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Matte Painter: a Digital Artist in the Film Industry.

A Matte Painter is a Digital Artist who creates artificial backgrounds for film and television or even for publication. At the turn of the century, Matte Painters used oils painted on glass to achieve this process. In the 21st Century the same results are achieved using computers and special editing software. This process using computers allows for much more convincing backgrounds (and occasionally foregrounds) to be rendered in much shorter periods of time. Most Matte Painters use a program called Photoshop to achieve the desired result although other programs such as Painter or Alias Wavefront may be used.

Movies like Star Wars and The Matrix and television series such as Farscape are fantasy-themed and therefore most of the artificial backgrounds used in each scene are Matte Paintings designed to convey a fantasy environment or atmosphere. This in turn may assist in selling the story to the audience.
eg 1. The production company couldn't afford to build an entire set on the backlot so they hired a Matte Painter to 'extend' the existing set and replace the missing backgrounds.

eg 2. It was overcast when they filmed the scene so a Matt Painter was employed to replace the sky plates.
by Maya Lightwave October 11, 2005
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