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Interview with a Talented Matte Painter and Concept Artist – Tiberius Viris! October 23, 2008

Today we want to introduce a talented matte painter and concept artists from Romania – Tiberius Viris. And though he is only in his twenties, he was an immediate success and gained popularity. Tiberius’s amazing matte paintings looks so realistic and lifelike, so it is hardly possible to distinguish them from photos. His works have been featured in many books and art collections such as Digital Art Masters Vol III, D’artiste Matte Painting 2, Expose 5 and 6 and many others.


For more information, please visit a website of Tiberius Viris.


Lost World - Tample of Nature
Lost World – Tample of Nature. Matte Painting by Tiberius Viris


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Please, tell about yourself. When did you first notice that you have a talent of an artist?


Hello! My name is Tiberius Viris and I’m a visual effects artist working for the film and entertainment industry.


To be honest, I dreamed of environments and exotic worlds ever since I can remember, and this passion found its perfect tool – visual art – only much later. For a very long time I tried to express these ideas through writing until one day I discovered, by accident, the wonders of computer graphics. Since then I’ve devoted myself to this technique, trying to learn everything about it and even find some room for improvement.


Usually the talent is propagated. Is anybody in your family related to arts?


Unfortunately, I have to say no, it’s a curiosity for me too. All my family are strong science folks and I personally like science too…but somehow art found a way to entangle with it in a harmonic way :)


Antarctica. Matte Painting by Tiberius Viris.


What is your main achievement in CG? Do you have a favorite work among works created by yourself? If yes, why is it exactly this one?


Hmmm, I feel it’s still early to talk about a main achievement, because I’m still young and a long road lies ahead :) But so far I’m very happy with the hyper realism level I’ve reached. Some of my pieces are often mistaken as photos :) My favorite piece is Lost World, but the most of my friends like Dragon Mist or Hokkaido more.


Hall of the Dragon Mist
Hall of the Dragon Mist. Matte Painting by Tiberius Viris.


As we know, you are specializing on matte paintings, illustrations, concept art and composition. But what do you like to do most? And What subjects do you like to explore most in your work?


Of course, I love matte paintings most of all, they can be backgrounds for films or standalone illustrations. As for the subjects, I love to depict anything that challenges my imagination… That means I don’t like to illustrate present world :) From fantasy/mystic worlds to deep dramatic futuristic scenes, all suits me.


The Revelation
“The Revelation” by Tiberius Viris.


Tell us, how do you manage to achieve such realism in your works? How long does it take you to complete on average a photorealistic project?


Photorealism is an illusion and you need to know how to sell it. For that you need to know how objects behave in real world (in photographic means), some psychology about how human brain works/’reads’ an image, as well as most of traditional art rules. Most important aspects of a photo realistic image are lightning, shape and perspective. I could talk a lot about these things but I guess it’s not the point of this interview :)


Do you have any cult figures in the world of 3D? What people influenced on your creative work?


At the beginning I was influenced a lot by Dylan Cole and Syd Mead works. Then I discovered a lot of great guys such as Yannick Dusseault, Alp Altiner and many other :) They were all among the first to experiment this form of art in a digital way (because traditionally, matte paintings date since 1950).


God of Thunder
“God of Thunder” by Tiberius Viris.


What software do you prefer to use and why?


Photoshop. It’s the standard tool of every matte painter. Vue and 3dsmax are also handy.


Could you please provide a brief description of how you do a matte painting emphasizing the most important stages of the process?


Hmmm… It really depends on the project…. and you need to make a difference between movie matte paintings -where you are provided with a plate to work on and illustrative matte paintings where you would start from scratch with a concept/sketch. Considering this last case, first step is to work on composition and mood. When everything looks fine (compositional wise), you start looking for references – if possible – to see how a similar scene would look in real world. Then you start to sample colors and texture (some people prefer 3d instead of painting). When the ‘raw’ world is done you adjust colors and lightning. At the end comes refining and details.


King of Huston - El Paso
King of Huston – El Paso. Matte Painting by Tiberius Viris.


Most of all I enjoy this work – King of Huston – Hokkaido. Can you please tell a couple of words about this project? What inspired you? Did you use references? How did you add the details: in 2D or 3D?


Hokkaido was inspired quite a lot by ‘Shogun’ novel and depicts the region in the North of Japan with the same name. Most of the details are added in 2D, in fact you could see all the brushwork at full 4000px resolution :)


King of Huston- Hokkaido
King of Huston – Hokkaido. Matte Painting by Tiberius Viris.


What pieces of advice would you give to the beginning matte painters and 3D artists?


I think the best advice for any artist is, like a friend of mine said, “to be a good critique of his work. Be ruthless when it comes to judge your work. If you don’t, other people will.”
I would like to add that if you are new, you need to be patient and practise a lot. Don’t expect immediate results, because such skills need time to develop. Have faith and experiment as much as possible.


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Thank you, Tiberius, for a great interview. We wish you success and inspiration.



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