Matte Painting 3 is an indispensable book that explains how beautiful and intricate matte paintings are created. It's a reference book complete with tutorials as well as an artbook with galleries of artworks.
The book has 240 pages, not 192 pages as listed on Amazon. It comes with a slip case.
In addition, there's an interesting foreword by Michael Pangrazio, one of the pioneer matte painters in the industry, and the senior art director at Weta now. He recounts the history of matte painting through his experiences and provides advice through eight pages of Q&A.
The three matte painters featured are David Luong, Damien Mace and Milan Schere. They have worked for Diablo III, StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, Game of Thrones, Avatar, Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Dredd and The Three Musketeers. They are some serious industry professionals who have worked on big titles.
Each of these painters talks about their past projects, the type of software used, workflow, their inspiration and thoughts about the future. They also have to answer a rather out of place question thrown in at the end "Would you rather slay the dragon, or rescue the princess?" which I found rather amusing. Well, unlike Mario, they all chose to slay dragons. Oops. Spoiler!
There are 10 tutorials in all. The first four tutorials are landscape pieces of wide open spaces, such as forest, barren rocky wasteland, with the occasional beautiful castle, structure in the background. The next six tutorials are from Milan Schere. His tutorials are of places where people are more likely seen, e.g. container park, aerial of a town, Time Square, castles and a town. With the latter tutorials, there's more emphasis on perspective as there are more buildings and structures involved, especially in the foreground.
All the tutorials are detailed step by step walkthrough with screenshots. They show how photo references are used, and how images are blended together. There are tips on achieving realism and they discuss all the little details that make for a successful matte painting. The process is elaborate and the tutorials are very insightful.
Besides the tutorials, there are also galleries featuring lots of great matte paintings. The three painters have their own galleries and there are invited guest galleries as well. Commentary is provided by the three painters for every example.
This is a great book. Resources on matte painting techniques are not easy to find. So this makes the book very useful for those who want to learn the craft or improve their skills.
Highly recommended to matte painters and those interesting in matte painting. You probably would need to be an intermediate artist to get the best out of the tutorials.
(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)