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The Invisible Art: The Legends of Movie Matte Painting [Paperback]

Mark Cotta Vaz , Craig Barron
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

26 Nov 2004
Now in paperback, The Invisible Art showcases an enormous trove of rare art and 70,000 words of never-before-told stories and insider information. It is the definitive treatment movie fans dream of. In this spectacular retrospective, Mark Cotta Vaz and Craig Barron reveal the history of a visual effect that has defined movies from the beginning - matte painting. From Gone with the Wind to Citizen Kane to Star Wars to Titanic, The Invisible Art presents the finest examples of now-rare matte paintings and unveils a century's worth of fascinating stories, legendary personalities, and cunning movie craft. Including a foreword by George Lucas, this volume is packed with exclusive interviews and a narrative that time travels from the first pioneering "glass shots" to the dawn of digital technology.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; New edition edition (26 Nov 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081184515X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811845151
  • Product Dimensions: 29.7 x 25.4 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,165,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Mark Cotta Vaz has authored thirteen books, including The Art of Finding Nemo, Tales of the Dark Knight, the fiftieth anniversary history of Batman, and Industrial Light + Magic: Into the Digital Realm, a chronicle of George Lucas's effects company. Most recently his Behind the Mask of Spider-Man documents the making of the Spider-Man movie.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This celebration of the men who make the visions writers and directors come vividly to life is full of lots of beautiful black and white (and later on, colour) stills from films of the Forties and Fifties. The paintings speak, more or less, for themselves. The text complements them by pointing out all the subtlety of detail that the eye may miss otherwise. Matte paintings are traced from sketch to final composite, with appropriate praise given to the teams of artists behind them and their use in such films as “The Wizard Of Oz” and “Star Wars” is explained in fascinating detail.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth looking for 22 April 2006
By R. Gorey - Published on
To anyone interested in the golden age of moviemaking, in special effects, or the art of this very specialized skill, this book will be a grand treat. The author knows his subject, and knows some of the images created by these artists are among the most powerful and indelible in the movies. Lavishly illustrated and quite thorough, "The Invisible Art" is a treasure trove of behind the scenes information, explanations, and dissections of the complicated process by which these fantasy environments and set extensions were realized. It's an expensive book (the softcover is slightly less pricey) but there has never been a film book like this, on this subject. Other special effects guides reference matte painting, but no one has ever analyzed the technique in this way. Films profiled include "King Kong" "Wizard of Oz" "Citizen Kane" "Thief of Bagdad" "Black Narcissus" and "Ten Commandments", among dozens of others. A wonderful job by someone who clearly cares for his subject.
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful 14 Jun 2010
By Lauren Kushner - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's a beautiful book with fascinating information. It takes apart scenes in movies that have matte paintings -- showing you the components that went into the painting.
5.0 out of 5 stars At the very least, it makes a loveley coffee table book. 22 Aug 2007
By Cheryl Vanderbilt - Published on
I purchased this book last year when I was taking a Digital Matte Painting class. I wanted to learn more about how it was accomplished during the golden age of cinema.

The pictures in this book are stunning! There are hundreds of before and after pictures, showing the original film and the glass plates separately.

They also take care to show all the various techniques used in Matte Painting... such as using a mirror to reflect the image, hanging a scaled model in the foreground, and even using a circular screen for a rotating background.
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