New Tutorial: Alien Surface!

In this tutorial we will create a realistic set extension for the surface of a far away alien planet. With the help of the Matte Painting challenge we will be compositing the background along with adding 3D rocks with Element 3D and pulling out the Roto Brush tool. Big thanks to everyone that submitted a matte painting I had fun looking through all of them and I’ll to post some of my favorites soon!

Watch Tutorial Now!

Peter Somers
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:14 am
Once again, another exciting tutorial!
Excellent stuff!
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:18 am
Very nice Andrew !!
Alien Surface!
M Kremers
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:18 am
I was wondering when this was going to come up. Must've been crazy going through all the submissions. Can't wait to see your top 10. :P
peter k
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:20 am
Nice tutorial as always
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:22 am
Who actually won the challenge? Looking forward to watching this...
    September 4th, 2012 @ 9:51 am
    No one really "won"... it was a challenge!
    September 4th, 2012 @ 11:43 pm
    Sam Loya FTW!!

    Actually, Andrew Kramer was born to win.
    September 24th, 2012 @ 8:47 pm
    But are you going to share some of your favorites with us, Andrew?
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:24 am
very thanks for this tutorials.
but i have one question about Free Earth Project for Element 3D:
why don’t u made the sun light off, when it goes off the Earth?
how can fix this problem?
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:24 am
thanks yad :P <3 and waiting the new optical flares 2
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:39 am

The SD version of the video returns 404.
please fix it.
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:41 am
the best as usual.
you are the chosen one mr kramer
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:46 am
Yes looking forward too! I want to see the work from other people (:
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:49 am
Welcome Kramer! Great Tuto!
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:51 am
Always the best !! :)
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:54 am
Very Nice
Good Idea
September 4th, 2012 @ 10:03 am
Not quite sure if this is the place to post this, but wouldn't raytraced reflections not be necessary for element particles to reflect each other. Couldn't you simply render each frame twice, once just rendering the environment with the particles, and then use that rendered image as a particle reflection map for the second render of that frame, the same way you reflect the environment. Of course this wouln't be fully accurate, but it might give a decent approximation.
    September 5th, 2012 @ 2:47 pm
    yes you could but it wouldn't be accurate
September 4th, 2012 @ 10:06 am
I dont see any project download icon. Dont we need media to participate with this tutorial?
September 4th, 2012 @ 10:06 am
Hello man
Thanks for tutorial
September 4th, 2012 @ 10:09 am
How we can get project file ?
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:11 am
What Im first. No way. Looking forward to gettin home and watch this.
September 4th, 2012 @ 10:14 am
tanks Andrew Kramer
rock element?
3d camera tracker in after effects cs6?
ahmed vfx
September 4th, 2012 @ 10:28 am
very great andrew........... we next wait
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:39 am
Epic! Going to watch as soon as I get home. Nice to see Sam!
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:41 am
Btw, Can't wait for the other tutorials coming out this week!
September 4th, 2012 @ 10:47 am
very cool...again! thanks andrew!
September 4th, 2012 @ 11:00 am
I've loved this challenge. It was amazing to see every member of this comunity, newbies and old ones, working togheter, submiting amazing jobs. It was very nice. I hope you do more challenges of this kind Andrew.

Thanks to all of you, V.C. staff!
Jasper Tsai
September 4th, 2012 @ 11:12 am
Andrew you are rocking the world again.
September 4th, 2012 @ 11:59 am
really thanks Andrew, for your FREE-Perfect tutorials unlike many websites!. u are a LEGEND.
can u introduced me a PERFECT&FREE source like VideoCopilot for 3D programs(max, maya, zbrush,...)? also NUKE. :D
really thanks.
September 4th, 2012 @ 12:37 pm
hmmm, nice but after the latest stuff i am to spoilt. lol - good job!
September 4th, 2012 @ 12:41 pm
Awesomeness. Once again, it was nice having that "old original" tutorial, the old intro..

Very cool tutorial with lots of great information. Thanks so much Andrew! :)
September 4th, 2012 @ 1:32 pm
Quick question ... if i use the foundry's camera tracker do i need to do that null scaling and rotation trick .. or do i just place my null objects at the appropriate tracker points i see ??
    September 6th, 2012 @ 6:02 am
    Tracking engine probably the same but it has some additional advanced features attended to the native connections of tracking process.But your question need an absolute answer.Search the firm's web site of Foundry.
September 4th, 2012 @ 3:10 pm
will you please provide the plate footage?

