I am thinking of trying to make a film with animated matte paintings that are painted.

In the 1989 movie "Batman", some animated matte paintings of Gotham City are seen. How are these animated? In the following image, the smoke from all the chimneys in the image is animated / moving.

gotham animated paintings


While I'm not aware of the process used for that particular film, one easy way to do it is to film the matte painting, then film the smoke against a green or blue background and composite the smoke over the footage of the matte painting in the computer.

I've also seen matte paintings where a large section is left unpainted. Then live action (or animated) things are filmed which exactly fill in the unpainted area. You could composite them either in the analog realm (by projecting both pieces of footage onto the same screen and filming that), or digitally by using compositing software.

  • 1
    Regarding your second paragraph, another approach is to apply rear-projection screen material in the unpainted portion of the painting. The live action is then projected there, and the whole thing is filmed (from the front). Oct 20 '15 at 23:00

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