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Adding back sides to crenellations

From: Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective

Video: Adding back sides to crenellations

All of the crenelations are added in but they have no dimension, no thickness like they're made out of cardboard. So we need to add the backsides of the crenelations next. Wherever the crenelations overlap, they are on separate layers. Let's take a moment to rename them, so we know what is on each layer. Layer one has the bridge back crenellations, so name it bridge back. Layer two has the crenellations on the front of the castle. And Layer three has the crenellations on the side arm connecting the tower with the pointed top.

Adding back sides to crenellations

All of the crenelations are added in but they have no dimension, no thickness like they're made out of cardboard. So we need to add the backsides of the crenelations next. Wherever the crenelations overlap, they are on separate layers. Let's take a moment to rename them, so we know what is on each layer. Layer one has the bridge back crenellations, so name it bridge back. Layer two has the crenellations on the front of the castle. And Layer three has the crenellations on the side arm connecting the tower with the pointed top.

Let's deal with the front of the castle first. Select the flat crenellations layer and select the crenellations on that side and press Cmd or Ctrl+J to copy them off the layer. Select the copied crenellations and holding down the Cmd or Ctrl key press the left arrow key several times to move the copies to the left. Hide the selection. Now you need to decide how deep these crenelations will be. Because this side of the castle is turned away from us the most, these crenelations will be thicker.

These mini crenelations above the doorway look too thick. So select them and press Cmd or Ctrl+Right Arrow key to move them over a bit. Now, let's deal with the crenelations on the left side of the castle. Lasso around all of the left side crenelations, then make sure you're on the flat crenelations layer. And press Cmd or Ctrl+J to copy them onto a new layer. Then press Cmd or Ctrl+Right Arrow key several times to scoot the crenelation back to the right.

Because this side of the castle is facing us more than the right side, you'll see less of the thickness of the crenelations here. We have a problem with the crenelation backsides. We're seeing the entire backside, not just the one visible edge we need. You could go through and manually select the unwanted edges and delete them, and we'll do some of that before we complete this section. But when you have a lot of similar crenelations, there's a cool technique I call cutting mask layers, that can be used to trim all of them at once.

Basically, we're going to create a selection that will cut away all of the parts of the back crenelations you don't need. First, in order to stay organized, let's name these new layers so we know what's on them. Layer one had the right side crenellation backs. And layer two has the left side crenellation backs. Select the flat crenellations layer again and select all of the right side crenellations. Press Cmd or Ctrl+J to copy them on to a new layer, and then, select them again.

Now press Cmd+Option or Ctl+Alt+Left Arrow key repeatedly. We've used the Cms or Ctrl arrow key short-cut before to move the contents of the layer. With this combination, with Optional or Alt added to it, repeatedly creates a copy of whatever is on that layer. We copied that front crenelation over until it just touched the back line of the back crenelation. But stopped before we covered it. Now Cmd option or Ctrl+Alt Down Arrow key to make the mask larger.

Name the layer cutting mask. Load the selection from the CuttingMask layer by Cmd or Ctrl > Clicking into the layer thumbnail preview. Turn off the visibility of the CuttingMask layer, return to the right side back layer with the back crenelations on it and press Delete. That cleanly deletes the parts of the back crenelations we don't need. Well I quickly do the same thing on the left side of the castle, let me take a moment to recognize that this process may seem absurdly convoluted.

And you might think than hand selecting and deleting the part you don't need would be faster, but once you get the hang of it creating selections like this is cleaner and faster than any other method. There are now two cutting mask layers. So, take a moment to merge them together to stay organized. Load the selection from the layer by Cmd+ or Ctrl+Clicking into the layer thumbnail preview. Hide the layer. Select the left side back layer. And then press the Delete key to clean it up.

We still need to do the front of the bridge. Select the crenelations on the side of the bridge nearest us. There are a lot of overlapping crenelations here, which can make it hard to see what's what. Since the different layers of crenelations were kept on separate layers, turn off the layers you aren't working on. Now you can see this front section better. Select the flat crenellations again and Comd or Ctrl+J to copy it onto a new layer. Cmd or Ctrl+Right Arrow key to scoot it over.

Select it all again, return to the flat crenellations layer. Cmd or Ctrl+J to copy the original front crenelations out. Select them again, and Cmd+Option or Ctrl+Alt copy it with the arrow key to create the mask. I need to rename my cutting mask layer. It got unnamed when I merged layers together. Select the layer with the back crenelations on it and hit Delete. Name that layer bridge backsides. Let's turn off all of these layers so we can work on the remaining crenelations.

We've still got the side arm, the castle front and the bridge back crenelations to do. The side bridge has only five crenelations, so in this case I would hand select and delete the backsides rather than going to the trouble of creating a cutting mask for it. We're doing the same thing over again here, so I'm going to fast forward through some of this. The concept is the same. Select your front crenelation, Copy it onto a new layer, move it to one side to show the back of the crenelation.

Then either make a cutting mask to clean up the back of the crenelation by copying and duplicating the front multiple times, or hand selecting the unwanted bits. Now all of the crenelations have fronts and backs. Let's turn on all of the layers again you can see that there is quite a bit of confusion in this front area with all the overlapping crenelations. But here's where the cutting mask will come to the rescue again turn on the cutting mask layer. Load the layer selection and isolate the cutting masks for the closest set of bridge crenellations.

Turn off the visibility of the cutting masks layer, and go to the bridge back layer and press Delete. And then the castle front, hit Delete. And the castle front crenellations back sides, and hit Delete one more time. Now only the bridge front crenellations show up. A little clean up is in order, let's move all of the crenelations back together, and then merge them all into one layer. Then name the layer crenelation backs.

Move all of the crenelation fronts together, then select them all, merge them together. And name them crenelations front. The crenelations still have no top and unfortunately I don't know any other way to add them, than to manually draw them in paying careful attention to the perspective grid. The backsides of the crenelations will vanish to the opposite vanishing point from the front. So the crenelations that vanish to the right, will have back side that vanish to the left.

This may seem like a lot of work to get the back sides of these crenelations, but every object in your scene must be three dimensional. If you left the crenelations flat your castle would never look realistic. The addition of all this little detail helps the believability of your project. That completes the crenelations. Next up, we'll draw the towers and domes of the castle.

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Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective

30 video lessons · 3116 viewers

David Mattingly
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