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Digital Matte Paintings

Digital Matte Paintings

Stephanie LaRusso
by stephlarusso on 28 May 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

The three projects below were created during the CG Master Academy course, Advanced Matte Painting for Production. The pieces include a full landscape matte painting, a destroyed city, and a set extension. Thank you for reviewing!

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This matte painting went through many iterations and evolutions, but eventually began to reveal itself. The main challenge with this piece was matching and adjusting assets to the golden hour lighting, and also adding in more areas of interest throughout the landscape.  The difference achieved between the sketch and the final painting is something I will reflect upon whenever I encounter obstacles during future projects.

Above: Final matte painting and the black and white sketch used for initial blocking and concept

Below: Final shot and breakdown


Destruction is something I wanted to tackle, and I found that (along with all matte paintings) having interesting and high quality references was huge. The main challenge with this piece was also lighting, but this time with adjusting the plate to match the mood I was trying to obtain.

Above: Final matte painting and base plate shot on a bright and sunny day

Below: Final shot and breakdown


This painting demonstrates a few of the base requirements for all digital matte painters:  clean-up, set extension, and sky replacement.

Above: Final matte painting and base plate

Below: Final shot and breakdown


After the CGMA course had ended and the three pieces were completed, I went back to add a camera move (seen in the Final Shots above). I added some life and subtle movement to really help each painting come alive.

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