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. 

February 3rd, 2018 - April 8th 2018 + 4 weeks of content review

Eric Bouffard is currently a matte painter at Walt Disney Animation Studios, working on the highly anticipated sequel, Wreck It Ralph 2. Previously, Eric worked at Dreamworks Animation for 11 years,Asylum Visual Effects, Sony Play Station Cinematics, Third Floor and many other studios.Eric was promoted Matte Painting Supervisor in 2011 on “Rise of the Guardians” and followed up with supervising the highly anticipated "How to Train Your Dragon 2". These films allowed the matte department to push the boundaries on creating digital environments by using a combination of techniques in Maya, Vue, Photoshop and Nuke to create stunning vistas such as Berk Island, North Pole's palace, the Dragon Oasis, and more. Their work was nominated in both films for VES awards "Outstanding Environments in an Animated Movie".Prior to 2011, Eric was a Matte Painter artist on "Over the Hedge", "Kung Fu Panda", and "Monsters vs. Aliens"; and a Lead Matte Painter on "Monsters vs. Pumpkins" and "Scared Shrekless" among other movies.

Instructor's gallery:

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