The MattePaint Course is an intensive, 12 week online matte painting course run by MattePaint CEO and Co-founder, Conrad Allan, and Environment Supervisor Oleksiy Golovchenko. The course has received the recognition and interest of VFX studios internationally. Today, we are pleased to be able to share more details about the course and what you can learn during the 12 weeks!

Who Is This For?

If you're wondering whether this course is for you, then the answer lies in your artistic and career aspirations. Here are our questions to you!

  • Do you want to become a Matte Painter or Concept Artists in the VFX industry?
  • Do you wish your artwork looked more photorealistic?
  • Are you an existing industry artist, looking to expand your talents in the 2D realm?

If you answered Yes to any of the above questions, then this course will be great for you. The MattePaint course is structured in such a way that if you're stuck, there are extra explainer videos and community support to help you keep moving. This way, the course benefits both advanced students and beginners!

Ready To Sign Up?
If you are ready to sign up for our next class, or if you have any further questions please get in touch with the team!

Instructors:


Conrad Allan


Conrad has 10 years experience in CGI and matte painting. He started as a structure modeler for Architects in 2006. His love for CG took off and he obtained a degree in games animation. He has contributed to a variety of major titles for film, games, and TV, including the critically acclaimed "Game of Thrones" series, Thor, Assassins Creed, Independence Day and more. He is a respected artist, teacher, and entrepreneur.



Oleksiy Golovchenko


Oleksiy worked as a Matte Painter artist and Environment Supervisor for the past decade. His credits include Altered Carbon (S2), Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, Star Trek Discovery (S3), Alita: Battle Angel, Deadpool 2, Batman VS Superman, Godzilla and many more.


Intro

Throughout the course you will have two live sessions each week, from Week 1 to Week 11. Each week starts with new pre-recorded content becoming available on Tuesday, followed by a live session on Wednesday where we will introduce you to your weekly project/assignment. Assignments are due each Monday, this gives all students the option to work on their assignments over the weekend or during the week.

During Week 12 we host 2 live sessions on final touches, Industry Q&A and portfolio and resume review.

Over 40 hours of pre-recorded content is waiting for you! Here is a preview of some of the course modules. Each module contains several tutorials.

Feedback

Each week we review all submissions and provide personal feedback as pre-recorded videos. We initially tried live sessions for this but they ended up 3+ hours long with a lot of repetitive feedback. It's unnecessary for all students to sit through such long sessions for their personal feedback.

Instead of this, we host 2 live feedback sessions on Tuesdays after the pre-recorded feedback has been provided. This gives all students a chance to watch their personal feedback and ask for clarification or bring up any problems during the live session.

Every live stream we do is recorded and uploaded.
If you can't make a time slot for whatever reason, it's no problem, you can catch up afterwards!

Both Conrad and Oleksiy take part in the live stream sessions so you will benefit from the many years of experience of both instructors throughout the course.


"This course is the only one in which every second of every part is entirely dedicated to your improvement." ~ Nicolas Castar

Student Community

We believe consistent interaction between students and instructors is one of the most beneficial aspects of doing a course. To facilitate this, We have a private Discord area setup within the MattePaint Discord Server. This classroom is where all communication about assignments, feedback and live streams is located. Both Alex and Conrad remain available throughout the week to answer questions and join discussion. Due to the time difference between them, there is usually at least one instructor available to answer questions or help students if they're blocked.

We encourage you to join our open Discord Community.
Feel free to ask any questions you have about the course and either the community or the MattePaint team will answer!

Module 1
Introduction to the discipline

Week 1

The main goal of the first two weeks of the course is to get you familiar with basic junior tasks and techniques to successfully execute them.

Main Topics and Techniques:

  • sky replacement
  • adding elements into the background of a scene
  • modifying midground and foreground elements

Other skills, techniques and exercises included in this week are:

Photoshop Setup

  • Brushes and Tools
  • Settings
  • Shortcut changes
  • PS Window layouts

Basic Exercises (1-2 images per exercise)

  • Sky replacement
  • Background/foreground element replacing
  • Adding a similar element to the scene
  • Basic use of clone stamp tools
By the end of the first week you will have a solid understanding of these subjects and 3-4 portfolio ready images.
If this sounds complex, don't worry, there is plenty of guidance at every stage to ensure you end up with a fantastic result!

