George Gibson


George Gibson (1904-2001) was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1904,  he received his arts education at the Edinburgh College of Art and at the Glasgow School of Art where he studied with the master scenic designer William E. Glover. Realizing that his talents and motivation were in scenic design, Gibson worked as an apprentice in local theaters while completing his studies.

In 1930, he emigrated from Scotland to the United States and settled in Los Angeles.

 In 1934 Gibson landed a position as an illustrator with Metro~Goldwyn~Mayer Studios. By 1938 he became head of the scenic design department. Through his more than thirty-year career, he worked on such films as Boys Town (1938), The Wizard of Oz (1939), An American in Paris (1951), Brigadoon (1954), and Shoes of the Fisherman (1968). Gibson’s backdrops were as large as 60 x 150 feet and so realistic that the audience didn’t realize the setting was on a soundstage, which was the goal of the studio.

After serving in the United States Marine Corps in World War 11, Gibson began to exhibit his watercolor paintings on a professional level.

In the late 1940s, Gibson was on the board of the California Water Color Society and in 1951 was the Societys president.

After his retirement from MGM in 1969, Gibson was able to devote all his time to painting and teaching. He loved painting out of doors with watercolor.

GeorgeGibson Working

 Selected Filmography:

1938 Boys Town
1939 The Wizard of Oz
1952 An American in Paris
1954 Brigadoon
1968 Shoes of the Fisherman

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)

Director: Terry Gilliam
Production Design Dante Ferretti
Director of photography: Giuseppe Rotunno
Special effects supervisor: Richard Conway/ Antonio Parra (Spain)/ Adriano Pischiutta (Italy)
Matte photography consultant: Dennis Bartlett / Stanley W. Sayer
Optical effects supervisor: Kent Houston (Peerless Camera Co. Ltd)
Optical effects coordinator: Martin Body (Peerless Camera)
Matte painting: Bob Cuff/ Joy Cuff /Leigh Took/ Doug Ferris (Peerless Camera)
Matte camera: John Grant (Peerless Camera)
Models supervisor: model unit: Martin Gant


Before and after images of matte paintings from Munchausen.

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Munchausenmatte91Baron Munchausen end shot-total

Posted in 80s

Les croix de bois (1932)

Director: Raymond Bernard
Cinematography: Jules Kruger/ René Ribault
Art Direction: Jean Perrier
Matte painting: Unknown by probably art director Jean Perrier.

According to Leon Barsacq´s book ” A history of film design” When Percy Day leave France to return to England around 1932, some art directors like Jean Perrier begun to execute their own glass paintings for their films. There is a chance that Percy day made these paintings before moving to U.K. but most probably it was done a Jean Perrier or some other French artist.

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The soldier´s hat disappears behind the painting during some frames.

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That dawn on the battlefield looks like a miniature tabletop with a painted backing.

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A battlefield set with a beautiful backdrop painting.

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Tonight and Every Night (1945)

Director: Victor Saville
Director of photography: Rudolph Maté
Art Director: Lionel Banks/ Stephen Goosson/ Rudolph Sternad
Special photographic effects: Lawrence W. Butler
Matte paintings: Uncredited


Lawrence Butler was head of VFX department at Columbia for many years, but there was not a resident matte painter or team of artists. there were many matte artists that worked for Columbia pictures during the 40´s and 50´s. Juan Larrinaga, Hans Bartholowski or Lou Lichtenfield before moving to Warner Bros matte department.

For this musical drama-war settled in London, the matte artists enlarged the sets made at Columbia Studios in California showing some London’s streets.

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There are also several matte paintings used for nigh views, especially during the German Bombings in London.

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Three matte paintings enhancing sets of destroyed buildings before the bombing raid.

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Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 hours 11 minutes (1965)

Director: Ken Annakin
Production Design: Thomas N. Morahan
Director of photography: Christopher Challis
Special effects supervisor: Richard Parker
Special effects: Ron Ballanger/ Jimmy Harris/ Fred Heather
Garth Inns/ Malcolm King/ Nick Middleton/ Jimmy Ward
Visual effects: Roy Field
Second unit cameraman: Skeets Kelly
Matte painting: Uncredited. probably Cliff Culley who was matte painter resident at Pinewood Studios where it was filmed part of the movie.

Two Scenic paintings made at Pinewood Studios.

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Visual effects were handled by Roy Field who was during several years head of photographic effects at Pinewood Studios.  On the last image, the planes were composited into the Parisian view.

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Matte paintings probably by Cliff Culley who was the matte painter supervisor at Pinewood VFX department during more than two decades.On the first image, all the distant public on the upper part of the frame were painted. On the other three images, all the faraway Paris vistas and the upper part of the pavilion bleachers with the spectators were also painted. On the first one, the cloudy sky and the balloons look like part of the matte painting.

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The Princess Bride (1987)

Directed: Rob Reiner
Cinematography : Adrian Biddle
Production Design: Norman Garwood
Special effects supervisor: Nick Allder
Model photographer: model photography unit: Paul Wilson
Matte painting by. Peerles camera , London
Matte Supervisor : Kent Houston, John Grant
Matte painter: Bob Cuff
Additional matte painting: Ken Marschall (Matte effects)

Miniature model ship filmed  by Paul Wilson.

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Matte paintings by Bob Cuff, photography and composition by Kent Houston and John Grant

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There is another matte painting shot that was probably requested by production during the editing process to be add at the ending scene, showing the four horsemen riding away. The matte painting was done by USA based company Matte effects. Ken Marschall (painting) and Bruce Block(photography)



Legend of the Lost (1957)

Director: Henry Hathaway
Cinematography: Jack Cardiff
Art Direction: Alfred Ybarra
Manager of art department: Italo Tomassi
Matte paintings: Unknown

That adventure- romance flick was an independent movie produced by Dear Film Productions, Rome, Italy, and Batjac Productions
That was an independent film production company founded by John Wayne in the early 1950s as a vehicle for Wayne to produce as well as star in movies. It was released by United Artist and filmed at Libya and Cinecitta, Rome.
The matte paintings are uncredited , in fact there is not credit for any kind of special effects, photographic, optical or whatever. It is clearly showed on the film that the matte paintings were added on postproduction.
That could have been done in Cinecitta by matte painter Joseph Natanson, who at that time, was providing mattes for Italian films, by I doubt it. It could be also handled at London by any of the matte painting departments on Pinewood, or Shepperton Studios or it could be also managed at Hollywood by any of the numerous matte departments over there. whoever did that matte work, he did it brilliantly.

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Sudan (1945)

Directed by John Rawlins
Director of photography: George Robinson / Virgil Miller
Art Direction: John B. Goodman/ Richard H. Riedel
Special photography: John P. Fulton
Matte painting supervisor: Rusell Lawson (uncredited)
Matte painting artist: John DeCuir

Before being art director and production designer of many famous films, John De Cuir was matte artist at Universal matte department working with Russell Lawson. Here John with a painting from Sudan 1945.

John De Cuir Sr. Sudan


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British VFX Matte painting Timeline.

The information above has been compile from different sources, magazines and books, and with the help of VFX professionals like Martin Body, John Grant, Bob Cuff ,Doug Ferris, Dennis Lowe, Kent Houston,  and others  to whom I’m sincerely thankful, like matte expert Peter Cook.

1912. At the book  “The Saga of Special Effects” by Ron Fry and Pamela Fourzon, they  mention Britain’s Edgar Rogers, who worked with England’s trick film pioneer G.A. Smith, as an early developer of glass shots and other special effects.  They reference the film Santa Claus (1912) as a showcase for his effects.           .

1916. Walter Hall, the English art director of D. W. Griffith’s “Intolerance”, develops his own method of creating the glass shot. He paints the additions to the scene on composition board, cuts them out with a beveled edge,and mounts them in front of the camera. He patented this variation of the glass shot technique, known as “The Hall Process” in 1921.

1922. Walter Percy (“Pop”) Day introduces the “The Hall Process or galss shot”  to the French film industry on  “Les Opprimés.”     .

1927.  For Alfred Hitchcock film “The ring” Walter Percy Day is called from France, to execute a trick shot using the “schuftan process”, to integrate  the ring set, into a painting of the Albert Hall.

1930. Percy Day develops his version of the latent image technique and applies it in “Les jouer de chess”

1932. Returning to England, Percy Day to demonstrate the  value of glass shots, executed some paintings for free  at some British Studios.Studios producers encourage their own Studios painter to made matte paintings. Although Percy Day and his assistant Peter Ellenshaw are the only two credited matte painters at that time, there where some others unknown. Percy Day and his assistant and stepson Peter Ellenshaw  paint mattes for producer Alexander Korda at: The Private Life of Henry VIII.

