Case Study: Making a Matte Painting—with Frank Rogers,, Interface Media Group

Years ago it took a really big sheet of glass and really good painting talent to do a believable matte painting. I saw the death of that skill and wasn't even aware of it. On the "New York City" set (in North Carolina) of Young Indy I noticed a guy on an apple box with a laptop. Looking over his shoulder I saw he was sketching some roof extensions and skyline over a frame grab. Asking if this was a sketch that would be painted at ILM later, I was told this was the painting.

Now, with Photoshop, pieces of the set can be repeated, elements flipped or re-colored. Additionally, perspectives can be changed, and models or actual location photos can be inserted and blended. All without a hint of oil paint.

You'll find Exercise 04 on the DVD-ROM.

PRO file Jayse Hansen

Jayse Hansen started his career with a Bell and Howell Super-8 camera when he was nine years old. This hobby was short lived, because $18 for three minutes of silent film is hard to come by on an allowance.

"I started in photography, migrated to print and Web design, and now combine all of that background into my motion design and visual effects," said Jayse. "I knew from age 10, when I fell in love with Return of the Jedi, that I wanted to work in film and video. So in a way, I'm fulfilling my lifelong dream."

Jayse makes a living in Las Vegas designing show intros, bumpers, special effects, Web pages, and print work. Jayse's work is known internationally, and he works with clients in Europe, South Africa, and Canada. He is a master at combining After Effects and Combustion with Flash, Illustrator, Photoshop, and anything else that works. Visitors to Creative Cow's forums and tutorial pages appreciate his motion graphics work. He is also the creator of VTC's Adobe After Effects Essentials and Adobe Photoshop Advanced Artistry video training, available at www. xeler8r.com.

"In motion, I like to do stuff that's like my digital still art. I create emotional imagery. I usually use tons of layers, duplicates, blending/transfer modes, and strong typography to create a final piece that I hope provokes the audience to feel something powerful."

At its core, motion graphics are a series of still images. To support his motion habit, Jayse relies on a still program, Photoshop.

"Photoshop is my number-one program. For video work, I find it much more efficient to work with layer masks and layer styles than to try to recreate that (and render each frame) in After Effects. Even if I need to recreate the text in AE, I'll often design in Photoshop because of its superior capabilities and layout finesse."

After a short conversation with Jayse, it is clear that he is all about digital. His work is on the cutting edge, and he helps

develop tutorials for leading plug-ins. Despite this love for digital, he warns against the fast-and-cheap aspect often associated with modern video production.

"Most video editing software has a very distinct look to its graphics. I call it the 'DV' look. It's downright cheap looking. If you surf through local TV ads, you'll see evidence of this all too often. Buzzing-Awkward-Text that just looks thrown on last minute. For backgrounds and titles, Photoshop is invaluable," said Jayse. "If someone's still using marble or gradient backgrounds in pink or blue with big beveled boxes just because that's what comes built into their video editing program, they need to invest in Photoshop and create something a bit more modern and different. Respect yourself and your work enough to take it up a notch."

Many editors and motion graphic artists find it difficult to master all of Photoshop. This is not because they are incapable; time is just in such short supply.

"In my opinion, there is absolutely no substitute for learning Photoshop. Even advocates of competing art and photo programs are very well versed in Photoshop. If you want to have that extra edge, gain that extra respect, and free your creative genius, learning Photoshop is an absolute must."

To get you started, Jayse stresses that the key to his successful designs is the combination of layer masks, adjustment layers,and transfer modes.

"For most of my work," said Jayse, "I find myself using Gaussian Blur, Motion Blur, or Radial Blur (zoom) on layers—or on duplicated layers with their transfer modes set to Lighten, Soft Light, or Overlay. Sometimes I'll also use Filter>Texture>Grain to blend things or add depth. That's about it for filters."

The key is not how many filters you have, but how fast you can move through Photoshop. Learning the keyboard shortcuts will allow you more time to be creative.

"If you focus on learning shortcuts, you can really master a program—and people

Spacebar

who watch you work will know you know the program. These are my all-time superfaves:

while dragging a marquee box to zoom in on a very specific area of my image. Clients' mouths drop open whenever I do that. Add Q (A) and click to zoom out. Then I keep the held down and click and drag to move my image to just where I want it.

• Q and O while using a brush to enlarge and decrease its size.

• 0 + S + 3 or Q L i M i fl or Q) to increase or decrease the font size of seleced text. Love that. Add Q

Free Transform—access to all your transformation needs!

Jayse admits that creating graphics in front of a client can be intimidating. "Know that, whatever a client asks of you, anything can be done in Photoshop. I've proved it many times, when even I questioned it at first."

Jayse also said that Photoshop can set you apart from others in the digital video world. "Wherever your work—make it your goal to be indispensable, and you'll be set—take the extra step of learning or even mastering Photoshop."

Jayse has several great tutorials and tips, as well as an impressive portfolio, which you can browse for inspiration. Be sure to drop in for a visit at http://www.jayse.us.

Photoshop CS Mastery

Photoshop CS Mastery

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