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Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective

Adding the final ellipses


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Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective

with David Mattingly

Video: Adding the final ellipses

Now it's time to add the final ellipses to your project. I wanted to mention that one of the advantages of using paths is that they are resolution independent. Unlike an ellipse that you draw with pixels, you can scale the path ellipse down really tiny, then scale it up really big. And it doesn't lose any of its mathematical perfection. So we're going to use the ellipsis in the ellipse bank to add the ellipsis to our castle by moving and scaling them into position wherever they're needed.

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Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective
2h 37m Beginner Aug 27, 2013

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An accurate perspective drawing is an essential base for most matte paintings. Learn how to create linear perspective drawings of a castle in Adobe Photoshop with this course, and migrate the lessons to your own project. David Mattingly, a matte artist for many groundbreaking motion pictures, teaches you about the three types of perspective, and how to set up vanishing points, find and rough in the forms in your painting, add detail like crenellations, draw ellipses, and polish the final drawing.

Note: This installment of Digital Matte Painting Essentials builds on the concept sketch from the first course, but it's not necessary to have those files to proceed.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the three types of linear perspective
  • Preparing your concept sketch for drawing
  • Setting up vanishing points
  • Finding the first boxes in perspective
  • Roughing in the other rectilinear forms
  • Creating a flat crenellation
  • Plotting measuring points
  • Drawing ellipses
  • Adding repeating details to walls
  • Delineating the background
Subjects:
3D + Animation Rendering Design Digital Painting Visual Effects
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
David Mattingly

Adding the final ellipses

Now it's time to add the final ellipses to your project. I wanted to mention that one of the advantages of using paths is that they are resolution independent. Unlike an ellipse that you draw with pixels, you can scale the path ellipse down really tiny, then scale it up really big. And it doesn't lose any of its mathematical perfection. So we're going to use the ellipsis in the ellipse bank to add the ellipsis to our castle by moving and scaling them into position wherever they're needed.

Let's do this big dome first. Look horizontally at our ellipse bank and figure out which percentage matches that height above the horizon. The 62% ellipse is at the right height, so select that ellipse, Copy and Paste it into place and slide it horizontally to the part of the dome where you need it. Zoom in then Press Cmd or Ctrl+T to transform it to match word is going on the dome. When scaling the ellipse hold down the Shift key so that it transforms uniformly.

Press Return twice to accept the transformation then press the Shift+A to get the direct selection tool the wide arrow. Select the point at the bottom of the ellipse and delete it. We're looking up on all of these ellipses, so we only need the top part of these forms. Let's do this high tower next. The 87.5% ellipse matches it pretty well, so copy, paste in place, and move it to the new location. Zoom in so you can see what you're doing.

Scale it uniformly, again by holding down the Shift key, fine tune its position, and then Shift+A to get the direct selection tool and Delete the backside. We can reuse this segment so copy and paste it in place. Move it down and scale it to fit. Now we have another segment on that tower. Then we'll do that same thing a couple more times to get the bottom of this tower completely covered.

We're going to do the same thing for all of these towers so let's speed through this section. There are a lot of repeated forms in this castle and when you get one tower done, there's no need to completely redo the same thing. Just copy all of the ellipses on the tower you just finished. Paste it in place and then move it over on to a similar tower and scale to match.

One question that comes up is, what do you do if an ellipse is happening between two of the ellipse back ellipses. If that happens select whatever ellipse is closest and then scale it just a bit either up or down non uniformly. So will match the in between dimension. The same thing goes for when you copy ellipses from a high tower and use them lower down. You should scale the ellipse height down a bit to match the new location.

As you've probably surmised I'm speeding up this final section by 400%. However, you are seeing me complete every ellipse in the project and in real time this took about 20 minutes to complete. Back before I worked digitally, I had a collection of templates called ellipse guides, which were made out of hard plastic and had ellipses of all sizes cut out of them in ten degree increments.

As you are working on a project, you would select the appropriate degree for the ellipse you wanted, then trace around the edge of the Ellipse template to draw your ellipses. Even though completing all of your ellipses may seem repetitive and tedious, this is a lot faster and more accurate than the old-fashioned way I learned in art school. On these smaller forms you could certainly free hand the ellipses, but we'll only be doing this once. We'll use these ellipses for the final drawing. So even on these forms, I think it's worthwhile setting up proper ellipses.

Let's slow down to complete these final ellipses on the smokestacks. These are very close to the horizon and use ellipses half way between 37% and 25%. You might be tempted to just draw flat tops on them. However, your project won't look quite right if you take that shortcut. So, it's worth setting up ellipses even for forms that won't show off the roundness very much. And we'll re-use these ellipses for the matching smokestacks on the other side.

These final round forms at the base of the stacks are very flat. I'm taking the 25% elipses and then scaling the height down a bit to match the location. (BLANK_AUDIO) and paste it in place, drag it over to the other side.

And scale it down to fit. That completes all the ellipses on the castle's towers and domes. Return to layers panel and turn off the ellipse guides layer so we can see the project more clearly. We need a new layer to stroke the elipses, call it final ellipses. Back in the pair this panel , the pairs ellipse we want to stroke for the drawing or still on the same layer as the ellipse bank.

So lets cut them out of that layer and paste them onto a new layer, call it final ellipses also. Make sure your Brush Tool is selected with a 3 pixel radius and the opacity set to 100%. Have white in the foreground color picker. Then, drag the final ellipse path layer down to the Stroke icon at the bottom. Turn the final ellipse layer on and off a couple of times to admire how beautifully rendered your ellipses are.

And we're done. In the next section, I'll show you how to divide up a round surface in perspective.

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