When MattePaint launched in 2017, options for reference photography for artists was slim and scattered across the web. As Artists and Studios discovered the library and began creating with MattePaint, it became clear that there was a desire to redefine what was possible from a single asset resource for industry professionals and hobbyists alike.

Today, we launch MattePaint 4.0 and we're excited to announce several new ground-breaking features, assets and updates available from today in the MattePaint library along with a brand new logo.

Say Hello To 4.0

A New Ground-Breaking DNG format

Working over a 6 month period in collaboration with industry studios, we had a breakthrough in generating custom-resolution RAW files. From today, every photo on MattePaint available in RAW will be downloadable at multiple resolutions in this new DNG format.

Working with DNG files allows artists to change exposure, white balance, colour profile, optics calibration and more, all on the fly inside photoshop. Furthermore, these DNG files are 16bit-depth, vastly exceeding the limitations of using 8bit jpg's and no longer any need to download multiple exposures of a jpg file!

Choose Your Format: RAW/EXR

The MattePaint gallery is now 3D and Compositing friendly, with 32-bit linear sRGB EXR files available for 3D photo modelling, backdrops, or projection work straight in your 3D package of choice.

The new EXR format also allows Compositors to directly import the full-range image for workflows which don't require a Matte Painter.

Masked By Default

No artwork is completed without some masking, so with this update we are removing some of the work for you. As A.I. is slowly taking over the world (albeit not our jobs, yet!), we have tapped into the technology to auto-magically create alpha's of sky areas for the entire MattePaint library.

These masked images can be downloaded as an pre-masked PNG file and form part of the new "Concept Assets" provided at up to 2k for images and full-resolution for the alpha-only download. Through testing with VFX studios around the world we found these PNG's to massively speed up the concepting phase for any 2D tasks, allowing early blocking stages of shots to progress quickly. And all this can occur with the confidence that each image is available at a higher resolution in new, flexible, file formats.

50k Sequenced 360° HDRI's

Today we are launching over 170 HDRI's captured at 50,000px wide in a truly world-class location. The HDRI world is full of great providers but many are either too expensive, not high enough resolution or simply not quite the right content. With VFX clients striving for bigger and better, what better way to achieve that than a full day-to-night HDRI sequence!

So we went searching for a spot to call ours and we found an incredible location. Elevated above its surroundings - but not so much as to change perspective of the clouds - and almost completely unobscured, it has been described as a Holy Grail for Sky HDRI's. Take a look below!

We capture our HDRI's at intervals of up to 120 seconds and with best-in-class dynamic range. With these sequences, CG lighters and Compositors are able to retain consistency of content and lighting quality through changes in time of day in any sequence. For static scene's where lighting changes are not needed, these sequences give artists complete control of the exact elevation the sun and exact cloud content presented within the shot.

Start building your ultimate HDRI sky library, free!

And Here's The Kicker...

Anyone can download our entire HDRI library at 2k, completely free to use, allowing easy validation of lighting qualities and cloud content.

Here's an overview of the main features present in the HDRI's:

  • Unobstructed views
  • Shot at 2.5min intervals
  • Sun-mask layer for easy adjustment
  • Internal meta-data for frame number, luminance value, elevation and more.
  • Unclipped Sunlight
  • Downloads range from 2k to 50k resolution
  • Tone mapped JPG and 32 bit EXR's.
With the Sun-mask layer in the EXR's, the sunlight intensity can be quickly adjusted whenever the sun isn't obscured entirely by cloud.

Concepting with HDRI's

In the MattePaint assets library, you'll now see a new category under skies called "backplates" these are tone mapped JPG versions of all our HDRI's with 120° views and from 4 major vantage points and the filenames can be traced back to an exact HDRI frame. What this means is concept-art created using these backplates can be easily converted to full 360° lighting for final environments.

MattePaint Academy Free on All Plans!

No, we weren't bought by Epic Games! But from today, all tutorials can be unlocked for free with any plan and all content is available to any level of subscription! This change has been in the works for some time and we're glad to be finally making the change!

With new content coming online every month and over 50 hours of recorded content available through our 12 Week DMP Course, there is a huge array of content to learn from.

From today, only exercises attached to a tutorial or course will cost a few credits to download. These exercises come with PSD files, 3D renders, Photography and more to aid you in learning more and trying the technique's for yourself.

More to Come!

We cannot wait to see what the community does with the new HDRI's and new file format options available. It is certain to speed up workflows for the community of millions of artists around the world. We have more innovations in the pipeline, so stay tuned and be sure to join us in the conversation in our discord server and share your work!

To get started right now using the new assets on MattePaint, check out what’s on offer.