Create an illustration in the style of Matte Painting

In this tutorial we will create a painting in the style of Mat Pain. Below, I will explain what this means, but for now look at the sources that we will use in our work:

Materials for the lesson:

Let’s first talk a bit about what Mat is. So called large-scale drawn images that are used in modern cinema. For example, Matt Paint was used to create films such as Indiana Jones and Avatar.
If you are interested in just looking at works in the style of Mat – Paint, go to the gallery section of MattePainting.Org, you will find there a lot of interesting things for yourself.
Of course, we cannot create something as grand as Cameroon. But try to create your own Mat Paint image all worth it. Those of you who remember the brilliant film Bernardo Bertolucci The Little Buddha can imagine that they create an image just for him. Moreover, the author of this lesson is a Hindu himself by nationality.

Create a pencil sketch.
Before you open the program Photoshop and start drawing, I advise you to make the most simple pencil sketch that you would like to see as a result of your work.

We are looking for suitable images..
Now you need to pick up photos. You can use both my and your images. We will need them more as reference points of how our fantastic images look in the real world.
Here are the images that I offer:
Rocky Mountains National Park landscape: (Mountain Landscape National Park)

Paisaje de montanas / Mountains landscape


Create a graphic grid.
First open a new document with dimensions of 1680 by 1050 pixels
set the ruler guides (rulerandguides)
Mark the starting point, take LineTool (line) and use it to draw a few lines, as shown by me. We need this in order to determine what will be located on our image and where. In the future, you can periodically make this layer invisible and turn on the peephole again when you need to navigate the terrain.
As a result of the work, you should have something like a large chess grid, on which we will place the objects of our picture:

Add waterfalls.
We start by adding a waterfall image to the main document. Open and import the American Falls image into the main document. Name the layer “Niagara 1” Take the Move Tool and position it like this:

In the same way, import the second image of the Niagara Falls, New York 4 waterfall and place it under the “Niagara 1” layer. Name the layer “Niagara 2”.

Add the first mosque.
Now import into the document an image with a mosque. Personally, I used this photo here: Grand Mosque. Name the layer “Mosque 1”. Remember to separate each object you work with from the background. Use any convenient method for this. I prefer to use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (polygonal lasso) for this purpose.

Add the second and third mosques.
Now move one more image of the mosque-Blue mosque istanbul (Blue Mosque of Istanbul) into the document. Name it “Mosque 2” and place it above the “Mosque 1” layer. However, you can experiment and place our images to your liking:

Add another mosque – ortakoy mosque. As a matter of fact, we do everything the same, but we call the layer “Mosque 3”.

Add the fog.
Now we add some fog. Open a new layer at the top and call it “Fog 1”. Take a soft brush (BrushTool) and choose the white color ((#ffffff). You can play with the transparency of the brush, and also try different brushes to achieve the effect you need. After you finish working on this layer, I advise you to reduce its transparency anyway, the fog should be only slightly noticeable.
Adjust the color palette of the layer:
Now, after we added the fog, merge all the layers with the mosques into one, selecting them and clicking (Ctrl/Cmd + E.).
We have one layer “Mosque”. Now we need to make his correction. Go in Image > Adjustments > Exposure (image – correction – exposure) and set the following parameters:
Exposure -0.00
Offset – 0.1204
Gamma – 1.13

Add locks on the opposite side.
Now we will add another lock on the opposite side. Practically, we will do the same thing as a few minutes ago.
You can choose any images you like from the list I suggested at the beginning of the lesson and place them as follows: Of course, the layers are called “” Castle 1 ”and“ Castle 2 ”

To make the overall look more uniform, I advise you to apply correction layers as well. Curves and Exposure. See what settings I suggest:

Add images with mountains.
Now import the image you like with the slope. I do not want to impose any specific images on you, because everyone should have their own personal picture with a fantastic landscape. I used a photo of New Mexico Landscapes
Erase the sky on the image before placing it in the main document. Name the new layer “Hill 1”

Place the “Hill 1” layer under the “Castle 2” layer. See how I did it:

Now place another hill image in the document — New Mexico Landscapes (2) and name the layer “Hill 2”. Activate MoveTool (move) and put layer after layer “Hill 1”.
Look carefully, all the images that are in the background look a little paler and more blurred than the images in the foreground.
To achieve this effect, we will go to Image > Adjustments > Curves (image – correction – curves) and set the following settings:

Now, in order to slightly dissolve the mountain in the background, we will use another corrective layer. Head over to Image > Adjustments > Exposure (image – correction exposure) and put the following settings:
Offset – +0.0469
Gamma 1.0

Look, Hill 2 looks a bit cropped, so we’ll add another image to it.
Open the image of the New Mexico Landscapes (3) and rotate it horizontally. To do this, go to Transform > FlipHorizontally (transform – rotate horizontally) or just press Ctrl / Cmd + T:

We also need to make the color correction of this layer. We first go to Image > Adjustments > Curves (image – correction – curves) and correct the colors.
Then go to Image > Adjustments > Exposure(image – correction – exposure) and change the setting Offset (offset) at +0.1204.

Now we need to import 2 more mountain images into our document: Up in the mountains 2 and Tasman Glacier. They will give our work a colder shade. Layers are called “Mountains 1” and “Mountains 2”

And we go back to Image > Adjustments > Exposure(image – correction – exposure) and change the setting Offset (offset) on +0.1857.