Week 2

In Week 2 you are going to continue to apply your knowledge from the previous week but in a more complex way. You will learn how to compose a matte painting image from multiple elements, matching perspective, lighting direction and integration.

There is plenty of guidance during this week if you need it. The purpose of these exercises is for you to gain context of the full aspects of the job of matte painters before we start to discuss individual techniques in more detail in the following weeks.

Main Topics and Techniques:

  • Complex Masking of images
  • Color matching,
  • Perspective matching
  • Basic integration of similar images together in one piece
Module 1 Outcome: by the end of two weeks you will have 4 or 5 complete and portfolio ready images on frequent junior tasks. You'll have a full understanding of the kinds of tasks required of matte painters.
In the coming weeks you will become proficient in these tasks and techniques.

Module 2
Artistic Fundamentals

Week 3

In Week 3 we take a small step back and cover some of the basics all artists should know. During this week you will learn the artistic fundamentals of colour, composition, perspective, industrial and architectural design and rendering techniques.

Main Topics and Techniques:

  • Composition
  • Color theory
  • Perspective
  • Atmospheric/Aerial perspective
  • Contrast
  • Repetitive shapes and lines
  • Masses

The assignment for this week is to provide a personal piece for review, we will then critique the piece and explain how you could improve it. The 2nd assignment for this week involved reference gathering based on a brief, this is a core skill all artists need to become efficient at.


"I feel like the value I received was a hundred times more
than the cost of the course." ~ Mike Konstan

Week 4

Project 1: Basic Set Extension and elements integration

During Week 4 you will start your first project where you will apply all the knowledge from Wk1-3 to solidify your skills. You will apply different techniques simultaneously and focus on seamless blending multiple photos into one cohesive image.

Main Topics and Techniques:

  • Plate Extension/transformation
  • Using the Clone Tool
  • Perspective cloning
  • Simple water reflections
  • Light and Atmosphere integration
Module 2 Outcome: By the end of Module 2 you will have have a basic understanding of the fundamentals of matte painting and your first project complete, demonstrating the techniques you have learn up till now! These are the basic skills a junior Matte Painter would be required to be proficient in.

Module 3
Full 2D Environments and CG Integration

Week 5

Project 2: CG Integration into plate photography

Week 5 introduces a new challenge, utilizing the 2D techniques you have learn up till now, you will discover how to integrate CG renders into an environment. We will also cover what are AOVs [Arbitrary Output Variable], such as Z-Depth, object and material IDs, and how to use them in matte painting pipeline to adjust atmosphere perspective and blend different objects better.

Main Topics and Techniques:

  • Adjusting render levels to plate  photography
  • Breaking repetitive patterns
  • Weathering, ageing, replacing parts of the render to brake CG feeling.
By the end of the Week 5 you will have up to 1-3 images with successfully integrated CG renders. You will understand the benefits of using Multi-Pass renders in your work and which passes are most important.

"This is a no brainer, it has been the most amazing courses that I have taken so far, it was worth every cent." ~ Brandon Hurtado G

Week 6

Project 3: Cleanup of Urban environments and Set Extension

Week 6 brings another project. This time it is an urban environment clean up and set extension. This is a highly technical task which matte painters must be quick and efficient to complete. Over the course of the week you will learn and practice how to clean up the plate image from moving objects and will gather the references for your next week assignment.

Main Topics and Techniques:

  • Advanced Plate Cleanup
  • Advanced Techniques to speed up plate cleanup tasks
  • Managing repeating patterns
  • Frequency Separation
By the end of the Week 6 you will understand the challenges of plate clean up and Set Extension. You will have another to 1-2 images demonstrating basic plate cleanup and these will be ready for the next phase; set extension.

Week 7

Project 3: Cleanup of Urban environments and Set Extension (cont.)

Week 7 you will continue with the tasks from the previous week but this time the assignment is to add additional buildings and street elements over your cleaned up version.

Main Topics and Techniques:

  • Integrating elements from the different sources
  • Matching light, perspective and time of the day.
  • Adding floors to buildings
  • Road and Set Extensions
  • Atmospheric/Aerial Perspective
By the end of the week you will have a complete understanding of cleanup and set-extension of urban environment and at least 1 more portfolio ready image.