1935. Director Alfred Hitchcock has illustrator Fortunino  Matania create a matte painting for the trap sequence at the Royal Albert Hall “The Man Who Knew Too Much.”

1936. Walter Percy Day headed the Department of Matte Painting at Denham Studios for Alexander Korda films. Percy Day and Peter Ellenshaw paint mattes for “Things to Come”.

1936. For Alfred Hitchcock film “Sabotage”, the Strand Street of London was  recreated into a Studio, with the help of a glass painting.


1937. For “Young and innocent” made at Gaingsborough Studios,they used miniatures and matte painting. Art director Albert Jullion was probably the matte painter.Albert Whitlock worked on scenic and miniatures artist.

1940. Percy Day and assistant Peter Ellenshaw paint a oriental fantasy world for “The Thief of Bagdad” The film wins the Academy Award for Visual Effects.

1945.Percy Day paints glass shots for “HenryV”.

1946. After many years as scenic artist and background painting, Albert Jullion get his first credit as matte painter for “The magic Bow”


1946.Another scenic artist, Les Bowie begun as matte painter at Pinewood Studios, he paints mattes for David Lean´s  “Great Expectations”.

1946. A young Cliff Culley entered Pinewood studios  as apprentice matte painter.


1946. Walter Percy  Day was appointed Director of Special Effects of London Films at Shepperton Studios. After returning  from five years in the RAF, Peter Ellenshaw paints for  “A Matter of Life and Death”. Percy Day heads the visual effects for the film


1947. Percy Day and Ellenshaw paint Himalayan views and the monastery for “Black Narcissus”.

1948.  Les Bowie, Joseph Natanson, and Ivor Beddoes paint mattes for  “The Red Shoes”.

1948. Les Bowie paint mattes for “Oliver Twist” at Pinewood Studios.

1948 . Peter Ellenshaw was called to Tom Howard at British MGM Studios to make matte paintigs for “Idol of Paris”.

1948. After Ellenshaw left, Percy Day started to work with other asistants like Judy Jordan who help him painting the mattes for  “Bonnie prince Charlie”.


Another Day´s assistant was Joan Suttie who  painted with the master on films like “Uncle silas” or “Fame is the Spure” (1947)                        .

1948.  Geoffrey Dickinson was matte artist at Ealing Studios from 1947 to 1953: working on films like “Scott of the Antarctic “(48) (see image) “Whisky galore”(49), “The cruel sea”(53) or “The man on the white suit”(51)

1949. Albert Whitlock paints his first original negative  matte painting for “The Bad Lord Byron”.       .

1950  Peter Ellenshaw works on his first Disney  film in England, painting mattes for “Treasure Island.”

1950. Albert Whitlock is credited with Bill Warrington as Special effects  for his matte paintings at “Trio” made for at Pinewood.

1951  Les Bowie left Pinewood matte department to create his own company in association with Vic Margutti,  Bowie-Margutti films.

.1952.  Tom Howard head of Special effects department of British  MGM ask Peter Ellenshaw to paint mattes for “Quo Vadis? ”

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1952. Roy Field  still in his teens, entered at Bowie Films, and learned with Margutti as FX Cameramen

1952. Percy Day retired from Shepperton Studios Wally Veevers  became head of Matte Department.Shepperton Studios crew:George Samuels  principal painter , Albert Jullion ,  Bob Cuff , David Hume, Joseph Natanson, Judy Jordan, Ivor Beddoes: Freelance, Alan Maley         .

1952  Peter Ellenshaw  work for Disney, with  Albert Whitlock as assistant, for “Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue” and “The  Sword and the Rose”(image) They  had some matte apprentices like Cliff Culley and probably also Peter Melrose who helped Whitlock  doing foreground glasses for some films by the Arthur Rank Organization.

1952. At British MGM Tom Howard supervised VFX work for films like”The rounded table Knights” or “Ivanhoe”(image) Matte paintings were uncredited.

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1953 .Joseph Natanson worked frequently at Rome for films  like “Puccini” or “Madame Butterfly” Finally he moved to Italy.     .

1954  Peter Ellenshaw went to America to work at Disney matte department  for “20. 000 Leagues Under the Sea”Albert Whitlock  moved also to USA to work with him.

1954. Ivor Beddoes painted mattes for “Atila” filmed in Italy.


1954. Judy Jordan left Shepperton matte departement to work at MGM British Studio under Tom Howard.

1956. Joseph Natanson already settled at Rome, painted mattes for Louis Lichtenfield at ” Helen of Troy”filmed at Cinecitta.

1956. Vic Margutti and Roy Field left Bowie films to go to Pinewood.    .

1956. For the film “Satellite in the Sky” Wally Veevers had scenic artist Julius Kay working as matte artist with Bob Cuff and George Samuels.      .

1957. Matte artist Bob Bell who had previously worked at Pinewood Studios, left to AP films as art director..

1957. Derek Meddings worked with Les Bowie as matte assist at Anglo-Scottish Pictures Ltd. They painted mattes for Hammer films like “Dracula” (image) and  “The curse of Frankenstein”Another matte apprentice with Bowie who started at those years was Ray Caple.

1957 . David Hume left Shepperton matte department to became scenic artist at Teddington Studios.             .

1958 . Tom Howard at British MGM wins an academy for the FX  at “Tom Thumb” with matte paintings probably by Judy Jordan.

1959. Bill Warrington left Pinewood to work freelance. Cliff Culley remains as head of matte painting and optical effects for films like “Northwest frontier”

1960 . Derek Meddings left Bowie and went to Gerry Anderson TV series as Director of Special Effects.        .


1961 Shepperton Studios matte department was responsible for the mattes from some Ray Harryhausen films like “Jason and  the Argonauts”.(image)

Wally Veevers was in charge of the photographic dept. Ted Samuels in charge of practicals on the floor. Peter Harman was his cameraman with Bryan Loftus, Geoff Stevenson, and  John Grant who comes from Kodak. John Mackie with Bob Cuff was about to leave to join Les Bowie .The main matte artist was Doug Ferris with Gerald Larn, Brian Evans and Peter Melrose assisting.Films from this period at Shepperton included “Vampire Killers”, “Best House in Town”, “Casino Royal”,  and many more. Not all had matte paintings as they also did transitions, Split Screens and titles.

Shepperton matte department was housed in M stage which had a large matte painting studio employing several matte painters, a model shop, a small shooting stage and optical rooms. The walls displayed many matte paintings and models from earlier films, sadly most lost today.

1962. Cliff Culley head of matte department at Pinewood, with Roy Filed supervising optical effects. Begun his James Bond series, painting mattes for  “Dr. No” and “From Russia with love”

007 Doctor No- 62 Culley

At middle sixties, Charles Stoneham joins Pinewood  matte department,trained by Cliff Culley.

1963. Bob Cuff begun working with Les Bowie. Ray Caple was already working as Les Bowie’s matte artist  and had been trained by him from an early age. They share matte work for films like “The masque of the red death”

1963. “Cleopatra” earned the Academy Award for Special effects with Emile Kosa as matte painter supervisor and Joseph Natanson matte assistant, in Cinecitta, Italy.

1964. After his well-regarded work in “Doctor Strangelove”,Alan Maley joins Disney Studio in America .

1964. Ivor Beddoes working as freelance, painted mattes for Bill Warrington at “The long ships” .

1964. Peter Melrose and Bob Cuff paint mattes for Hammer film “Dracula has risen from the Grave”

1967 John Mackey, Les Bowie and Bob Cuff formed a Abacus Productions to make T.V. commercials.  (Les  Bowie didn´t want to be involved with commercials and acted as sleeping partner, renting his premises and equipment to the  offshoot company).

- Wally Veevers leaves Shepperton to work on “2001″ along with Brian Loftus

- Doug Ferris, Gerald Larn, Peter Harman and John Grant remain at Shepperton working on films like  “Dance of the Vampires” (image)

1968- Abacus were invited by Carl Foreman and his designer Geoffrey Drake to carry out painted mattes and other works for  “McKenna’s Gold”. The painting was  shared between Ray Caple, Bob Cuff, Lynette Lee,  and Joy Seddon, who joined Abacus as a matte artist, having  previously been working with Stanley Kubric on 2001.They  also did various model shots and some pickups,  employing a fair number of technicians, including Brian Loftus, Brian Johnson and others. Bob´s son Paul Cuff worked as Matte Process cameraman and married Joy Seddon, now Joy Cuff.

