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A crucial step in building a realistic digital matte painting is texturing your scene. This course shows you how to add light, color, and texture to a basic form using photographic references and the tools in Adobe Photoshop. Author David Mattingly starts the lessons where Digital Matte Painting Essentials 3 left off—with a fully shaded 3D form—but you can also jump straight into this installment to learn more about texturing. Start now to learn how to add crenellations, color correct your form, distort and relight photographic textures, and add glows and special effects that make your painting convincing.
Now that we have the dome and rectangular faces split apart, let's revise the dome. Move the dome inside details out of the crenelations group, and put them in their own group called Dome. Turn off the Side Details layer so we can see the dome edges more clearly. It looks like this has two problems. The right edge is higher than the left, and the ellipses of the dome are too flat. First, select the top rotunda detail at the top of the dome, then clip it off. Cmd or Ctrl+Shift+J.
It'll need to be distorted separately. Call up the Transform tool, and let's get the edges of the dome leveled. I personally don't like guides, since they clutter up the interface, but if you move the dome up to the top of the window, you can use that edge with the Distort tool to see when the two sides are evened out. That looks better. Move the dome back into place and right click and choose Warp. We want to raise the center of the dome up, but work in an orderly fashion, since you'll want to keep it even throughout.
We don't need to move the sides in like we did before with the texture sections, since the dome already has proper rounding on the sides. That'll work. Now select that top detail on the dome and pull up the Warp tool. Raise up the center of this, so that the ellipses are rounder, again staying very organized, so the material doesn't get wavy. Line up the dome properly and then press Cmd or Ctrl+E to merge the two layers together. Now the rounded parts are matching the castle, so let's deal with these side boxes.
Turn on the Side Details layer. It looks like this dome position needs to be adjusted just a bit. And turn on the left and right vanishing point guides. The problem here is that no matter how much we distort this, the two sides won't match up to the vanishing points, so we need to separate the boxes vanishing point to the right from the boxes vanishing to the left. We'll cut them right here in the middle, where the right and left side meet. And once again, Cmd or Ctrl+Shift+J to cut them apart.
Now, turn on only the right vanishing points. And distort the right side to match the guides. Then select the left side, and turn on the left side vanishing points. And distort that side to match the guides also. Now everything lines up in perspective. The reason that I had you put all of these in a group is that now you need to do some patching where we tore the dome apart. By Option or Alt clicking in the eyeball next to the group you can solo only that group and easily see where the holes are.
You can do the patching on the dome layer which is at the bottom of the group. That rough charcoal brush we made before with a lot of scatter on it will work well. Since you have the dome right there, you can just select the color right out of the image. If you'd copied these sections out, you might think that patching would be easier, since you'd have the original background still there. However, this is sort of like wire removal, where you have your actors on the set flying or doing spectacular stunts, where they need wires to assist them.
You obviously don't want the audience to see the wires. In the early days of cinema, film makers would make every effort to disguise the wires on the set, since there was no good way to remove them after a scene was filmed. In the digital age, it's a rule of thumb to keep the wires fairly obvious, since in digital removal it's better to really see where wires are other than having to hunt for them. This is a kind of like that. By chopping wholes in your reference then turning everything else off, you really see where the holes are and they're easier to patch.
You can be pretty sloppy while you're doing this, so stay loose as you work and sample color often to keep the color varied. In fact, if you were really meticulous in patching these holes, you'd probably get a result that looks less photographic, since the actual image itself has a fair amount of noise and color variation. If you've ever looked really closely at a photograph, even a good quality one like this, you see that there's always a fair amount of color noise. And everything, including single color items that you would think would be a flat color, contain a variety of subtly different tones.
Perhaps the least photographic thing you can paint is a patch of absolutely flat tone. It just doesn't look photographic. That finishes up the patching. Let's zoom out and Option or Alt click on the layer eyeball to turn on the rest of the layers, and we're ready to relight the dome to match our project. Which we'll do in the next lesson.
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