Learn how to become a matte painter for Film & TV with 1-On-1 training from award-winning artists

Apply Now

Digital Matte Painting Course Overview

Discover the techniques used by major studios around the world to create unbelievable matte paintings for film and TV.

With the growing number of block buster films and Netflix shows the demand for matte painters is on the rise.  From sprawling fantasy landscapes, floating alien mountains and period piece set extensions matte painters help create the immersive environments that seamlessly integrate into the stories we love.

That’s why CG Spectrum has created the Introduction to Matte Painting course specifically designed for artists who are looking to enhance their skills and expand their digital skill set.

Over the course of 12 weeks, you’ll learn professional techniques used by industry artists to create your own matte paintings from start to finish. Start by learning the technical foundations needed to properly create matte painting shots and work your way up to advanced techniques while creating amazing matte paintings for your portfolio.

The Introduction to Matte Painting course can be taken in a small group or as a one-on-one mentorship. Whichever you choose, you can rest assured that your mentor will take a personal interest in your future success and guarantee an educational experience like no other.

Next Intake

September 2nd, 2019


12 Weeks

Course Delivery


Course Load

20 hrs/ week




A solid understanding of Photoshop and a familiarity of compositing basics.

Apply TodayApply Today

Foundations of Matte Painting

At the beginning of this course, students will learn the important process of setting up a clean plate for their matte painting shot and how to avoid the common problems that arise when dealing with the technical aspects of the matte painting pipeline. You will find out how to properly choose good reference images to start with in order to create a matte shot of the highest quality and provide a strong foundation to build upon.

Next, you will begin to add small details and textures to your matte focusing on making sure the additions feel a part of the scene by following the existing structure of the assets. Students will then cover how to get their painting out of Photoshop and into a compositing package.  Matte Paintings are more than static environment shots, they should be living breathing shots that look alive.  We will cover different techniques and methods for breathing life into your shot by animating the sky, adding lighting effects, and incorporating other footage into the shot.

  • Learn how to properly set up a matte painting shot and understand resolution in regards to setting up your matte painting from a provided plate
  • Find out the differences between a flattened and unflattened plate, and how that impacts your matte painting workflow
  • Discover sophisticated methods for extracting and masking like using color channels to create masks, and hand masking with the lasso tools
  • Grow and build your image library of high-quality reference
  • Transform your shot from day to night using proper color correcting techniques and add details to add more realism
  • Prepare your file for export out of Photoshop and into NUKE 

Matte Shot Perspective

The second half of the course will focus on perspective for matte painting and diving deeper dive into this area with a unique and more challenging shot. Students will start with understanding what makes a shot unique and how to establish the proper perspective for a shot using previously learned techniques. We approach this section of the course by mimicking a vendor/client relationship and how to deal with the challenges that come along with delivering a professional shot.


Using advanced matte painting techniques in NUKE you will learn how to lay out perspective lines, properly track your shot and create camera projections in order to create a matte shot with camera movement similar to those created for in Film and TV shows.  Students will also learn how to add proxy geometry and extract perspective data in order to paint assets into their moving shot.

Over the duration of this course, you will gain in-depth knowledge and practical knowledge about what it takes to become a matter painter for film and TV and create several finished shots for your portfolio.

  • Understand how to lay out perspective lines for the shot to achieve accurate perspective
  • Analyze a plate for matte painting and gather elements from reference photography to create your shot
  • Create an accurate and efficient projection camera and composite your matte painting seamlessly over a plate
  • Discover tracking techniques using the basic A over B method to merge your matte painting and plate
  • Learn the role of a matte painter, when to do extra work yourself, and when to ask for help
  • Finalize your matte painting shots for your portfolio
Introduction to Matte Painting

What you get

  • Access to world-class mentors
  • Live weekly classes
  • Weekly recorded critiques
  • Custom built curriculum
  • Original video content
  • Access to online learning portal

Your Amazing Mentors

heather abels

Meet Heather

A senior matte painter with over 12 years of feature film experience, Heather Abels has worked at several top studios such as Disney Animation, Matte World Digital, and Rhythm & Hues. You may recognize some of her feature film work from Big Hero 6, Life of Pi, Avatar and Golden Compass. She’s held titles as a Set Extension Artist, Senior Matte Painter, Matte Painting Lead, and Matte Painting Supervisor.  With a passion for training and educating the next generation of artists, she has taught at universities, developed training material for top studios and created online courses. She currently works remotely with clients all over the world as a matte painter, concept artist and illustrator.

ryan prestridge

Meet Ryan

Ryan Prestridge has worked in various Matte Painting positions across many different studios. He started at Rhythm and Hues as a Lead Matte Painting TD and then went to MPC as a Senior Environment TD and then as a Lead 3D-Digital Matte Painter. He then went to ReelFX Animation to be a Technical Matte Painter. Currently, he is a Matte Painting Compositor at DreamWorks Animation. During his career, Ryan has had the opportunity to work on films such as Django Unchained, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Boss Baby and How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.

Lauren Wakley

CG Spectrum has a way of mentoring students that I haven't experienced before. My mentor is always pushing me in order to become industry ready. CG Spectrum mentors are always available for feedback and take a proactive approach to teaching their students.

Liam Jones

The very personal learning experience I had through CG spectrum encouraged me to dig deep with questions and figure out how to really improve. I got the attention I needed from my mentor and broke through the frustrating plateau I had been at before starting. Looking back on my old artwork, I'm extremely satisfied with how far I've come.

Erica Hornakova

I have nothing but great memories of CG Spectrum! I was a bit unsure when I signed up for the course, but it changed my life. I had a great mentor who would always push me to do better and I learned valuable things each class.

Ryan-Tinder James

During my time at CG Spectrum my skill as an artist and concept artist specifically, rose to new heights I'd never imagined possible. I fell deep into the rabbit hole during this course, only because CG Spectrum offered so much extra information. This left me ready to kick start my career.

Course Tuition

Small Class

At CG Spectrum you’re never just a number. We cap our matte painting class sizes at 5 students so you get the most attention possible at a more affordable price.


$599 USD

3 x Payments


$1595 USD

1 x Payment

(Save 10%)

1-on-1 Class

By choosing the 1-on-1 option you will get more individual attention from your mentor while having the flexibility to work within your busy schedule.


$799 USD

3 x Payments


$2195 USD

1 x Payment

(Save 10%)


Do you have questions about the course? Contact us and we'll get right back to you