Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Life and stuff

Wow I haven't posted here in a looong time! Not that it's a good thing, but I guess that means I've been really busy, which is usually positive.

Indeed, the few months since I last posted this summer have been incredibly full, and fulfilling. I started an internship as a 3D artist back in June at Raynault VFX (, which then evolved into a part time job, and recently into an offer to remain on their core team in 2014 after our current project is over. I'm super excited to continue my experience there in the upcoming year, and I look forward to new projects, and more opportunities to learn and improve both as a 3D artist and a matte painter. I've been able to take on more and more matte painting duties over these last couple of months, which rocks! ^__^

So that along with schoolwork has been keeping me pretty busy, but I thought I'd share a few things here with you today, seeing how this blog's been so desolated lately.

A couple 30 mins speedpaints I did for the Speedpaint group on Facebook (

Daily theme: Flying House

Daily theme: Strange Visitors

I might take that floating house concept to a final illustration eventually. I'm hoping to be able to squeeze in some more of these speedpaints in my schedule. They're definitely a good exercise.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Life of Pi Challenge - SHOT 006 - WIP

I won't have time to work on this further until the weekend, so I figured I'd post a little work in progress of shot 006 from my Life of Pi painting challenge. Zebras (or horses) are hard man...But I'm starting to feel more comfortable with the general proportions of things after doing these first five shots, which is encouraging. Also the painting process is feeling more and more natural, yay!

Come back in a few days for the "finished" painting.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Life of Pi Challenge - Shot 005

Life of Pi Challenge - SHOT 005

Still from the movie :

Study :

Environment masters: The Art of Alex Tooth

Taking a little break from my Life of Pi paintings to bring you a new artist I discovered which I thought was worth sharing. Alex Tooth is a freelancer based in the UK, and he does wonderful paintings of abstracted landscapes. His colors are absolutely fantastic and his treatment relies heavily on well defined values. I find his work really brings you back to the basics of creating a powerful image. It just goes to show that you don't always need a ton of photorealistic details to create a strong mood.

You can check out more of his work HERE.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Life of Pi Challenge - Shot 002

Life of Pi Challenge - SHOT 002

Still from the movie :

Study :

I went a bit over my time limit with this one. I was having too much fun painting that little guy. Might have been an hour and half.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Life of Pi Challenge - Shot 001

A couple of weeks ago a classmate of mine started doing painted studies of the movie The Hobbit. 

You can check out his blog to follow his progress HERE.

I thought that was an awesome source of motivation to practice digital painting, and so I was inspired to do the same. I am a huge fan of the artistic direction in Life of Pi and I decided to challenge myself to painting a frame from every shot in the movie.

Obviously that's a lot of shots, close to a thousand I believe. And the next few months promise to be extremely busy already, with my internship at Raynault, and several freelancing contracts coming up. So I'm not planning on being super regular in how I proceed with this challenge. But whenever possible, I will do one every day, limiting myself to 30-40mins per shot. Essentially this is a way for me to always have something specific to draw whenever I have some free time to fill, so I don't waste time on trying to find inspiration and eventually end up procrastinating. Whether or not I make it through the whole movie isn't really the point.

So to start off this challenge, here's the first shot.

Life of Pi Challenge - SHOT 001

Still from the movie :

Study :

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Big News + The Art of John Liberto

Hey guys!

Sorry for the long hiatus, I've been super busy with the end of my 4th semester at Centre NAD, and went straight into full out job hunting mode as soon as I was done with school. I also took a little vacation with my boyfriend last week to get some rest from all the craziness of the past few months.

But I'm now back with some really exciting news! Some of you might remember the post I made back in April about Mathieu Raynault, one of my favourite matte painters and a really big role-model of mine. Well, I had the amazing opportunity to meet him later that month as he was invited to attend the presentation of some of our student projects at Centre NAD. It was amazing to meet someone who's so successful and talented, yet super nice and humble too. Now you might think that chance encounter alone was enough to get me all excited (and you'd be right, I was pretty thrilled!), but there's more!

In two weeks, I will be starting an internship at, Mathieu Raynault's own personal studio, which specializes in digital environments and matte painting! :D It blows my mind that Mathieu so generously offered me this opportunity, and I can't wait to get started! I'm super thrilled and anxious at the same time, but it's a good stress. :) I'll be doing 3D modeling and texture, as well matte painting TD work. Right now I'm trying to get familiar with Speedtree, Terragen and Vue, which is some of the software I might have to work with over the summer, on top of Softimage and Photoshop.

