Our questions to Bill Taylor

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Our questions to Bill Taylor Empty Re: Our questions to Bill Taylor

Post by rockhoppermedia on Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:59 am

I learnt a lot from that interview its nice to see how mattes can be used and how they are to be interpreted.

Thank you, hope we can get some more great interviews,

thanks to Bill Taylor for taking the rime.



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Post by JBryson on Sat Dec 19, 2009 1:47 am

Seeing a lot of those matte paintings from Illusion Arts up close is something I will forever remember. Smile


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Age : 40
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Post by Swoop on Fri Dec 18, 2009 9:19 pm

Bill Taylor, the amazing artist who co founded Illusion Arts with Syd Dutton took time to answer few questions.
Just to remember his incredible career, he used to be the cameraman for Al Whitlock's Matte Painting, he worked on projects such as The Blues Brothers, Adams Family, DragonHeart, Robin Hood, From Hell, the Village, Casanova...Thank you so much Bill to take time to share your experience with us.

- First, I'd like to ask you how you discovered matte painting, and what did decide you to become a matte artist.

First of all, I'm not a mattte artist, I'm a cameraman. I had been aware of matte paintings since I was a kid, mostly because of obvious ones as in "North by Northwest" or highly romanticized work as in "Mary Poppins". As I went to work in the optical effects business I became more aware of who the players were.

I'm sure dozens of Al Whitlock paintings had slipped past me until I saw "That Funny Feeling", an indifferent Universal comedy, where obvious back-lot buildings were seen surrounded by a very believable Manhattan. Al Whitlock's name was on the movie, so I called him up at Universal. He was kind enough to take quite a
bit of time to talk to me. At one point I said the live action didn't look at all like dupes, and he replied, "That's because they aren't dupes; they're done on the original negative." From that point we hit it off; I became a frequent visitor to Al's department at Universal, was befriended by him and his family, and eventually became his cameraman.

- What is the best souvenir you have about your career, the matte you're the most proud of ?

I'm proudest of the Illusion Arts work in "Casanova". We used everything we knew how to do, in the service of a delightful movie.

- What was you're favorite support to do a matte painting ? Glass ? Cloth ?

To my knowledge, no one has ever done matte paintings on cloth. We worked on glass at Universal and Illusion Arts until the paintings got too big for glass to be safe. Then we worked on Masonite. Our Key Grip, Lynn Ledgerwood, devised a method of insetting glass windows into Masonite panels so that the edges were invisible and the join would never crack. We used these inset windows for rear-projecting live action inserts into paintings on the motion control stand.

- How did you manage the transition between traditional technique and digital ?

It just sort of evolved. Our first digital element was the water reflections in the coffered ceiling of the underground grotto in "The Addams Family" (1991), an otherwise original negative shot. Our last traditional O-neg shot was in "Entertaining Angels, the Dorothy Day Story" in 1996, which also had digital work. Richard Patterson showed how to do everything we needed to do on Mac desktops, so we avoided the big financial hit of buying the SGI machines that was killing so many small companies. Rob Stromberg came to us expert in both traditional and digital painting, when Mike Wassel joined us a little later, he had never painted traditionally. Our great optical cameraman, David Williams, became a great digital compositor. And so it went.

-How do you think matte painting evolved through the age in the sfx/vf industry ? Do you think we use matte painting in the same way that before ?

No, with the move into 3D matte painting has moved more from the background into the foreground.

- Are you nostalgic about traditional matte painting ?

I miss the days when we had two chances at an O-neg shot, and it could not be noodled to death with pointless changes.

- Did you prefer working for commercial or features films ?

I like features because the scope is bigger and the result can be a permanent contribution to the history of movies. On the other hand, the quick turn around for commercials and TV means that the director is
forced to be decisive!

- What would be the most important things to do a great matte painting ?

First of all, it has to be composed like a real shot. Then it has to be a good painting, with the right perspective, aerial depth.

- According to you, what is the limit of a matte painting ? Do you consider 3D environments as a matte painting ?

A matte painting can't take the place of a miniature, but it can work with a miniature or a CG model to create a convincing shot. Since it became possible to project paintings onto 3D objects the line has been blurred.

- What would you like to find today in a software like photoshop to improve the way you're working ?

Though we tried every digital painting tool, Photoshop was preferred by our artists at Illusion Arts. Recent versions of Corel Painter have a great brush interface that my former business partner Syd Dutton has
found very congenial for painting sketches as opposed to matte paintings. Of course a matte painting should not look like a painting! An artist like Syd could answer this question much better.

- According to you, is matte painting an art or a technique ?

Matte painting is a commercial art that requires great technique.

- What would you like to say to the matte artist generation who only knew digital way to work ?

Look at paintings by great artists like Turner and Constable. Understand what they are doing with light,
color, composition. Follow the Percy Day technique passed on to Ellenshaw and Whitlock. Start with a big brush, get composition, tone and color right for the whole image, then worry about details.

Thank you so much for your time !
We hope to see you on Dmpworld.org often !

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