Matte Painting

Matte Painting

  • Price: $699 | Pay with installments.
  • Pre-Reqs: Environment Design 1 and 2 or Advanced Digital Painting and Environment Design Skills
  • Materials: Photoshop, Tablet, Maya, Vue (optional), Nuke (optional)

Course Description:

Matte Painting concentrates on the aspect of background elements for visual effects. Matte painters create set extensions to supplement 3D elements where budget and time constraints my not allow for full 3D implementation. This course covers the Photoshop aspect of creating realistic and dynamic backgrounds using photo references and painting techniques.

Course Format: Standard
Length: 8 Weeks.
Lectures: Pre-Recorded each week
Assignment: Deadlines each week.
Feedback: Individual recorded.
QandA: Once a week
*For classes with less than 6 students feedback may be provided during the live QandA session.



  • Week 1: Introduction to Matte Painting and the process of matte painting. Discussion on gathering reference. In this 1st week, we will create a simple sky replacement and cloud extraction. 
  • Week 2: Set Extension: Taking an existing plate, we will extend a shot. Utilizing cloning techniques to remove unwanted elements and matching a plate. Then we will transform the shot into a classic day for night technique using adjustment layers and paths.
  • Week 3: Using references to extract elements and color correct them: We will work on reflections and scale to create a realistic matte painting. Lighting condition, foggy/overcast painting with a seascape theme.
  • Week 4: Ancient made New: Research ancient historical locations and imagery to execute a painting by adding some form of history to your landscape piece. Lighting condition, sunlight day with a landscape theme. 
  • Week 5: Using references and/or 3d models to build your scene and create a believable futuristic city. Research movies, books, games, etc. Lighting condition, backlighting with a sci-fi city theme.
  • Week 6: Final Project Part 1: Create thumbnail sketches, exploring composition and design / Research and gather reference / Begin blocking in painting once you have selected a thumbnail.
  • Week 7: Final Project Part 2: Continue building up painting from previous week. Work on whole area of painting, not just specific pieces. All the elements should be present in piece with an established lighting direction.
  • Week 8: Final Project Part 3: Take it the matte painting to a final. Try giving it those final nuances to make the painting sing. 

July 22nd, 2017 - Sep. 22nd, 2017 + 2 weeks of content review

Eric Bouffard is currently a Matte Painting Supervisor at DreamWorks Animation, where he has worked since 2006. Previously, Eric worked at Asylum Visual Effects, Sony Pay Station Cinematics, Third Floor and many other studios. His credits include: “How to Train your Dragons 2” and “Rise of the Guardians” (Supervisor), “Kung Fu Panda”, “Over the Edge” and “Monsters vs Aliens” (Matte Painting Artist) among other movies.

Instructor's gallery:

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