Traditionally, Matte Paintings were made by artists using paints on large sheets of glass for integrating with the live-action footage. With strokes and dabs of brush and oils, matte painters conjured up entire environments. Notable traditional Matte Painting shots include the Emerald City in ‘The Wizard of Oz’, Kane’s Xanadu in ‘Citizen Kane’, or the futuristic cityscapes and planets in Star Wars first trilogy.
Two of the most acclaimed traditional Matte Painters were Albert Whitlock and Peter Ellenshaw who contributed bringing the art to another level in the 40s, 50s, and 60s.
Advancements in CG (computer graphics) programs in the 1990s allowed Matte Painters to transit in the digital realm. With the advantages of the digital tool set, matte painting has slowly transitioned to a fully digital work environment (CGI). Today paint has now been replaced by digital images created using photo references, 3D models, Photoshop and drawing tablets. The term Digital matte painting (DMP) or CG environment is now often used. Notable Digital Matte Painting shots include the view of Skull Island in ‘King Kong’, the Naboo planet in ‘Star Wars’, or Mordor, Middle-earth in The Lord of The Rings trilogy. Notable Digital Matte artists include Deak Ferrand, Rocco Gioffre, Dylan Cole and Yanick Dusseault (Dusso) who are known for creating high-end photoreal DMP.
DMP (Digital Matte Painting) is a creative field that can add wonder and excitement to static film shots. A Digital Matte Artist, or Digital Matte Painter, is today’s modern form of a traditional Matte Painter in the entertainment industry. He or she digitally paints photo-realistic interior and exterior environments that could not have been otherwise created or visited.
A modern Matte Painter has the ability to integrate 3D elements into a CG environment. To suxh digital illustrations a Matte Painter typically combines a mixture of skills like photography, 3D modeling, and paint.
A Digital Matte Painter is part of a visual effects team being involved in post-production, as opposed to a traditional Matte Painter who was member of a special effects crew, often creating a Matte Painting on digital sets to be used as back-drops.
A matte painting is neither collage work nor concept art. There is a general misconception about matte painting, wherein many confuse digital fantasy painting and photo-manipulation with matte painting. A true Matte Painter not only functions as a concept artist but combines his painting skills with a vast technical knowledge to transform a concept into reality, so that his matte paintings becomes photo-real.
Nowadays, Matte Paintings are also often used in print advertising campaigns. Just like movie directors do, agency creative use the skills of Digital Matte Painters to bring ambitious concepts to life. Mixed with creative retouching techniques, the DMP technique can help concretize virtually any idea.
In order to beautify and enhance an image creative retouching has become an essential part of most photo production in print advertising. As anyone who has ever met a celebrity in the flesh will know, the physical realities of the famous can be far removed from what you might have been led to expect. The pursuit of perfection is reason for existence of photo Retouching.
The broad areas of demand for Creative Retouching are people and product shots in print advertising. On products – a carton, say – a Creative Retoucher can tidy up the edges and get rid of creases, bar-codes, and product information which the advertiser does not necessarily want.
A Creative Retoucher specializes in taking an existing photograph and enhancing the image through the application of certain artistic enhancement techniques. Usually with Photoshop a Creative Retoucher can use his skills to create more sleek and interesting creative images for print advertising.
In the public’s consciousness, Creative Retouching of people is where the art form is most conspicuous, with models and celebrities routinely undergoing the airbrush treatment in print advertising. Creative Retouching can include editing skin blemishes, and reducing or manipulating certain body parts on models.
But the term “creative retouching” implies a little bit more…
Creative Retouching is typically used in print and web advertising campaigns. The term can encompass various techniques like photo manipulation, matte painting, compositing, DMP, CG illustration, CG environment, or CGI. Starting from a photography the creative retoucher can be enhancing light, sharpening reflection and adding or bringing out textures to make photography burst through media. In the world of print advertising, creative retouching (or matte painting) can also mean purely created illustration based on photography. But it often means creating an effect that wouldn’t be possible to shoot; bringing an unforgettable visual element into a campaign; often one that helps bring the core of the creative concept to life. Lately, art directors rely more on more on matte painters to help concretize their concept. Matte painting techniques have been commonly used in the film industry for a long time and seem to be more and more used in print advertising. To create impactful images a Matte Painter typically combines a mixtures of skills like photography, 3D modeling, and Photoshop paint.
Computer-based technologies mean that contemporary Creative Retouching is far quicker than the old analogue techniques – and it needs to be, because demand for Creative Retouching services has never been greater.