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Digital Matte Painting: Changing a Scene From Summer to Winter
Illustration by John Hersey

Adding form to the foothills


From:

Digital Matte Painting: Changing a Scene From Summer to Winter

with David Mattingly

Video: Adding form to the foothills

So with my background mountains all done, I want to address the top of this tree line just a bit. Since I used that layer-extraction technique to separate these foothills from the rest of the image, I've gotten a very aliased edge, and it doesn't look like a natural tree line. Before I fix that, I want to organize this painting a little bit better. The snow would actually be in front of the foothills and the foothills would be in front of the mountains. I don't have it that way right now. And I'm going to move the snow up to the top and the foothills into the middle and then the mountains into the background and the copy of my plate in the very back.

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Digital Matte Painting: Changing a Scene From Summer to Winter
1h 48m Intermediate Jul 03, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, well-known author, teacher, and illustrator David Mattingly demonstrates his production-proven matte painting techniques and shows how to turn a summer daytime scene into a wintry nightscape using Photoshop and After Effects. David shows how to take a plate, or a still shot from a film, and alter key elements to change the season and time of day. Using advance digital matte painting methods, David removes all of the greenery from the mountains, fields, and trees, and covers them with snow. Then he replaces the sky, and adds realistic touches such as chimney smoke, icicles, and night-lit windows. In the final chapters, you'll discover how to create an animated scene that cross-dissolves between the two versions.

Topics include:
  • Making precise selections using the Color Range command
  • Controlling reference material through layer masks
  • Creating custom brushes
  • Painting snow, icicles, and trees
  • Painting through a high-contrast matte
  • Replacing the sky in an image
  • Animating smoke and falling snow
  • Reformatting and rendering a scene in After Effects
Subjects:
3D + Animation Illustration Video Digital Painting Compositing Visual Effects
Software:
After Effects Photoshop
Author:
David Mattingly

Adding form to the foothills

So with my background mountains all done, I want to address the top of this tree line just a bit. Since I used that layer-extraction technique to separate these foothills from the rest of the image, I've gotten a very aliased edge, and it doesn't look like a natural tree line. Before I fix that, I want to organize this painting a little bit better. The snow would actually be in front of the foothills and the foothills would be in front of the mountains. I don't have it that way right now. And I'm going to move the snow up to the top and the foothills into the middle and then the mountains into the background and the copy of my plate in the very back.

Now I'm going to return to my Painting layer, and I saved that brush that I used to paint all of the trees and I called it Foliage. I'm going to select that brush because I liked how organic it was, and I'm going to zoom in on the top of my tree line. First I want to brighten the top of the tree line and I also want to regularize it so it looks more like a natural tree line and not this jumpy aliased edge that I have right now. I am getting a bit of a visible line as I paint, but like before, I'm going to vary the size of the brush and also vary the scattering to avoid a regularized mark. But to get the top of this tree- line firmly established, I'm going to keep this scattering fairly low.

I'm happy with how the top of this tree line is cleaning up. I'd lots of little speckles and tonal jumps that didn't look very natural before. That looks better. I'm going to open the Brush palette and increase the spacing slightly. That'll give me more distance between dabs of the brush. I'm also going to increase the scattering. Now I can go in here and lighten the top of the tree line, but without visible lines being drawn by my hand.

I want to get the entire top of this lightened, but I like how the scattered brush is giving me the broken look of trees covered with snow. Let's go over to this side. This looks too dark also, so I'm going to lighten up the top of the hill quite a bit. And in order to get the top of the tree-line painted better, I'm going to open up the Brush panel again, I'm going to reduce the spacing between my brush dabs and lower the scattering, and then I can paint in a clearer tree line.

I have also got a telephone pole over here that I don't think is very attractive, so I'm just going to paint it out. All the time while I'm working on this, I'm thinking about the form. I want the top of the hill to be brighter and as it comes down the hill towards the chalet, it needs to give us a sense of rounding. I'm going to adjust the brush one more time to add more spacing and scattering to really randomize the mark. That'll help me finish this hill.

With that adjusted brush, I'll finish the lightening the top of the ridgeline. That's giving the hill a lot more form, lightening it at the top and darkening it as it curves towards us. Next up, we're going to adjust the color of the hill by painting through a high-contrast mask.

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