Add the sky.
Add our picture a little realistic. For this, of course, it is necessary to make the sky on it. I advise you to paint the sky gray, as if a thunderstorm is about to begin, or the storm has just ended. A little later we will add a rainbow, and it will be very beautiful.
So, open a new layer below all the others. Call it “Sky”. Activate PaintBucketTool (fill) and fill with gray (#d9deightdeight).

Now, using the cloud brush, which you can find here (this one), paint the clouds using white color (#ffffff).

Add another fog.
There are a lot of waterfalls in our image, I thought it would be nice if we wrapped them in fog.
To do this, open a new “Mist” layer at the very top of the layers palette and add a little mist with a soft brush, using the same white color as for the clouds.

To the way
Now let’s take the road that leads to our castles and mosques. Open the image of Arches 2 and using LassoTool (Lasso), cut from it the same fragment as mine. Name the layer “Road” and place it as follows:

Adjust the color palette of the road:
Make a correction layer Curves(Ctrl / Cmd + M). (Curves) and set the following settings.

Now create a correction layer. Exposure (exposure) with the following settings:
You see how much the color palette of our work has improved.

Add an image of a monk.
Now we need to cut out the image of a monk – Laos meditation
To do this, use PenTool (pen). Create an outline and then select the command MakeSelection (make a selection). To do this, right-click on the contour itself.

Now import the monk image into the main document. The layer will be called “Monk”. If necessary, resize and adjust colors using correction layers. CurvesandtheExposure (curves and exposure)

Open a new layer “Shadow” under the monk layer. We will make a shadow. Activate soft brush (BrushTool), choose black and try to make the effect of the shadow that the person casts. Finally, reduce the layer opacity to 40%:

Add an apple tree.
Now we have to add an apple tree. Separating objects such as trees from the background is quite difficult, but I will show you a fairly convenient way.

First, open the Apple tree 2 image. We have a new layer again –Apple tree.Then go to Channels(channels). Make all channels invisible, except for blue (Bluechannel.)
Then go to Image > Calculations (image – calculation)

In the options menu, select the blue channel (Bluechannel) and for source 1 (Source one), and for source 2 (Source 2). Change the blending mode to Multiply (multiplication).

Now go to Select > LoadSelection(select – load selection) and select alpha channel 1 from the list (Alpha one).
Make all channels visible. Copy (Ctrl/Cmd + C) and paste (Ctrl/Cmd + V) apple in the main document.

If you did everything right, then you got a good and high-quality selection and, moreover, you saved a lot of time.

Adjust the color of the tree.
Now it remains to slightly adjust the color of the layer with the apple tree. we
again use for this correction layer Curves(curves).

We wrap the apple tree and the monk in the fog.
In the same way, as before, we add fog to the image of a tree and, in part, to the image of a monk:

Add a seagull.
Now it’s time to put a bird on the composition. I chose this image with a seagull: Seagull. Place the seagull in the main document, name the layer “Seagull” and resize as needed and, using the Move Tool, place the seagull in the center of the composition.
Go to Image > Adjustments >Curves (image – correction – levels) and set the following settings:

Now go to Image > Adjustments > Exposure(image – correction exposure) and do it like this:

Activate LassoTool (lasso), select the wings and the tip of the gull’s tail and set the radius of the feather to 40 pixels.
Go to Filter > Blur > RadialBlur (filter – blur – radial blur) and set the parameter Amount(quantity) by 12.

Add a flock of birds.
Now we will add a flock of birds to the background. Download this image of Homing pigeons and name the layer “Flock of Birds”.

We need to soften the contents of this layer a little. Select a layer with birds, go to Filter > Blur > GaussianBlur (filter – blur – blur according to Gauss) and set the blur radius to 1.5 pixels.

After that, go to Image > Adjustments > Exposure (image-correction-exposure) and make these settings:

Place the “Seagull” and “Flock of Birds” layers under all the “fog” layers.

Add a rainbow.
It remains to add a rainbow. Activate soft round brush , with a diameter of 18 pixels. Set the color to orange (# ff940a) as the base color.
Take PenTool (pen) in Paths mode (contours) and draw the outline of the arch.

Now right-click and select the command StrokePath(circle the contour).

Do not forget to choose in the options Brush (Brush)

In the same way, add a few more colors, such as red, yellow and green.

Go to Filter > Blur > GaussianBlur (filter – blur – blur according to Gauss) and set the blur radius to 26.1 pixels. So you soften the image and blend different shades of the rainbow into one.
Place the rainbow layer over the fog, monk and tree layers.
You can also reduce the transparency of the layer to 75%

Thanks so much for taking the time to do this lesson. I tried to share with you the various techniques and techniques that I use in my work. For me, any photo I see is a source of inspiration, which gives me the opportunity to create my own pictures in Photoshop.
You have seen how important it is for such work, first of all, to create a grid on which you will place your objects, and just as important to be able to use such correction layers as Curves and Exposure.
In addition, we have learned how to cut complex objects using channels and the Costing command .. And I myself really like the method of drawing a rainbow, which we have learned today.
If you still have questions about this lesson, write, do not hesitate. I will be happy to answer them and will definitely advise something new and useful. Good luck !.

Author: Santosh Koneru

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