September 4th, 2012 @ 4:53 pm
Yay! Great stuff. Been waiting for this one.
BTW, your speech at Siggraph was good, (so how many of the thousands stayed for the whole thing?)
September 4th, 2012 @ 4:56 pm
Nice job integrating Element! Now I know what some of those options are for.
September 4th, 2012 @ 5:49 pm
Very Cool! I'm looking forward to watching some of it.
September 4th, 2012 @ 6:37 pm
Thanks u for all your tutorial. i can buy your plugin for WebMoney? With pay-pal in russia = ХУЕВО.
Zach Ehlert
September 4th, 2012 @ 7:04 pm
Whenever I do tracks with element, it never looks very good. always sliding around and stuff, even when I use this tracking technique.
Steve E
September 4th, 2012 @ 9:54 pm
lol, Loved the 'Great Escape' music during the timelapse...way to make it fun
September 4th, 2012 @ 11:01 pm
bestes tutorial you made Andrew Kremer . really enjoyed and studied alot from your tutorial
September 5th, 2012 @ 12:14 am
Hi, Andrew Kramer

yours tutorial very nice, eagerly waiting for the new videos
September 5th, 2012 @ 1:47 am
Just an idea:
The same way we can load a preset object (already mapped), could be useful and quicker to load a "ground plane" already mapped with matte shadow.
(just to avoid to recreate the wheel each time)
(I know i may save it as object, but...)
    September 5th, 2012 @ 4:47 am
    just check matte shadow take few second, man... as you said in the end: yes, make yourself a preset or you want also Kramer come take your hand? ^_^
September 5th, 2012 @ 2:33 am
Thanks u for all your tutorial!
September 5th, 2012 @ 6:25 am
Thanks Andrew! I really appreciate the time you must take to make these great tutorials, manage new things for video copilot, while keeping together a great team! Keep up the good work and I look forward to what down the future road of video copilot... although I know where you're going you don't need... roads.
September 5th, 2012 @ 9:27 am
Andrew the new bundle pack will be this year?
September 5th, 2012 @ 9:32 am
how can we use element 3d plugin in after effects..???
September 5th, 2012 @ 9:59 am
very cool~
i like U very much! hah
    September 5th, 2012 @ 10:01 am
    from china fans
Lucas de Souza
September 5th, 2012 @ 3:34 pm
It was better than we had used chroma key in the second stage!
Wow, this is perfect, thank VIDEOCOPILOT staff, you guys are awesome!
September 5th, 2012 @ 7:45 pm
Awesome Tutorial bro :) I'll be glad if Andrew start publishing cinema4D tutorials as well.
September 5th, 2012 @ 10:52 pm
hi andrew.when do you want to put project of this tutorial.
September 6th, 2012 @ 8:45 am
Hi .. here is another 3D still image. Created with 3Ds MAX and lots of VC Optical Flares .. Hope you will like it .. Cheers !
September 6th, 2012 @ 3:05 pm
Please Any One Tell Me Where Did Andrew Kramer Went to School At
September 7th, 2012 @ 4:07 am
Why do you freeze rotobrush ?
September 8th, 2012 @ 5:27 am
Hey Andrew, the normalization of the 3D world is a real pain in the butt. Do you think there is a way to automate this process via a plugin or script?
September 8th, 2012 @ 12:22 pm
Andrew Kramer almost NEVER says "another exciting tutorial" this must be an amazing tutorial, like all of them!
September 12th, 2012 @ 7:29 pm
Hey Andrew, as I was killing time in between class's today, I thought I'd try doing this on AE CS4. I couldn't track the mountains in the background very well, and I couldn't use rotobrush either with CS4, but I found a faster and easier way to make Sams head overlay the BG just as good.
I made a new null object and tracked the buckle on Sams chest. After that I duplicated the footage (moved the new footage above the painting), made a new solid and matted Sams head in by pick whipping that solid-matte to the new null object. Surprisingly I did not have to set any key frames for the mask applied to the solid-matte.
I would not have been able to accomplish this without learning from your brilliant tutorials.
Parag J.
September 20th, 2012 @ 10:23 pm
Ace P.
September 21st, 2012 @ 6:19 pm
I was working on this tutorial and I used the foundary's plugin for this because I'm working in CS5. When I put in the matte painting and do everything like was said and then RAM preview, the matte painting is moving slightly up and down (moving in general)?? Can anyone help me?
Zafer Ercevik
September 27th, 2012 @ 10:32 am
Please check out my work on I used the footage provided by Andrew to create a matte painting shot that would be good enough to be used in a game cinematic. Please let me know if you guys have any suggestion or tips to improve my work. Thanks.
February 25th, 2013 @ 3:15 pm
OK, found this site 2 years ago but was sort of passing through. Since I am migrating from the old ways, to new... This site (and this particular tutorial) has compelled me to "Flip" and proceed. I have been a print an interactive designer for a long time - so, yes... Old Dog. And, with that experience,, it is also hard to impress me. This tutorial did exactly that. And, it is more than a Matte Backdrop tutorial... It is a color-correction/color-change tutorial, a motion track tutorial, a masking tutorial, and several more. As I have reviewed several other VCP tuts since, the way that topics are reinforced is what impresses me as much as the quality of delivery. Neither condescending nor presumptuous, he fortifies skills of varied levels by blending basic, intermediate, and advanced subtopics within the context. Thanks,
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