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Intro to Digital Matte Painting

An 8-week course covering the different processes and techniques used in digital matte painting

Course overview Course overview

Course Overview

Learn to create photo real matte paintings

Learn the process and techniques used in digital matte painting. Break down matte painted images to different elements to fully grasp the concepts behind matte painting. If you are a photographer, using your own photos in matte painting will further elevate your work. Apply techniques and principles used by traditional matte painters. This course will start by covering foundational image making skills like perspective, lighting, color theory, aspect ratio, story, photo library, and grayscale thumbnailing. It will also dive into matte painting history and different lectures on theories and principles. Each week you will discuss a different theory or principle and have an exercise to go along with the lesson. Begin to build digital matte paintings for film and games.


Course Format:   Standard
Lecture Type:   Pre-recorded
Feedback:   Individual recordings
Duration:   8 weeks
Assignment:   Deadlines each week
Q&A:   Once a week
Materials:   Photoshop, AfterEffects, Nuke
Skills level:   Beginner to Intermediate
Prerequisites:   Photography and concept sketching for environments, intermediate Photoshop knowledge

Intro to Digital Matte Painting WHAT YOU’LL LEARN

What you'll learn

The more you know, the better.

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The main objectives for this week are: matte painting history, color theory, lighting, perspective, aspect ratios, story, photo library, and grayscale thumbnail painting demo. Create 3 major types of matte paintings for this course with a photo base: landscape, cityscape, and invisible extension. In each major type, you can choose between landscape, natural, or landscape fantasy (choose one); cityscape natural or cityscape sci-fi (choose one); invisible set extension matte painting has just one type. The first one we will go over is a landscape matte painting. Realism, or at least art directed realism, is key in this course.
This week will cover ideas on technical image manipulations and painting in Photoshop, selections and extraction techniques, blend modes, organization in Photoshop, color concepts based on a photo, and landscape matte painting demo.
This week will cover ideas on technical image manipulations and painting in Photoshop, selections and extraction techniques, blend modes, organization in Photoshop, color concepts based on a photo, and landscape matte painting demo.
Set extension thumbnails and will also include a set extension MP demo. Continue working on your landscape and cityscape mattes, and check out the new weekly quests.
Day for night matte painting, sunny to snowy matte painting, as well as a dry for wet demo. These again are optional mattes but definitely check them out as it's part of the matte painting arsenal. Also continue working on your landscape, cityscape, and set extension mattes!
Going over the second part of matte painting history, this time a whole lesson devoted to the great Hudson River School of art and artists! Also, what makes a good matte painting portfolio? We’ll cover websites, demo reels, internships, apprenticeships, studios, and working your way up in your matte painting career. Continue working on your landscape, cityscape, and set extension mattes.
An introduction to animated matte paintings using compositing programs such as After Effects and Nuke. I'll be going over how to split up your matte paintings and import them into AE/Nuke, and setting up your camera move. It assumes you know the basics of AE/Nuke, how to navigate it, and how to render out your images. Please only work on animated your matte painting if you have finished at least your landscape and cityscape MP's! Think of this as a bonus week as you should still focus on your still frame matte paintings.
This is the final week for this adventurous course that you've all taken with me. The final quest is upon you all, and they will show your fruits and labors of what you've learned, and what you've worked on for the last two months. Through long quests, reading from the tomes of knowledge online, and practice, you've all arrived here safe and sound! Some have gotten lost along the way, but I'm very excited for those who have stayed through this enduring journey to learn matte painting and improving yourself as an artist!

Your journey starts here

Lectures by David Luong

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 20th!

winter TERM Registration

May 14, 2019 - Jul 23, 2019




July 20th!

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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