1968. At Pinewood studios Cliff Culley and Roy Field were responsibles for  the matte paintings on “Chity Chity Bang Bang”

1968 . Douglas Adamson was employed as matte painter at MGM British Studios.He painted mattes for “Where eagles dare”

1969.   “Anne of the Thousand Days”.Shepperton matte department with Doug Ferris, Gerald Larn and Bryan Evans painting and John Grant and Peter Harman as matte photography. Gerald Larn painted the night view of the Tower of London matte.

1969 . Ray Harryhausen film “Valley of Gwangi” went to Shepperton matte department, with Doug Ferris and Gerald Larn painting and John Grant and Peter Harman as matte photography.Larn painted  some rock formations for the Lost Valley.

1969 . Ray Caple was responsible for mattes at  “The battle of Britain”.   Martin Body assisted Caple as matte camera.

Battle Of Britain (1969) Caple matte

1971. Roy Field went freelance   as Vic Margutti had retired

1971. Gerald Larn at Shepperton matte department paint mattes for Roman Polanski “Macbeth”

1973- After 11 years at Shepperton matte department, Gerald Larn left his film work when the Studios closed.

1974 – Wally Veevers sets up at Bray Studios.  Doug Ferris & Peter Harman join him.

1975. Cliff Culley left  Pinewood, and create his own company Westbury Design and Optical. He provide mattes for”The pink panther strikes again”. He was assisted by Steve Archer who later became stopmotion animator for films like “Neverending story” (84) or “Krull” (83)

1975. For the film ” The man who would be king”  Wally Weevers and Shepperton matte department executed many matte paintings. Most of them by Doug Ferris with John Grant as matte camera. Scenic artist Peter Wood was comissioned to paint this cave matte shot for the film. Albert Whitlock was responsible for the matte shot of the Holy city.

.1976. Shepperton reopens and Wally Veevers hires new premises just across from M stage. Doug Ferris  and Peter Harman join him. They work at “The prince and the pauper”


1978. Matte painter and composite supervisor Les Bowie, and matte painters DougFerris, Ray Caple, assisted by Liz Lettman, create the matte paintings for “Superman” On the matte capera unit were Peter Harmand, Peter Hammond, and Keith Holland. Dennis Bartlett was travelling matte supervisor.   Bowie is awarded with a posthumous Oscar the following year. He shared the award with Roy Field, Derek Medings, Colin Chilvers,Dennys Coop, and Zoran Perisic.


1978.  Cliff Culley  hired Leig Took as matte painter assistant for “Warlord of Atlantis” and other films.

After Superman Wally Veevers Company “Vee Films” was  busy on films like:  Superman II, Moonraker, Raise the Titanic, Saturn3, The Keep. With  matte artist Doug Ferris and at the camera unit:  Peter Harman, John Grant, Keith Holland, Stewart Galloway and  Roy Carnell.

1979 . Ivor Beddoes joined  Doug Ferris and cameramen Peter Hammond and Peter Harman to create the mattes of “Superman II”, made for Roy Field´s “Optical Film Effects” Compamy.

1979. Ray  Caple paint mattes for Ridley Scot´s “Alien” .

1979. For the film “Raise the Titanic”  scenic artist Bob Spencer  executed some cut out paintings for Wally Veevers.

1981. Alan Maley retired from movies after supervising the matte  department at I.L.M from “Dragonslayer” (1980) and “Raiders of the lost ark” (1981)  .

1981. John Grant join Wally Veevers, Doug Ferris and Peter Harman, for “The Keep” with Keith Hollland , Roy Carnell and Stuart Galloway as camera assistants.

1982 . Doug Ferris  Peter Harman, John Grant, and Martin Body join Roy Field and Peter Watson at Optical Films effects in Pinewood, to work on projects in  the early to mid eighties: ‘Superman III’,  ‘Santa  Claus’, ‘Labyrinth’ or “The last Days of Patton”(image)

1983. Derek Meddings Supervising visual effects for “Supergirl” painted a glass shot.

1983.  The matte paintings from  “Neverending Story”  filmed at Bavaria Studios, Munich,  were done by  ILM (USA, California)   Keith Holland worked as optical cameraman & motion control cameraman on  under Brian Johnson & Dennis Lowe. veteran Dennis bartlet was consultant at the motion control unit.


1984 .Cliff Culley provides mattes and optical effects fo TV miniserie  “The last Days of Pompeii” with his company “Westbury design and opticals” with Leigh Took as matte artist. (image)


1984. Albert Whitlock retired as head of Matte department at Universal after painting  mattes for “Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan”.He remains working as matte consultan for “Illusion arts”

1984. For  David Lean´s “A passage to India” Doug Chian  paint matttes for Peerles Camera Company with Kent Houston supervising optical effects. The upper left part  of the rock formations was painted.

1985. “Return to OZ”  filmed at Elstree Studios with veteran Charles Stoneham as matte artist. Aditional matte paintings were done at USA. by Disney EFX. Matte camera was Peter Hammond with Stanley Sayer as matte photography consultant. Keith Holland worked with Zoran Perisic  as matte cameraman, combining claymation done by Will Vinton & live action.

1985. Charles Stoneham became disillusioned with the increasing pressures of the industry, and retired after his work at “Return to Oz” and “A Chistmas carrol” (image)


1985 . Ray Caple was responsible for the matte paintings at “Spies like us”

1986. Joseph Natanson retired after his last painting work at “The name of the rose”. Since the  early 60´s he lived and worked at Rome painting mattes for  more than 80 films.

1988. After some years workingg under Harrison Ellenshaw, British painter JP Trevor  painted mattes for Derek Meedings at “Stealing Heaven”

1988. Bob and Joy Cuff with Doug Ferris and Leigh Took paint mattes for “Baron Munchausen”. John Grant and Martin Body  worked as matte camera at Peerles camera.

1988 . Cliff Culley paint mattes  for “Hellraiser II” with his son Neil Culley as matte fotography.


1989. After painting mattes for “Eric the Viking” with Doug Ferris, Bob and Joy Cuff retired from matte  painting.

1989. For the film “Batman”  Ray Caple, Leigh Took and JP Trevor paint mattes for Derek Meedings.

1990. Peter Ellenshaw made his last contribution to film  industry assisting his son Harrison painting the mattes for “Dick Tracy”

1990. Steve Beggs, after some years working on miniatures, paints mattes for “Hardware” at Cliff Culleys company “Westbury design and opticals”

1990.  John Grant joined Magic Camera Company with Doug Ferris  to work on various projects.        .

1990. After his work on “Treasure island” Ray Caple died from illness.

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1991. Albert Whitlock painted his last glass shot for “The neverending story II” .

1993. Doug Ferris paint mattes for Derek Meddings Magic camera Company for films like “Princess caraboo”.

1995. After decades working as scenic artist,  Brian Bishop also contributed painting  mattes and  foreground glasses. He worked very often with Derek Meddings, for “Goldeneye” he executed a glass painting. Meddings on the picture with Brian´s painting.                    .

1995 . Cliff Culley´s company “Westbury desing” provided mattes and opticalsfor the film “Restoration”.

1997. Doug Ferris again for Magic camera Company painted the city of Calcuta for “City of Joy”.

1997. Cliff Culley painted mattes for “Orphans” His son Neil Culley was matte camera. Cliff Culley retired and his son Neil went into digital FX.

1997 . Doug Ferris painting, and John Grant camera,  for “Seven Years in Tibet”.Doug Ferris retired, John Grant continued to work and  retrained on computers until the company relocated to central London and retired  in 2002.

2001.  Steve Mitchell, scenic artist who was trained under Brian Bishop, executes traditional painting on hardboard, latter photograph and composite digitally for films and TV series like “Band of brothers”.Only the hide and soldiers are real the rest is oil painting on hardboard by Mitchell.


2004. Steve Mitchell executed a glass painting for the film “The life and death of Peter Sellers”.


2017. Leigh Took  was call to made an old school glass paintingon location  for the film “Their Finest”

 their finest




Grant McCune


McCune started on film business when he and Bill Shourt were hired in 1975 to work under veteran FX creator Robert Mattey on creating the iconic shark in the movie Jaws.
He was subsequently hired to work on the Star Wars as chief model maker. He then moved with John Dystra to work at Apogee, Inc. on films like Star Trek : the motion picture, Firefox, Lifeforce, Never Say Never Again, Space balls and Caddyshack.
Around early 90´s he founded own firm, “Grant McCune Design” which was hired to work on such movies as Speed, Batman forever, Daylight, or Sphere.
He died at his home of pancreatic cancer at the age of 67 on December 27, 2010.

