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London National History Museum Matte Painting Tutorial

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
Software used:
First I want to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to make this tutorial. I hope I will make a good tutorial because this is my first tutorial ever and my English is not so good. I hope I will make myself understood.

My name is Sorin Bechira and I live in Romania. I graduated the "West" University on Fine Arts from Timisoara and I'm a graphic/multimedia designer with more than 5 years experience in the field of graphic design. Lately I'm more interested in mattepainting and compositing. For this tutorial I used Adobe Photoshop.


This is a digital mattepainting for the MattePainting Challenge on CgTalk. The challenge was to show the museum in a future destroyed world. A plate was provided and the contest had 3 major steps: cleaning the plate, make a set extension about 50% bigger than the provided plate and finally the mattepaint.


I wanted to show a concept where the London National Museum is ruined but also to put it in a fantasy like environment, and the passing of time is emphasized by the deserted cemetery within -so the viewer can imagine that more than 2-300 years has passed since present days. But there are 2 more steps(cleaning the plate and extending it to at least 50%) to accomplish until then, so lets begin with step1:

Step 1 - Cleaning the Plate

In this stage I'll have to remove all the people, signage and all other modern stuff (Fig.01).

Fig. 01

I begun with the cleaning of the right upper part (Fig.02), removing the people. So I cloned some clean parts (bricks and pillars) and blend them over - just copy/paste and adjust the edges with a basic soft-rounded brush (since the image was 3k wide and I was working at 2-300% zoom, it is almost pixel perfect). The same basic technique was used for the people on the left stairs (Fig.03).

Fig. 02
Fig. 03

Next I worked on the upper left side; had to remove the reflectors, signage and also the light coming from reflectors (Fig.04). For elements removal I used the clone brush with a basic soft-round brush at 100% opacity. For light removal I selected the highlighted areas with the lasso tool and I used replace color tool to replace the highlights with a brownish color. On the central stairs (Fig.05).

Fig. 04
Fig. 05

I cloned the stairs and put them in the right perspective. Also the right .......was cloned on the left side and the.....was painted this a basic brush. Next, the left side was (Fig.06) cleaned after I looked over other photos of the museum to understand better the architecture. Everything was copied from the clean parts and pasted over. I didn't wanted to use the clone brush to have more control over the pasted areas. The right pillars were also cloned from the upper side and fit into the right perspective. Next, (Fig.07) the signage, since the surroundings areas were very poor in detail, was removed by painting over with a basic soft round brush.

Fig. 06
Fig. 07

Moving on the floor (Fig.08), first I tried to clean it with the clone brush, but I didn't liked the result, so I made a gray square and i added some noise to fake the ground completely. I put the square in the right perspective with the perspective/distort transform tool (Fig.09).

Fig. 08
Fig. 09

Next I added some reflections (Fig.10) on the floor by duplicate the upper part of the image and flipping it vertically. Everything was erased with a soft brush until the desired effect was accomplished. The next step (Fig.11) was to add some shadows by painting them with a black soft round brush with 20% opacity.

Fig. 10
Fig. 11

continued on next page >

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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Ronaldo on Mon, 02 November 2015 11:24pm
Sorry my question but, the castle or cathedral of the background left, the light source on it isn´t it inverted?
Thedjthat on Fri, 22 February 2013 11:21pm
Hi, I know it was years ago. Do you have the original image for "London National History Museum Matte Painting Tutorial"
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