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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.
With the light and dark sides clearly deliniated on our rectangular surfaces, now we need to do the same for the rounded surfaces. To do that, we need to create a series of what I call mass colding layers. Using these mass colding layer's we're going to use the gradient tool to add a light and dark side to all of the rounded surfaces. So what are mask holding layers? Let's first make a selection that has just the towers and domes in it. In this case, you don't need to do any more hand selecting, just use the selections you already have stored in your layers.
Cmd or Ctrl-click into the Layer thumbnail preview for the Silhouette layer, to load the silhouette of the castle. Then, Cmd + Option or Ctrl + alt-click into the Light side layer. Then Cmd + Option or Ctrl + Alt-click into the dark side layer to remove them from the selection. Now we have a selection with just the towers, domes, and rounded surfaces. Before I started using mask holding layers, if I wanted to save this selection, I'd go to the Channels window and click on the icon that looks like a card with a round hole in the middle of it.
This saves the selection in an alpha channel. Whenever I needed the selection, I could go into my channels window and Cmd or click into the Channels thumbnail preview to load it. The problem with this is a had to switch from my layers window to my channels window whenever I wanted to access the mask. It's more convenient to have the mask available right inside your Layers window. Also, any mask that's stored inside your Layers window can be accessed inside your project. I'll show you how to do that later.
We need to sub-divide our towers and domes selections a bit, so let's zoom in. You need to create a series of selections of towers and domes that don't touch each other. These two towers are too close and we won't be able to use the Gradient tool on them cleanly. And the same with this dome here, it needs to go inside of a separate mask. I'm going to remove these small tower details from the selection. They'll be in a separate mask also. So let's make a new layer. And let's call this one Towers one.
Notice that each of these towers that are selected have a little space between them. Now pick a bright primary color in this case red, and fill the selection with it. There are still two towers that need selections created for them, so let's go through that same process again. Cmd or Ctrl + click into the Silhouette layer thumbnail preview. Then, Cmd + Option or Ctrl + alt-click into the light side. Cmd + Option or Ctrl + alt-click into the dark side.
And the same with towers one to subtract them from the selection. What's left is everything that doesn't have a mask cut for it. Zoom in and subtract the dome from the two remaining tower. We'll handle it using another mask. And then add these decorative points on the dome to the selection. I know one of these little points is touching the side tower, but in order to keep the number of mass to a minimum, I'm putting them on the same layer, since they are so small. Now we've got these two upper towers and all the small details in one selection.
Make a new layer and call it, Towers two and details. Choose another bright primary color, this time green and fill the selection full of it. Go through that process again to isolate only those areas that haven't been selected before. Load the silhouette, subtract the light and dark sides in towers and towers two and details leaving only the dome. I'm going to add this side tower to the dome selection just to save space. I know it's not a rounded surface.
So let's markee around it. Zoom out, and make a new layer. Let's call this one dome and side tower. We need another distinct color, let's choose yellow this time. And fill the selection, and we're done, at least with the towers and domes.
Next we're going to the same thing for our walls, so we have a full set of selection masks, for toning our project.
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