Grant McCune with one X-Wing model from Star wars Episode IV (1977)


McCune detailing a Cylon raidel model from TV series Galactica (1978)


Give us this day (1949)

Director: Edward Dmitryk
Art director: Alex Vetchinsky
Dir. photography: C. M. Pennington- Richards
Special effects: Francis carver ( photography) Syd Howell (Process projection) Bill Warrington (overall special effects)
Matte paintings: uncredited.

They recreated New York  city at  Denham studios, London.  There is not matte artist credited although we can see some wonderful matte paintings. The most reasonable option  would be Percy Day, but he moved his matte department from Denham to Shepperton  after filming Black Narcissus (1947) and again, it is difficult to think that he had worked in a movie during  those years without credits.  the paintings may be handled  by  some of his woman assistants, Joan Suttie or Judy Jordan , maybe with Les Bowie or some other of the young British matte artists.

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There are also some beautiful  backdrop paintings.

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Jassy (1947)

Director: Bernard Knowles
Cinematography Geoffrey Unsworth
Art Direction: Maurice Carter/ George Provis
Scenic artist apprentice: Peter Mullins

Miniature mansion with painted backing sky and several scenic backdrop paintings.

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It was made at Gainsborough Studios, London, so It is possible that Albert Whitlock was involved on the scenic paintings because at that time he was working at Gainsborough studios as scenic artist.

Scott of the Antarctic (1948)

Director: Charles Frend
Director of photography: Osmond Borradaile/ Jack Cardiff/ Geoffrey Unsworth
Art Direction: Arne Åkermark
Special effects art director Jim Morahan
Special Effects: Sydney Pearson/ Richard Dendy / Norman Ough
Matte shots: Geoffrey Dickinson

Some matte paintings by Geoffrey Dickinson who was the in-house matte artist at Ealing Studios.

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Detailed miniatures were filmed under supervision of art director Jim Moraham, inclusing some snow landscapes with articulated small puppets for the walking men.

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Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Director: Steven Spielberg
Cinematography: Douglas Slocombe
Production Designer: Norman Reynolds
Art Direction: Leslie Dilley
Special effects equipment supervisor: Bill Warrington
Mechanical effects supervisor: Kit West
Visual effects supervisor: Richard Edlund
Optical photography supervisor: ILM: Bruce Nicholson
Matte painting supervisor: ILM Alan Maley
Matte artist: ILM: Michael Pangrazio
Matte photography: ILM:Neil Krepela
Matte photography assistant: ILM: Craig Barron

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Raiders of the lost ark092b Raiders of the lost ark093b Raiders of the lost ark094b Raiders of the lost ark095b Raiders of the lost ark096b Raiders of the lost ark097

Alan Maley working on the cliff painting.

6103 raiders-maley

Mike Pangrazio on the painting of Marion Ravenwood´s bar at Nepal.

Raidersmatte pangrazio

Maley´s painting for the seaplane shot.

raiders pan am clipper trio

Pangrazio´s painting of the warehouse.

raiders matte warehouse

Lucrecia Borgia (1947)

Director: Luis Bayón Herrera
Cinematography: Roque Funes
Production Design:Juan Manuel Concado
Art Director: Carlos T. Dowling

The film starts with a huge model miniature of St. Peter´s Square in Vatican city.


Uncredited matte painmtings.

lucrecia borgia 47 2 lucrecia borgia 47 3 lucrecia borgia 47

Jan Hus (1955)

Director: Otakar Vávra
Cinematography: Václav Hanus
Art Direction: Oldrich Okác / Jirí Trnka

Matte paintings are uncredited but I´m sure all the trickery ( mattes, miniatures and animation) was under supervision of Jirí Trnka. He could even execute the paintings himself , as he was, among his other artistic skills, a great illustrator.

JanHus1 JanHus2 JanHus3 JanHus4 JanHus6


On the last capture the miniature ships moved across the river. The city behind  was probably a background painting.

Argentine VFX Matte and miniatures

The matte painting technique was known in Argentine  as “pintura completiva”. It is very difficult to establish  when or who started to use the matte and glass painting techniques in Argentine. For what I know,  it was used very often during the 40´S .

The first name associated to matte painting photography working in Argentine was Oren “Bob” Roberts. Born in California U.S.A,  brother of Irmin Roberts, he started to work at  Paramount Studios around 1921 as FX cinematographer. He moved to Buenos Aires around 1935 and remained there for the rest of his career until middle 50´S.

Another  pioneer was Ralph Pappier born at 1914, Shanghai, China. At 1936 he moved to Bueno Aires, where he developed a career as art director and director. Making use of his artistic skills, he was responsible for the special effects at most of his films. He used very often glass painting shots on films like: Madame Bovary (1947) or La guerra Gaucha (1942)

Working very often with Pappier was  cinematographer Americo Hoss. Born at 1914 in Budapest, Hungary, was a prolific  cinematographer. He moved to Argentine around 1935, started his career at San Miguel Studios in Buenos Aires where he worked  as special effects cinematographer, specially collaborating with Ralph Pappier and  art director Gori Muñoz.

1942 – La guerra Gaucha

1943 – Cuando florezca el naranjo

1944 - Cuando la primavera se equivoca

1944 – Su mejor alumno

1947 – Madame Bovary

1947 - Lucrecia Borgia

 Some other samples:

Uncredited matte paintings  from “La casta Susana” (1944)

casta susana 44 2 casta susana44

For the film  “La dama duende” (1945) they used a matte painting or a foreground miniature to complete the set with a ceiling. My guess is the second option.

ladamaduende 45-2


Two uncredited matte paintings for ” Allá en el setenta y tantos” (1945)

alla en el setnta y tanros 45 alla en el setnta y tanros 45-2

Uncredited matte painting  for “El hermoso Brumell” (1951) art director Gori Muñoz and cinematography by Americo Hoss.


Madame Bovary (1947)

Director: Carlos Schlieper
Cinematography: Bob Roberts
Production Designer: Ralph Pappier
Matte painting: Ralph Pappier
Matte fotography: Americo Hoss

Three matte paintings  by Pappier and Hoss.

MBovary01 MBovary02 MBovary03

For the theater scene they used  a scenic painting on the bakground.


Peter Voysey


Peter Voysey at work on the derelict alien ship made for ALIEN (1979)

Peter Voysey- Alien

Voysey with Giger working on the space jockey sculpture.Voysey-Giger-Alien


1994 Interview with the Vampire (chief sculptor)
1993 The Secret Garden (head sculptor)
1992 Shadow of the Wolf (head sculptor)
1992 1492: Conquest of Paradise (sculptor)
1991 King Ralph (sculptor)
1986 King Kong 2 (sculptor)
1986 The Mission (sculptor)
1985 Legend (supervising sculptor)
1985 Year of the dragon (sculptor)
1984 Supergirl (sculptor/modeller)
1984 Top Secret (sculptor)
1983 Krull (sculptor)
1982 The Dark Crystal (modeller – as Peter J. Voysey)
1982 Conan, the barbarian (chief sculptor)
1980 Flash Gordon (sculptor)
1979 Alien (supervising modeller)
1978 Superman (modeller)

Christian Von Schneidau


Christian von Schneidau (1893–1976) was a well known California portrait painter who was recognized for his paintings of Hollywood stars and the Los Angeles elite. During the Roaring Twenties he painted Mary Pickford and other figures from the film industry as well as a number of outdoor figures done in the classic American Impressionist manner. Von Schneideau was born in Ljungby, Kalmar County, Sweden 1893, with the name Bror Christian Valdemar Von Schneidau, but went by the shortened Christian von Schneidau. In addition to his portraiture, von Schneidau was also a landscape painter and a private teacher who passed on the French principles of instruction, which he learned at the Art Institute of Chicago to his students. Von Schneidau was also the founder of the Scandinavian-American Art Society in 1938 and served as its president for many years. He was also an active member of the California Art Club.

Mary Pickford by Chritian Von Schneidau.


During the 40´s he worked at The T.C.Fox matte department under Fred Sersen.

