Alright peeps, this post is matte paintings only! Usually, my matte paintings consist of just sky replacements, but this time I had to create a bunch of environments to go with it.
Fortunately, I had a little help from the modeling department - special thanks to Christie Arnold for modeling buildings and giving me some renders to work with.
Pepe and Lucas starts on open sky and the camera tracks downward until we land on the front of the pub. We only built the first couple of rows of buildings and I had to paint in the rest.
This was my rough version before getting started.
My final version. I ended up having to go in and add on to many of the buildings to vary up the architecture a bit. I also warped the rows a little so everything has a little undulation to them. This was also an opportunity to show that the action doesn't take place in the most prosperous area. I put in the wealthier area on the left. I also added foliage from time to time to help break up the monotony of buildings.
I included this painting because the lighting situation changed on me and it ended up going in a totally different direction. You can see from the unfinished sky matte that we didn't get too far. This will be more apparent in the color keys I created and I'll go into more detail then, but originally, we planned to set out story during magic hour after a pouring rain, which would really pop the outdoor lights and reflected colors. You can see (above) how the darker and cooler values would have made the square a clear focus with all the light coming from it. However, it became very difficult to maintain focus once we were on ground level and things just looked so noisy and there were render problems with all the reflections, etc., etc. In the end we opted for magic hour on a clear day with some gentle clouds floating in the sky. Essentially, everything brightened up. This actually benefited us in the end as the world became less moody, in contrast to Pepe who's personal world had become darker. Just a note, but I did this painting earlier than the opening shot, so we'd already established the new lighting scenario by that time. It would have been killer to redo two complex matte paintings.
One of the things I focused on in these wide shots was adding onto the scenery so that it looked like a vast metropolitan city. This meant adding rows and rows of buildings and varying up the architecture, which I came to enjoy a lot. A lot of little ladders here and there, extra chimneys, balconies, and trees. Something about adding trees to a city makes it feel much more cosy, no matter how much endless concrete surrounds it. I guess it just adds that little extra bit of life.
In my future posts, I'll be sharing the lighting and color directions we took as well as developing the movie poster. Stay tuned.