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Making of "Distant Shores" by Andreas Rocha

Following, I present you the process of creation of the matte painting"Distant Shores", inspired by the magnificent works of matte artistsDylan Cole, Steven Messing and Yannick Dusseault (among others). Thispainting is also fruit of the many things I learned from the book"D'Artiste: Matte Painting" (Ballistic Publishing) which compiles someof the richest collection of techniques and works related to mattepainting. I strongly advise anyone interested in matte painting toaquire this book. You will not be disappointed!

My aim in thispainting was to try to capture the huge scale of seashore environments.A trip to the "Serra da Arrábida", here in Portugal, really impressedme and luckily I had my trusty digital camera with me, which allowed meto capture some of the things I had seen that day. There is such asense of freedom when you are standing at the tip of cliffs, hundredsof meters above sea-level, contemplating those magnificent views allthe way to the horizon...it is really mindblowing!

Click here to view big image
Click here to view big image

Step 1
My first step was toestablish the overall mood and color scheme through a quick 1 hoursketch referencing some photos of shore environments, some of which, Iwould eventually use for the finished matte painting.

Step 2
After that I startsearching for photos, taken by me, from image collections of from theInternet, and I quickly copy/paste selections with the lasso tool intomy painting. I make these selections very rough for two reasons: 1.If Iwould have made too careful selections I would haveinterrupted theinitial matte painting process where I still don't really know whichdirection I will be taking. Also, these selections would probably getoverpainted anyway later on. 2. By making the edge quite apparent I'mforced to paint in the surrounding details in order to blend thecollaged element with the background to make everything look coherent.

However, this blending stage is always preceded with image adjustments,in order to match the brightness, contrast and color with the existingpainting underneath. For this I make heavy use of the followingfilters: Brightness/Contrast, Hue/Saturation, Color Balance and PhotoFilter. Sometimes I use these filters in their adjustment layer variantso I can "paint" where I want these filters to act.
This stage, although shortly explained, is the most important and timeconsuming of the whole process. As the painting nears realism, you canbetter detect things that are wrong and out of place, which forces youto make a lot of refining to bring everything together.

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