- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Chronicle Books (May 1 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0811831361
- ISBN-13: 978-0811831369
- Product Dimensions: 26.2 x 3 x 31.2 cm
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 Kg
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #726,621 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Invisible Art: The Legends of Movie Matte Painting Hardcover – Aug 1 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
"The beauty of a matte shot is that you can become God," Alfred Hitchcock said, and it's a fitting epigram to this remarkable study of a little-known facet of Hollywood illusion-the art of painting background scenery on glass. Captured by the camera and merged with live action, a distant galaxy, a lost empire or an impossible landscape can look undeniably real. And yet, among all the masters of filmic art's smoke and mirrors-the fashioners of masks and prosthetic limbs, the pyrotechnic wizards behind giant, slow motion explosions-matte painters remain some of the least appreciated artisans. (It is, note the authors, their very genius that keeps them "unsung": audiences often don't even know that what they're seeing isn't real.) This book represents the first sustained look at the art and technology of matte painting. Featuring over 400 images, plus interviews with many of the greatest matte painters themselves, it tells a story of wildly inventive artifice and myriad man-hours, offering a peek inside a guild of genuine movie magicians. As a feast of technical information and an alternative history of movies themselves, from their frontier days to the global system as it exists today, this book is a labor of both love and intelligence.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This work explores the invention and use of glass matte paintings in film. Created as backgrounds by talented artists, these paintings were then blended with live-action shots to show, for instance, the burning of Atlanta in Gone with the Wind and the parting of the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments. Cotta Vaz and Barron have done extensive research on this little-known art form, starting with its earliest use and moving to the digital age. Much of the information is drawn from firsthand interviews with artists who have worked on major films, with the chapters on Gone with the Wind, King Kong, and earlier epics proving to be of particular interest. The color photos are beautifully reproduced on high-quality paper, and the accompanying CD shows how glass painting is used with text from the book. This is not only an "invisible art" but also, unfortunately, a dying one as digital technology slowly replaces the artists. Drawbacks to a book like this are its limited appeal, oversized format, and high price. But it is still highly recommended for academic libraries with strong film, art, and digital art programs, and other large libraries should consider it.
Rosalind Dayen, Broward Cty. South Regional Lib., Pembroke Pines, FL
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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Now, everyone can see what it is that he did for so long. He paints in things that aren't there. The authors did a fantastic job of explaining and demonstrating the incredible art of matte painting. Now I have the book to show my kids and others who never quite understood what it was that my father did. Also, this book has a great picture of him dancing with Betty Grable!
And it was worth the wait! This book is incredible. My favorite FX technique finally given the attention it deserves, and it is more extensive and detailed than I imagined. All matte paintings I've come to love over the years, plus an incredible amount of matte-painting-mastery I had never seen are represented by incredible photos, in their full glory. All are accompanied with a stunning print from the actual footage shot for it, or the final composite. Other pictures like photos from artists, cameramen, directors, sets, cameras and other equipment, but also original sketches and illustrations are shown throughout the book. This of course accompanied by Vaz's well written texts and anecdotes, informative, and energetic. The book has been divided in chapters that show the various stages of film history, as well as the several generations of matte painting wizards, and the development of the techniques.
I congratulate Craig & Mark on their beautiful acievement, very inspiring, stunning and moving, pure candy for the eye and mind. My library of VFX books and magazines seems finally complete!
From classic films like Thief of Baghdad, The Wizard of Oz, and Citizen Kane to crowd-pleasers Mary Poppins, The Birds, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Star Wars, the book (and CD) is filled with beautiful photos showing the matte, the "live" shot, and the composited result. What I really liked was all the photos of the artists at work both in the studios and even on location, creating relatively small paintings that would soar across screens. The final chapters cover the technique's transition to the digital age. The CD-ROM is espcially cool, as uses QuickTime movies to show how seamless the composite shots really are!
I would have liked to see samples from Blade Runner, but I suspect the writers wisely wanted to keep from overemphasizing the science-fiction genre. This is a great book that deserves to be under the Christmas trees of anyone interested in film effects.
The focus of the book is matte painting, a specific branch of visual effects. It is a technique that has been used in films from the beginning. Over the last 10 years, matte painting has been transformed by the digital age. Before computers, many of the most stunning and beautiful effects were hand painted. Sadly, most of these paintings have been lost or destroyed. At the time of their creation, the paintings served a practical function. Looking at the pictures in this book make you realize that these paintings should have been saved and displayed in museums.
This is an outstanding document of art, film history, and some of the personalities involved in this branch of visual effects. It follows the history of film through artists working in the industry. In the last chapter, it bridges that history into the digital age. A major achievement.
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Matte Paintings have always been my favourite aspect of SFX, so this book was...Read more