That, coupled with a few exciting freelance illustration contracts will be keeping me extra busy over the rest of the summer. The next few weeks will be ridiculously intense, but very inspiring I'm sure!

Now I couldn't just write a whole post about how giddy I am without sharing with you the work of another very talented concept artist and matte painter, John Liberto. Yesterday I participated in a master class given by the great character designer Pascal Blanché, who works as an artistic director for Ubisoft Montreal. He encouraged us to dig deeper than the first level when looking at artists that inspire us, and to try and find what these artists' inspirations were. Looking deeper into Andree Wallin's (another amazing artist I presented here a while back) background, I found he was a big fan of Liberto. 

I was very happy to discover this swedish artist who's done some beautiful concept work for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Big Fish and Alien vs. Predator. He's also worked on Halo and a bunch of other films and games. I picked out a few of my favourite images from his website. Some of his work is a bit more illustrative, which I have a soft spot for.

You can check out his full portfolio HERE.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Environment Masters - The Photography of Jaroslaw Pawlak

Hi everyone!

Today I'd like to share with you an amazing photographer I stumbled upon last week, which despite not being a matte painter or concept artist, absolutely had to be featured on here as part of my Environment Masters series.

His name is Jaroslaw Pawlak, and he's a Polish poet and musician turned photographer. He now lives in the southern parts of Tuscany, Italy, and found the inspiration for his photographs in a little town called Pienza. When I first saw his landscape photographs, my breath was literally taken away. I hope you will have a similar experience when you see them yourself.

His use of light and color is some of the most brilliant I've ever seen in landscape photography. There is an incredible richness and texture to his photographs, often reminiscent of pastel drawings or oil paintings, which gives a truly magical feeling to the places he captures. I also love his sense of composition and especially rhythm. There is always a strong sense of flow and movement in all of his images.

I tried to find more info about his process, as I was curious to know if he did a lot of color work in post. I unfortunately couldn't find much information about this beyond what is written on his website. If any of you know more about his work, please share. I'd love to hear more about it!

Though I won't post any of those images in the context of this blog post, I encourage you to check out his portrait and commercial works as well. They're equally beautiful.

Monday, April 1, 2013

My progression with Matte Painting + A New Environment Master

Tonight I'm taking a break from some Harry Potter themed sketching (stay tuned for more on that later on this month) to show you the result of my second matte painting assignment, as well as feature a new Environment Master : Mathieu Raynault.

First off, let me tell you a little bit about our second assignment for our Matte Painting class. We were asked to use the three pictures below featuring a plane, some foreground characters, and a moody sky, and integrate them together as a basis for a dark, cinematic, apocalyptic-ish scene. The pictures were taken by our teacher, Jessy Veilleux, and I therefore do not own the rights to them. They were imposed, but we were free to pick and choose elements from them to fit our composition.

Below you can see my finished work. The process involved a lot of keying, color correction, digital painting, integration of photographic textures and polishing. I was lucky enough to benefit from my teacher's feedback throughout the process, which really helped me improve it up to this point. I had a ridiculous amount of fun with this project, and it definitely confirmed my interest in a matte painting career. Even though it was only my second official matte painting ever, the process felt very familiar and natural, which allowed me to really focus on integrating each element as well as I could to make it photorealistic. I tried to stay away from working with a large number of new elements, and rather spent more time on the few carefully selected ones I chose to add.

I'm very happy with it, although I had a hard time letting it go once the deadline came up. But on to other new exciting things now!

Alright so now that I'm fairly happy with something I made, here's the traditional "oh but look how much better this guy is" moment which is essential to keep me motivated and working hard. This week I present to you Mathieu Raynault, a fantastic matte painter and I guess someone I would consider a role-model and inspiration at this point in my life.

Why? Well partly because he's just so darn good at what he does, has an amazing sense of light, color and composition, and can turn any boring scene into an epic work of art, but there's more. Raynault isn't from just anywhere, he's from a little town called St-Bruno, QC. He's a french quebecer born and raised just a half hour away from my own little town, studied at Centre NAD (which for those of you who don't know is where I'm currently completing my second Bachelor's degree), turned out to be a talented artist with a bright future, and headed off to work at ILM and WETA Digital after his studies, to contribute to films such as Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, The Matrix, King Kong, Indiana Jones, etc.

