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What actually is matte painting?

Updated on December 10, 2010

Matte painting

Matte painting is a painting which is usually used by filmmakers to create a theme of an imaginary scene. It is done because it is not possible of economical to prepare separate sets of each scene to work out the environment. They have been around for over a long period of time right from mission of California (1907). A lot of fiction movies such as Wizard of oz, Star wars and most recently Avatar involved lots of matte painting to develop the key idea of the scene and picturize for a couple of scenes

Software used for Matte painting


It is a high quality software used for modeling and rendering purposes. It is highly used by video game developers for its high flexibility and easy user interface capabilities.

Maya 3D

It is very close to 3dsmax but the package is for relatively advance users its uses wide variants of functions such as

Fluids rendering which allows the rendering of water and other liquids,

Classic cloth rendering which allows the rendering of various cloth types automatically,

Maya Fur is a tool used to render different animal fur types

Maya Hair tool renders different hair types of hair of people of different ethnicity

Maya Live used for motion tracking of models of various characteristics

Maya nParticle renders clouds smokes, dust and other p[articles which are distinct to our eyes

Camera Sequencer allows camera shots at different angles to facilitate the realistic environment

The above video is an example of how they prepared the matte painting for the block buster animation film The Avatar

Matte painting Photoshop

 Apart from these software matte paintings can also be created using Photoshop. Photoshop has a wide varies of tools to create the animation effect without compromising its quality

The above video is an example of how a matte painting can be created using Photoshop

Besides using these software to create stunning cg to enhance the movies. People still use hard painting as a source of animation. It is considered as a passion more than an art because the time put in to each of the art pieces are very high and the ideas for creating such animations are brilliant.


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