Interactive Course with weekly Zoom Sessions and Individual Critiques on your Assignments

Recordings of both Zoom and Critique sessions uploaded to Google drive for students

SPRING Semesters Starts March 24th


Begin Learning Now

Work at your own pace


In this Course

We will go over the technical and creative skills to create matte paintings and environments for Animation

  • Students will learn key techniques and skills to create portfolio level work

  • Build the necessary foundation to help you in your journey

  • The lessons can be applied towards Feature Film, Televison, and Game Cinematics work



Mirror a real work setting

  • Digital Plein Air landscape

    We will begin using Photoshop to create a stylized background test and a lasso speed painting from a photo

  • Star Wars Cloudscape

    We will create a static cloudscape in the style of Star Wars Rebels show. You will work on your first projection matte painting and composite

  • Batman Gotham Cityscape

    We will create a night time shot of Gotham with an animated shot camera. You will use 3d assets, lighting, and texturing techniques

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender Multi Shot

    We will create 2 separate projection paintings for multiple shots in an Avatar: The Last Airbender setting. Using geometry that is provided we will learn scattering techniques

Course Content

    1. Overview of the Portal


    2. Animation through the years: Traditional Studios

    3. Animation through the years: New Media/Games Cinematics/Etc.

    4. History of Matte Painting and Background Painting

    5. What is Matte Painting?

    6. Walking thru a shot in an Animation pipeline

    7. Reference Library

    8. Photoshop 101

    9. Let's create a digital painting

    10. Lasso Speed Painting

    11. Assignment 1: Digital Painting and Lasso Speed Painting

    1. Creating a Matte Painting Shot

    2. MAYA 101

    3. NUKE 101 and Basic Projection

    4. Nuke 101 and Multi-layer Projection

    5. Launched on your shot

    6. Beginning setup in Maya

    7. Onto your Nuke setup

    8. Photoshop - Painting your projection

    9. Clouds

    10. Dealing with Gradients

    11. Photoshop - Quick sketch and using Photos

    12. Compositing your first Shot

    13. Houdini 101

    14. Houdini VDB Clouds

    15. Maya VDB Clouds

    16. MAYA and HOUDINI for Layout with VDBs

    17. Stylizing Elements

    18. Finishing up shot

    19. Assignment #2 - Static Matte Painting shot

    1. Cityscape Establishing Shot

    2. Aspect Ratios and Camera Lenses

    3. Projection Camera vs Shot Camera

    4. Setting up the scene

    5. 3d Assets and Simple Texturing/Modeling

    6. Going from BlockIn to Assets

    7. Lighting and Fog/mist in Maya

    8. Lighting up the City

    9. Renders AOVs and Layers

    10. Projection Camera and Layers

    11. Review of Assignment

    12. Assignment #3

    1. Creating Multiple Matte Paintings for Several Animated shots

    2. Reference Board

    3. Landscape Drone Reference

    4. Assets

    5. Maya Scattering with Mash

    6. Getting started on your multi-shots

    7. Nuke and Photoshop

    8. Choose your FG Element

    9. HDR Element for Reference

    10. HDR Backplate

    11. Nuke Setup pt2

    12. Rock Assets placed

    13. Mash World Node

    14. Fine Tuning Things

    15. Assignment #4

    1. Shot 1 and 3 Setup

    2. Combining Projections

    3. Scattering with Houdini

    4. Houdini - Scattering with hand painted mask

    5. Houdini - Scatter Grass on Rock Cliff

    6. Assignment #5

    7. Layout and Render Setup

About this course

  • 72 lessons
  • 20 hours of video content

Use Industry Standard Software:

Photoshop, Maya, Nuke, Houdini and more

  • Learn, Build, and Create

    Following the lessons in the courses, you will learn the fundamentals of being a matte painter/3d Generalist/Environment artist

  • Interactive

    If you choose Zoom classes, you will interact directly with your Instructor and receive feedback on your work and recorded critiques. ZOOM Sessions are Thursdays 7pm PST

  • Community

    All courses give you access to our Community Dashboard. Here you can post, ask questions, and interact with all the members of Matte Mentors and Instructors

Meet Eric


Eric Bouffard has been a Matte Painter in the Animations Industry for nearly two decades. Currently, he works at Walt Disney Animation Studios and was previously at Dreamworks Animation. Eric has taught various Matte Painting classes for several years at various institutions. Some films that he worked on are: Wish, Strange World, Frozen 2, Encanto, How to Train your Dragon2, Kung Fu Panda, and many many more. He has worked as a Matte Painting Artist, Lead, and Supervisor. Check out Eric's work:

Eric Bouffard

Matte Painter

Student Testimonials

“This class was such an amazing learning experience and really helps you expand your knowledge on industry standard programs. I had a wonderful experience learning from Eric, he was very understanding of all experience levels and made the class feel really comfortable!”

“You can't find the knowledge contained in this course anywhere else! Trust me, I was looking around for quite some time. Eric's veteran experience is very evident in every step of the way, from explanations, problem solving, to the individual feedback. I felt like I had an incredible supervisor for the duration of the course, as well as a class of colleagues I could learn alongside through the forum, which I now miss! I can't recommend this enough for anyone heading into or curious about mattepainting for 3D animation. ”

“It has been a truly wonderful experience to have Eric as an instructor. He has provided guidance and thoughtful feedback throughout our class. Eric cares about the students and want us to be successful. I definitely feel more confident in my skills after doing the assignments. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn matte painting/set extension for animation!”

“Super glad that I had the opportunity to take Eric’s course. His attention to detail and passion for the subject shines through the course material and projects. This class gave a very comprehensive breakdown of matte painting—giving us exposure to industry standard programs, allowing us to practice 3D skills, providing repetition through projects and demos to improve digital painting skills, and walking through how to tie all elements together. I learned so much across each discipline within Matte painting, and was challenged in a way that allowed me to feel my growth throughout the course. The quality of the course is topped by Eric’s instruction and I would highly recommend anyone who is interested multiple parts of the CG pipeline and learning 3d and 2d take this class. ”

“I had a great experience in Eric's matte painting for animation class! Learning about the history of matte paintings in film through the century was foundational as we started out in the course. From Disney's golden age animated films to the movies we see on screen today, Eric was a great tutor in helping us learn and see the potential of matte paintings and set extension work in animated movies. His guidance and expertise in the artistic and technical aspects of matte painting have helped me to take the next steps in my own work. With hands-on projects, professional instruction, and constructive feedback, I would recommend Eric's classes to anyone!”

“If you want to learn matte painting, but don't know where to start Matte Mentors is the perfect class for you. I am so glad I had to opportunity to take this class and learn from Eric. Prior to taking this class I had no experience with programs such as Maya or Nuke, but after Matte Mentors I feel much more confident navigating those programs and can even create my own projects from scratch. I highly recommend this class.”

“I wanted to learn more about animation and Disney great background which match so well. I thought at first time that the matte painter make some BG, like as the sky, cloud, and some city with some photos and paints stuff but not at this extent. I'm not a good painter but event a beginner as myself can still do something nice with Eric as mentor. He is a great teacher :) I learn a lot and I want to do my own layout/previs with some of these techniques for dress up the scene et render some beautiful image. :)”

“I thoroughly enjoyed the class. There was so much content to absorb! My favorite part were the video critiques and paintovers. It was great having a professional of Erics caliber critiquing everyones work and we could view each others critiques. You learn more from mistakes, even if they aren’t your own. Thanks for the hard work Eric.”

“Really awesome course. Eric goes above and beyond to help us out and explains really well all the steps involved in the projects.”