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Lesson 1 in 3D Matte Painting

Lesson Information

Steven will first take you through his past projects, showing the skills he acquired throughout his career in order to break into the VFX industry. He will then address some of the most common questions about matte painting as a discipline, and take you through VFX breakdowns of some of the most popular films to explain how their effects were achieved. You will then begin conceptualizing your project for this Course by using the Brief Builder tool, and assemble all the photographic references you will draw from in future Lessons.

Breakdown Exercise

Pick a few VFX breakdowns from big budget films and try to understand how the shots were constructed. Then, select a few shots from your favorite films without looking at the breakdowns, and decide how you would approach creating those shots.

Building the Brief

Come up with 3 briefs. For each, find one or more photos that have the sky, lighting and atmosphere elements you need. Then choose one of those briefs to use moving forward. 

Extra Credit

If you have a good camera, try shooting your own photo references.


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Hey! Is there someone using After Effects instead of Nuke? I´m struggling to map the Nuke workflow to AE, but still getting a bit confused. Particularly minute 1:37 in which Steven explains the Nuke setup. Thanks :)

edited: worth mentioning I´m using Blender.

Lesson Plan