Von Schneidau painting a glass shot for the film State fair (1945)

Chris von Scheidau- State Fair glass shot (1944)

Italo Tomassi

Biography: (Italo Tomassi, (Rome, 25 february 1910 – 27 november 1990)

He started at  the Cinecittà  Studios in Rome hired as “scenic artist”. And at Cinecitta Italo it remains as an employee until 1964, when he presents his resignation, but he continues to work there, as a freelancer, until 1985.During 50 years  of working at film business (1935/1985) he collaborated on about 400 films.

Hundreds of meters of painted backdrops. and  silhouettes, painted on a variety of materials, reproducing many different objects.

Some examples: the silhouette of the famous liner “Rex” for the film “Amarcord” by Federico Fellini who was the size of 85 x 20 meters – The copy of the slightly smaller of the real Colosseum for the film  Rome of F. Fellini. For only the film “Faust”, directed by De Cuir in 1966, he painted two enormous depths of 80 meters in length by 18 in height each)

In 1985, due to some heart disease, he decides to leave his cinematographic activity and exclusively dedicates himself to painting.

Maybe age (he was 75), perhaps being away from the studios and from the phantasmagorical world of cinema, leads him to an exasperated accentuation of his expressiveness. A whole series of hyper-realistic watercolors arise. The scrupulous care of details, the exaggerated employment of colors too bright, produce in those last works the effect of a cinematographic reality.

For more information visit his web site:



Painting silhouette from “Amarcord”.


Colosseum built in Cinecittá Studios for the Fellini´s film Rome.


An small illustration made by Italo for  a huge back drop painting from Ben-Hur (1959)

ben hur miniat


Italo with the scenic paintings made for Ben Hur (1959)

italo- ben hur

Appreciation letter from George Gibson head of scenic department at MGM for his work on Ben-Hur.

Letter BenHur

Joseph Natanson memoirs of Clepopatra(1963)

The Text on this article was taken from Joseph Natanson autobiography book  “The Creaking of the Gate”.

I was happy when I was called to participate in the film, which was announced as one of the greatest of all time. Cleopatra directed by Joseph Mankiewicz.

Not far from south of Rome, near the village of Nettuno, it was a very old small castle built on a rock in the sea, Tower Astura, connected to the mainland by a stone bridge, which is likely to replace the old drawbridge.

torreastura01 torreastura02

Since it is a historic building and not even allowed to drive a nail on the wall without the permission of the Historic Preservation Commission for cinema. The castle was surrounded by iron scaffolding with a platform on the roof remained and they have placed two large windows at the right angle.

 On the one glass, to the south, you could see the sea and the beginning of the shore.
At the second, looking east, you can see the rest of the shore where they built the temples and palaces Greek Egypt style, with figures on the sides of the broad avenue.

Naturally, temples and palaces were built only the lower side. My task was to complete the friezes, gaps, and roofs until the horizon, also paint some other buildings of Alexandria in the time of Cleopatra. All of this is supposed to be painted in those huge windows.



At that time Mary Bone came to Rome.  Excellent painter recommended by production, his arrival was gratefully welcomed.  The task would be done faster working together. Autumn was approaching. The first assigned shooting in Cinecittà was over, and later, in August they will come to Astura Tower.
On that date we were ready. Even filmed two tests, confirming that everything fits perfectly, with small corrections.
Meanwhile, two unforeseen events entangle it.

First Cinecitta ´s work extended much longer than was scheduled, and when all production team was already ready to go to Torre Astura, it started raining. Autumn came earlier than expected. Also came news of Elizabeth Taylor caught a cold in August, it was confirmed a few days later that she was seriously ill. There was no doubt that with that cold atmosphere she couldn’t play wearing those light Cleopatra’s costumes.


It was decided to wait until the spring. Our carefully painted windows were surrounded by plastic curtains.
Mary Bone returned to London, and I had other works to do and, I forgot about  Cleopatra for a while.


In April, when the sun was hard and jolly following spring I  suddenly was called by the artistic director to come to Astura Tower. I thought probably during the winter our painting may have been damaged.

He told me-  which glass survived the winter very well, the problem is much more serious when I climbed the stairs leading to the platform.

Glass actually survived very well, but when I looked through the viewfinder I understand all the drama. Like painted over our wider houses and temples, it appeared the mountains. Everyone knows that Alexandria is located in the Nile Delta and there are no mountains around.


In late summer in Italy, autumn air is so immersed in the sea wet fog that you cannot see the distant Apennines. At the spring under the influence of strong northerly winds, the air is clean and our Alexandria became a mountain town.

There is no other way unless to repaint it. The director and the stars, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton they climbed to the platform to see the effect on our windows.

I had to add a few more districts on Alexandria, in order to cover the top.


And so, my life became very complicated, because I was called simultaneously for another rush job from another movie. Tight sleep schedule was established at the hotel in Nettuno, to get up very early and go to the paint job on the roof of the tower Asura.
Already in the afternoon, I got into the car and went to Rome. On the way, it was a small restaurant I know where I had fifteen minutes to eat.
I worked all evening in the studio, and so far I went home to be present at the dinner of  Stefan and Phoebe and tell them a story for bedtime. Then calmly have a dinner with Ann, and sometimes with friends who have come. Then got into the car and drove to the hotel in Nettuno.

Sturmtruppen (1976)

Director: Salvatore Samperi
Cinematography: Giuseppe Rotunno
Film Editor: Sergio Montanari
Production Design: Uberto Bertacca
Matte painting: Uncredited.

I suspect the paintings were done by Emilio Ruiz. He worked some years early with production designer Uberto Bertacca on another Italian film “Ci risiamo, vero Provvidenza?” (1973) Aka “Here We Go Again, Eh Providence?” On that film Emilio was credited as decorator and executed several glass paintings. It is very likely that Bertacca used again Emilio´s tricks on this film.

I think the Coca Cola bottle and the upper part of the wood turret is a painting or foreground miniature. There is no shadow of the Bottle




Horizontal and vertical panoramic camera movement with Nodal head, revealing a matte painting of the Statue of Liberty.







Posted in 70s

Garden of Evil (1954)

Director: Henry Hathaway
Cinematography: Milton R. Krasner/ Jorge Stahl Jr.
Editor: James B. Clark
Art Direction: Edward Fitzgerald / Lyle R. Wheeler
Special photographic effects: Ray Kellogg

At that time on the Twenty Century Fox matte department there were Emile Kosa Jr, Lee Lebanc and Mathew Yuricich, although the last two moved to MGM department around that year.

garden garden0 garden1 garden2 garden3 garden4 garden5 garden6 garden7


Posted in 50s

Alan Sonneman


For over 30 years I have divided my career between the fine arts and the film industry.  I have exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States; most notably the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; The Alternative Museum, NYC; The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, North Carolina; a one-person show at  the Riverside Museum of Art Riverside CA in conjunction with my mural commission for the Riverside Hall of Justice (1992); the Directors Guild of American, Los Angeles, CA;  and most recently the  Katzen Art Center at American University, Washington, DC. I have received several grants and fellowships for my work including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Painting.

    In film I have contributed as a matte painter to such movies as Cliffhangers, Dante’s Peak, Titanic, Matrix Revolution, AI, and What Dreams May Come. From 1997 to 2001 I was an artist for Steven Spielberg’s company Dreamworks.

Visit his web site for more information and samples of his paintings.

KearsargeTree2-filtered Sonnema painting


2014 Marco Polo (TV Series) (matte painter – 10 episodes)
2008 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (matte painter)
2008 Nim’s Island (matte painter: CafeFX)
2007 Blood Will Tell (Short) (matte painting)
2007 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (matte painter: The Orphanage – uncredited)
2003 The Matrix Revolutions (digital matte artist)
2003 Secondhand Lions (digital paint artist)
2002 People I Know (digital artist: PDI/DreamWorks)
2001 A.I. (digital artist: PDI)
2000 The Legend of Bagger Vance (matte painter: PDI)
2000 Supernova (digital artist)
1999 Forces of Nature (matte painter)
1998 Antz (digital matte painter)
1998 What Dreams May Come (matte painter)
1997 Titanic (matte painter)
1997 Dante’s Peak (matte painter: Digital Domain)
1993 Cliffhanger (matte painter)

Alan Sonneman and Michelle Moen working on a painting from Cliffhanger with  matte camera Alan Harding.

cliffhanger-matte-painting22 cliffhanger

The great race (1965)

Director: Blake Edwards
Director of photography: Russell Harlan
Production Design: Fernando Carrere
Conceptual artist: Mentor Huebner
Special effects: Danny Lee
Photographic effects: Linwood G. Dunn / James B. Gordon
Matte artist: Albert Simpson /Cliff Silsby/ Leon Harris


GreatRace01 GreatRace03 GreatRace04 GreatRace06 GreatRace07 greatracematte greatracematte2GreatRace08 GreatRace09 GreatRace090 GreatRace091 GreatRace092 GreatRace093 GreatRace094 GreatRace095 GreatRace096

The Land That Time Forgot (1975)

Director: Kevin Connor
Director of photography: Alan Hume
Production Design: Maurice Carter
Dinosaurs effects by: Roger Dicken
Special effects supervisor: Derek Meddings
Process photography: Charles Staffell
Matte paintings: Ray Caple

Roger Dicken was in charge of the hand puppet miniature dinosaurs.

dicken - land time forgot

The Land That Time Forgot Creatures1 The Land That Time Forgot Creatures6The Land That Time Forgot Creatures3

John Richardson was responsible for the full size dinosaur heads attacking the submarine.

