Learn How to Produce an Elaborate Matte Painting

In this matte painting tutorial we will be creating a fantasy landscape matte painting with a cloudy environment.
This tutorial covers the key topics of cinematic Matte Painting.
-Concept sketching.
-Prepare and organize resources.
-Water replacement.
-Digital Painting for color correction.
-Very accurate and detailed cutting of palm leaves.
Creating a Fantasy Landscape

As always, this is the final image that we’ll be creating:

Resources Used In This Tutorial




Step 1

Create a new canvas in Photoshop with the dimensions, Width=2560px and Height=1440px. Then draw a rough sketch of the concept in a new layer.

Step 2

In this step we are going to create the hill on which the tower is located.
1) Import the image of the rocky hill on to the canvas and place it as shown. Then by using the Lasso Tool (L) cut the hill into the shape as designed in the concept.

2) To eliminate the bright light we are going to place another hill texture on the previously created hill. Import the image of the hill texture and place it on the hill layer as shown. Then create a Layer mask to the texture layer and fill it with black, now by using soft brush with white color selected reveal the parts of the texture as shown by painting on the Layer Mask.

Step 3

In this step we are going to create mountains in the background.
1) Import the image of a hill on to the canvas and place it on the left side of the scene as shown behind the tower hill. Name the layer as ‘hill 1′.

2) Now import another hill image and place it on the right side of the scene. Name this layer as ‘hill 2′.

3) To blend the hill 2 layer with the other hills create an Exposure Adjustment layer to the layer and set the Gamma Correction to 0.73.

4) Now create a Hue/Saturation layer to the ‘hill 2′ layer and set the Saturation level to -63.

5) Import another hills layer and place it behind the hill 2 layer and cut the hill in the shape as sketched in the concept using a Lasso Tool (L).

Step 4

In this step we are going to add the sky and sandy shore to the scene.
1) Import the image of the sandy beach on to the canvas and place it as shown beneath hill layers.

2) Now import the image of the dark cloudy sky and place it as shown.

3) Create an Exposure Adjustment layer to the beach layer and set the Exposure to -0.51 and Gamma Correction to 0.87.

4) De-Saturate the beach layer to -32 using Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer.

Step 5

In this step we are going to color correct the Tower hill layer.
1) Group all the tower hill layers into a single folder and create an Exposure Adjustment layer to the folder. Then set the Offset value to +0.0174 and Gamma Correction level to 1.08.

2) Now create Selective Color Adjustment layer to the tower hill folder and select White from the Colors drop-down list and set Cyan level to +83, Black=+18 and set Magenta and Yellow to +100.

3) By using the Hue/Saturation set the Saturation level to -76 and Lightness to -23.

4) Create a new layer above the tower hill layer and fill the color #2b27720 in the shape of the tower hill. Then set the Blending Mode of the layer to Hard Light and reduce the Opacity to 64%.