Advanced Matte Painting for Production

This 8-week course is designed for artists willing to dive into the world of matte-painting for visual effects and film

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

This class will go in-depth into what matte painting has become these days as well as what it will take students to create an epic and believable matte shot of their own. The course begins with an introduction to the subject of matte painting, embracing every tiny aspect of the profession. We'll discuss how to come up with strong ideas for a painting, focusing on what should be taken into account when designing a matte shot. We'll cover essentials from traditional art that are crucial to artistic success—starting with black and white sketches, students will learn design and compositional rules as well as how to utilize lighting to tell the story in the best way possible. Students will then move on to color studies, learning a wide range of tools and techniques, and will learn how to achieve photorealistic quality in the final matte painting. This course utilizes a wide range of techniques from 2D, 2.5D, to 3D, using software such as Photoshop, World Machine, Maya, Vray, 3D Coat and Nuke to create a final moving shot. This course is designed to be exceptionally useful for artists of all levels to help them achieve the best results in their work. NOTE: there will be a "History of Matte Painting" lesson available prior to class beginning, located in the "Week 0" forum.

Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individual Recordings
Duration:   8 weeks
Assignment:   Deadlines each week
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Adobe Photoshop, Foundry Nuke, 3D Software (Maya, Max, ZBrush, 3D Coat), Wacom Tablet
Skills level:   Intermediate
Prerequisites:   Good knowledge of photoshop is required. Having background in artistic fields is a plus. Experience in CG is recommended.

Advanced Matte Painting for Production WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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Coming up with ideas for the paintings | Composition in depth | What is bad composition? | Types of Composition | Examples of good compositions | Thumbnails - working on black & white thumbnails | BONUS: Perspective
Moving from black & white thumbnails to color sketches | Working up your color palette and lighting | Understanding & referencing lighting | Understanding Color | Painting color studies
Analyzing photography, choosing references, reducing noise | 8 bit vs 16 bit | Aspect ratios, general film resolution and dmp resolution | Extracting techniques | Blending modes and color correction | Brush setting | Demo: Color correction
Creating a clean plate | Set extension using a plate photo | Destroying the city. Working on final matte painting | Demo: Destroyed City matte painting
Creating a clean plate | Set extension using a plate photo | Destroying the city. Working on final matte painting | Demo: Destroyed City matte painting
Going through the steps of creating the painting from the very early sketch to the very final look | Demo: Landscape matte painting
Setting up camera projection | Composing final shot
Finishing up your matte paintings | Real Project - Creating Cloudscape matte-painting, using it in the final shot | Demo: Process of creating "Snowy Base" Matte painting

Taking your skills to the next level

Igor Staritsin is a Senior Matte-Painter, Concept Designer and Environment Artist working in the film and video game industries. He has worked for various visual effect companies and clients all over the globe, such as Warner Brothers, MPC, Digic Pictures, Naughty Dog, Pixomondo, Axis Animation, Gnomon, Disney and National Geographic. He has contributed to award-winning projects such as Assassin's Creed, Maleficent, Game of Thrones, Uncharted 4, Final Fantasy 15, The Last Guardian, Destiny, Call of Duty, Gone with the Bullets, Jersey Boys, Welcome to the Punch, The Dream of a Butterfly and many more. Igor has also been featured in several books, including Ballistic Publishing’s D'artiste Matte-Painting 3, with nine of his matte-paintings. He has a background in traditional landscape painting that has helped him work both digitally and traditionally.


July 13th!

spring TERM Registration

Feb 11, 2019 - Apr 26, 2019




July 13th!

Pricing & Schedule

Even though our courses are the most affordable for the quality of education.

These Finance Options allow you to focus on your goals instead of the barriers that keep you from reaching them.

Employer Reimbursement

Animation Guild CSATTF

Payment Plan

Companies that hire our students

  • Naughty Dog
  • Luma Pictures
  • Google
  • EA Games
  • DreamWorks Animation
  • Blizzard Entertainment

environment design Benefits


What makes this learning experience unique?

Personal Feedback

Receive personal individual feedback on all submitted assignments from the industries best artist.

1+ Year Access

Enjoy over 365 days of full course access. This includes all lectures, feedback, and Live Q&A recordings.

Certificate of Completion

Earn a Certificate of Completion when you complete and turn in 80% of course assignments.

Flexible Learning

Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with our online courses.

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