The Land That Time Forgot Creatures2 The Land That Time Forgot Creatures5


The Land That Time Forgot Miniat1 The Land That Time Forgot Miniat2 The Land That Time Forgot Miniat4 The Land That Time Forgot Miniat5 The Land That Time Forgot Miniat6

Matte paintings.

The Land That Time Forgot Matte01 The Land That Time Forgot Matte02 The Land That Time Forgot Matte03  The Land That Time Forgot Matte05 The Land That Time Forgot Matte04The Land That Time Forgot Matte06 The Land That Time Forgot Matte07 The Land That Time Forgot Matte08

The people that time forgot (1977)

Director: Kevin Connor
Director of photography: Alan Hume
Production Design: Maurice Carter
Special effects supervisor: John Richardson / Ian Wingrove
Process photography: Charles Staffell
Matte painting: Unknown. Maybe scenic artist Bill Beavis


People That Time Forgot creatures1 People That Time Forgot creatures2 People That Time Forgot creatures3 People that time forgot Creatures4


People That Time Forgot miniat5People That Time Forgot miniat2 People That Time Forgot miniat3

Matte painting probably by scenic artist Bill Beavis.

People That Time Forgot matte01 people that time forgot matte02 people that time forgot matte03

The Court Jester (1955)

Directors: Melvin Frank, Norman Panama
Director of photography: Ray June/ Ray Rennahan
Art Direction: Roland Anderson/ Hal Pereira
Production Illustration: Dorothea Holt
Special photographic effects : John P. Fulton/ Irmin Roberts
Process photography: Farciot Edouart
Matte painting: Jan Domela

Jester00 Jester01 Jester02 Jester03 jester04 jester05 Jester06 jester07



Posted in 50s

Paramount Pictures.

The Paramount Matte painting department was, unlike other companies, a one-man team.  For many decades he was the only matte artist at paramount. Gordon Jennings was head of Special photographic department with   his brother Devereaux Jennings and Dewey Wrigley as effects cinematographers. The team was  also Farciot Eduoart in charge of process and rear projection,  Irmin Roberts and his brother Bob matte cameramen, Paul Lerpae as optical effects compositor, and  Ivyl Burks and Art Smith as miniatures builders an . At 1953 after the death of Gordon Jennings, John P. Fulton became head of department.

1920 1930 1940 1950 1960
Jan Domela Jan Domela Jan Domela Jan DomelaChesley Bonestell(1950-55) Jan Domela  (until 1968)

1940- North West Mounted Police
1952- Thunder in the East
1955- The Court Jester
1967- Chuka


U.S.A.VFX Matte and miniatures

There are so many matte painting artist at the United States film History that is almost impossible to get them all on a single page. There were lots of them working freelance and jumping from one company to another, so  I´ve decided to created a list of production companies with a matte department, and VFX houses .  That´s also a big list and probably incomplete, but I will be adding new information from time to time.

20 Century Fox.
Columbia Pictures.
Metro Goldwyn Mayer.
Paramount Pictures
Republic Pictures
Samuel Goldwyn productions
Universal Pictures
Walt Disney productions
Warner Bros

VFX Houses:

Boss Film Studios
Butler and Glouner
Dream Quest Images
Film Effects of Hollywood (Linwood Dunn)
Frank Vander Veer Photo effects
Industrial Light and Magic
Jack Rabin-Irving Block-Louis DeWitt
The Howard Anderson Company

Saratoga Trunk (1945)

Director: Sam Wood
Director of photography: Ernest Haller
Production Design: Joseph St. Amand
Art Direction : Carl Jules Weyl
Special photographic effects: Lawrence W. Butler
Matte Painting : Mario Larrinaga

sa sar saratoga1 saratoga2 saratoga3 saratoga4 saratoga6

There are plenty of excellent matte paintings on that Warner Bros film. Most of the upper part of the buildings and skies on the street scenes were enhanced with matte paintings.


saratoga trunk

 The color image shows a matte painting by Mario Larrinaga. I can´t assure he was the only artist on the show,  probably there was another matte painters contributing.  In fact there was at the Warner Bros matte department such a great artists as Paul Detlefsen ,  Hans Bartholowsky or  Chesley Boestell.

saratoga5 saratoga8 saratoga9 saratoga90 saratogamatte

Blockade (1938)

Director: William Dieterle
Director of photography: Rudolph Maté
Art Direction : Alexander Toluboff
Special Effects : James Basevi (uncredited)
Matte paintings: Russell Lawson (uncredited)

Blockade01Blockade03Blockade04 Blockade05 Blockade06 Blockade07


The bandit of Sherwood Forest (1946)

Directors: Henry Levin, George Sherman
Director of Photography: Tony Gaudio/George Meehan/ William E. Snyder
Art Direction: Stephen Goosson/Rudolph Sternad
Matte painting: Uncredited.

Being a Columbia pictures production is most probable that the matte paintings were supervised by Larry Butler who was head of Special photographic effects department at Columbia. The matte artist could be Hans Bartholowsky who worked as matte painter for Columbia films for many years until middle forties.

The bandit of sherwood forest04 The bandit of sherwood forest05 The bandit of sherwood forest06 The bandit of sherwood forest07 The bandit of sherwood forest08 The bandit of sherwood forest09 The bandit of sherwood forest090

The Bible: In the Beginning (1966)

Directed: John Huston
Cinematography: Giuseppe Rotunno
Art Direction: Mario Chiari
Associate art director: Stephen B. Grimes
Set construction: Aldo Puccini
Scene painter: Italo Tomassi
Special optical effects: Film Effects of Hollywood (Linwood Dunn
Glass paintng, illustration: Silio Romagnoli
Special effects: Augie Lohman
Special effects and ark miniature: Carlo Rambaldi, Carlo De Marchis


The tower of babel was shot on two sets in two different countries. The base was built on the studio’s back lot (in Italy), whilst the summit was built on the top of a steep slope outside Cairo. However, to give the impression of a tall tower they used a glass shot executed by Italian illustrator Silio Romagnoli.

Babel set bible2

I assumed that was also a glass shot by Romagnoli.



The Noah Ark was built full size in Rome  ( 60 meters) by the team of  Italian constructor Aldo Puccini.

Ark1unfinished ark


I always thought that was a partially built set enhanced by  a matte  or glass painting, but I guess it is just the real set.


Carlo Rambaldi was in charge of some special effects like the construction of three miniatures of the Ark . As the rainbow is not reflected on the water, I guess it was also  painted on glass.

 BibleArk1 BibleArk2

A Carlo Rambaldi design for the mechanism on the ark miniature during the flood.

biblia rambaldi

Silio Romagnoli


He was an established comic artist when Dino de Laurentiis call him to work on Barabbas (1961) as production illustrator and storyboard artist. He was introduced to Laurentiis by his friend Carlo Rambaldi.


A young Silio Romagnoli working on a comic cover illustration.

He then went to work on The Bible (1966) again providing big illustration and preproduction paintings. He was commissioned to make a glass shot. That was a new task he had never done before.  He painted on glass the upper part of the Babel Tower at location.


He also collaborated on Barbarella(1968) an Waterloo (1970) as production illustrator.  His works on film were sporadic and he focused mainly on his comic and illustration artist.

Illustrations by Romagnoli for The Bible, and Waterloo.

