Filmmaking Basics/Matte Painting

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This school is:
Wikiversity Film School - Narrative film production
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This course is:
The basics of narrative filmmaking
This lesson is:
Lesson: Creating a matte painting
Pages of this Lesson:
Introduction to Matte Painting

Assignment #1 - using Art Rage Free or Adobe Photoshop or the free GIMP or Corel Painter:

1A - Matte Painting for "Seduced by the Dark Side!"
1B - Building your own starter pages (optional)

Assignment #2 - using Tux Paint:

2A - Matte Painting for "Out For A Walk"
2B - Starter page sets for Tux Paint
2C - Building your own starter page set for Tux Paint (optional)


3D Universe Percy w cloths 1.png Introduction to Matte Painting



Overview




You have two assignments
Sir Mok The Matte Painting 1.png
These two assignments are completely different
For this lesson, you have two totally separate lessons. They are very different.
Assignment #1
Create a matte painting for your 3D storyboards so you can create the animatic.
Assignment #2
Create a matte painting for one scenes on the "24 Unedited Scenes" disk.
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Basic info about Matte Painting

There are two kinds of matte painting:
  1. Painted backdrops. (There are no actors visible.)
  2. Extensions of the actual movie set. (There are actors are in the scene.)
For Wikiversity Film School, we use only the second kind of matte painting.
You can find lots of instructions and examples of the first method on the Internet. But we don't want that. We want only the second kind.
Extend the movie set with a painting
At Wikiversity, we take an existing movie set and enhance the movie set by extending it beyond the physical movie set.


The history

Low cost movie sets
The oldest, the easiest, and the most fun way to save money on a movie set is with a "Matte Painting". You build a real movie set around your actors. But the rest of the movie set is a painting.
This is not blue screen or green screen. Rather the actors stay inside of their real set but the outer edges where the actors do not go is painted.


Matte Painting projects

Art Rage Free
Art Rage Free is a natural painting program which is free.
Your assignments is to expand on the movie set of your animatic for "Seduced By The Dark Side!" using Art Rage Free (or a similar painting program.) (See below for examples.)


Tux Paint (free)
Tux paint is a fun painting program for kids.
Your assignments is to expand on the movie set for the scene called "Out For A Walk" which you looked at in the lesson on film dailies. You will use pre-defined templates set up for Tux Paint. (See the example to the right.)
GIMP
Gimp allows you to cut an paste photos. Remember, don't use copyrighted photos or buildings which you do not own.
Photoshop
Photoshop works much better than GIMP. You can purchase Adobe Photoshop 4 new for very little. Or get Photoshop 5.5 which has editedable lettering.


Assignment #2

Your second assignment can use Tux Paint
This is an example of your second assignment.





Out For A Walk still frame.png
A single frame from the scene

Before

Here is a simple scene as it was filmed on in the movie studio.

Notice that the edge of the movie set is incomplete. Also we need a much larger movie set so we can zoom out.






Still Cropped Matte Painting.png
Created with Tux Paint by Tunderboy9


After

Here is the scene composited with the matte painting created in Tux Paint.

As you can see, the original movie set is still there with no modification. The only difference is the movie set has been extended out with a beautiful matte painting created by your brilliant instructor. Can you do better?

Assignment #1

Your first assignment can use Art Rage Free, Photoshop, or Gimp

Completing the movie set
For this assignment, you need to extend the movie set created in FrameForge 3D studio. The 3D storyboards created in FrameForge 3D Studio will be used to create an animatic (which is a movie of the storyboards.) You need to expand on the simple, blank wall that we use for the movie set. And you need to make it larger so the camera can zoom out.
Be creative
What you draw is whatever you want outside the area where the actors walk. There are no limits... except you must never draw over area where the actors are.


Matte painting for tunderboy9.png
A frame from the movie
In this shot, the actors are standing in front of a very simple wall with a poster on it.
Simple matte painting plain.png
The frame on a huge canvas
Once you have the frame placed on the movie set, you begin to extend the physical movie set.
Simple matte painting plain alt.png
The final movie set?
The final movie set can be anything you want. It just needs artistic talent.

