This is another interesting interview with a talented artist. Jaime Jasso is a veteran matte painter who has worked on some popular projects that we've all either seen or played first hand. To name a few, he has worked on games such as "Halo Wars" and "Prototype." This master matte painter gives the readers some advice, as well as some insight on why he chose this artistic route. Let's get to know this master matte painter.
1. Welcome to Psdtuts+, please introduce yourself. Could you tell us where you're from and how you got started in the field?
My name is Jaime Jasso I'm from Guadalajara Mexico and I'm the Lead Matte Painter at Blur studio in Los Angeles, California. Since I was kid, I was always fascinated by sci-fi and art, starting in comic books and traditional painting techniques such as oil, pencil, air brush, inks, and later found out that the computer was the ultimate tool. I tried it and of course fell in love with technology and how quickly you could get results with no stains on the floor or on your clothes.
2. For our readers that are not familiar with Matte Paintings, please tell us exactly what a matte painting is. Give us your own explanation of what you do also.
Matte painting are an old VFX technique used since the early days of cinema. It was an environment or set extension painted in glass with a matte or "alpha" that helped blending with the real scenario more believable. Nowadays it's completely digital and well sometimes helped with assets such as photos, miniatures, 3D renderings and actual 2D painting. My work at blur is to create highly detailed matte paintings, that most of the time are projected in 3D geometry to allow the camera to give life with animation.
3. What exactly do game and movie developers do with the breathtaking scenery shots that you paint for them?
New video game cinematics are evolving into a new era, where the actual game has an incredible amount of detail and effects. The new cinematic has to always be the pre-rendered story teller and get the gamer into the game with realism and fantasy. This is where studios like Blur are implementing film VFX techniques in the pipeline to make the cinematics look awesome. Matte painting was used in Film before but now is a common tool for cinematic studios, due of course to the fast and high detailed results it gives, rather than trying to model and render big 3D Environments
4. Its a must for all painters to have a tablet, so give us a visual of your workspace. What are your tools, and why do you prefer your equipment over everything else?
My main tools in software is Photoshop, for me the best and most fun program ever. For 3D my main tool is 3dsmax and I use Terragen, and Vue as well when I try to get a custom landscape asset. I use Fusion and After Effects when I do my last composite. I have a Mac which is my main computer for Photoshop just cause I think adobe works better on Macs, and PC for all my 3D work, of course my Wacom tablet that is a must !
5. Your painting of a futuristic Japanese city is one of the best paintings in your portfolio. Please walk us through the initial idea and how you built upon it to create the piece we see now.
That image in particular was a personal challenge. I did a first version almost 9 years ago. I liked the concept and composition so much that when I felt I was getting better at matte painting techniques, I decided to work again in the same image, but with all that I had learned through the years, and that's how the image was created.
I used 3D modeling for the foreground and middle ground elements, which later I had to texture and composite in Photoshop all together with the background skyscrapers. I'm a fan of blade runner and Japanese manga and their view about our future cities. That was my main inspiration to create it.
6. Your scenery paintings range from futuristic cities, to serene mountain ranges. What would you say is your favorite type of scenery to paint and why?
My favorites are futuristic cities because there's so much detail you can work with and too many textures and materials that make it so fun to work with. I love the night shots, playing with light is great because it not only makes it look cool, but helps you with visual composition, effects, materials, and overall mood.
7. What are some painting tips that you can give to the beginner that is just starting out in this field? And what should they be practicing on the most?
Practicing is a daily task for any artist, real skills don't come easy, there's always a sacrifice. Take your time when doing a matte painting, don't just try to finish it as fast as you can. There's a learning process in each image you create and your brain has to figure it out, invest time in each image and compare yourself with the top artists. Then stare at the pro's matte paintings, figure out their techniques, how they made it look real? Use that to create your own technique. Always make original work and don’t reproduce others. You can develop your own concept design skills by practicing.
Learning photography is a must for matte painters and any other artist trying to achieve photorealism, as well as traditional drawing skills such as linear perspective and any traditional painting/color techniques.
8. Thanks again for providing Psdtuts+ with this opportunity to interview you. Any final thoughts for our readers?
Thanks to Psdtuts+ for this and I'm sure people will find here a very useful resource for learning and improving their artwork - keep practicing!
Where to find Jaime on the Web
Subscribe to the Psdtuts+ RSS Feed for the best Photoshop tuts and articles on the web.