Photoshop Beta – NEW AI Generative Fill

So AI is huge in the news these days, and Adobe has launched a new BETA Photoshop that has some elements utilizing it’s AI, one of which is the “Generative Fill”. I messed with it a little over the weekend.

Part 2 of my Matte Painting for Animation class is starting July 16th. It will be 4 weeks working on an establishing shot of your own.

There’s still some spots left if you feel your ready to jump right in and work on your own shot.

Matte Mentors Winter Semester 2023 Student Work

Just wrapped up my Winter Semester with Students for my Matte Painting for Animation: Stylized Worlds class.

Had a fabulous class of hardworking students!

Here are some select shots from a few of the students from this Winter Semester. I’ll share more work from the class in the coming weeks.

Spring and Summer semesters are coming up, take a look and see if you’d like to sign up!

Strange World and Zootopia+

Very excited to announce the latest shows from Disney Animation Studios, that I had the honor to work on: Strange World, which is releasing Nov 23rd, and Zootopia+, which is now available on Disney+.

Here are some of the newest Trailers for Strange World and Zootopia+

Some of my shots from the trailers so far…

Hope you enjoyed the clips! Make sure to see Strange World on November 23rd!

If you are interested in Matte Painting, check out my courses at Matte Mentors!

Teaching at Matte Mentors

Hi Everyone,

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.

High Speed Clip Highlighting the Ancient Bridge Demo

Hope to see you there, and signup to our email list for future classes and seminars.


Landscape Demo

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.

Jeremy Bennett Concepts and Image from Power of the Ring

To make things move quicker I utilized assets I have from Kitbash 3d, The Ancients.

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.

Rough Layout in Maya

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.

Gaea geometry

I made about four different landscape elements and then did a texture pass on them inside of Gaea.

Texture pass in Gaea

I brought in these assets into Maya and matched them to my Layout and adjusted the lighting a little.

Maya Final Layout

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.

Clarisse file

I brought in some grass elements and scattered them on the landscapes.

Scattered grass on landscapes

While in Clarisse I figured I’d bring in some VDBs for volumes of mist and clouds.

VDB volumes in Clarisse

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.

Final paint work in Photoshop

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.

Gaea Mountains – LOTR Inspired Concept Painting

I’ve been watching Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power and it got me wanting to create some mountains. I created this quick concept.

So, I opened up Gaea this weekend and did some quick mountains there. Gaea is great. Very intuitive and easy to use with it’s node based system.

Simple node setup

You basically keep adding nodes and moving sliders till you start getting something you like.

Gaea nodes

Once you get shapes then you can apply textures within it as well.

Gaea mountain with textures

You just export out your maps and geometry and bring it into your program of choice. I went into Maya to design my shot.

Maya layout

Here is a simple render using Arnold to test look mountain.

Maya render with Arnold

Once I got the placement of geometry (you can use height maps as another method) in Maya, I exported it all over to Clarisse. Here I added volumes of mist and clouds using VDBs.

Clarisse for final and adding volumes

Here is the final raw render.

Clarisse raw render

I then wanted to add some little character traversing the land, so I exported out a ranger archer character from Mixamo and placed in the scene.

Mixamo Character

Little bit of Photoshop retouching and painting for the final.

Final Quick Concept Painting

A quick little Lord of the Rings-ish Mountain concept painting, definitely not a finished painting but was fun to put together for a few hours.

2021 New3dge VFX Graduation Projects

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!