I just wanted to announce that I am teaching at the site Matte Mentors
The new class on Matte Painting for Animation will start on January 8th, 2023. You can pre-order it now to reserve your spot. It will be an 8 week course with weekly live interactive Zoom sessions and individual critiques on everyone’s work. So if you are interested in learning Matte Painting for the Animation industry come check it out.
I also have a FREE course if you’d like to get a taste of what I will be teaching. This course is Ancient Bridge and is available for download now.
Hope to see you there, and signup to our email list for future classes and seminars.
I recently had the pleasure of completing a virtual lecture and demo at Escena, school for an animation and concept design school in Mexico City. The students were wonderful and engaging. Here is the environment demonstration I created for them showing a little bit of my process.
For this Demo, I utilized the following software: Photoshop, Maya, Clarisse and Gaea.
I’ve been wrapped up in all things Tolkien of late and I remembered some concept sketches from Jeremy Bennett that I loved from the Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings movies and some stills from the new Amazon show, The Rings of Power.
To make things move quicker I utilized assets I have from Kitbash 3d, The Ancients.
I use Maya as my go to place to do Layout and Preliminary lighting. I created some simple hills and mountains using Maya’s sclupting tools. Bringing in some of the Ancient models. I used Arnold lights and shaders since I can replicate the same look in Clarisse afterwards.
Now, I want to swap out my rough hills with some better geometry. You can use do this multiple ways, import into Zbrush and high res my hills or use heightfield terrains. I went with the Heightfield route and used Gaea.
I made about four different landscape elements and then did a texture pass on them inside of Gaea.
I brought in these assets into Maya and matched them to my Layout and adjusted the lighting a little.
Instead of rocky terrain look I wanted to have some vegetation so I exported out my files into Clarisse. I moved the light around and added a simple water shader.
I brought in some grass elements and scattered them on the landscapes.
While in Clarisse I figured I’d bring in some VDBs for volumes of mist and clouds.
For the finishing touches I rendered out passes and painted the remaining details in Photoshop. I can do more nuances very quickly here. This is the final image.
Hope you enjoyed my little breakdown of my workflow on this piece.
Oh, if you noticed the logo, “Matte Mentors” on my images I will be teaching a new Matte Painting class through that site starting in January. Sign up to our newsletter for more information.
I had the incredible honor again this year of being part of the 2021 VFX Graduation Projects for the Senior Projects at New3dge school. This year again due to Covid we looked at the students work and met virtually. The school allowed us access to the students’ work, breakdowns, and face time with the groups. The Senior Projects are a group of shorts that a small group of students (usually 5 to 6) work on as team replicating a mini pipeline as they execute a highly caliber of work. The students of VFX/Animation graduation projects for 2021 were just as impressive this year. They produced really outstanding quality all the while having to work remotely due to Covid. This is no small feat! So much great work and inspirational to see!
It was a great pleasure to interact with each team and talk about their projects and questions. New3dge school is doing a superb job teaching their students to be ready for professional careers in VFX, Animation and Games.
Unfortunately I can’t share the projects that the students worked on yet. The School has them submitted to various festivals. Once I am allowed I’ll share the works with links.
Just like last year, these shorts are worth checking out!
There is this relatively new software, Affinity that’s pretty good candidate as an Adobe substitute if you are looking for a non-subscription model. Their current applications are Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher. I’m currently most interested in Photo.
You can download them for a 90 trial.
The Affinity Photo has some nice features that Adobe Photoshop still hasn’t addressed over the years. Raw editing, true HDR workflow, and 32-bit workflow.
What’s nice is you can import/export PSD/PSB file formats and it supports ABR brushes, so you can have the best of both applications.
You can see the UI is very similar to Photoshop so working in it it’s hard at all.
The cost of the software is pretty affordable, just $50. You can purchase these apps at a 50% discount now. They are available for Mac, PC, and iPad. It is not a subscription model. It is a single one-off price. You have full capability whether on PC, Mac or Ipad.
Download for free and see what you think. For me the HDR and 32-bit capability alone is worth looking into.