Musings & Interests of David Stipes
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  • “V-The Final Battle”

    Posted on June 6th, 2009 dstipes No comments

    Here are two more shots from “V-The Final Battle.”   The saucer was an approx.  30″ model constructed by Greg Jein. It was composited with the live action using two rear projection images with matte painting blends by David Stipes.



    The saucer model was photographed in an extremely dense smoke room to convey the scale of the saucer which is supposed to be three miles across. (!) The camera had to match the tilt angle and lens specs. of the live action plate.



    Here is the matte painting set up:





    This article and images are used for non-profit educational purposes only.

    “V” and all related elements  © 1983 – 2009 Warner Bros. All rights reserved. The use of anything related to “V” or “V-The Final Battle” on this site is for educational purposes only and is not meant to be an infringement on Warner Bros. property rights.


    15 responses to ““V-The Final Battle””

    1. Wow! That is cool! A little instructional piece for those of us who are not familiar with how matte paintings were created. Great shots!

      Question? How does the smoke in the room make the model appear bigger?

    2. Hello Cookster,

      A smoke room simulates, in a small area, the effect of looking through miles of atmosphere. If I were looking at a real “V” Mothership, the back end of the saucer at three mile away would appear more hazy than the front of the disc which is closer to the camera.

    3. Something just occured to me with using rear projection. Probably a stupid question but I’m assuming the live action would appear reversed when viewed from the side of the camera (if left unaltered) so does the projector flip the image or do you create the matte to suit the mirrored image ?

    4. Hello RKW,

      Your assumption is correct. The image would be flipped when projected from behind.

      When film is transported through the projector, it lands on registration pins seated between the light and the lens.

      We had these registration pins reversed so I could flip the footage and it would appear correctly from the camera.

    5. Unbelievable! The minds that came up with this stuff. I can only wish to be that smart one day =)

    6. Hello Lisa,

      Coninue to read and learn about the work of others. I actually learned that trick by reading about the visual effects done on “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”.

      The “Close Encounters” smoke room was a clever physical solution for replicating the observed real-world phenomena of ‘atmospheric perspective’.

    7. Fabulous post !!

    8. Hello Andrew,

      Thank you! I appreciate your comment and your work! Please note I have added a link to your blog on the Blogroll!

    9. Ol’-skool genius techniques, in the house, eh.

      Nice. Takes me back, no doubt. 🙂


    10. Hello deg,

      I’m an ‘ol’ skool’ guy… hiding in plain sight in a digital world.

      So…. how far back does this take you? Your work is very good. How long have you been in 3D (and in the vfx business)?

    11. Well David, when I said, “takes me back,” I meant in the figurative sense, not in like your own actual hands-on VFX work (other than my own “roll your own” Super 8 stuff).

      I have been a “fan” of VFX my whole life, following the art, and its history, and thus seeing that set-up takes me back to the days when this was actually being done by you, and others. As well as retro-back to the VFX progenitor’s days, like Obie on KIng Kong and other shows.

      I’ve been doing 3D for about 4 years now. I am just beginning to try and get myself into the the industry. I was poised to send my reel out looking for work, but then John Eaves recruited me and passed on my website to the producers of a project he is involved in designing seven ships. They needed a model-builder, liked my work a lot, so I got the gig. I have four of the ships built and three to go yet.

      So that’s where I am right now as to the biz. One step at a time. This gig has honed my production speed big-time, as I am building like a fury, faster than I even thought I would even ever to be capable of. And the results are excellent, IMO, and even more important, the producers love it as well. 🙂

      Thanks for the nice words about my work. I of course feel that same about your own. 🙂


    12. Hello deg,

      Wow! Congratulations on your new gig! How cool is it to work with John Eaves! You are a pro now and you are “in the biz”!

      When possible we all would love to see what you and John are creating. 🙂

    13. Heya David,

      Thanks, dude! Yes, it is very cool to work with John, and I got to meet up with him for a weekend last month @ WonderFest in KY. He’s a great guy and then some. I am sure he will post some stuff when we are done, and I will have the ships and his artwork up on my site as well.


    14. Seriously awesome matte painting David. I love how your paint went outside of the “visible areas”.

      I find that the more I do that digitally the more room I have to relax and let go. This also helps for when doing 3d projections.

    15. Matthew,

      Thank you! You do some pretty serious work so I do appreciate the compliment!

      Staying relaxed, letting go (and approaching the work with courage) are concepts that I present to my matte painting students, too.

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