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Learn the Fundamentals! #TopTip

Into animation? Here’s a #toptip from the studio via our super talented Matte Painter Adrian Mulryan - this one’s on the importance of learning the fundamentals of art!


Adrian: Although mastering software such as Photoshop is essential to working as a Matte Painter, for me studying the fundamentals of art is far more important! 

Studying and understanding value, light, shadow, perspective, composition etc. I neglected this when I started to learn digital painting and wondered why I wasn’t getting any better, I was learning the software but my paintings all lacked depth, form, proper lighting and perspective construction.

I went back to basics and with the help of training videos such as the Gnomon Workshop, especially those of Scott Robertson, I started to  feel more confident in my artwork, my ability to show form through value changes, a better understanding of perspective and lighting and so on.

I paint a lot at work but I always go back to the basics, you can learn the software needed for jobs such as Matte or Concept Painter but it always comes back to the fundamentals of art.


Image 1: Stuyding from photo reference, understanding form, breaking objects down into simple geometric shape:

Image 2: Quick daily sketches concentrating on value/form and light indication:

Image 3: Daily practice, simple shapes and value studies:

Image 4: Quick sketches and value studies translated into more refined digital paintings, lighting and rendering practice:

Image 5: A more refined painting, all aspects of fundamentals come together - value, perspective, lighting, compostion etc.

Like all artists I need to study more! I love painting digitally and the freedom it gives me to explore as an artist but I will forever be studying the fundamentals!

Other artists I have learnt from over the years include: Dylan Cole, Fenz Zhu and Ryan Church

You can check out more of Adrian's work on his ArtStation gallery.

Anahita Tabarsi

Anahita is Brown Bag Films' Marketing Director, Digital & Social and drinks more than five coffees a day...

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