Lemons Bucket

Matte Painting, a technique increasingly used in architectural visualisation.
Although it was born in the world of cinema, Matte Painting is becoming increasingly important in the field of architecture. This photo-composition technique allows to generate environments in a less expensive way and with realistic finishes.

Today we are going to make a small tour of the elements that must be reviewed when creating a composition using Matte Painting.


As we showed you in Cabin, photography is one of the best resources when creating architectural visualisation images. We can extract skies, people, vegetation and all kinds of elements that help to complement architectural projects and tell our story. Even if we have great control of 3D and can find photorealistic models, there is often nothing that will blend in better and give a greater sense of realism than a photograph. Of course, we have to make sure that everything fits well in our scene (lighting, shadows, scale…).
It is always advisable to look for a high quality image and cut the necessary resources, this gives a point of quality and distinction to our projects. When you have been working in this sector for many years, you can easily recognise the library resources, especially the people. However, although using photographs can give you that extra touch, you don’t always have the time to get them. That is why it is always advisable to have a few resource libraries. Here are ours:

3D Base

For this type of images in which photographic cut-outs predominate, the development of 3D does not have to be so precise. The model of the project with materials and a good illumination that we are interested in will be enough to develop the final image in Photoshop.


This technique is normally used for sketches previous to the project or concept arts, it is something similar to a collage. Photobasing consists of mixing photographs to create an image, it is not necessary to use 3D.
Different images are cut out and used and then spliced together to form an illustration. At first, as with Matte Painting, the tedious part is finding images that fit the idea. However, once you have a good library and get the hang of it, the reality is that this technique saves a lot of time in developing ideas and composing the project.

Matte Painting

What about combining the two?

Some studios use these techniques to show clients ideas from the beginning of the project (Sketches and concept arts.) In our case, we usually use it on the cameras previously chosen. In addition to shortening times, it generates greater realism when opting for, for example, a lawn from a photograph.
The times demanded by the industry, especially for competitions, are becoming shorter and shorter, and mastering this type of technique is key to giving an agile and impeccable response. However, although the advantages of Matte Painting are many, it is necessary to have a good 3D base because the changes that clients may request cannot always be solved with a photograph.

Communication with the client, a crucial aspect to choose the right techniques.

A good practice to achieve an optimal result is to always ask our clients for resources, such as photographs of the surroundings or adjacent buildings and landscapes of the area; all this offers a plus of realism to the final product. On the other hand, do not get frustrated if sometimes it is not possible to use photography, the percentage of 3D-FOTO is determined by the project, sometimes we will use more 3D and in others we will use more cropped photographs.
Besides, nowadays we can obtain many 3D resources made with photogrammetry that give an incredible realism to our 3D (Cotilléalos here). Although in our sector there is always the comparison between full CG works and those achieved with the mixture between 3D and real photography, in many occasions the production times are the ones that mark the use of some techniques or others. Techniques, in the end, are a means to an end, which is an image that faithfully reflects the client’s vision. And there are many ways to get there, which is why a global vision and comprehensive knowledge are the best way to reach the destination. If you want to find out more about this technique, you can leave your question in the comments or get into the Matte Painting Course at Schooling.

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