Czepeku's matte painting improvement thread. CC wanted!

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Just been recommended this community, so i'm new here. Looking for feedback on my matte painting, any critique on techniques especially welcome.

I want to incorporate more non-photo overpainting into my work (similar to the work of Eytan Zana) without it being too jarring.



 










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  • Czepeku


    Here's a new image from today. Showing some red wastelands. Any CC welcome.
  • BoonS
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    BoonS triangle
    I know this doesn't have to do with techniques on a surface level, but can I ask what the end goal of your concepts are? I can see you exploring pretty fresh and unique imagery with the fungal motifs and even a little bit of Khmer-like architecture near the end, but personally I'm having a bit of trouble identifying the thesis for what each individual piece is trying to do, and generally your collection as a whole. I feel like, if you really hammer down what you're trying to do with narrative, you'd have a clearer path of what you can and would like to do in terms of non-photographic resources and creative intent.

    For example, in your 'edge_of_the_fungi_jungle' piece, I see an almost surrealist mountain of fungi covered by a dreamlike-ethereal fog. It evokes an alien planet/environment, but that's it, that's where the narrative ends and also where your creative exploration/techniques end, and you can do more if you want to. You can ask yourself:

    -Are the mushrooms supposed to be there? Are they invading the forest, to the extent that it has knocked down trees around it? Are they so alien to the extent that they aren't just enlarged forest mushrooms, but white and glowing alabaster organisms rising from a crash site? If they are native to the forest, why is the forest to similar to a normal forest, was it planted there by a hovering spaceship?

    -How does the native population interact with it? Does i do anything in retaliation? If there are people, would they build homes and structures in and around it? Or has it just been discovered by a "stick salesman' standing in the foreground? Maybe he's wearing a hazmat suit because it's dangerous.

    I just feel like there's more you can do visually, if you push yourself to do more narratively. Hopefully that's insightful in some way.
  • Czepeku
    @BoonS Thanks for the in depth feedback, I really appreciate it.

    The goal behind most of these works is getting the idea of a world developed in my head down visually. The thing is, at the same time I'm trying to work on matte painting/photobashing techniques, composition, colour, painting etc. so I feel like i'm not able to do justice to the narrative I have.

    I often get caught up in the environment and only factor in characters/action later (if at all) leading to the 'stick salesman' trope. I'd like to develop having characters interacting with the environment but i'm not sure how to integrate that. I will definitely try to keep in mind the narrative more from now on.

    An issue I feel like i'm struggling with is leading the viewer through my environments, they're rather flat? Perhaps more narrative will fix that.
  • BoonS
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    BoonS triangle
    I can't imagine the endeavor required to pursue environmental techniques and processes, because I'm not an environmental artist myself haha. But I do hope you're able to incorporate narrative in the planning phases later on, or at the very least, being ready to experiment with characters and story elements while improv'ing.

    (Edit) I think you're on to something about the lack of a leading/flow in your pieces. I assume you're already creating a bit of flow with walking paths and rule-of-thirds framing, but I suppose you could do more with further detail reduction in redundant areas and maybe other trails in lights, birds, and earth forms.

    If there's a "flatness" I can identify, it's that your camera perspective generally follow the same angle and distance from the ground, along with a fairly straightforward way of presenting assets in the scenes. Looking at the artstation picks for environments alone yields a number of variations that you can analyze, i.e.

    -bird's eye shots
    -tilted angles (with post-processing/motion blur)
    -angled upward shots

    It'd also have the benefit of diversifying your portfolio to show said different perspective solutions.
  • Czepeku
    @BoonS ; Detail reduction is something I'm struggling with. I find it difficult to know the balance. But i am adding in vignettes and other techniques to lead the viewers eye.

    Thanks for the suggestions of different shots, you're right that I often take the same view. The bird's eye shot you linked was fantastic, I think I'll give that a go soon.

    Here's today's attempt. Semi-happy with the outcome. Trying to use the boat, lake, harbour to lead the eye but I think the main structure doesn't appear as natural as I'd like. Any ideas?


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