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Digital Matte Painter - Job description


The Digital Matte Painter is a digital artist specialized in creating landscapes, sets, and virtual environments for films or video games.

They bring virtual worlds to life, recreating or modifying real locations in a photorealistic or artistic manner.

Other job titles:

In the film and video game industry, there are other commonly used job titles to describe professionals who create realistic digital backgrounds and visual sets.

  • DMP Artist
  • Matte Painter Artist
  • Digital Background Artist
  • Digital Environment Artist
  • Environment Matte Painter
  • Digital Concept Artist
  • Digital Set Extension Artist
  • Digital Landscape Artist
  • Digital Environment Designer
  • Digital Background Painter
  • Digital Composition Artist
  • Digital Visual Effects Artist

Job Responsibilities:

Under the supervision of the Visual Effects Supervisor, the Digital Matte Painter is responsible for:

  • Participating in pre-production meetings and exchanging creative ideas.
  • Understanding the artistic vision of the Director, Art Director, or Creative Director.
  • Researching visual references.
  • Developing concept art.
  • Creating photorealistic or stylized matte paintings and set elements.
  • Integrating matte paintings into 2D or 3D environments using camera mapping (or projection mapping) techniques, primarily using software like Maya and/or Nuke.
  • Collaborating with the production team (FX Supervisor, Lighting Artists, Compositing Artists, Shader Artists, etc.).
  • Reporting creative or technical issues.
  • Meeting deadlines and delivering the expected quality.
  • Building a reference library.
  • Keeping up with technological advancements and innovations.


What are the skills of a Digital Matte Painter?

  • Mastery of perspective, depth, and color.
  • Excellent sense of composition.
  • Proficiency in digital painting techniques.
  • Knowledge of photography principles.
  • Understanding of light and motion physics.
  • Good understanding of the entire visual effects process.
  • Developed artistic sense.
  • Attention to detail.

Required qualities:

  • Creativity

The profession of a Matte Painter requires a high level of creativity to imagine and create original and unique virtual landscapes.

  • Precision and organization:

The Digital Matte Painter effectively manages their time and can handle multiple tasks simultaneously. They respect deadlines and pay attention to detail.

  • Communication & Teamwork:

Being a Digital Matte Painter requires good teamwork skills to collaborate with the production team. They should be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.

  • Curiosity:

The Digital Matte Painter stays updated on new techniques, technological advancements, and artistic trends. They must be willing to continuously learn and expand their knowledge.

  • Adaptability and flexibility:

The Digital Matte Painter is open to feedback and guidance from creative and technical supervisors. They can find creative solutions to problems that may arise.

Software used by Digital Matte Painters:

Here are some of the most commonly used 3D modeling, rendering, and 2D composition software in matte painting:

  • photoshop
  • nuke
  • maya


  • Corel Painter
  • Substance Painter
  • Katana
  • Mari
  • Houdini
  • Speedtree
  • Linux

For working in the gaming industry, experience with a game engine is a plus (such as Unreal Engine or Unity).

How to become a Digital Matte Painter:

For post-high school diploma:

ISART offers two specialized post-baccalaureate programs in visual effects and virtual environment creation:

In Paris and Montreal:

In Paris, Nice, and Montreal:

These programs focus on creative techniques, mastery of film production or video game development processes, and the software used in the industry.

Depending on one's background and level, parallel admissions are possible.

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What is the best school to become a Digital Matte Painter?

ISART has over 20 years of expertise in the fields of 3D animation, visual effects, and video games.

  • Ranked as the top game school in Europe (source: 2022 GAMEducation).
  • Ranked among the best schools globally: Top 2 by The Rookies, Top 2 by, Top 3 by É
  • 94% graduate employment rate.
  • 21 years of experience.
  • 1,200 alumni across three continents: Americas, Asia, and Europe.
  • Unique blend of creativity, technical skills, and business knowledge.

The teaching team consists of experienced industry professionals with recognized pedagogical skills.

The school maintains close relationships with the film, animation, and video game industry, resulting in internship and apprenticeship opportunities and interactions with industry professionals.

Over 500 partners currently trust ISART's students.

With its facilities (green screen room/modeling workshop/game lab) and equipment (filming, software, rendering farm, Nintendo Switch & PS4 development kits, VR kit) available to students, ISART Digital provides an environment conducive to hands-on learning and experimentation.

What degree?

Subject to achieving the required results, ISART awards the RNCP Level 7 title of "Expert in Digital Design, 3D Animation, and Special Effects."



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Career Progression:

After gaining several years of experience and based on their personal aspirations, Digital Matte Painters can progress into roles such as:

  • Lead Digital Matte Painter
  • Art Director
  • Consultant or Trainer

Companies Hiring Digital Matte Painters:

Several companies may recruit Digital Matte Painters, including:

  • Animation and film production studios
  • Visual effects studios
  • Video game studios
  • Advertising and production agencies
  • Post-production companies

Employment Opportunities in France and Abroad:

Employment opportunities in matte painting exist both in France (permanent positions, fixed-term contracts, freelance) and abroad, including:

  • The United States, which is home to numerous major animation, visual effects, and video game studios.
  • Canada, which has become a significant hub for the animation, visual effects, and video game industry.
  • The United Kingdom, which houses several major studios.
  • Australia and New Zealand, which have experienced significant growth in animation and visual effects in the film industry.

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