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Castle #Tutorial

Time for another tutorial! And, we know you are going to love this… our CG Supervisor, Matthew Lloyd, takes us through a breakdown of 'Castle', a digital matte painting he created from a series of personal photos and some handy modeling!

Matthew: The idea behind my latest piece of work was to simply create a medieval-style castle, a location which would be perched high upon an isolated hilltop. Over the last twelve months, I've done a lot of hill-walking and I've come across so many locations that you could almost imagine seeing a high-walled fortress with towers that overlook them and only a pathway that leads in and out.

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I don't own a good camera, however, I take my iPhone with me any time I'm out and I spend a great deal of my time snapping pictures for reference and panoramas in the likely event I want to use them in my own work in the future.

I always try to avoid using downloaded pictures from google, quite often their resolution and quality are not great, the colours and lighting rarely match from image to image and you don't own the images so it's difficult to say the work you are producing is 100% yours.

Below is a simple breakdown of how I went about creating the above digital matte painting.

I created the castle in Autodesk Maya and I rendered it using Vray. The walls and towers of the castle were made using very simple primitive geometry like boxes and cylinders. These shapes are low polygons and come with their own UVs straight out of Maya.

I created a single stone wall texture which I used to wrap around all the individual pieces of geometry hiding the seams on the far side of the models where the camera can’t pick them up. I used Adobe Photoshop to stitch all the 3D and 2D elements together.

Ross Castle in Co. Kerry was an inspiration in creating the overall shape of the Final 3D model
The sky in this picture was taken in Clontarf, Dublin and shows a great deal of dept without any obstructions in the foreground and middle ground this is really helpful as it means less clean-up is needed.

I used this door frame as a reference for the main entrance of the castle, Its scale was not exactly what I needed, however, a little Photoshopping gets it into the shape I need. And the pathway on Howth Hill was the starting point of the pathway leading up to the castle entrance. The angle of the pathway lent itself well to the height of the castle in my final render.

These photos from Three Rock in the Dublin Mountains were the inspiration for the rock formations that the castle is built upon. I imagined that this would be a natural starting point in building any castle as their high position on the landscape lent itself well to the design of the final image.

These two photos were taken in Howth and Kerry. I used these images as reference for how I wanted to create depth within my piece. In both images, you can clearly see light fog and aerial diffusion. Both these elements in an image help demonstrate depth and atmosphere.

The images below are a collection of panoramic photos I used as a visual reference when creating my matte painting. I find images like this useful as they are generally high resolution and you can extract elements from them to use.

Panoramic photos are also very useful for image-based lighting when creating 3D elements for use within a matte painting.

There you have it, a Castle courtesy of our CG Supervisor, Matthew Lloyd, and if you'd like to see more of Matthew's work pop on over to his website:


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