While most motion picture productions have moved to blue and green screens, the techniques used my matte painters are still applied to modern filmmaking. Background plates are often still hand drawn or painted. They are used as reference material for the digital artwork.
Matte paintings are also no longer trapped into two dimensional images. Entire 3D sets and backgrounds are created digitally. Even digital cameras are used to add movement. There are still films that will use matte paintings as backdrops. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, six 100-foot canvases were stitched together and placed behind the set.
If you are interested in making matte paintings, head over to Feng Zhu’s YouTube channel, FZDSchool. Feng Zhu has contributed to some of the biggest films made by George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Michael Bay and Luc Besson. His YouTube series teaches you how to make all sorts of landscapes, like this fantasy world.