Here we are back once again with our very own digital matte painting contest for the month of July-August'11
Below is the guideline for the contest given by one of our most honorable judges Alex Jenyon:
In previous challenges, we have been a bit concerned that people are trying to complete too much work in a short period of time, and that the quality is suffering as a result. We know that people's free time is very valuable, so we're going to try some changes to how the challenges are run.
Over the next few months we are going to try to bring up the general level of all the entries. Each challenge will have a more defined brief (which should make it faster to complete) and each month will focus on a different area of matte painting.
This month the focus is on creative use of reference photos. The internet is such a rich source of photos that it is very easy to get caught up in the search for the PERFECT photo element that will match your scene. But sometimes the on-set photography might be lacking, or the right photo might simply not exist - in which case you have to get creative with a more limited selection of images.
An piece of old duct-work might be used as a guard tower, or some jetty pilings might be useful as part of a staircase. A fuel tank doesn't just have to be used as a fuel tank - it can have other uses too, and some extracted clouds might make a great grunge map to go with it...
The brief for this challenge is to create a matte painting of the loading dock for a research facility of some kind. This is the place where personnel, supplies and equipment are unloaded, and is the only entrance and exit to the complex. All the source images can be found in a .zip file here:
Reference_1.jpg is from 'www.morguefile.com
', and was shot by mconnors. The plate and other reference images are shot by Alex Jenyon. You are allowed to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt any of them. Attribution is not required. You are prohibited from using these images in a stand alone manner (meaning the ONLY thing you can't do with them is claim the original images are yours and then sell them). More info on the (very nice) morgue file license is here:
YOU MAY ONLY USE ELEMENTS FROM THE PHOTOS WE HAVE PROVIDED. Nothing else! - no other textures, no 3d renders, no stock images cleverly disguised as photoshop brushes. (Simple photoshop brushes, and ones sampled from these photos are fine). Think outside the box as to how you can leverage the greatest use out of every bit of the photos - flipping, mirroring, cloning, etc. Adding elements painted entirely by hand is fine too, as long as you are happy you can manage the level of realism required.
The image named 'plate.tif' is your source plate, and the final matte painting must be based on this image. It shouldn't be extended or cropped, but the rest is up to your imagination.
In a finished matte painting, we would probably try to use a real plate for the water. You can use the water from any of the images we have provided, and add/remove the reflections as you see fit. Grading the water is okay, but don't clone or extend it, as this would be impossible to replicate with a moving plate.
The final image should be delivered as a jpeg at the same size as the plate, but you've got a 16-bit image to work with if you need any extra color information.
Some guidelines / ideas:
The exact kind of transport used is up to you - it could be a landing area for boats, float planes or helicopters. Nothing too futuristic, though - this is a contemporary facility.
If you would like to use a 3d block model to get your perspective correct, please do - but don't use any finished renders. This is a matte painting challenge focusing on using a limited number of source images in interesting ways, NOT a 3D modelling contest!
Grading the plate is fine, but this is a daytime shot, so don't go overboard, or do a 'day-for-night' transformation.
No people, animals, rain, snow, fire, smoke or moving elements (other than the water). Mist / haze is fine, as long as it's realistic. Waterfalls are banned!
How the entries will be judged:
The final entries will be judged first and foremost on the realism of the image. This is a matte painting challenge, not a concept art or illustration contest - the design and the creative approach is important, but not as important as believability. A simple design that looks convincing and is technically well done will score higher than an ambitious design with lots of technical issues.
From now on in these challenges, in order to win, you will need to have produced a production-quality image, or one very close to it. By this, we mean an image that is largely convincing, and that could be used as the background to a real shot in a TV show or commercial with some minor changes and a good compositor. We are not expecting high-end feature film quality, but we would like to see real matte paintings, not illustrations.
If you would like some further guidelines, have a look at some of the entries to earlier challenges. A lot of the past winners have since been hired by VFX studios, and are now professional matte painters (yes, people have been hired as a direct result of entering these challenges).
It's quite a high quality bar, so it is possible that none of the entries will make it. In this case, no prizes will be awarded - but we will make sure that every entry receives some kind of feedback. Don't be too disheartened if this is the case - we wouldn't be doing anyone any favors by lowering the quality bar simply to have a 'winner' every month.
How to enter the contest?
People who are having CGTantra user ID can participate simply by creating a new thread (i.e. go HERE
and click 'New Thread'). There is no other criteria to enter the challenge. You need to remember that you should post w.i.p and final image on or before final submission day. Final image has to be posted separately (apart from own thread) in "Final Entry Thread".
On 10th August, 2011, a Final Entry thread will be posted, where the contestants will be required to submit their final matte-paintings till 15th August,2011! It is MANDATORY for the contestants to post their final entries in this thread, in order to be eligible for the judgement by the panel of honorable Judges! After 15th August'11, no other entries will be accepted and final entry thread will get closed.
Final result will be declared on a separate thread on 22nd August',2011,Monday
** IT IS MANDATORY TO POST "WORK IN PROGRESS" BEFORE THE FINAL SUBMISSION!!