Aside from his impressive list of film credits, he's also worked for the advertising and gaming industries, creating some of the most memorable environments in recent film history. After 15 years in business, Mathieu Raynault is considered one of the best matte painters of his generation, and looking at his work, it's easy to understand why. All that would be enough to make him a huge inspiration to the aspiring matte painter that I am, but there's one more thing about Raynault which puts him up there on my list of awesome people, and that's his contribution to our local filmmaking industry.

In 2006 he came back to Montreal, after working for some of the biggest, most reputable VFX studios in the world, and co-founded a little company called Rodeo FX. Since 2006 Rodeo has grown to more than 100 people and attracted a number of large-budget, cutting-edge projects such as Twilight, Spiderman, Underworld, Mission Impossible, The Golden Compass, just to name a few. I like to believe Raynault's decision to come back to Montreal and set up this new studio here had a major role in putting Montreal on the map of the VFX community worldwide.

For all these reasons, he's got all my respect and admiration, and I can only recommend that you go check out his fantastic portfolio now.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Environment Masters - Brandon Kachel

Alright so it seems I'm shooting new artists at you guys a lot more frequently than I had planned to, but I can't help it, there's too much inspiration out there! So here I am with yet another awesome environment artist to introduce.

Last night I went to see Oz the Great and Powerful, and couldn't stop gaping at the beautiful whimsical backdrops, so much so that I occasionally found myself missing some of the foreground action. I actually thought the environments, as gorgeous as they were, could have been better integrated with the 3D elements and characters, at least in a few spots. There were a couple times where I just wasn't 100% convinced that everything was co-existing in the same world, and that was too bad because all the elements separately looked quite awesome.

Anyway, that's just my 2-cent on that, but the point is, I was looking forward to spotting some of the matte painters' names at the end of the film, to see who created those paintings. I wasn't surprised to see Dylan Cole's name pop up, seeing as the film's aesthetic reminded me a lot of Alice in Wonderland, for which he did a lot of great concept and matte work. However he's not the one I'm featuring today. Rather I found another artist who also happens to have worked on Alice, as well as The Kite Runner, Iron Man, Yogi Bear, Wrath of the Titans and the recent oscar winner, Life of Pi. I thought it was fitting to introduce an artist who was directly involved in the whole Rhythm & Hues situation, which if you're at all interested in VFX you will have heard lots about in the last few weeks (which is why I won't get into it here).

Today's artist is Brandon Kachel, who's a graduate from the Minnesota Arts Institute where he studied visual effects. He's worked at Sony Pictures Imageworks as well as Rhythm & Hues, and his matte painting skills are credited on several feature films and advertising work. I thought Brandon was interesting because contrarily to a lot of the environment artists I've found, he really seems to focus primarily on matte painting, and doesn't dabble so much in concept art. At least that's the impression I get from his portfolio. Another reason I thought he was interesting is that a lot of his work is perhaps a bit less glamorous, and more practical than a lot of the artists I find out there. Though he's worked on some films that rely more heavily on VFX, the majority of the films on his credits list are not considered "VFX films". Hence a lot of his work doesn't necessarily come across as beautiful or impressive at first glimpse, but he does a fantastic job at blending his paintings with real-life footage, so that they don't stand out, which is just as equally impressive in my opinion.

One more thing I absolutely love about his website is he always shows the before and after pictures of the plates he's worked with. This allows you to see exactly what he did on each shot, and the restrictions he had to work with. I wish everyone out there did that in their portfolio! It really helps to visualize the process.

I picked a few images from Brandon's portfolio that I particularly liked. As always, you can find more of this artist's work on his website :

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Environment Masters - Andrée Wallin

I'm feeling inspired tonight so I thought I'd share with you the second master in my Environment Masters series : Andrée Wallin.

Andrée is a young freelance concept artist/matte painter from Sweden who's worked on some motion pictures as well as AAA games such as Halo.

He's got a ton of amazing work up on his website and deviantArt gallery, so you should definitely check him out. I had to stop myself from reposting his entire portfolio up on here as everything he does is absolutely gorgeous. So young and so talented, he's a huge inspiration! I particularly love his use of light and color. His images always feel very moody and rich, even in his more industrial concepts.