Bible Bible2-BabelWaterloo waterloo2


- Barabbas (1961) (illustrator and storyboard)
- The Bible: In the Beginning (1966) Illustration and glass shot)
- Barbarella (1968) (illustrator)
- Waterloo (1970) (illustrator)
- Le aventure di Pinocchio (1972) (TV series) (illustrator)


Les misérables (1934)

Director: Raymond Bernard
Cinematography:Jules Kruger
Production Design: Lucien Carré / Jean Perrier


After Walter Percy Day returned to England art director Jean Perrier, who had Per Day several times painting on his films, started to use those tricks on his own way. I cannot be sure if he executed the paintings himself or if he just designed the trick shots and had some scenic artist for the paintings.

Three glass shots.

Misérables02 Misérables03 Misérables04

That ceiling looks like a foreground miniature but it could be also a glass shot.


Miniatures were used very often on French films during those early years.





Robert Skotak

Robert Skotak is a visual effects designer-supervisor, writer, 2nd Unit director. Co founder with his brother Dennis (visual effects cameraman) of VFX house 4Ward productions.Robert is a talented viausl effects designer, matte painter, miniature maker and expert on forced perspective tricks.
Is also a noted film historian who has written dozens of articles for “Famous Monsters”, “Filmfax” and is the author of a biography of science fiction writer/director Ib Melchior.

You can visit his web site:


Robert (right) and his brother Dennis(left) with the model of Manhattan for Scape from New York.



2015 Harbinger Down (visual effects supervisor)
2012 Shot on the Spot (Short) (visual effects supervisor)
2011 SP: The motion picture kakumei hen (visual effects supervisor)
2011 Cosmic Origins 3D (Documentary) (visual effects supervisor)
2010 SP: The motion picture yabô hen (visual effects supervisor)
2010/I Road to Nowhere (visual effects supervisor)
2009 The Hole (visual effects sequence designer: Los Angeles, 4Ward Productions) / (visual effects supervisor: 4Ward Productions)
2008 Starship Troopers 3: Marauder (visual effects supervisor)
2007 Charlie Wilson´s war (visual effects supervisor: 4Ward Productions)
2007 Anamorph (matte artist: Whodoo EFX) / (special animator: Whodoo EFX)
2006 Trapped Ashes (special visual consultant) / (visual effects supervisor)
2006 Failure to launch(visual effects consultant: Whodoo EFX)
2005 The Naked Monster (advisor: visual effects)
2004 The Stepford Wives (visual effects art director: Whodoo EFX)
2004 Tremors 4: The Legend Begins (Video) (visual effects supervisor)
2003 Young MacGyver (TV Movie) (visual effects)
2003 X-Men 2 (visual effects supervisor: 4 Ward productions)
2002 The tuxedo (visual effects design)
2002 Joe and Max (TV Movie) (visual effects)
1999 House on Haunted Hill (visual effects supervisor)
1998 Hard Rain (visual effects supervisor: 4-Ward Productions)
1997 Mouse hunt (visual effects supervisor: 4-ward productions)
1997 Titanic (visual effects supervisor: 4-Ward Productions)
1996 Mars Attacks! (visual effects designer: 4-Ward Productions – uncredited)
1996 The arrival (visual effects supervisor: 4-Ward Productions)
1996 Terminator 2 3-D: Battle Across Time (Short) (special miniature effects)
1995 The Alien Within (TV Movie) (visual effects)
1995 Tank Girl (visual effects supervisor: 4-Ward Productions)
1994 The pagemaster(visual effects producer: 4-Ward Productions) / (visual effects supervisor: 4-Ward Productions)
1994 No Scape (visual effects supervisor)
1994 Clifford (visual effects supervisor)
1993 Heart and souls (visual effects supervisor: 4-Ward Productions, Inc.)
1992 Captain Ron (special miniature effects)
1992 Honey, I Blew up the Kid (visual effects: 4-Ward Productions)
1992 Batman returns (visual effects supervisor: 4-Ward Productions)
1991 Cast a deadly spell (TV Movie) (visual effects supervisor: 4-ward productions)
1991 Terminator 2: Judgement dayl (special visual effects sequences: 4-Ward Productions) / (visual effects supervisor: 4-Ward Productions)
1990 Syngenor (visual effects consultant)
1990 Darkman (visual effects supervisor: 4-ward productions)
1990 Tremors (visual effects supervisor: 4-ward productions)
1989 Abyss (visual effects supervisor: Los Angeles surface unit)
1989 Lords of the deep (visual effects)
1986 Aliens (visual effects supervisor)
1985 Creature (special designer: The L.A. Effects Group Inc.) / (visual effects director: The L.A. Effects Group Inc.)
1984 City Limits (visual effects supervisor)
1983 To be or not to be (visual effects – uncredited)
1983 Strange invaders (visual effects consultant)
1983 Jaws 3-D(visual effects – uncredited)
1983 The Jupiter Menace (Documentary) (technical director: Private Stock Effects – as Bob Skotak)
1982 Slapstick (Of Another Kind) (special visual consultant: Private Stock Effects)
1982 Forbidden World (production designer: special visual effects)
1982 The aftermath (matte shots / (visual effects)
1981 Galaxi of terror (special visual effects – uncredited)
1981 Scape fropm New York (matte artwork – as Bob Skotak)
1980 Battle Beyond the Stars (miniature design and construction) / (special designs/effects creations)
1979 Starstruck (TV Movie) (miniature design and construction)
1977 The Demon Lover (special effects)

The Aftermath (1982)

Director: Steve Barkett
Cinematography: Thomas F. Denove/Dennis Skotak
Production Design: Robert Skotak
Special Visual Effects: Robert and Dennis Skotak
Matte painting: Robert Skotak
Aditional space effects: Jim Danforth
Model builder:Susan turner /Pat MacClung


after2 after3 after4 after5 after6

Skotak´s brothers during the filming of a matte shot.


Jim Danforth was credited as additional space effects. Not sure what he made but I guess he was responsible for the planet Earth paintings.

Afterm00 Afterm0

What I´m sure about is that he painted the Film poster.


A Passage to India (1984)


Director: David Lean
Original Music by Maurice Jarre
Cinematography by Ernest Day
Film Editing by David Lean
Production Design by John Box Herbert Westbrook (uncredited)
Optical Effects by Peerless Camera Company: Kent Houston / Robin Browne
Matte painting: Peter Chiang

Thanks to Kent Houston for his comments for the optical work made at Peerless Camera:
“In shot one the building, sea and land were separate elements- the “gateway” was either a miniature or painting- I can’t remember which.”

“This shot is entirely from artwork. No live action elements.”


“The night city view might be a matte painting but it doesn’t look like one of our shots.”


“There is a nice painting of the Malabar caves location to make them hang over more and make them look threatening.” (left upper part)


“The shots of the ship at the docks is an optical composite”

“The domes I don’t recall what the elements were (probably miniatures), but it was also a composite, and so is the other shot of the train.”


“Clouds and moon too are composites. Peter Chiang painted the moon.”


Howard A. Anderson Jr


Howard Andrew Anderson, son of Howard Alvin Anderson and brother of Darrell A Anderson.

After he returned from military service in WWI, his father moved to Los Angeles, where he was hired by Thomas H. Ince to work as a still photographer and second cameraman at Culver City Studios.
Howard A. Anderson Sr, was Founder of Howard Anderson Special Photographic Effects Company.

Darrell and Howard Jr, joined his father company sometime during the late 30´s and early 40´s. During the 50´s and 60´s they specialised on Opticals and photographic effects to TV series.


1971 – Earth II (TV Movie) (special photographic effects – as Howard Anderson Jr.)
1966-69 – Star Treck (TV Series) (visual effects – 80 episodes)
1969 – My World and Welcome to It(TV Series) (photographic effects – 1 episode)
1968 – The Wicked Dreams of Paula Schultz (photographic effects – as Howard Anderson)
1967 – Tobruk (special effects supervisor/miniatures – uncredited)
1962 -Taras Bulba (special photographic effects)
1962 – Jack the Giant Killer (special photographic effects)
1960 – The time machine (additional special effects/optical effects – uncredited)
1957 – Invasión of the sauser- men (special effects – as Howard Anderson)
1956 – Curucu, Beast of the Amazon (special effects)
1956 – Nightmare (special photographic effects)
1953 – Phantom from Space (photographic effects – as Howard Anderson)
1951 – El sendero de la muerte (special effects – as Howard Anderson)
1951 – The Man with My Face (special effects – as Howard Anderson)
1950 – Prehistoric Women (special effects photographer and creator)



Tripoli (1950)

Pine-Thomas production for Paramount.

