Tag: Maya

The Wolverine – Pt 3

Howdy Folks!

Here are the remaining concept art images I created at Fox Studios Sydney for The Wolverine. I won’t go into too detail here suffice to say.. Enjoy!

1. Logan Hanging on. I built the basic structure in Maya and finished in Photoshop.

2. This was a shot I designed that wasn’t actually scripted or storyboarded. I felt Yukio needed to be seen approaching the Yashida Lab to help place her both physically and temporally within the story. Same again, 3D build and Photoshop paint over.

3. These were straight out 2D paintings of Logan approaching the village and Yashida Lab tower.

4. This was a painting that I completed well after I left the Fox art dept and painted remotely for the production designer. The actual shot can been seen below and I had to create, matte painting like, the village and tower beyond.

5. Another 3d build with a Photoshop paint over. This painting was to start establishing a look for the Silver Samurai support area and surrounds. From this version here to the final version as seen in the film, many hours were spent by lots people working out the logistics of such a set. The set you see in the final film was HUGE!

6. Same approach again as I built the environment in Maya and did the paint over in Photoshop.

7. And finally the Silver Samurai plummeting to his demise! This painting was to show the possibility of a large platform outside the Lab that might collapse. I was suggesting here that we might see the SS fall from the other side and we see him pass the spot lights on the way down.

If you haven’t seen the film, do yourself a favor and go check it out, it’s pretty good.. for a superhero film anyway! The sets look sumptuous, the lighting, colours and mood complement the story really well.

All images copyright © 20th Century Fox






Matte Painting Projection pt2

Hi all,

As promised in part 1, here is part 2 of the matte painting projection post.

I recently finished two shots for a client that needed scenes of New York city circa 1927. This is not a literal rendition of NY city, the buildings are in all the wrong places.. but this was meant to be a more romantic idea of NY back then! Both shots centered around the Chrysler building, of which will be live action and/or 3D in the final work. The shots I’m showing here are all pre-composited. I delivered the entire Maya scene files to the client with all of the sourceimages as they were able to render out the passed they needed.

They are also night scenes which makes them a little hard to see, sorry..

The 3D models were provided by the client which I used as is, or modified as needed. The main animated camera was also provided by the client. The second shot still has a lot of jitter due to the tracking of the live action that had yet to be smoothed out which explains why the camera feels a little weird. There was no art direction on these shots other than the client’s brief.

I did all of this using Maya. I assume there is a similar, if not more efficient approach in other 3D apps. Nuke however may make the approach through Maya obsolete! One other thing to mention, I’ve taken the Model to Painting approach. Some people paint first then build a rough model to match the painting. The technique outlined below works either way.

Anyway, so the steps go something like this:

1. I set up the basic composition and placement of the buildings within the scene except for the Chrysler building.

2. Render/Play the shot and look for parallax shifting between the fg buildings and mg, bg buildings.

3. Place PROJECTION camera/s so as to get the best coverage of the model relative to the MAIN animated camera.

4. Render out hi-res still/s of the model/s. This can be flat shaded or GI, up to you.

5. Paint the render/s in Photoshop as you want them to look. I usually label the images with info, version number etc. These notes wont appear on the model, don’t worry. Do NOT crop the image! If it’s a pixel out from the original still render, it wont line up with the model when you project it back again.

6. Project those painted images back through the same PROJECTION camera/s and assign that new LAMBERT shader (as INCANDESCENCE) onto the original model.

Make sure you select PERSPECTIVE under Proj Type. Under the Camera Attributes section, Link to Camera – This is the original camera you used to render the model. Name that PROJ camera something obvious like – Bldg_5_PROJ or PROJ_cam_A.

7. Render scene and you’re done!

Click here to see the final animation on my Youtube page.

What I’ve outlined here is fairly simplistic. I had 7 Projection cameras on this shot, for a total of 10 shaders assigned to various buildings and one bg cyc.

Here are two more images for the buildings on the right of camera.

And here is the video of shot 1. The fg building with the TIMES sign was also done using the same projection techniques. The ‘flat’ appearance of the windows in the Chrysler building would not cut it for a final feature, but this was for a test to help pitch a project and the final part of the Chrysler building as seen in this shot is to be replaced with live action.

Click here to see the NY shot 1.
These shots are pre-composited and the gamma is a little up on the youtube vids. I’ll see if I cant adjust at some point.

Anyway, I hope that helps demystify the matte painting projection process in Maya a little. Let me know if I’ve only confused you even further!!

Matte Painting Projection pt1

Howdy all..

Been a hellishly busy several weeks which has been both a blessing and a curse! Good for the cash flow, not so good for oil painting! Been working with SOAP Creative here in Sydney on a James Bond website promotion thingy.. I cant say much more than that and will post more when I can.

I rolled straight into a matte painting job after the Bond gig.. the task.. create New York in 1927! This is big and I had approx two weeks to complete it. It’s taken two and half actually. Matte painting projection was the primary approach, Maya being the 3D tool of choice and of course Photoshop CS2.

Projected matte painting, for those who don’t know of it, is a method of mapping your 2D matte painting onto 3D geometry. For you old school folks, it’s like projecting a 35mm slide of an image onto white blocks of wood in a pitch black room.

Imagine those white blocks of wood are scale models of real buildings and you’re projecting your 35mm slide of the exact same building onto that model (perfectly aligned of course… impossible with a slide projector I know, but stay with me here..)

Now you pick up your handicam and start filming as you walk towards the model and perhaps move around the model a little. Traditional 2D matte paintings have always been limited to.. well, 2 dimensions. You cant go around anything within the painting. You can zoom in, move up and down the painting but the sense of 3 dimensional space is lacking. Same as projecting a 35mm slide onto a screen, you can walk up to it, move it up or down but it will always look 2D.

Projecting that 2D image onto a 3D object allows you to push beyond the 2D realm cheaply and more cost effectively than going full 3D. It only works in some situations and has certain limitations, but if your camera is moving in one direction with perhaps a little drift this way or that, projection is the way to go.

I was taught a fancy trick at Digital Domain by a dude named Eric Hanson.. Use INCANDESCENCE mapping. This has the advantage of A/ Allowing the matte painter to paint the lighting onto the object/scene in a way that only a matte painter can and B/ Doesn’t use a single 3D light within the scene, so rendering time is dramatically reduced. If the lighting needs changing, then it’s back to Photoshop and a re-paint, but the rendering time becomes consistent, predictable and fast.

I will usually render the object flat shaded or with a basic global illumination pass. It will look something like this:


Then I paint it up..


Before I show you the New York shot, here is an example of how I used the technique to great effect on Vincent Ward’s recent Blossom Hill Wine TV commercial, look for the shot of the train going over the viaduct. The viaduct, the train and background were all 2D images projected onto 3D. Yes, even the train!

I’ll leave it there and post a more in depth ‘how to’ soon.. Including the New York shot, so stay tuned!