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.

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