote:
....recreate reality instead of the illusion of reality
I think this is the reason that most of us were attracted to vfx. Solving problems with a whatever works mentatlity. This is also why I get a bit disgruntled with the overly technical way things often to get done instead.

I dont want to sound like I am elevating matte painting over other CG disciplines. I also "know and respect many artists in other CG disciplines". However as painters our PRIMARY skillset is observing and recreating nature. That specialization should be valued over our ability to stitch photos. And it should be an asset to us in the same way that the understanding languages is to a programmer.

Also to clarify, I dont think that discussing our techniques is undermining anything. I am commenting on Plaf's original post
Quote:
"seeing 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".
And I think that this attention that collage painting is getting may undermine the value of our skill set.

On another note. I went to the LA Siggraphs presentation on Sin City tuesday and the Orphanage had an great demonstration of their work. their approach was very old school with plently of practical effects and great use matte painting, projectons and minatures. Cafe FX also had a great demonstration with beautiful environments but less in the way of matte painting.


Brenton Cottman

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Default 05-12-2005, 04:59 AM

Quote:
Also to clarify, I dont think that discussing our techniques is undermining anything. I am commenting on Plaf's original post
That's the thing. I didn't intend to criticise anyone's methods or work, I was interested in starting a discussion and hearing what people had to say about the subject, because I think it'd be interesting to work in the matte trade - but I can see how my choice of words was offensive, i.e. my saying 'slap together' a matte from images. Sorry if anyone took offense from it, but know that I was referring to myself as well :)

Also, I wasn't commenting on anything going on in the professional matte painting world (seeing as I'm not part of that industry) - so the things mentioned about some peeps being 'technicians' and some CG disciplines being above other disciplines isn't something I've encountered myself. (Though it's the same in the games industry)

Anyways. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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Default 05-12-2005, 05:23 AM

Like others I am not a professional DMP, so take my thoughts with a pinch of salt. After reading about the history of the art and knowing of the techniques used in today's paintings though I can't think a whole lot has really changed. The end result is that of illusion. To fool the eye into believing the shot. There is no greater way to fool the eye than use reality, hence the use of photographs. Do you not think for one second that if there was a way to do that flawlessly in the golden age of mattes that it wouldnt be used on the basis of artistic principles? Sure a truly painted matte is more of an achievement and truer to the 'art' but the bottom line is that if it takes weeks as opposed to days, the bean counters wont care one jot about tradition. As others have mentioned, being able to composite photographs is one thing but you can't rely on that alone. You still need the grounding in art fundamentals to make a shot work, along with strong painting ability and more recently 3D etc etc.

When youre aiming for 'photo'reality it's hard to see the argument (in these modern times) against using photos imho.
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