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Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective

Clean drawing


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Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective

with David Mattingly

Video: Clean drawing

In the previous lesson, we figured out where all the rectolinear forms are, but the drawing is hard to read, and we need to do a clean drawing before we proceed. Turn down the Opacity of the messy drawing to 50%, make a new Layer called Clean Drawing, and up the Opacity of your Brush to 100%. Now we're ready to start cleanly defining all of these forms. You have all of the guides from the messy drawing to help you. But now you want to really pay attention to the perspective grid.

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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

Clean drawing

In the previous lesson, we figured out where all the rectolinear forms are, but the drawing is hard to read, and we need to do a clean drawing before we proceed. Turn down the Opacity of the messy drawing to 50%, make a new Layer called Clean Drawing, and up the Opacity of your Brush to 100%. Now we're ready to start cleanly defining all of these forms. You have all of the guides from the messy drawing to help you. But now you want to really pay attention to the perspective grid.

On this drawing you want each line to be accurate. As before, have your hand on the undo button as you work. On this drawing, you don't want a sketch. But get a single clean line defining each form. Sometimes, there are 2 or 3 lines on the messy drawing finding an edge. But on this one, you have to decide which one is right. On the messy drawing, you are drawing through forms to find continuous edges. But on this clean drawing you should use the previous guides as reference.

And break the line when another form goes in front. As you're working you probably still see things that aren't quite right in the first drawing. So feel free to make corrections you should go. But make them decisively. If you have a major revision to do you might want to go back to the rough drawing to work it out. And then turn on the clean drawing to continue. Before this drawing, I didn't use the eraser much. But on this drawing, I'll go back and clean up edges when I overshoot a line by pressing the E key to access the eraser and the B key to get back to the brush.

I've always enjoyed this part of the process. When you're working on the rough drawing, that's where the hard work of figuring out where forms are in perspective. In this part, you're consolidating your gains by tracing over what you did before. And getting it exactly right. This part of the perspective drawing is relatively simple. And we'll be doing more complex perspective in later lessons. So this won't be the last clean drawing we'll do on the project. On a complex perspective drawing, I'll do multiple clean ups as the project proceeds.

Lets go ahead and clean up the bridge. The archways are a little trickier, so lets take care of the east parts first. Draw the front part where the lava spills over, defining the support structures on each side. Rectilinear objects or objects bounded by straight lines are generally easier to do in perspective then rounded objects so we are getting all of those forms out of the way first But don't worry.

We'll get to all of the ellipsis, cylinders and domes in this castle and later lessons. As you're working make sure you get all of the tops and bottoms drawn to close up your forms. We need to define the curve on the bridge archway, and you could use one of Photoshop's curve tools to draw it precisely. But since you have the guides from the rough drawing, you can get a reasonable arch by clicking, holding down the shift key, and clicking again to create short strokes that describe the curve.

The backside of this arch should be identical to the front, so rather than drawing it again, lasso around it, and option or alt drag copy it to get an exact duplicate. Draw the bottom of the castle in the archway, and then the far right bastion. And then finish up the base. This line went a little too far so I switched to the eraser tool to clean it up.

There's a little inner upper wall here that needs to be defined. And these top bastions at the base of the towers. You'll notice that even on this clean drawing I still periodically draw guides as I work, when I'm concerned about lining up 2 objects in perspective. I'll lower the opacity to 20% when I do that to make it clear that they're just guides.

This tower that hangs off of the side of the castles still needs to be clearly defined. Do the sides of the base first and then close it up. Then, add three layers where the pointed top comes out. I'm going to make the upper layer whiter as a decorative touch. And draw in this upper layer.

Then following the guides for the pointed top, knock those sides in also. Look around for anything that hasn't been drawn in yet. These side flame holders need to be worked on. Draw a guide for these flame holders to make sure that they're the same height. The top of this right bastion hasn't been defined.

So, carefully follow the lines up from the base and complete the top. These boxy structures on top of the lava waterfall need to be worked out. Do a little cleanup over here. After this, we're going to draw crenulations on the tops of the walls. And you need to add guides to line them up.

I'm drawing these at 50% opacity, so I know they're guides and not final walls. Try to make the crenellations the same on all of the walls, and be careful to follow your perspective grid as you work. This castle has crenellations on all of the walls as a unified design element. And you need guides where ever they are, so add them to this front bridge also.

I just noticed I forgot this back bastion on the castle. It's mostly hidden by the tower. But draw it in wherever it would show up. This arched form connecting the castle and the front tower can be drawn in by holding down the shift key and drawing short strokes that follow the rough drawing. Rather than drawing the arch again, use that same trick we used on the bridge, by lassoing around it and Option or Alt+drag it over to duplicate it.

The last thing that needs to be cleaned up is the castle entry way. It has a lot of confusing guidelines but if you look carefully you can figure out the front edge of the entry then where the entryway meets the body of the castle and then draw around all sides of the form. Draw the top edge where it meets the castle, then add guides for the set of crenalations about the doorway. Then draw the doorway itself, and an indication of the depth of the entryway.

And that's it. Let's zoom out to admire our handiwork, and then turn off the rough drawing so we can see the clean drawing clearly. Next up, I'll show you how to add crenelations in perspective using Photoshop's distort tool.

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