The Evolution of Matte Painting
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Did ever wonder how sci-fi images come into life and movies like Star Wars, Divergent, X-Men, and Iron Man are made?. The answer is “Matte Painting” which is commonly known as “photo manipulation”.

Matte painting is simply the representation of some landscape that doesn’t exist in reality or places that are too expensive to be built or visited. Film artists and film technicians used to work together to create a motion picture in which a static matte painting and movements are integrated with the painting.

Primarily, there are two major ways to develop matte paintings which are: classification as photo manipulation and digital painting. Of course these are the most modern techniques as in the 80s and 90s, the artists used to paint on glass and incorporate it with actor movements to create motion pictures.

A classic example is the Indiana Jones: Riders of the Lost Ark (1981) government warehouse picture. This matte painting was developed on glass by Micheal Pangrazio (American Award Winning Art Director) and the person who moves and pushes the cargo was a live-action footage.

Matte 1

Matte Painting Using Photo Manipulation

When you combine elements from different photographs/images to create an entirely new and unique image, this is known as photo manipulation as a matte painting exmaple. Let’s show a simple example, if you want to create an alien city and create buildings out of mushrooms. You simply shall find a good image about mushrooms that you like and also find other images that you want to add to your alien city photograph. Then, perform such magical awesome graphic designing . Voila! You have got your perfect matte painting.

Matte 2

Matte Painting Using Digital Techniques

Digital Painting is created by using Pen pads which is also classified under matte paintings. Digital techniques are the ideal solution to learn how to use the digital software like: Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, and Illustrator. Here is a perfect example of digital matte painting:

Matte 3


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Matte painting is more commonly known as photo manipulation and is created by experienced graphic designers and painters. Matte painting examples can be found in everyday graphic designing as well as the Hollywood movies. Over the years, Matte painting has evolved extensively while in recent years with the advent of digital painting, it has truly become a masterpiece and an exquisite work of art.