The Invisible Art: The Legends of Movie Matte Painting

Overview

Now available in paperback, The Invisible Art provides an unprecedented retrospective of matte art painting — the unsung hero in the fast-paced world of cinematic visual effects. Until recently, matte-painting techniques were closely guarded secrets kept locked up on studio lots. The Invisible Art flings open the gates to reveal the finest representations of matte paintings from rare examples seen in epics such as Gone with the Wind and Citizen Kane to prove that the brush is mightier than the computer, as seen ...

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Overview

Now available in paperback, The Invisible Art provides an unprecedented retrospective of matte art painting — the unsung hero in the fast-paced world of cinematic visual effects. Until recently, matte-painting techniques were closely guarded secrets kept locked up on studio lots. The Invisible Art flings open the gates to reveal the finest representations of matte paintings from rare examples seen in epics such as Gone with the Wind and Citizen Kane to prove that the brush is mightier than the computer, as seen in such blockbusters as Star Wars and Titanic. Lavishly illustrated, the book's tremendous scope unveils a century's worth of fascinating stories, legendary personalities, and cunning movie craft from the first pioneering "glass shots" to the dawn of digital technology. Including a foreword by George Lucas, The Invisible Art conjures a never-before-told story of film wizardry.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Some of the most memorable settings in Hollywood film - Tara, Oz, Xanadu - were the sleight-of-had creation of matte painters, who laid down a scene with oil paints on a sheet of glass, leaving an area black (the matte) where the live action was slotted in. Pioneers of the genre like the aptly named Norman Dawn were unimpressed by such three-dimensional concoctions as D.W. Griffith's mammoth Babylon for "Intolerance." "No matter how big you make your sets," Dawn boasted, "I can make them 10 times bigger." For a hundred years, the magicians of matte worried that revealing their secrets would ruin the pleasurable illusions of filmgoers. Nnow that digital technology has made matte painting obsolete, this eye-opening book (with CD-ROM included), by a film historian and a matte-painting alumnus of George Lucas's studio, has the opposite effect; it increases our wonder at this heretofore "invisible art." The Wizard of Oz may be exposed, but his Emerald City - along with other shimmering images on glass from the silent era to the star wars series - retains its magic. - New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811845151
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 7/29/2004
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 1.00 (w) x 1.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Cotta Vaz recently completed his 19th book, a biography of Merian C. Cooper, creator of King Kong which is scheduled to be published by Random House in 2005. Vaz's books on movie history include Industrial Light + Magic: Into the Digital Realm, which

Craig Barron has been an innovator in the cinematic technique of matte painting for the last two decades, playing a key role in the effects for films from The Empire Strikes Back to The Last Samurai. A veteran of George Lucas's effects company, Industrial Light + Magic, Barron now heads Matte World Digital. He is currently creating the visual effects for an Imax film on the Universe for professor Stephen Hawking. Barron lives in Marin County, California.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 11
Preface 13
Introduction 14
Chapter 1 The Kingdom of Shadows 29
Chapter 2 Trick Man 39
Chapter 3 Worldly Hope 53
Chapter 4 Wonderful Magic 63
Chapter 5 Dream Factories 83
Chapter 6 To War and Back 103
Chapter 7 The Big Picture 127
Chapter 8 The Way of the Artist 157
Chapter 9 The Force 181
Chapter 10 Sudden Impact 225
Epilogue: The Lost Art 272
Interviews 276
Notes 277
Acknowledgments 280
Picture Credits 281
Index 282
About the Authors 290
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