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advanced photoshop
Dec
20

Photoshop Tutorial: Matte Painting Techniques Part 1

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Tips & Tutorials, by Anna-lisa Saywell

Discover the expert techniques behind painting matte concepts from photos with Tony Andreas Rudolph

Photoshop Tutorial: Matte Painting Techniques Part 1

Download some of the tutorial files here

Thanks go out to Tony Andreas Rudolph for this tutorial. See more of his work at  www.zulusplitter.de/

Step 1

Photoshop Tutorial: Matte Painting Techniques Part 1

To get started with our matte concept painting, we will begin with a plate. Adobe Bridge is the best program to use when looking at your own image database. We first searched for a plate to use in our image database, and then eventually picked one from sxc.hu (alternative image: www.sxc.hu/photo/1097581). A matte concept can often start in this way because grabbing stock is a fast and easy way to get a semi-realistic result with the sense of a matte painting.

Step 2

Photoshop Tutorial: Matte Painting Techniques Part 1

First we need to resize the image. Currently we have a size of 2636 x 1792 pixels with 2000 DPI. This is too small to work with, so we will change it to 3096 x 2106 pixels and 300 DPI. It’s a very big change and the result will look like a little bit burry, but this plate is just a base to paint over it later. The snowy plate will give us the mood and first details that we want in the final painting.

Step 3

Photoshop Tutorial: Matte Painting Techniques Part 1

The next step is to change the aspect ratio and add more space on the left-hand side, getting it more into 16:9. Open the Image menu and select Canvas Size. As you do this, you’ll see arrows which represent a site on the image to fix the extra space onto; click on the right arrow. Now it is fixed and you can change the aspect ratio from 3096 pixels to 4000 pixels. The result is a white or black strip on the left side of the image.

Step 4

Photoshop Tutorial: Matte Painting Techniques Part 1

Now it’s time to fill the white space we’ve created, and we have two ways of doing it. First, we start painting over it. Second, we use the Lasso or Clone Stamp tool to select an area from the plate, then we copy it onto a next layer. After that, create a layer mask and start refining the details and the transition to the original plate. We will then start painting in a simple sky with a soft round brush.

Step 5

Photoshop Tutorial: Matte Painting Techniques Part 1

We’ve finished the first photomanipulation part of this process. Now we start painting over our work with a simple round brush and adding the first shapes. Use simple and rough brush strokes. When we compare this step with a more typical painting process, this would be the sketching part. The result doesn’t have to look like a photorealistic painting. Here it is important to fix your idea, as this will bring the final result a little bit closer. Play around with shapes and values.

Step 6

Photoshop Tutorial: Matte Painting Techniques Part 1

Now we have a base we can add more depth to – a clear composition with a little apocalyptic touch. If you want to add more depth to a painting then the best way achieve this is to add background details like mountains and atmosphere. This is what we’ll do here. Create a silhouette with the Lasso tool and paint it in with a soft brush. Then paint with a soft, custom cloud brush to generate the atmosphere on a new layer.

Step 7

Photoshop Tutorial: Matte Painting Techniques Part 1

Add another new layer. Now it’s time to add the main details in the painting. For this, it’s best to combine the Stamp and Brush tools; we use these for the stones at the front. At first, you must copy the stones in front and then paint over the details. For all details in the midground and background, we use a hard round brush with a smaller size. It takes a bit of time to add the details, but the result will look good.

Step 8

Photoshop Tutorial: Matte Painting Techniques Part 1

To add some details into the background, we’ll use a sky from a photo we have taken. Reduce the Opacity to 55% and create a Curves layer, in order to make the highlights lighter and reduce the dark areas in the image. After that, create a layer mask and paint with a round brush over it again. For the mountain, we used a custom brush and added two Curves layers above it: one for the colour and one for the light.

To be continued…