“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” – Edgar Degas
Matte painting, a practice started in the year 1907 by Norman. O. Dawn in the movie “The Mission of California”. Matte painting was painted on a glass for creating something which wasn’t possible such as in a movie “Star Wars” most of the scene in the movie were matte painted as building a set like that was next to impossible. To understand how matte painting was painted or how it was used in movies one should definitely go through the video Industrial Light & Magic – Traditional Matte Paintings (rare footage)
Creation of Matte Paint
In the Matte paint, the word ‘Matte’ means blocking the image in the background that is some part of the scene was real and others were just painted on a glass cover and a camera was aligned in such a way that painting looks the part of the scene. To understand how matte painting was painted or how it was used in movies one should definitely go through the video Industrial Light & Magic – Traditional Matte Paintings (rare footage)
Peter Ellenshaw and Albert Whitlock were one of the best matte painters, they worked in various movies as a matte Painter artist Such as “Peter Ellenshaw – Marry Poppins (1964) and The Sword and the Roses (1954)” “Albert Whitlock – The Bird (1963) and The Hidden burg”.
“Titanic” was one of the last movies to use digital and then came Digital Matte Painting, the concept was the same but the difference was now, it was painted digitally. Christopher Leith Evans was the first person to paint matte painting on the computer. Lord of the Ring, Harry Potter, Narnia and even more are some of the best examples of digital matte painting.
Creating a Matte Painting Digitally not only allowed to create a matte paint fast and easily but also made it 3 dimensional to give a more realistic look, Basic software that is used in filmmaking are Maya, Adobe Premiere, Adobe Photoshop and of course Nuke.
How to create a simple Digital Matte Paint
For creating a basic 2d matte painting we use Photoshop. It starts with an idea, a concept, what are the scene requirements.
Once all things are checked in the list now collect images as per the requirements. Images can be self-clicked or downloaded from the internet but it should have a copyright or else you will need a permission to use it.
It would be always easy if one starts with a making rough sketch since it gives an idea of what is to be created. Now import all the selected pictures and apply the mask on it and paint the required part.
Always keep a few things in while creating a matte paint-
- Colour Balance
Here is a video example of creating a matte paint
Himanshu Pal, Student