The Digital Matte Painting Handbook

The Digital Matte Painting Handbook

I won't be reviewing this book, but just posting this so that you know this book exist. It's a hands-on practical guide to matte painting, written by author David Mattingly.

The book uses Photoshop CS5, After Effects CS5 and Maya 2011. The disc provided doesn't include any software.

Here's the description of his book, in his own words (as I found on a forum):

"I have been teaching matte painting for 7 years at School of Visual Arts and Pratt Institute in New York City, and I always wanted a text book for the class. I have students from different areas of study, so the early chapters introduce them to the tools in Photoshop, and they create concept sketches over a plate I provide. Next the reader is introduced to the basics of perspective, and with the concept sketch as a base, they do a perspective drawing. On top of that, a form painting is done, which is textured using photographic reference.

"I dedicate three chapters to camera projection in Maya. Most of the tutorials I have encountered on camera projection were not detailed enough to get a student through the process. My chapters are broken down into a series of steps, with checklists and illustrations to keep a learner on track. At the end, the reader will have a basic camera projection of the project created in the early chapters.

"In the last half of the books, I show how to take a scene from day to night, then summer to winter, and how to composite it in After Effects. After Effects is introduced to the reader in a tutorial fashion. I assume no previous knowledge of the program as the project is developed and brought to completion.

"In the final chapters, the reader is provided with a moving plate of Manhattan to create a personal vision of the future. The scene was shot on a tripod from a skyscraper in Times Square. The student adds futuristic elements in After Effects 3D workspace, and animates it in 3D space. The final project is a culmination of all they have learned. They are shown how to set up a full 3D scene using planes in After Effects, and composite in two actors shot on green screen.

"Sandwiched in between all the learn-by-doing lessons is a history of matte painting, and profiles of Michele Moen, Eric Chauvin, and Dylan Cole. My great friend Harrison Ellenshaw wrote an insightful introduction.

"I wrote the book to be of practical use to readers without advanced painting skills. However, the advanced topics in the later chapters will be of interest to more seasoned professionals."

Companion website:


The Digital Matte Painting Handbook is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | JP | CN)

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