"I would recommend it to anyone, because for me
it truly was game-changing." ~ Lasma Zeimule

Week 8

Project 4: Basic Tracking and Integration in Nuke

Now it’s time to move on to the next main tool of any matte painter and environment artist; Nuke! This week you will learn about different camera moves and how to approach and set up a shot with a 'nodal' camera.

Because Nuke is such a complex program, there is a dedicated series on the basics of Nuke to get you prepared for this. At any point if you get stuck, the class area in Discord is there to help out!

Main Topics and Techniques:

  • Basic compositing and integration in nuke
  • Matching black and white levels
  • Lens distortion / Overscan
  • What does "Nodal Camera" mean?
  • Using 2D tracks in Nuke
  • Adding motion to the static elements in Nuke
  • Nuke Color workflows
Module 3 Outcome: by the end of the 4 weeks of Module 3 you will have a an in-depth understanding on how to properly integrate CG renders in your matte painting, basic knowledge of the AOVs and how to use them in your work. You will understand how to do a complicated plate cleanup and extension. You will have an introduction to Nuke and lean how to do a basic set up of your plate extension with nodal camera move.

Module 4
Matte Painting and Compositing With Moving Footage

Week 9

Project 5: Dolly/Drone camera projection setup, plate and CG element overpaint.

Starting with Week 9, you will begin Project 5 which will be your final major project. It consists of 2 parts and will tackle the problems associated with moving plates and extensions!

You will learn how to track the camera, create projection geometry for matte painting, extract a frame to use in photoshop and then bring everything together in a Nuke projection.

Main Topics and Techniques:

  • Camera projections overview
  • 3d Camera tracking and geo creation
  • Nuke modeller overview
  • Skydomes
  • Crypto mattes.
  • Unprojecting skydome setups
By the end of week 9 you will have your project file setup in Nuke, a camera track and projection complete and a frame extracted to photoshop for the matte painting portion.

Week 10

Project 5: Multi Frame camera projection setup, CG elements overpaint, 2.5D projection

Week 10 we continue to work on Nuke workflows for matte painters. This time we will move towards multi frame projections, setup 3D geometry in a scene for complex projections and learn how to QC (Quality Check/Control) our images.

Main Topics and Techniques:

  • Studio structure and studio pipeline
  • Multi frame projections
  • 2d editing 360 HDRIs
  • 6-pack projections
  • Toolsets
  • QC (quality control) of your exported elements and projections.
By the end of week 10 you will have project file set up for a multi shot projection in Nuke. You will also learn how to import your projection elements and will be familiar with best practices of working with your Nuke script.

Week 11

Project 5: Finalizing  

Week 11 is the final week of this project. It’s time to finalize and review the completed shots from Week 9 and 10. During this week you will finish off any final DMP and 2d work you have and will move into one last assignment for the course!

We are keeping this final assignment under wraps so that it's a bit of a surprise for everyone. By the start of week 11 you will be well equipped for this assignment, which will span both week 11 and 12.

At this point, most of the technical knowledge required for a junior position is covered. Now it's the time to ask all your industry related questions and watch the discussion interview videos with HoD (Head of Department) at DNEG Vancouver, Nick Marshal.

Main Topics:

  • Portfolio and Showreel preparation.
  • Dneg Vancouver HOD Nick Marshall will shed the light on subject's like:
    - What makes good Junior Showreel or Portfolio
    - What NOT to put in your portfolio
    - How to get an attention of the studio
    - Artist resilience and growth in the industry and much more!
By the end of week 11 you will have fully finished Movie Plate Extension project, learn how to add additional touches to make your shot look even better with some compositing tips and also render out sequence of frames or mp4 file for your demo reel.

"1 on 1 feedback sessions, private discord group with constant support from the mentors are all so valuable." ~ Carlo Alleva

Week 12

During this final week you will be finishing the secret final assignment and any unfinished assignments and feedback from previous weeks.  You will also learn some extended workflows, techniques and tips which would normally only be the knowledge of a mid-level or senior matte painter. We are including this advanced topic to just give you a little more general knowledge of industry workflows and techniques. It's complex work, but you're not expected to understand it as a Junior artist!

Example of the advanced projection work we will look at in week 12

The live streams will focus on answering all the questions you might have over this course, reviewing your portfolio's, demo-reel suggestions, and resume feedback.

