After watching Dylan Cole's Matte painting DVDs a number of times, I decided to share my thoughts on it.
Digital Matte Paintings seems to be gaining alot of popularity nowadays with alot of the hollywood blockbusters using them extensively to enhance their VFX. I, like alot of people who are intrigued by the this wonderful art, want to learn how to create and master the art of matte painting. Without having any artistic background (no art classes whatsoever) and never doing any painting before (tradition or digital), the path ahead of me for achieving my goal is definitely gonna be a challenge.
So after reading the positive reviews of Dylan Cole's DVDs, I decided to try out for myself. Got the Intro to Landscape DVD first, and immediately after watching it, I ordered the others. Dylan has done a fantastic job of explaining his techniques and his sytle which is so simple to follow, even for a starter like myself. The pace of the video seemed a little fast at first, but after watching it a few times I started to get comfortable with it.
The first 2 DVDs (landscape and cityscape) are mainly conceptual, playing around with colors, etc. These DVDs are definitely recommended for anyone who is just starting out because it discusses the fundamentals of digital painting and helps build a strong foundation for creating detailed paintings. On the landscape DVD, he makes 3 paintings using photograph as base, and another 3 from blank canvas... And on the cityscape DVD, he does 1 from blank, and about 6-7 using photograph as base...showing various composition techniques.
The 3rd DVD (advanced) is simply the best. His sytle and technique and his commitment to detail really shine, and he teaches all this in a very simple fashion. However, a good working knowledge of photoshop is required but nothing too crazy. The HUGE amount of knowledge he shares in this DVD is invaluable and will most likely require repeated viewing a number of time before I can absorb it all, and even then I'll go back to it again and again. Here, Dylan creates 1 huge matte, from concept to final film quality finish. Starting from simple hand drawing, he creates a detailed painting using ALOT of photographic elements...demonstrating techniques in color correction, shadows, highlights, alternate lighting, etc
Added bonus in these 3 dvds, are Dylan's quick and efficient photoshop tips that he uses throughout the lectures. These tricks have benefitted me immensely, showing me easier ways to achieve the desired photoshop effects.
Overall, Im most impressed by the content of these DVDs and his teaching style is very simplistic and yet very detailed. I personally found the cityscape much easier to begin with, because of the mostly geometric shapes, as opposed to landscape, mainly because Im still struggling with painting random shapes of nature.
I definitely recommend these to anyone who wants to learn the art of matte painting, as long as they have some basic knowledge of photoshop. The educational and inspirational value of these dvds is unparallel.