VFX Firsts: What was the first digital matte painting in a film?

A game-changer in VFX in so many ways.

The movies featured this week on VFX Firsts are productions that represented so many VFX firsts, including computer graphics, digital character animation, digital compositing and also, digital matte painting. This was thanks to the incredible innovations of ILM and the team at the Lucasfilm Computer Graphics Division (which eventually ‘became’ Pixar).

To discuss these films (revealed in the show notes below), I’m joined by matte painter Liz Hume, who you can find at Twitter, Instagram and via her website.

This week’s hosts: Liz Hume and Ian Failes.

To listen to the podcast, check out Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or in the embedded player below.

Show notes

Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan, which featured VFX from ILM, also includes the ‘Genesis Sequence’ for which the Lucasfilm Computer Graphics division used groundbreaking CG approaches to show a terraforming planet. A final view of the planet made use of a matte painting painted by ILM artist Chris Evans using an early digital paint program built by Tom Porter.

– Clip from Young Sherlock Holmes, below, which also featured a Chris Evans digital matte painting for the moment the stained glass knight first jumps out of the window.

Die Hard 2 matte painting story at befores & afters

– The 3D projected matte painting work in Hook explained in this vfxblog story

– Mark Cotta Vaz and Craig Barron’s The Invisible Art: The Legends of Movie Matte Painting , at Amazon

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