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

Removing hard shadows


From:

Digital Matte Painting: Changing a Scene From Summer to Winter

with David Mattingly

Video: Removing hard shadows

I still need to get rid of these hard shadows on the side of the building, or at least soften them up so it doesn't look like hard bright sunshine. I'll sample the color from the side of the building and then open up my Brush panel and select a soft brush. In this case I want a soft brush because I want to blend the shadow and light sides together. I plan to take this project from a summertime version to a wintertime version and then to dusk, and these hard shadows would be a dead giveaway that the scene was shot in hard sunlight. That looks better.

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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

Removing hard shadows

I still need to get rid of these hard shadows on the side of the building, or at least soften them up so it doesn't look like hard bright sunshine. I'll sample the color from the side of the building and then open up my Brush panel and select a soft brush. In this case I want a soft brush because I want to blend the shadow and light sides together. I plan to take this project from a summertime version to a wintertime version and then to dusk, and these hard shadows would be a dead giveaway that the scene was shot in hard sunlight. That looks better.

I still need to completely paint out these flowers up top. I'm going to grab a dark brown color off the side of the chalet. Right here I can be really loose. To continuously vary the color while using the Brush tool, press the Option or Alt key while clicking in the plate to bring up the color picker on the fly, and select different colors right off the plate. This will keep the painted areas lively, not going dead like a single solid color will. I'm going to select that hard round solid brush.

That way I can go through and restore some of these structural details that I'm losing. I'm going to restore little bit of this railing which used to be in shadow from the flowers. Since they're gone, the balcony would have more light on it. This big area of snow on the rooftop doesn't look very convincing, so I'm going to grab some of the snow on the ground here that has a nice snow texture on it. I'll use the Rectangular Marquee to select an area that looks like it might work for this. That looks good.

Now, Command+Shift+C or Ctrl+Shift+C to Copy Merge the area out. And then I'll use the Magic Wand tool to select just the top of that chalet where all the white is. Now I'll go up to Edit > Paste Special > Paste Into, or use the keyboard command of Command+Shift+V or Ctrl+Shift+V to paste the photo reference into a layer mask based on the selection. Now I can move the material around and see if I can find an area that I really like.

It looks too dark because I chose a shadow area, so I'm going to curve it up. And I'm getting some very convincing snow texture from this that looks a lot more like realistic snow. With the snow positioned and color corrected, merge it into the rooftop layer by selecting the new layer, layer 1, and pressing Command+E or Ctrl+E. Now I want to go through and add some smaller details, like the snow on top of this chimney, and add a little shadow to that.

I still got some hard shadows on this upper floor of the chalet, so I'll take care of that with a soft round brush. I want to keep an indication that this left wall is curving away from us, so I'm going to restore a little bit of that edge. And I'm going to attend to some more small details, like snow on top of these little fence posts. I've missed this building on the left side.

I'm going to add some snow to the rooftop, and on the right side of the roof, and again, on top of the chimney. Next up, we're going to paint some icicles on the chalet using a custom brush.

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