About

I am a senior matte painter at Sony Pictures Imageworks in Vancouver and matte painting instructor at Think Tank and Lost Boys Studios. Previously, I have been a senior artist at Method Studios Vancouver, and an emmy-winning co-founder of Atmosphere Visual Effects.

Useful Books
  • The Digital Matte Painting Handbook
    The Digital Matte Painting Handbook
  • Invisible Art: The Legends of Movie Matte Painting
    Invisible Art: The Legends of Movie Matte Painting
  • d'artiste Matte Painting: Digital Artists Master Class
    d'artiste Matte Painting: Digital Artists Master Class
  • d'artiste Matte Painting 2: Digital Artists Master Class
    d'artiste Matte Painting 2: Digital Artists Master Class
  • Perspective Made Easy
    Perspective Made Easy
  • The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos
    The Photographer's Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos
Useful DVDs
  • Techniques of Dusso 1: Introduction to Digital Matte Painting
    Techniques of Dusso 1: Introduction to Digital Matte Painting
  • Techniques of Dusso 2: Digital Matte Painting Fundamentals
    Techniques of Dusso 2: Digital Matte Painting Fundamentals
  • Techniques of Dylan Cole: Introduction to Landscape Matte Painting
    Techniques of Dylan Cole: Introduction to Landscape Matte Painting
  • Techniques of Dylan Cole: Introduction to Cityscape Matte Painting
    Techniques of Dylan Cole: Introduction to Cityscape Matte Painting
  • Techniques of Dylan Cole: Advanced Digital Matte Painting
    Techniques of Dylan Cole: Advanced Digital Matte Painting
  • Color Theory: The Mechanics of Color with Richard Keyes
    Color Theory: The Mechanics of Color with Richard Keyes
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« Photography for Matte Painters Part II: Camera Gear | Main
Monday
Apr112011

Photography for Matte Painters (a quick guide)

I have decided to kick off my new blog in earnest with what I hope will be a useful series: Photography for Matte Painters.

Why am I doing this series? Because photography is central to the digital matte painting process.

In real-world production environments, there is almost never time to hand-paint a photoreal matte painting from scratch. To be brutally honest, I doubt there are more than a handful of matte painters around who are even capable of doing so in an efficient manner - I know I'm not! In reality, most modern matte "paintings" are a motley amalgam of photographs, 3D renders and the occasional small hand-painted element.

Given the importance of photographs in digital matte painting, it stands to reason that matte painters ought to pay close attention to their photographic skills. Many of course already do; and to those, I only hope to offer the occasional nugget of information they might not have considered before.

But to those whose tendency is towards a "spray and pray" approach to photography, I urge a more methodical way of working. I will provide a concise set of best practices with which you can immediately, measurably and consistently improve the technical quality of your photographs. I hope that your matte paintings will benefit from the improvement.

Topics

Over the following posts, I will discuss:

  • Cameras and Lenses
  • Support and panorama gear
  • Choosing your subject
  • Lighting
  • Shot discipline
  • Camera settings and exposure
  • Post processing
  • Organizing your image library

What I'm NOT going to talk about

I will not be writing about photography as an art form; I'm not arrogant enough to believe that I'm qualified to do so. I will focus only on the technical aspects of the photographic process that are salient to matte painting.

As such, I will try to keep things concise. I will make concrete recommendations when it makes sense to do so, but I won't necessarily explain in great depth the reasoning behind them. Others have done a far better job of that than I can, so I will provide extensive references and links to further reading.

So check in regularly; I will be posting new installments weekly for the next eight weeks.

Enjoy!

~Jeremy

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