Course overview Course overview
Piece together your imagination into reality
This course you will go through the complex discipline of matte painting, utilizing many different skill sets you will be primarily working in Photoshop. Using photography and combining them into your pieces, you will create skyscapes, landscapes, cityscapes, and seascapes—and create different design possibilities and lighting scenarios. There will be a lecture on the history of matte paintings and how traditional principles and techniques are still applied today to current matte work with the newest technology and tools.
Matte Painting WHAT YOU’LL LEARN
The more you know, the better.
Unleash your creative potential
Eric Bouffard is currently a Matte Painter Supervisor at Walt Disney Animation Studios, working on the highly anticipated sequel, Frozen 2. Previously, Eric worked at Dreamworks Animation for 11 years, Asylum Visual Effects, Sony Play Station Cinematics, Third Floor and many other studios. Eric was promoted Matte Painting Supervisor in 2011 on “Rise of the Guardians” and followed up with supervising the highly anticipated "How to Train Your Dragon 2". Eric most recently worked on "Ralph Breaks the Internet." These films allowed the matte department to push the boundaries on creating digital environments by using a combination of techniques in Maya, Vue, Photoshop and Nuke to create stunning vistas such as Berk Island, North Pole's palace, the Dragon Oasis, and more. Their work was nominated in both films for VES awards "Outstanding Environments in an Animated Movie".Prior to 2011, Eric was a Matte Painter artist on "Over the Hedge", "Kung Fu Panda", and "Monsters vs. Aliens"; and a Lead Matte Painter on "Monsters vs. Pumpkins" and "Scared Shrekless" among other movies.
Matte Painting Student gallery
spring TERM Registration
Feb 10, 2020 - Apr 18, 2020
Eric is awesome!
Companies that hire our students
environment design Benefits
What makes this learning experience unique?
Receive personal individual feedback on all submitted assignments from the industries best artist.
1+ Year Access
Enjoy over 365 days of full course access. This includes all lectures, feedback, and Live Q&A recordings.
Certificate of Completion
Earn a Certificate of Completion when you complete and turn in 80% of course assignments.
Learn anywhere, anytime, and at your own pace with our online courses.
Speak to an advisor
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Show us your skills
Not sure if you have the skills, or are you proving you do? Show us.
Matte Painting: From Dream to Reality
Interview with Olga Rogovets
My name is Olga Rogovets. I have a Bachelor degree in Linguistics but recently I have finally realized what I would like to do with my life. I quit my job and stated everything anew. It sure was scary and hard to change my career path entirely. It all started with photography and learning traditional drawing a couple of years ago and soon after I started learning Photoshop. My love of photo manipulation gradually led me to Matte Painting but at some point I felt stuck and started to look for a well-structured course that will help me to move further with my art. Then I found CG Masters Academy Matte Painting course. I immediately decided to give it a try as a course curriculum seemed exactly what I needed. I must say – I never regretted my decision. Eric is a fantastic mentor and the 8 weeks were loaded with tons of information and professional tips. I really loved intro to Matte Painting, so after this course I decided to continue my education and got enrolled into a full time 3d modelling and VFX program in Vancouver, where I currently reside. So for me online course with CGMA became a start to something bigger and allowed me to get one step closer to my dream.
Matte Painting with Eric is incredible and well structured. From easy assignments to a challenging artwork it was exactly as I thought it would be, I did not have any prior 3d modelling, animation or Nuke knowledge at that point but I was still able to work entirely in Photoshop. My prior experience in Photoshop and traditional drawing helped a lot during this course as I already had an understanding of light, form and perspective, but also Eric helped me realize what my strong sides are as well as my flaws and showed me what I needed to work on. He guided me all the way and I can’t be more grateful for that.
