Environment Design And Matte Painting

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

This course presents the mixture of concept design and matte painting, which are applied in the creation of an environment – virtual surroundings and ambiances – for the entertainment industry (movies, commercials, video games, etc.).

The first part of the course, alongside a historical outline and some background theory, deals with practical environment design and the application of drawing and painting skills in a digital environment, through the development and use of various digital styles and techniques.

The second part is devoted to matte painting performance based on previously finished concept designs, through efficient use of photo editing tools and techniques, with an emphasis on achieving a photo-realistic, movie-like atmosphere.

Throughout the course the focus will be on originality, strong composition and atmosphere, in order to obtain the best possible results in the realization of ideas.
All topics will be supported by examples from a range of paintings, photographs and films.

A lot of practical work is to be expected (as in a workshop) as well as applicable theory, so your skills will become polished to the point of production level.


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*

*Updated Environment Design and Matte Painting course program is currently under construction. Until new course program is published, please contact us at 381 11 2620 597 or      e-mail us to: school@craterstudio.com for all the information.

  Thank you for understanding.


•  Introduction to Environment design and Matte paint – history, development, division, purpose; from pre-production 
    to production – evolution and requirements (lecture with examples)
•  Introduction to perspective; Linear perspective (lecture with demonstration)
•  Introduction to digital drawing; Using 1-point perspective in digital drawing and sketching (demonstration and exercises)


•  Aerial perspective; the importance of value and tone in painting (lecture with examples)
•  Basics of digital painting, blocking, creating BW thumbnail sketches (demonstration and exercises)
•  Composition (lecture with examples); exercises and assignments
•  Shading, advanced techniques for working with brushes (demonstration and exercises)



•  Speed painting techniques; Custom brushes – editing and applying
•  Introduction to color theory; Attributes and color palettes; Types of color harmony
•  Color blocking and techniques for transferring BW sketches to color
•  Paint-over technique


•  Introduction to light theory; Attributes and types of light; Various daylight atmospheres and light; Nighttime atmosphere/light
   (lecture with examples)
•  Applying various lighting situations to a given example, appropriate PS techniques (demonstration and exercises)
•  Developing light and atmosphere and the variations between prior color sketches and studies
•  Creating color key thumbnail sketches; Applying all prior techniques and knowledge


•  Final assignment for the 1st part of the course – designing an environment from a given script or storyboar
•  Creating initial sketches (BW thumbnails, composition studies...); Selecting sketches for final solution and development (value, shading)
•  Color-Light-Mood variations and studies. Final processing (polishing, details...)


•  Matte paint – modern use and production requirements
•  Transposing a concept in matte – examples and analysis
•  Photo illusion and photo realism; Basic photography concepts and phenomena in the context of matte paint creation
•  Organizing a matte paint project
•  Collecting and organizing photo references
•  Basic PS tools for photo editing and manipulation; Basic matte paint procedures in PS
•  First steps

•  Continuation of the creation/development of matte
•  Weekly progress review


•  Continuation of the creation/development of matte. Advanced techniques for matte paint
•  Weekly progress review

•  Continuation of the creation/development of matte. Details, integrating whole parts
•  Weekly progress review


•  Finishing off matte paint
•  Creating color/mood variations. Final polishing; Color correction
•  Preparing matte for further production
•  Matte paint production pipeline; Possible uses and methods of further treatment in production
•  Evaluating prior work


•  The course is divided into two practical sections – environment design (concept art) and matte paint
•  Each week consists of two lessons, each of which is 3 hours long; homework is to be assigned at least once a week
•  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 the Autodesk Certificate of Completion and Crater VFX Training Center Certificate.


Subscribe to our mailing list :

* indicates required
Email Format