There are also more discussion videos this week with Nick Marshall, the discussion topics include:

  • What to expect in your first job
  • Misconceptions about the industry
  • Artistic Development questions

Excited Yet?
If you are ready to sign up for our next class, or if you have any further questions please get in touch with the team!

Awards

We believe that in order for a certificate or award to have value, it must be some level of challenge in order to achieve. For this reason, we have decided two provide two awards; The Silver Award is given to those who achieve a "CBB" or "Final" status on at least 50% of the course assignments, and the Gold Award is given to those who achieve at least 80% completion.

What does CBB and Final mean?

In the VFX industry, when a shot is completed it is given either a "Final" status, meaning it's fully completed, or "CBB" Status, which stands for Could Be Better. CBB status usually means the shot is complete, but if you have a spare moment you should return and address the final notes. Usually these final notes are very minor.

Rest weeks

As the course runs 12 weeks and has a lot of content, we have found it's best that we include 2 break weeks during the course. These will be after week 4 and week 8 and will give all students a chance to catch up on assignments, revise some of the videos, and take a small rest.


Still on the fence?

Here's what our students have to say!

"This course is the only one in which every second of every part is entirely dedicated to your improvement. It also creates a sense of community that feels reassuring and it explains the basics so well you will no longer feel lost. I loved the experience."

~ Nicolas Castar

"It's July, but I can already call this my best investment of 2021! It's just such a rich in-depth course focused on the DMP junior's duties, tasks, and everyday problems that you will get in the industry. It's not about creating fancy cinematic images, it's about the actual tasks that you will get as a junior artist, and how to deliver a high quality output on them."

~ Mark Roland

"I feel like the value I received was a hundred times more than the cost of the course. Invest in yourself! It's a lot of work, but I can bet you will be saying the same thing when it's over."

~ Mike Konstan

"This is a no brainer, it has been the most amazing courses that I have taken so far, it was worth every cent. The amount of information you'll get is huge, if you do the assignments you'll definitely level up, the teachers are amazing and care that you learn and finally the community is amazing!!! Just do it!"

~ Brandon Hurtado G

"If you want to become a matte painter, this is literally the best course on the market. 1 on 1 feedback sessions, private discord group with constant support, mentors teach you a lot of things that you do as a matte painter (confirming by personal experience) and you even get dozens of tips on how to deal with a job interview, negotiate your salary, how to organize your portfolio and showreel, and a lot of other valuable things!"

~ Carlo Alleva

"If you are passionate about DMP, and are ready to work hard to become a digital matte painter this course will take you there and it comes in a package with great, supportive, and experienced people that make this experience fun and enjoyable. I would recommend it to anyone, because for me it truly was game-changing."

~ Lasma Zeimule

"If you want to become a matte painter, this is the course for you! Here you can find professionals teaching you and following you step by step in all the journey. You can have an honest conversation with them and with an entire community of professionals that are passionate as you are! So don't miss it!"

~ Diogo Sampaio


Okay I'm ready, what's it cost!

The total cost of the course is just USD$899 and includes a 12 month Artist-Plus subscription to MattePaint worth $348!

Once payment is made, we are happy to activate your MattePaint subscription so you can start to enjoy all the content publicly available on our Academy. This is the perfect way to prepare yourself for your coming course.

Ready to sign up? Get in touch with the team!

Final Notes

The MattePaint Course is designed to prepare artists for a role as Junior Matte Painter in a VFX studio. As such, we have worked closely with studios around the world to develop a curriculum which addresses the main shortfalls in junior artist skills. If looking to get into the VFX industry as a matte painter, or even as a concept artist, this course is for you!

If you are not aiming to enter the VFX industry but rather wanting to develop your skills as an artist and learn the tricks and critical eye of VFX matte painters for your own work, you will find this course eye opening and a great source of new knowledge.

By the completion of the course, you should be very well prepared for any junior matte painting role!

Course Outcome: at least 6-8 Final images:
1. Basic Set Extension and Cleanup Examples
2. Full 2D Landscape Env. + CG Integration,
3. Advanced Set Extension and Cleanup
4. 2.5D Projection Setup (nodal camera and 2D tracks)
5. Plate footage extension and animation shot (3D track and multi projection setup)


Start Your Journey!
If you are interested in signing up or have any further questions get in touch with the team!

We are excited to have you join us in our next term!

The MattePaint Team