40 Matte Painting Masterpieces

June 28th, 2010

Matte painting is a technique often used to create landscapes, sets and scenes for movies, TV and print when building a physical set or traveling to a particular location to film is either cost prohibitive or impossible. This technique requires a solid understanding of light, exposure, color theory and composition. Artist will often use a mix of digital painting, compositing and Photoshop magic to create the wonderful scenes we all enjoy in films.

Today we present 40 Matte Painting Masterpieces from some truly talented artists. Be sure to hit up their links to see more of their amazing work.

Beautiful Matte Painting Masterpieces

This photo realistic matte really draws you into a new world.

This fantastic scene transports you to another world. The dock in the foreground gives a great sense of depth to the image.

This stunning scene is on a grand scale. Notice the people on the bridge in the lower right side of the image.

This beautiful image has melancholy feel to it. It reveals the impermanence of life and all of our struggles.

The foliage in the front of this scene really add to its perspective and grandeur.

This stunning visage show the artist’s mastery over lighting and exposure.

Raphael Lacoste
The lighting and atmosphere in this piece is truly impressive.

A fantastic sunset scene in which the water almost seem to be moving.

Jamie Jasso
This Sci-Fi piece has great composition and balance.

The light rays streaming down through the windows in this scene look amazing and really add to its atmosphere.

Shahen Jordan
This concept piece was made for Hancock. Its soft glows give it a magical feel.

This work features some fantastic textures laid over the modeled pyramid and buildings.

This amazing matte painting was used in a Lord of the Rings film. It has misty atmosphere that’s perfect.

Andree Wallen
This looks like a scene straight out of the pod races in Star Wars. It has great textures and perspective.

The composition in this one directs the eye from the rocks in the foreground to the missiles in the background.

I love the sense on perspective and depth in this matte painting.

The color pallet in this scene is great. You should see the full-sized image to really take it all in.

Dylan Cole
A truly masterful depiction of a fantasy city. This one has superb perspective, a grand scale and wonderful lighting.

This futuristic vision is simply amazing. I really love the lighted pathways and the city built into the mountains.

Dylan Cole is a matte painting master. Is this what vacations in the future will look like?

Believe it or not, this is actually this artist’s first matte painting! The colors are just beautiful. You could stare at this one all day.

This artist gives us a look at the source photos used to make this matte painting. The textures and water reflection make this one believable.

The artist uses a blurring effect to give this piece a sense of depth. Some 3D models were imported then textured to create this Sci-Fi scene.

Gordon Tarpley

Wow. This majestic piece has fantastic lighting, atmosphere and textures. This is just an all-around inspiring work.

Frederic St-Arnaud
This magnificent scene was created for the IMAX movie Journey to Mecca.

This piece puts you right in the heart of a fantasy Egyptian world.

This artist really knows how to put together a great fantasy scene. This one feature a castle with a new idea of a mote.

A futuristic cityscape on an epic scale. This piece really shows the artist’s vision and talent.

Max Dennison
A scene of a deserted Myan city. The composition in this one is awesome. I love the low angle view.

This matte painting was created for a Lord of the Rings film. Check out the artist’s site to see the source image and the parts he added in to complete the scene.

Here is another scene made for The Lord of the Rings. It has remarkable atmosphere.

Sven Sauer
I find the perspective and vastness of this scene compelling.

Another great matte painting by Sven Sauer. This one has a desolate feeling with its expansive tundra.

M. Pavel
This unique concept is beautifully executed with great lighting.

You really get a sense of the enormous scale of the cavern in this piece. Everything from the foggy atmosphere to the reflected lights on the water just looks amazing.

Tiziano Fioriti
I really like the texture of the rocks and grass in this one. You realize how massive the mountain and castle is when you notice the little house in the foreground.

The textures in this matte painting are extraordinary. You really must see the full-sized version on the artist’s gallery page.

Everything about this work is flawless. The excellent lighting and composition make it look like a real world location.

Another wonderful creation that looks photo realistic.

Further Resources

Wikipedia on matte painting

25 Matte painting tutorials for Photoshop

Matte painting gallery and forums

Tim Mercer is a photography enthusiast, graphic designer, artist and blogger. His blog offers free resources for the digital artist and graphic designer, as well as tutorials, artist interviews, inspiration and more.


23 comments for „40 Matte Painting Masterpieces
  1. Web Designer Evan Skuthorpe on June 28th, 2010 at 7:08 am

    some of these are truely beautiful. quite talented.

  2. Sunny Kumar on June 28th, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Amazing Painting !

  3. Melissa joyce on June 28th, 2010 at 8:33 am

    Nice share…

  4. Beno on June 28th, 2010 at 8:36 am

    (Megl’s picture links to Kaek’s galery.)

  5. Rebecca on June 28th, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Those are great. They are inspirational and some of them are also quite relaxing.

    • alive on June 30th, 2010 at 1:31 am

      thank from me..
      nice zoho4

  6. Scott on June 29th, 2010 at 1:28 am

    This is a great collection of images.

  7. d. on June 29th, 2010 at 1:47 am

    Great. Only Megl image has the wrong link. It’s:

  8. Jordan Walker on June 29th, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Those are very inspirational pieces of art work!

  9. Lakeside Techies on June 29th, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Good to be on noupe after a long time. Very beautiful paintings.

  10. Andre Blais on June 29th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Inspiring matte paintings!!

  11. Szabi on June 29th, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Beautiful paintings.

  12. Twanna Mcguinness on November 5th, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    Whoa! For a nice and seeking yahoo and google all night because of this and i finally thought it was in this article!

  13. Adnan on November 21st, 2010 at 3:33 am

    hallucinant! O_O

  14. renjith on June 14th, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Awesome works

  15. nayeem on July 1st, 2011 at 10:31 am

    super Matt painting ……………..

  16. sarin.p.k on October 26th, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    outstanding …

  17. Irena on November 28th, 2011 at 7:53 am

    really amazing!!

  18. Shaike on May 10th, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Really inspiring works! good job all of you

  19. jainam on July 14th, 2012 at 5:58 am

    awesome reallyy …. ! !

  20. hareram gupta on November 29th, 2012 at 12:10 pm


  21. thati srinivasulu on February 24th, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Excellent works………..