Digital Matte Painting Essentials 1: Concept
Illustration by John Hersey

Finding more details


From:

Digital Matte Painting Essentials 1: Concept

with David Mattingly

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Video: Finding more details

With the crenelations finished up, now it's time to find more of the internal detail on the castle. I'm using that rough drawing line brush again, that has a bit of scatter on it, just so that the line isn't too pristine and it's more in keeping with the character of this old castle. I'm tracing over the edges of the crenelations, staying loose, but adding lines that roughen up the surface of the castle. I generally don't zoom in too tightly at this point in the painting, but prefer to stay zoomed out enough that I can't get involved with fine detail.
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Watch the Online Video Course Digital Matte Painting Essentials 1: Concept
1h 40m Beginner Jul 29, 2013

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Learn to create new worlds, both fanciful and totally realistic, in our series on digital matte painting in Adobe Photoshop with David Mattingly, a matte artist for many groundbreaking motion pictures such as Tron and I, Robot. In this installment, he shows you how to set up your palettes and workspace, tone the underlying plate, create silhouettes in your background, and paint in light and other details. Plus, learn to paint waterfalls, smoke, and other elements that make for fascinating movie backdrops.

Topics include:
  • Setting up your Photoshop workspace
  • Toning the plate with adjustment layers
  • Examining transfer modes
  • Finding the silhouette
  • Drawing internal forms
  • Creating a custom brush for clouds
  • Painting the sky
Subjects:
3D + Animation Design
Software:
Photoshop
Author:
David Mattingly

Finding more details

With the crenelations finished up, now it's time to find more of the internal detail on the castle. I'm using that rough drawing line brush again, that has a bit of scatter on it, just so that the line isn't too pristine and it's more in keeping with the character of this old castle. I'm tracing over the edges of the crenelations, staying loose, but adding lines that roughen up the surface of the castle. I generally don't zoom in too tightly at this point in the painting, but prefer to stay zoomed out enough that I can't get involved with fine detail.

When working on these castle sketches that should take under an hour, I sometimes see students being too meticulous when painting. And I encourage them to let out their inner child. Introducing a little messy, broken tone into these areas of flat color from the silhouette, will go a long way towards giving the surface some character, even if every line is not precisely drawn. You can zoom out to check the large masses of the castle by pressing the Cmd or Ctrl+minus key.

Then zoom back in by pressing the Cmd or Ctrl+plus key. Now, I'm going all over the castle adding a little bit of detail wherever I think it's needed. And here on top of the dome, I'm adding some cut lines starting the process of developing some detail in this curved surface. I also want to add some details in these towers just to show that they're rounding.

It's starting to give an indication of what's going on with this square tower boxing out this pointed top. This cast shadow on the square tower is a little too dark. So, I'm using the Rectangular Marquee tool and then the big soft round brush again, and I'm going to lighten it and sort of soften that shadow. I am going to zoom in a bit here. I still have the crenelations on a separate layer, and I'd like to merge these all into one. So, I'm pressing Cmd or Ctrl+E.

Now, everything is on that same Silhouette layer. With the Rectangular Marquee tool, I'm going to section off a little bit of that front of the castle. And then Cmd+Option or Ctrl+Alt drag down that section to cover up the crenelations on the front of the castle. Selecting that square brush, I'm going to clean up these side crenelations a little more.

Same on these mid level crenelations. This part of the project is getting repetitive, so, I'm going to go to double speed for the next couple of minutes. I'm using the Lasso tool to sketch in an arm that connects the square tower to the side of the castle. Then using a big soft brush, I'll paint in the light side. Using the Lasso tool, I'm tapering the top of this tower, so, it'll look a little more elegant.

Then working out this spire on the tower. This connecting arm needs a dark underside to define it. Then selecting that drawing line again, I'm going to add some more of those cut lines in the castle.

Now, I want to go in and do some more work on these towers in the dome. I want to show that this tower is in front of this large dome, and add a little flying buttress arm between the tower and the dome. I want to add a design to this dome. So, I'm going through and breaking it up into these filigree segments, and then divide up the top also.

Now, I'm going through and indicating a little decorative detail on these towers. I'm just scribbling in this detail, there isn't time to get specific. But this can be very helpful in showing the viewer what kind of structure they're looking at. We're coming near to the end, so, I'm going to go back down to regular speed to finish off this section. And I'm working out a few more of these little details on the towers.

Let's zoom out. Next, we're going to create a custom brush to paint the sky, and add erupting volcanoes to spice up our environment.

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