Projection Camera setup in Nuke

For Matte Painting doing simple projection setups are a common part of the job. Here I wanted to show a simple Nuke setup of a projection. Attached below is a video I recorded of a test scene of cards in space using a painting I did years ago on the first Kung Fu Panda movie as an example. I’ve got several layers of images on multiple planes at different distance in “z” depth.

I go through the process of setting up a straight forward matte painting projection setup explaining how to bring in your data. First, you need an image you want to project. Then a camera to project from and a simple piece of geometry to project onto. From here you just want to export out your rendered image.

Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed this video. Let me know if you like having a step by step video as part of my blog. I’m thinking of doing more video blog entries. I feel it maybe easier to demonstrate techniques. I’ve found it takes me much longer to write out a step by step approach where as a video is just simpler to show the process.

Composition of Outdoor Painting

Some books just rise above the others, some seemingly choose you, and some just keep coming back to you through all your years.


I was introduced to “Composition of Outdoor Painting” almost two decades ago. It still is one of my go to books of choice. The book was first printed in 1941 (now in it’s 7th printing).


Edgar Payne (1883-1947) was a gifted plein-air painter whose powerful work and impressionistic style inspired many an artist. His bold use of color and rugged landscapes captivated audiences. He was one of the first artists to illuminate the Sierras and the Southwest.


I was lucky to see a traveling show of a large body of his work: Edgar Payne: The Scenic Journey in Pasadena several years ago. The link above is a retrospective book of his work and was printed to coincide with the show. The printing is top notch, but I have to admit seeing the originals are simply sublime.


Here is a nice retrospective video on Edgar Payne



Payne wrote his book at the latter part of his life and gives us a wonderful insight in his thought process and painting language. It is filled with pages and pages of thumbnails for compositions and his suggestions for what makes a “good” composition.





I simply love his line work and simplicity of his design of composition (which is not simple at all).  His dated prose style may not be for all readers, but there is a certain tone to it that I rather enjoy. The book is filled with designs and compositional instruction that any artist will devour. Whenever I am at a loss at a composition, I am always drawn back to this excellent book for some help.

“Originality is but old thoughts made over.”


All for one and one for all

Things have been very busy for my wife and I. We closed on a house just days after the new year. Since that time, we’ve been trying to figure small updates to the house. Meeting with contractors and architects. Its amazing that even doing such a small changes to a building’s layout requires such work, time, and money.  To say that I’ve been distracted and busy is an understatement. This is a very important and costly decision for us so we’ve been sketching ideas, looking up images for reference on what we’d like to achieve.

This process reminds me very much like researching for a new piece that I’d create, except in this case you are handing over some of the creation  aspects to teams of other people. You have to have trust that you’ve hired the right people to carry out your vision. It made me realize how much directors, production designers, and visual effects supervisors feel when we are working on their films. You have to have faith that your selected team can translate your vision and scope. That you can convey to them along the way if the look and feel of the piece isn’t taking shape and get them back on track. It’s really an amazing process when everyone gels on a project. Such a feeling of synergy.

Since working in the industry over these years, you really count yourself lucky when you work on that special show. It’s amazing to see people’s reaction when you answer their question, “what was your favorite show to work on?” Because if you don’t answer one of the big movies from your studio or resume shows their face drops. Just because a movie tops the charts or has huge actors in it doesn’t mean it was a fun movie to work on. It simply boils down to the people. Did you enjoy the work on the project with your team and the whole projects team. Yes, you can walk away from a mega-show with a cool painting(s) or such, but that is such a singular reward. The lesser known shows or smaller budget shows are fun for another reason too, creatively solving problems with a smaller box to work within.

Synergy is used as a fancy buzzword these days, but when it does happen, well it’s this magical moment that shines so bright for all involved. To see something greater come out from a combined effort than any individual contribution is just beautiful and memorable. Enough of my rambling for this week’s post, and I must get back to my house renovation plans. I’m sure I’ll have more to add about this. Fingers crossed.

New Year’s Resolutions 2017

Welcome 2017 and farewell 2016!!!!


With the close of the year and beginning of a new one, brings introspection and reevaluating your life. This is the time to make New Year’s resolutions, to look at certain pieces of your life that you feel need attention, let’s say sprucing up, and try and to fix them. Where has Life’s journey brought you? Are you going down the path you want?  Now the usual resolutions are to lose weight or eat healthier. These are good, but usually people fall off the band wagon within weeks of setting the goal.  If so many people don’t commit to their resolutions, then why make them in the first place, right?

Surprising about 50% of the people in the US make New Year’s resolutions. Studies have shown, that the 46% of those who made common resolutions (e.g. weight loss, exercise programs, quitting smoking) were over ten times as likely to succeed, compared to only 4% who chose not to make resolutions. It just goes to say, that if you a concrete idea of what you want to achieve that it makes it that much more easier to achieve that goal.

The most common reason for participants failing their New Years’ Resolutions was setting unrealistic goals (35%), while 33% didn’t keep track of their progress and a further 23% forgot about it. About one in 10 claimed they made too many resolutions.

A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail,[10] despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning. Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, (a system where small measurable goals are being set; such as, a pound a week, instead of saying “lose weight”), while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.

So when making resolutions be specific and keep accurate accounting in order to achieve your goals. Break up your list into different sectors of your life: Health, Finance, Career, etc.

  • You need to have accountability. Tell friends and loved ones of your goal(s).
  • Break down your goal into bit sized pieces.
  • Check your goals (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
  • Use technology to help you in your goals.

I tend to use Google docs. I’ll put together a list of goals in a simple spreadsheet. During the course of the year, I’ll update how I’m doing on the spreadsheet. You can create reminders on your calendar as well as further checkups. Create an monthly New Year’s check-in reminder.

So, if you haven’t begun your New Year’s Resolution list do it now. And don’t be limited by the start of the year too. You can start resolutions are any moment. If you fall of the band wagon, don’t give up. Pick yourself up and go at it again.

Happy New Year Everyone!!