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Lesson 1

1. Concepts

  • instructor

- Maxx Burman

  • apprentice

- Maxim Zhestkov

  • apprentice

- Adam Swaab

It all starts with a sketch. Follow along as Maxx demonstrates the earliest steps of his matte painting process, by studying the history of the craft, understanding the principles of composition, and creating detailed thumbnail sketches. You'll then learn to take your sketches and build upon them with basic photobashing techniques to give quick life to your first matte painting.


1. Find 4 examples of matte paintings that inspire you.
2. Paint 4 composition sketches.
3: Choose 1 sketch, and create a concept painting from it.
Extra Credit
1. Paint an additional 2 composition sketches where you break the rules and examine what effect it has.
2. Choose 2-3 sketches, and create concept paintings from them.

Student Gallery

I decided to do a concept for each composition method to explore each idea further. For the symmetry, I edited my initial sketch quite a bit to work more with empty spaces.

Please, any critiques or opinions on which design to move forward with are most appreciated!

My idea is someone climbing over and looking down and beyond just to see more gassed wasteland with a glimpse of hope in sight. I found it very enjoyable although the rocks in the foreground are looking flat, this is something I will flesh out in the next lesson.

Awesome teachers with great teaching skills. It's not just a class, it's a family.

- Val Germain

4 Compositional Sketch and a Black and white concept. The inspired matte painting from Kingdom of Heaven, Lord of the Ring, King Kong in the 70s and Clash of Titan.

Found it difficult cutting out and masking in a way that doesn't look shockingly obvious also I think the resolution of the photos I chose was too low need to find better photo sources. Enjoyed the lessons though and was kind of please with the end result, more practice !

Lessons in this Course

Software Used: 
Adobe Photoshop

Besides Google images, are there other good resources for photo references?

i bealive max refered to adobe stock when he said he prefers stock images. adobe gives 10 images for 29.99 usd xD

The Photoshop brush that Max Burman uses during the concept element stage of the course for "Introduction to Matte Painting", is this available to download/purchase.

Many Thanks