Matte Painting And Environment Design - Basic

Become a digital artist in the first available course of its kind in Belgrade!


The course represents a mixture of matte painting basics combined with elements of concept art and environment design, which are applied in the creation of an environment - virtual surroundings and ambiances – for movies, commercials and video games.


Alongside a historical review and theoretical background, the course is primarily based on effective, practical techniques of digital painting and photo-editing, both in the preparation - design, and in the implementation of matte paint projects - tasks.


Crucial and more comprehensive part of the course is based on thematic project tasks, which use adequate approaches and techniques for learning to overcome various challenges and requests in matte painting.

Considering the level of required techniques and tools, this course at the same time represents an advanced level of Photoshop course, where one could learn knowledge and skills that can be applied in any area of digital creativity.


Basic information:

course duration: 10 weeks
requirements:  basic drawing and painting skills
                      Digital Image Editing*
prices for international students click here        

prices for home students click here  
      *or  equivalent computer skills  
    **price based on minimum 5 participants
  ***internship available
Online application send here>


Course program


•  History of Matte Painting (hereinafter MP); analog vs digital
•  Matte Painting today - recent technology in use
•  Matte Painting as a part of VFX industry
•  Types of Matte Painting shots; production workflow, pipeline, demands (creative and technical)
•  Intro to environment design/concept art; Correlation between Matte painting and concept art/design, pre and post production.


•  Projects organisation, conventions and rules
•  Using pen tablet in Photoshop
•  Basic drawing and painting techniques for environment design procesing


•  Types of perspective
•  Using one point perspective system in natural environment creation process 
•  Aerial perspective and value; Using values in establishing space and volumes (value blocking)
•  Tools and techinques of digital sketching
•  Adjusting, management and brush customisations
•  Using linear and aerial perspective elements in creating sketches
•  Basic design rules
•  Brush economy, stylisation and simplification
•  Speed paint techniques and tools
•  Photo study techniques

•  Basic rules and elements of visual composition
•  Composition as an instrument of visual narrative and environment design
•  Practical use of composition techniques in creating sketches 

•  Digital photography-cinematography and Matte paint - conventions, terms, attributes
•  Photo referencing - research and management ; aestetic and techical aspects 
•  Basic photo editing tools; photo retouching, photo adjusting
•  Attributes of convincing photo composite (I) - light, color, atmosphere; comparative analysis
•  Day to night conversion

PHOTOBASHING  (project 02)
•  Photo manipulation and extraction techniques and tools
•  Working with smart objects and masks
•  Non-destructive photo editing techniques
•  Attributes of convincing photo composite (II)- image planes, local contrast , aerial perspective...
•  Scale and proportions, structures and image plane attributes
•  Project preparation - analysing assignment, gathering and organising photo reference, making mood-board, hero reference break down 
•  Working with plate; term, conditions and properties
Creating paint over sketch 
•  Photo elements extraction and integration - block in composition
•  Color correction; planes values reference matching; light articulation, final tuning

•  Types and usage of linear perspective
•  Using linear perspective in architectural environment creation; rules, distortsion, converging lines; creating geometric volumes
•  Setting up perspective grid 
•  Making concept sketches following perspective grid
•  Architectural photo elements - extraction and manipulation; transfering perspective from photo into orthographic view; perspective grid matching and aligning 
•  Photo elements block in following perspective layout
•  Color correction, atmosphere, light ...
•  Details and final tuning
CITYSCAPE MATTE PAINTING II - night version (optional)
•  Day to night conversion
•  Artificial light types and properties
•  Light integration into pre-made matte (matte from previous assignment)
•  Final tuning


•  PS is an abbreviation for Photoshop
•  BW is an abbreviation for Black&White




3d total, Digital Painting Techniques: Practical Techniques od Digital Art Masters, Focal Press Publishing, Burlington, MA, Publisher 2009
Chiag, Doug, Mechanika: Creating the Art of Science Fiction, Imapact books Publishing, Ohio, 2006
Hans Bacher and Don Hahn, Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation, Focal Press Publisher, Burlington, MA, Publishing, 2004
Khang Le, Mike Yamada and Felix Yoon, The Skillful Huntsman: Visual Development of a Grimm Tale at Art Center College of Design, Design Studio Publishing,, culber City, CA,  2005
Montague, John, Basic Perspective Drawing: A Visual Approach, John Wiley & Sons Publishing, New Jersey, 2001
Bresman, Jonathan, The Art of Star Wars, Episode I - The Phantom Menace, Del Rey Publishing, 1999
Mark Cotta Vaz  and George Lucas, The Art of Star Wars, Episode II - Attack of the Clone, The Ballantine  Publishing, NY, USA, 2002
Rinzler, J. W., The Art of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, Del Rey Publishing,, 2005
Russell, Gary, The Art of The Lord Of The Rings, Houghton Miflin Company Publishing, NY, USA, 2004
Miyazaki, Hayao, The Art of Spirited Away, VIZ Media LLC Publishing, 2002
Christopher Finch and John Lasseter, The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms and Beyond, Harry N. Abrams Publishing,, 2011
Paik, Karen, The Art of Monsters University, Chronicle Books Publishing,, 2013
Cotta Vaz, Mark, The Art of Incredibles, Chronicle Books Publishing,, 2004
Cotta Vaz, Mark, The Art of Finding Nemo, Chronicle Books Publishing,, 2003
Tim Hauser and Andrew Stanton, The Art of WALL.E, Chronicle Books Publishing, 2008
Dylan Cole, Alp Altiner, Daniel P. Wade and  Chris Stoski , d'artiste Matte Painting: Digital Artists Master Class, Ballistic Publishing, 2005
Wade P., Daniel, d'artiste Matte Painting 2: Digital Artists Master Class by Daniel P. Wade, Ballistic Publishing, 2010
Daniel P. Wade and Lauren Stevens, Vesage, Ballistic Publishing, 2013,
Mark Cotta Vaz and Craig Barron, The Invisible Art: The Legends of Movie Matte Painting, Chronicle Books Publishing,, 2004
Mattingly, David B, The Digital Matte Painting Handbook, Sybex Publishing,, 2011
Cotta Vaz Mark, Industrial Light & Magic: Into the Digital Realm, Del Rey Publishing, 1996 

* all literature is available to students at the Crater VFX Training Center library


Upon completion of the course students will receive Crater VFX Training Center Certificate.


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