Devil in the Details
First assignments in the course were quite simple but they surprisingly took me a lot of time as I was scrutinizing all the details. My perfectionism is my worst enemy, I am never fully satisfied with my work, I see all those tiny details that normally people wouldn’t even notice and they leave me desperate. Eric was always there with me helping in this battle thanks to him I stopped treating my assignments as my beloved child and was learning to just do what has to be done and leave alone those tiny insignificant details.
students were to create a set extension and a "day for night" version
Seeing Through the Fog
One of the most challenging assignments for me was creating the Foggy/overcast image. I didn’t expect it to be that hard, I understand perfectly well how light is supposed to look on such an image but creating believable fog was a tough one for sure. It was difficult to balance out all the other elements with it. I browsed through a lot of foggy images that I myself did, googled other misty/foggy photographs to get a better idea of what I wanted to do in my piece. I immediately decided that it would be a seascape with a Viking ship. I tried to use my own assets whenever possible, so sometimes it is a tough job to find appropriate images that will match the lighting scheme as well as focal point. Sometimes I work and I just can’t see any flaws any more. What actually helps is giving your eyes and brain a rest as at some point. After half an hour rest I start to notice what needs to be fixed again!
Sunset and Sunrise
As for my favorite assignment on the course it was Sunset/Sunrise Lightning Scene. I really love sunlit pictures. I like to exaggerate light, making the picture more of a fantasy, so this assignment was a true pleasure. When I was thinking of an idea of this project I came up with two solutions: at first I wanted to make it a bit more gloomy, more of an alien invasion, second idea was an old man contemplating the surrounding with a big spaceship appearing in the sky. I stopped on this one as it leaves more room for interpretation: whether this person a villain, or just a civilian sitting there on the hill, what he thinks of at this moment, what is happening, where is this ship flying, is it going to attack or it is a peaceful scene. I liked the idea of several possible explanations of the situation, my idea was to show how lonely we are in spite of living in dynamic buzzing cities, and in spite of technological progress. I think a lot of people feel like this old man sitting there on the hill, utterly lonely. So when I had a picture in my mind I started looking for necessary assets. First I planned to make zeppelins instead of a spaceship but then I came across a photograph of this monument in the Vatican which is called ‘Sphere within a Sphere’ by Arnaldo Pomodoro. I realized that it was it- that was my spaceship. I liked its crooked and uneven edges, they gave this worn feeling that I liked. As for the lightning scenario, as I said before sunsets and sunrises are my favorite. I like to exaggerate existing lightning conditions giving it a more illustrative look, so I did the same here. Just because I love this lightning scenario so much I actually did 2 works for this week’s assignment and couldn’t decide which I liked more but eventually stopped on the old man and a spaceship one.
Manufacturing a Fantasy
Another favorite assignment was the last one. I was inspired by Lord of the Rings scene with huge statues - Gates of Argonath and wanted to do something like that in my final work. I decided that it would be a monastery. I needed statues of some scholars, kings, or monks so I found stock images of two statues that I liked, but when I started working on them I decided that it will not be our world and made them half human half animals. The general idea was that they are statues of some Gods. Then I needed photographs of monks, but I was specifically looking for images that would not show people and just give the idea that these monks are humanoid creatures instead. That was a tough job, I decided that if I can’t find the right image I will take a picture of my husband wrapped in a blanket and then make it look like a monk’s robe, but good luck was on his side and I found what I was looking for. Statues were actually the most fun part, I liked working on the statues blending them with the rock. It surely was a bit challenging, as I was working entirely with photographs with minimum painting on top, challenging but fun. Surprisingly at the end I was quite happy with my work, as most of the time I am my worst critic who is never satisfied with their work.
Overall my experience with CGMA is nothing less than fantastic. Instructor’s support, valuable comments, tips and guidance are priceless. Eric is a great mentor, every step of the way he was there for us, not to mention that he is an incredible artist, a pure inspiration. And learning from such a great person is a blessing. I was intimidated at the beginning of the course, thinking that I would be at the bottom of the class but Eric helped me to believe in myself, realize my strengths and weaknesses. He showed me what skills I need to master in the future. My journey continues, I now have a clear goal and understanding of what I want to do, and what is more important is what I need to do to one day become a Matte Painter. Thank you CGMA for incredible experience, and for doing such a tremendous job in helping aspiring artists follow their dreams.