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Length: 8 Weeks
Lectures: Pre-Recorded each week
Assignment: Deadlines each week
Feedback: Individually recorded
Q&A: Once a week
*For classes with less than 6 students feedback may be provided during the live Q&A session.
The focus of this class is to take the matte painting skills you have, and apply them to the real world scenarios you might encounter working at a studio. The goal is that by the end of the class each of you will have completed several matte paintings that demonstrate a solid technical understanding of what modern matte painting entails.
Students will have the opportunity to set up and paint a variety of shots, from 2D to more complex 3D shots as well as learn the tricks to bring those paintings to life. Just as every studio has a different workflow, students will also gain a basic knowledge of working with different color pipelines, cameras and plates and learn how to adapt while creating their shots.
This class is geared for intermediate to advanced Photoshop users with some Nuke compositing and 3D modeling skills in Maya, or industry professionals who want to enhance their toolset.
Students should feel comfortable with basic modeling in a 3D environment as well as basic Nuke compositing.
CGMA policy states that all students will have access to classroom content for the duration of the class plus 4 weeks to review content. After this time is up classroom content will no longer be available.
For those classes with live Q&As, Q&A recordings as well as feedback recordings will be available for up to 6 months after the class is complete.
CGMA policy allows students to miss up to 2 assignments per class before they become ineligible to receive their Certificate of Completion.
Video: technical setup, pitfalls and roadblocks
What resolution do I need to work at and why?
Dealing with motion blur in plates
Plate/photo grain averaging / film grain & noise
Flattened plates vs unflattened plates
Video: Reference: The key to good matte painting
Bit depth and file formats
Permissions & copyrights
Building your own personal library
Video: My approach to finding perspective in photoshop
Video: PSD Organization and teamwork
Layer names, folders and organization
Overlays, curves, & blending modes
Using RGB to paint mattes for comp
Working with someone else’s file
Video: The 2D matte shot from Photoshop to comp
Setting up a static matte painting shot in photoshop and nuke
Compositing your matte painting: adding life to a static shot
Assignment: static aerial matte painting
Video: Color pipelines and working with various formats
Maintaining color range in your paintings
Video space, log space and linear space color workflow
Working with high dynamic range images
Night shots and clipping your blacks, highlights and clipping brights
Icc profiles, show luts, etc
Using your High dynamic range matte painting to help light a 3d scene
The difference between clipping in photoshop and clipping in comp
Video: Roll with the punches
Assignment: High Dynamic Range sky replacement
Assignment: Continue to work on static matte painting
Video: Setting up the nodal shot
What is a nodal camera?
How to tell if your camera is truely nodal or "nodal enough"
Video: Setting up projections for simple camera moves
studying your footage for the best frames to project on
simplifying your projection setup and why
Pros and cons of multiple paintings/projections in a single shot
Tips for camera coverage (how to tell if your projection covers the camera move)
The importance of file and camera name organization
Oversizing your projection/canvas for safe coverage
Ignoring areas of your canvas not seen in the shot
Focusing on areas of importance
Assignment: Nodal Day for Night Matte Painting in log space
Assignment: Continue to work on sky replacement & static matte painting notes
Video: What is a “2.5D” matte painting?
How to keep your shot from looking “cardy”
Video: Setting up a z-traveling or zoomed in shot
Video: Concept for matte painting
Assignment: Concept for the fully matte painted shot:
Assignment: 2.5 D alien planet painting
Video: The fully matte painted shot
Letting geometry do all the heavy lifting
When to matte paint, when to lookDev in 3d
Simplifying geometry for fewer projection complications
Using geometry to find horizons, perspective, and scale
Different approaches to matte painting with 3d geometry
Lining up your geometry edges
Assignment: First pass of the fully matte painted 3d shot
Assignments: Continue to address notes for all other shots
Video: When will matte painting in stereo work?
Video: Working on stereoscopic shots
Getting camera coverage for both eyes
Which eye do you project from?
Geometry must reflect real world scale and spatial relationships
Building geo for lots of foreground parallax
The static stereo shot
When can you simplify your geo in a stereo shot?
Assignment: Continue to polish all matte paintings
Video: Setting up a Large traveling shots (both in X and in Z)
Video: Array camera shots for pano shots
Video: Advanced approaches to sequence level work
Setting up paintings for multiple shots
Video: the 360 shot
Assignments: Finish up all matte painting shots by next week
Video: Tips for staying employed:
Personality matters.. finding a job and staying employed
The artist vs the craftsman
Listening to your notes vs. defending your creative choices
The importance of being efficient as a Matte Painter
Let the small things go, but follow up on your shot
Video: Play to your strengths
Video: Self Marketing:
Notes for portfolios, websites and demo reels
Detailed breakdowns of your shots
Due this week: Final revisions to all your matte paintings
“ Im still trying to absorb the great information I learned here. Im visiting old videos and re-reading the forums. ”
“ It was a very rewarding course, I have never had so much progress on a single course before. Besides sharing a lot of very useful content, Heather also gives lots of feedback, suggestions and very objective critiques. ”
“ Heather is so available!! Thank you so much for answering my questions and advice on my assignments. I never had imagined how good this course course would be! ”