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After you've perfected your perspective drawing, the next step in the matte painting process is to layer in tone: the master tool in the matte artist's arsenal for establishing a fully formed structure. David Mattingly, a matte artist for many groundbreaking motion pictures, takes a black-and-white drawing and shows how to use the five elements of light—dark sides, light sides, cores, cast shadows, and final darks— to paint the surfaces and create a realistically shaded environment in Adobe Photoshop.
This course is part 3 in David's Digital Matte Painting Essentials series. Go back to part 2 to recreate the castle drawing he uses in this course, or if you simply want to learn more about form, you can use the example provided in the exercise files.
Our castle is now fully formed, but we're losing most of the line drawing. As we move to the next section on texturing, it would be nice to see a bit of it again at a reduced level of opacity. So make a copy of your original perspective drawing and move it up to the top of the stack above all of the other form layers. Obviously it blocks out the other layers. But let's change the transform mode of the layer two, multiply and now we have the line work laid over the castle.
But it's too darken heavy. We're losing much of the sense of form, we worked so hard to create. You might just lower the opacity of the layer. But let me show you a better way to do it. Make sure you're on the copy of the perspective drawing and select All. Open up the Curves dialog, which is Cmd or Ctrl+M. We'll cover the Curves tool in a lot of detail in the next section. But for now, all you want to do is pull this white point on the right side about half way over to the left.
This keeps your lines dark, but it thins them out so that they are less overpowering. You can adjust this to taste. You may also want to lower the opacity to say, 60%, so that your drawing is clearly there, but not in your face. This is what we'll use when we start the next section on texturing. We'll save this to the form exercise files folder, and name it Formfinish.psd for you to check out.
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