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Matte Painting & Background Art in the Entertainment Industry

Whether a film or TV show is set on a distant planet, dotted with rumbling volcanoes, in the middle of a jungle with dense foliage as far as the eye can see, or in a total fantasy world with unusual plants, rocks, and landscapes, Matte Painters and Background Artists help make these locations real. In this circle, we will celebrate this amazing art form, and discuss ways to grow and thrive in the industry.

This circle is broken down into two parts:

[Part 1]: Understanding the Art of Matte Painting & Background Art. We’ll discuss the history and evolution of matte painting and background art. Mentees will learn to understand workflows and how matte painting and background art fits in the production pipeline. Learn how to utilize and efficiently create production level matte painting & background art for animated & live action features. I will walk you through the process from concept/color key to completion. You will learn how to develop painting techniques and the technical skills you need. I will talk about how we adapt as we move forward into the future of filmmaking. Throughout the course of part 1, I will invite industry professionals from traditional matte painters to production supervisors to talk about the impact and benefits of matte painting & background art in animation & film productions.

[Part 2]: How to break into the industry and thrive in it.
There will be discussions on the importance of networking and staying connected, how to land your first job, how to build a portfolio, what we look for in portfolios and questions we usually ask during an interview. There will be portfolio reviews and feedback. I will also discuss my experience of being a woman in a male dominated industry (the struggles, how to navigate, overcome challenges and build an inclusive & diverse work environment). And going forward, how to maintain a supportive community where you can support and learn from each other.

Mentee Criteria

Exp Level:
Student
0-1 Year
1-3 Years

Meeting Times & Dates

Please note: Meeting times and dates are subject to change by your Circle Mentor

Times Per Month:  Weekly

Dates: Wednesdays

Meeting Times: 7pm – 9pm (PST)

Circle Leader

Alyssa Zarate

Alyssa Zarate is currently a Matte Painting & Environment Supervisor at Sony Pictures Imageworks. For over a decade, she has worked on films such as Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Spider-man: Far From Home, Game of Thrones, The Wolverine, Jurassic World, Prometheus, The Chronicles of Narnia to name a few; and various shows produced by HBO, Starz, National Geographic, Amazon Prime, Disney and Netflix.

She started out working in the Arts Department as an on-set Production Designer for film & television productions around New Zealand & Australia. She is passionate about leadership, mentoring and inspiring current and future generations of women artists in Visual Effects & Animation.


Title/Expertise:  Lead Matte Painter


Company:  Sony Pictures


Location:  Vancouver, BC


LinkedIn / Website:
linkedin.com/in/alyssazarate