An Example

Walking to the left
Here is a matte painting created by Tunderboy
Matte painting for tunderboy9.png
A frame from the movie
This is what the audience sees at the beginning of the shot before the zoom out.
Matte painting cor 2 masked.jpg
The frame on a huge canvas
This frame is extremely large. The special blue area is about 480 pixels by 876 pixels which is the size of the original shot.
Matte painting cor 2.jpg
The final movie set?
Here is the final matte painting with the frame composited into the correct place. This is what the audience see when the camera zooms out.

Another Example

Walking into the sunset
Many students want the movie to end with the two people walking into the sunset. If you set up the camera so the actors are filmed against the pavement, you can expand the movie set to include the sunset.
The movie set is the pavement
Here the pavement acts as the movie set.
Film school - Matte painting beginning frame.jpg + Film school - Matte painting ending frame.jpgMatte painting going away v1a.png or Matte painting going away v2a.png

The actors can move within the physical movie set.


Matte painting error - actors beyond set.png

Error

Unfinished movie set
The most important thing to remember is the actor must not go beyond the movie set. This is an error.
Here the actors have gone beyond the movie set. Their heads will be cut off by the matte painting.
The solution is to raise the camera so the actors have more time to walk. Or you can simply have the actors walk slower.

Things to think about

Zoom effect
The reason that we are creating such a large matte painting is to create a zoom (dolly out) effect. The shot starts with the original frame. Then the magnification is reduced until the entire matte painting fits into the size of the original frame. This looks like a wonderful zoom of the lens but really it is just a trick of magnification using an oversized matte painting.
Matte painting for tunderboy9.png
Zoomed in effect
In this shot, the actors are standing in front of a very simple wall with a poster on it.
→zoom→
Simple matte painting plain alt.png
Zoomed out effect
The final movie set can be anything you want. It just needs artistic talent.

Matte Painting vs. Blue Screen

Matte painting
  1. The actors can interact with their surroundings.
  2. No special lighting or backdrop is needed.
  3. Requires the building of a partial movie set.


Blue Screen (or Green Screen)
  1. The actors cannot interact with objects
  2. Actors must have limited colors (not blue for blue screen and not green for green screen.)
  3. Very difficult to do realistically because of lighting and other problems.
  4. Requires no movie set but requires an expensive blue or green backdrop which must be very carefully lit.


Homework
Matte paintings from these images

Create matte painting from your last storyboard frame or from these images


"Seduced by the Dark Side!"

Here are some of the starter frames for the matte painting. Remember: Once the movie is finished, the movie clip replaces the starter page. The movie will be composited into the matte painting, camera movement will be added and the resulting movie clip added to the scene.

Matte painting master v1 SBTDS.png

Matte painting master v2 SBTDS.png

Film school - Matte painting beginning frame.jpg

Mok Matte Start SBTDS.png

"Out for a Walk"

Here is the starter frame for the matte painting. Remember: Once the movie is finished, the movie clip replaces the starter page. The movie will be composited into the matte painting, camera movement will be added and the resulting movie clip added to the scene.

Out For A Walk still frame.png


As you look at the completed matte paintings below, can you see the original starter frame?
Matte painting for "Seduced by the Dark Side" from Aruba
Matte painting cor 2.jpg

Tunderboy9 has completed this assignment (png) (1 October 2007) Good job! 30 points

Matte painting for "Out for a Walk" from Aruba
Matte painting Out for a Walk.png

Tunderboy9 has completed this assignment (png) (10 October 2007) Good job! 30 points

Matte painting for "Seduced by the Dark Side" from Egypt
Sir Mok The Matte Painting 1.png

Sir Mok has completed this assignment (png) - (01 December 2007) Good job! 30 points

Click on the image to see the full sized image.

Sir Mok says,

I have tried my best to make it Egyptian characterized. In Egypt, cinemas are found between buildings, you can find lots of buildings and shops are surrounding it. So I had to put so many buildings in the picture, meanwhile, I was interested in showing the sun rise.


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The next page

Next, look how to create a matte painting for "Seduced by the Dark Side!"

Contact your instructor

Your instructor for this filmmaking class is Robert Elliott. You can email me by clicking here. Crystal Clear app xfmail.png