Digital Matte Painting Essentials 4: Texturing
Illustration by John Hersey

The final paint layer


Digital Matte Painting Essentials 4: Texturing

with David Mattingly

Video: The final paint layer

With the castle nearing completion, it's time to add a Let's locate the wall.
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  1. 1m 51s
    1. Introduction
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 44m 5s
    1. Why did we wait so long to use photographic textures?
      1m 55s
    2. Prepping the form study for texturing
      5m 32s
    3. Transfer modes
      9m 4s
    4. Color basics
      4m 45s
    5. Creating a stone texture
      3m 26s
    6. Adding the dark side's base texture
      3m 57s
    7. Adding the light side's base texture
      3m 40s
    8. Rounded textures and the Warp tool
      6m 33s
    9. Websites for matte painting reference
      5m 13s
  3. 30m 12s
    1. Creating a photographic crenellation
      7m 30s
    2. Creating a line of crenellations
      3m 27s
    3. The Vanishing Point tool
      4m 54s
    4. Adding crenellations using the Vanishing Point tool
      3m 4s
    5. Trimming the crenellations
      7m 9s
    6. Adding back sides to the crenellations
      4m 8s
  4. 29m 36s
    1. Levels and Curves anatomy
      5m 26s
    2. Camera Raw
      3m 33s
    3. Using Levels and Curves
      4m 55s
    4. Color correcting individual RGB channels
      3m 19s
    5. Toning the base castle
      5m 35s
    6. Toning the crenellations
      6m 48s
  5. 32m 25s
    1. Adding photographic elements
      4m 19s
    2. Distorting the dome and rectangular faces
      5m 18s
    3. Relighting the dome
      5m 59s
    4. Color correcting the dome
      1m 52s
    5. Adding more photographic details
      5m 57s
    6. Relighting the new details
      3m 50s
    7. Color correcting the details
      5m 10s
  6. 51m 33s
    1. Extreme color correction
      3m 36s
    2. Adding a photographic sky
      6m 27s
    3. Adding background mountains
      5m 32s
    4. Integrating the details
      7m 30s
    5. Collapsing layers and more details
      5m 13s
    6. The final paint layer
      6m 28s
    7. Lights and glows
      7m 16s
    8. Smoke and flames
      9m 31s
  7. 33s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Digital Matte Painting Essentials 4: Texturing
3h 10m Beginner Nov 07, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Preparing your form study for texturing
  • Adding dark and light side textures
  • Making rounded textures with the Warp tool
  • Creating photographic crenellations
  • Using Levels and Curves for color correction
  • Adding photographic elements
  • Relighting details
  • Adding glows, smoke, and flames
3D + Animation Design
David Mattingly

The final paint layer

With the castle nearing completion, it's time to add a layer on top that will be a catch-all for corrections. With all of the layers making up this castle, it can be hard to tell what element is on what layer. So, let's add a layer on top of them all, for use in correcting all of the layers together. For instance, this wall on the second tier of the castle where we added a photographic texture. It's lost the dark area we added to the tone sketch, to knock back the wall from these crenellations.

First, let's add that Final Paint layer above all of the other elements. So create a new layer. And then move it above the details group, and let's call it Final Paint layer. Let's locate the wall. We can use its layer mask as a mask to paint into. Load the selection from it, and we want to paint a dark tone right here along the base. Return to our Final Paint layer, and choose a big, soft, round brush. Make sure black's loaded in to your foreground color picker.

Hide the selection, and brush in a nice, gentle, dark tone. Now that wall sits in there much better. The corner of this upper bastion needs to be brought forward with some tone. And while we're at it, let's just load in the crenellations front and back selection. Invert the selection, and return to your Final Paint layer, and darken around this corner so it stands out, and above this arm leading out to the side tower. Let's select that crenellations Front layer and load in the selection and hide it. The crenellation still look too light. You can darken them right on the crenellations Front layer, since you have the original versions with the Adjustment layers, if you need to change the adjustment later.

The area around the arm going out to the side tower looks too light. So load in the selection mask for the Wall layer, and drop in some dark tones to knock the wall back some more. Let's load in the selections from crenellations front and back again, and let's isolate this wall behind the entrance. So you'll need to select around these bastions. Hide the selection, and let's find that top paint layer again and select it.

And dab a little dark tone in behind these crenellations, to set this wall back. These front details on the castle aren't casting shadows yet. So let's load in this selection from the Entrance Details layer and the Entrance Detail Right layer. Move them down to where they'd be casting shadows on the wall. We already have an Adjustment layer that's adding cast shadows, so let's add these shadows to that. The shadows should be softened a bit, so let's add a three pixel feather to them.

Since white reveals the Adjustment layer, load white into the foreground color picker, and then dab in some tone to reveal the shadows. This side needs to be adjusted so it goes behind the crenellations. Some of the back sides of these crenellations look too light, so we need a selection containing just them. Load in the crenellations back selection and subtract the crenellations front selection. Select that Final Paint layer again, and let's just knock those back. On this Final Paint layer, you'll want to go through and sharpen up any edges that got muddled in the texture process.

I like that drawing brush with a little scatter and roughness to it, it keeps it from getting too regular. All of the cut lines in these bastions can be cleaned up. And same up here. There should be a little line under all the crenellations. And clean up the edges on these boxes. I'm going to speed through this section, because I'm just doing the same thing over and over again. The castle is still missing some cast shadows. So let's go ahead and add them on the Final Paint layer. You'll need to load in the selection from the tower, and intersect it with this layer mask.

Return to the Paint layer. And carefully add the cast shadow to this light side of the tower. And this shadow up here needs to be in shadow also. From here on out, I'm going to speed up the recording a lot. It can give you an idea of the work I did, without having to watch me do these repetitive tasks in real time. I spend about an hour total on this phase of the painting, sharpening up everything. Adjusting the shadows and basically fixing anything that didn't look quite right. At this point in the painting, you've done all of the hard work, but getting everything in balance and looking right can take a while.

I remember as a kid there was an issue of Mad Magazine where one of the cartoonists. Probably the great Mort Drucker, had a cartoon called, How to Draw a Celebrity. In it, he first drew an oval, then in the next panel a center line for the head. In the next one, a line for the eyes, nose and mouth, and in the fourth panel was the fully finished caricature of the celebrity. The joke was, he didn't give you enough information to really do it. I hope I've given you enough detail along the way, so that you never feel like I didn't take you through this step by step.

But this final part just requires some elbow grease, to get it looking as good as you can get it. At the end of the hour, my castle looks like this. If I turn the Paint layer on and off, there isn't a huge amount of difference. But everything is sharper and cleaner, and the shadowing is in the right place. There's just two more sections before we finish. So stay with me as we add some lights and glows to the castle and then add the final touches to really bring the painting alive.

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