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Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective

Stroking the paths


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Digital Matte Painting Essentials 2: Perspective

with David Mattingly

Video: Stroking the paths

Now we have our lines of convergence set up on our Paths panel, but they're not usable yet. We need to stroke them. Why can't you use the paths directly, for reference. Number one, you can't see both of the paths for the right and left lines of convergence at the same time. And number two, the paths obscure the workspace so that it's hard to see the painting. By stroking the paths, you'll be able to see both sets of lines at the same time. And by stroking them with different colors, tell them apart. Also, you'll be able to raise and lower the opacity of the lines depending on what part of the castle you're working on.

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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

Stroking the paths

Now we have our lines of convergence set up on our Paths panel, but they're not usable yet. We need to stroke them. Why can't you use the paths directly, for reference. Number one, you can't see both of the paths for the right and left lines of convergence at the same time. And number two, the paths obscure the workspace so that it's hard to see the painting. By stroking the paths, you'll be able to see both sets of lines at the same time. And by stroking them with different colors, tell them apart. Also, you'll be able to raise and lower the opacity of the lines depending on what part of the castle you're working on.

To stroke the paths, return to the Layers window and make a new layer at the very top above the Smoke layer. And name the layer horizon. Return to the Paths panel. Before you stroke the horizon path, you'll want to choose the proper brush. If you stroke the path without a brush chosen, Photoshop gives you an ugly alias line that will not look attractive in your workspace. I like to stroke the pads with the drawing brush I made before with a little scatter on it. But you may prefer a clean mark like the soft round brush we'll give you.

Make the brush size four pixels. Don't make it too large or it'll obscure your painting and make it hard to see what you're doing. Now you need to choose a bright, contrasting color to stroke the path with. Since the scene is overall red, you won't want to use red for the horizon since it won't show up. Choose a bright blue green. Double check that the brush tool is still selected and then drag the horizon path down to the stroke icon, the second one in from the left.

The other horizon path is stroked. It's slight, but you can clearly see it. Now select the right vanishing point and choose a different color so you can tell the right vanishing point from the horizon. For this one, choose a bright green. Make sure the four pixel brush is still selected and return to the Layers window and make a new layer called Right VP. Go back to the Paths window and drag the right VP path down to the stroke icon. Click off the path and you see the right lines of convergence nicely stroked.

Go back to the Layers window and make a final new layer for the left VP. You need to choose another bright color and for this one I recommend violet. Return to the paths panel and drag the left VP path down to the stroke path icon. Now zoom in and you can see all of your stroked paths. The nice thing about this color coding of the lines is that you can clearly see what are the right and left lines of convergence. It isn't so much of an issue high up where the lines have a clear slant, but closer to the horizon, it's hard to tell which is which, and the color can really help.

There's one last bit of organization. Select all three layers with perspective lines on them and then Shift click on the Group icon at the bottom of the Layers window. Name this group folder, Perspective. The power of this setup is that you can turn off all of the lines when you don't need them but turning off the group. You can also turn on each set of lines of convergences individually when you're working on one side of your castle. It's a really flexible perspective grid.

You can also vary the opacity of the lines depending on how clearly you need to see them. With the prospective grid set up, now we can start to finding the large forms in the castle in the next lesson.

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