History of Visual Effects - Matte Paintings

One of the earliest techniques developed in visual effects was the idea of the matte painting. The above matte painting is from The Wizard of Oz and shows the view of the Emerald City. The idea for the matte painting originated by having an artist paint whatever fantastical scene they needed on a sheet of glass in front of a locked down camera, leaving the parts where live-action needs to be seen transparent. Because of the difficulties of having artists painting on location in changing weather and time conditions, this process was later replaced with having the live footage projected against a film screen, allowing the matte painter to work in the comfort of a studio to do their work.

Variations of this have existed in one form or another over the course of cinema history. However, today matte paintings are typically done digitally because of the ease of creation and also the ease of editing if the director doesn't like something. Here is an example of a modern matte painting by a student from the Vancouver Film School:

No comments: