Photoshop Matte Painting
Everything starts with an idea. In this chapter we are going to start with a basic sketch and work our way up
using reference photographs and color correction tools to create the basic feel of the painting. A very quick
and loose process, the idea of this step is to create a solid starting point. We will be looking for relevant photo references and
elements to be used in the main painting, and roughly piecing them together to get the general idea on paper so to speak.
Time is money. One of the most important things while working in Photoshop with hundreds of layers, is organization.
By organizing your layers in a logical way, you will not only make your own life a lot easier, but you will also work much faster, and help the artists working down the pipeline find layers quickly and easily. This translates very quickly to productivity, not to mention sanity. Afterward, you will never need to use "right click" to find a specific layer among hundreds again!
Sky's the Limit
The Sky is the limit, and masking will get you there. Learn masking techniques to extract complex shapes from photographs. You will learn
how to extract a city skyline from a cloudy, low contrast photo, in 2 minutes or less. Then we will learn to quickly clean the mask of unwanted elements. We will then learn to add details directly on the buildings and incorporate the sky and shoreline into the snowy scene by painting.
Multiple techniques will be used to mask the ship and remove it from its background. We can then repaint in elements that were impossible to save with the mask. We will then begin the process of actually incorporating the ship into the scene by painting on snow and ice. We will also look at the 3D tools built right into Photoshop to put together some 3d shipping containers from scratch.
Color correction and grading can be an extremely powerful tool. With these simple, yet far-reaching concepts, we will compose the mood of the scene. By manipulating colors and contrast, adding environmental elements like fog, a vignette, and other filters we will create the final, dramatic appearance.
Now we have to clean up our PSD file by organizing and merging down layers where possible. The purpose of a matte painting is to be added to a live plate or to be animated. Naturally, for that we need to send it to camera projection or to compositing. Since we anticipate other artists accessing and working with this file, we need to prepare it in such a way that makes everything easy to find. We will flatten, Rename the layers. organize in planes (BG, MG, FG) apply filters, etc.
Then we're ready to send to composite.
Bring it to life!
Here we will go over the final After Effects project to show how the animation and camera were created. You will be able to get an idea of how the project is set-up and what is needed to bring a matte painting to life as a 2D animation.