Director: Will Price
Cinematography: James Wong Howe
Art Direction: Lewis H. Creber
Special photographic effects: Darrell A. Anderson(Mattes) / Alex Weldon(mechanical FX)
Director of cinematography: second unit: Loyal Griggs

Miniature effects

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Matte paintngs

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Destroyed set with a matte paintng sky, and miniature ship with a painted bowsprit on the foreground.

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Darrell A. Anderson.


Born in California, 1933, the son of Howard Alvin. Anderson, and brother of Howard Andrew  Anderson. His father founded Howard Anderson Special Photographic Effects Company.  Both brothers joined his father company providing opticals, titles, mattes, and miniatures. Darrell became matte artist and cinematographer.  The Howard A. Anderson Company worked extensively for TV series during the 60´s and 70´s

The Anderson Company’s work on Star Trek was nominated for an Emmy Award twice (both times together with other companies providing effects for Star Trek): In 1967 Darrell Anderson was nominated for Individual Achievements in Cinematography, together with Dunn and Joseph Westheimer and in 1969 the company was nominated for Special Classification Achievements together with the Westheimer Company, Van der Veer Photo Effects and Cinema Research.


To see more  about Darrell Anderson visit my Blog:


1979 J-Men Forever (photographer: second unit – as Darrell Anderson)
1978 Superman (additional model photography: USA – as Darrell Anderson)
1972 The Dirt Gang (special photographic consultant)
1967-1968 The invaders (TV Series) (special photographic effects – 40 episodes)
1966- 1969 Star Treck (TV Series) (special effects – as Darrell Anderson)
1964 Seven days of May (opticals – uncredited)
1950 Trípoli (special photographic effects)


The list of titles credited for Howard Anderson Company is huge, and I can imagine Darrell worked on most of  the films specially from the 50´s to 70´s.


Philippines: Mattes and miniatures

If there is a name on Philipino Films that bring us over matte shots, that’s Richard Abelardo. Born in 1902, he learned scenic painting from his father, a backdrop painter for theatre. He went to California at early 20´s and started to work at Universal as scenic painting. He moved to MGM and Warner brothers. Working on films like Footlight parade (1933) or Modern times (1936)
At 1936 he went back to Philippines and introduced the glass shot and matte painting techniques to Philippines Film Industry. At the late 40`s he started to direct films, but during his director career he continued to do special effects.
I´m not sure if, during his Californian years, he executed glass or matte paintings, but he certainly learned these techniques at that time.

One of his early matte painting films was Ibong Adarna (1941) a fantasy adventure film about a magical bird, based on an epic narrative poem written in the 18th century.

The film reveals several matte painting among other special effects. Richard Abelardo was credited as art director and process shots.

His brother Bayani Abelardo was Photographic effects cameraman. Richard counted with the help of two assistants, Luzon Gamboa, and a young Ben Resella.

It is also required to make a special mention to Ben Resella. Another Philipino artist that make a huge contribution not only at his country cinema, but also in USA. Resella, nephew of Richard Abelardo, was an extraordinary painter that worked for many years as art director and matte painter at Philippines until 1966 when he moved to California were he was immediately recruited at the company J.C. Backing, specialised on scenic backdrops for film and TV.

Resella worked as scenic paint supervisor for more than 20 years painting backdrops for films like Hello Dolly (1967) Earthquake (1972) Towering inferno (1974) Star Treck (1979), Space balls (1987) and many others.

Bother in law of Richard Abelardo, Teody Carmona was art director who started his film career in 1946. He worked very often with Abelardo, and also made used of perspective tricks to enhance sets with miniatures like on the film Lapu lapu (1955)

Three images from Lapu Lapu.

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French VFX: Mattes and miniatures

  Glass painting and miniature effects were in used at French cinema since the early days. We shouldn’t forget that George Melies was without a doubt one of the master pioneers on the use tricks and effects of all genres.   Most of his paintings were scenic backdrops and I really don’t know for sure if Melies used foreground miniature paintings. Anyway, there is a name on French films when talking about glass and matte painting, and that’s Walter Percy Day. The British artist started painting glass shots for Ideal Films in Borehamwood at 1919, but British film industry was on a difficult situation and French industry was in an ascendant way, so Percy Day moved to Paris at 1922 and became an instant success as a glass painter.

 After the Russian revolution at 1917, many non-communist Russians leave the country in search of a more peaceful place to live.  French film industry benefited from many Russian artists that entered into the movie business, as art directors like Serge Piménoff   Eugene Lourie, Andrew Andrejev, Pierre Schildneckt, or Leon Barsacq, also  Nicolas Wilcke and Paul Minine whom specialized on foreground miniatures.

When Percy Day leave France to return to England,   some art directors like Pierre Schildneckt and French Jean Perrier, begun to execute their own glass paintings for their films.  Schildneckt moved to Spain when WWII hit France and Nicolas Wilcke became the main specialist on foreground miniatures and paintings. French artist Chares Assola, became also a practitioner of foreground paintings, and miniatures tricks.

Les croix de bois (1932)

 Les misérables (1934)

Les belles de nuit (1952)

Les 3 Mousquetaires (1953)

Brian Smithies


born December 5th, 1941
He worked as an uncredited model-maker on Thunderbirds season 1 and 2. Smithies later worked in the model workshop on the feature film Thunderbird 6.Throughout his career, Smithies created models and miniature effects for major feature films including Superman, Dune, Aliens, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and several James Bond films. He worked with The Jim Henson Company on The Neverending Story III in 1994, and continues to create and consult on special effects in the film industry.

A young Brian Smithies working on  a model from Thunberdirds.


Smithies supervising a miniature space ship from Dune (1984)






Don Jahraus

An article of Don Jahraus with a short profile of him is included on ‘The ASC Treasury of Visual Effects’, pg. 99.
According to the profile Jahraus was the head of RKO miniature department in 1931 and remained there until 1937, when he joined the MGM. He was responsible of miniature effects for THE LOST SQUADRON, FLYING DEVILS, ACES OF ACES, THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME, FLYING DOWN TO RIO, FLAMING GOLD at RKO, and for STAND BY FOR ACTION, THEY WERE EXPENDABLE and THIRTY SENCONDS OVER TOKYO at MGM, winning at Oscar for the latter.
He also supervised the train wrecks for DANGER LIGHTS and THE INVISIBLE MAN (staged by Charlie Baker at Universal), the aerial models for TEST PILOTS, the miniature settings for GREEN DOLPHIN STREET and QUO VADIS and the model ship for PLYMOUTH ADVENTURE.


1956 Gaby (special effects)
1951 Quo Vadis (special effects)
1948 Luxury Liner (special effects)
1947 Green Dolphin Street (associate special effects)
1947 The Beginning or the End (special effects)
1946 The Green Years (special effects)
1945 They Were Expendable (special effects – uncredited)
1945 The Valley of Decision (miniatures – uncredited)
1945 This Man’s Navy (special effects)
1944 Meet Me in St. Louis (miniatures assistant – uncredited)
1944 Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (model maker – uncredited) / (special effects)
1943 A Guy Named Joe (special effects)
1943 Pilot #5 (special effects – as Don Jahraus)
1942 Stand by for Action (special effects – as Don Jahraus)
1939 The Wizard of Oz (miniatures – uncredited)
1938 Test Pilot (special effects assistant)
1936 Follow the Fleet (miniatures – uncredited)
1935 Romance in Manhattan (miniatures – uncredited)
1933 Flying Down to Rio (miniatures – uncredited)
1932 The Most Dangerous Game(miniatures – uncredited)
1930 Danger Lights (miniatures – uncredited)

The Beggar´s Opera (1953)

Director: Peter Brook
Cinematography : Guy Green
Opera Sets, and cotumes: Georges Wakhévitch
Art Direction :William C. Andrews
Scenic artist: Peter Mullins/ A.J. Van Montagu
Special effects: Wally Veevers/ George Samuels

Matte paintings by George Samuels.

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Backdrop  scenic painting.



Clark Schaffer


I’m a traditional FX/Matte artist with a great passion for the craft and artists of “how they used to do it.” I painted for a while early in my Hollywood career with greats like Bob Scifo, Syd Dutton, Jessie Silver, Ken Marschall and Ken Allen. Shortly after starting in the industry the computer killed the magic.


Visit his site at:


2014- The Giver (Stunt Props/Fabricator)
2013- 95ers: Time Runners (miniature effects supervisor)
2012- HENRi (Short) (visual effects supervisor)
2012- Daylight Savings (model maker)
2010- Little Chocolatiers (TV Series) (special effects – 1 episode)
2010- Iron Man 2 (Suit Fabricator)
2010- Iron Man 2 (visual effects)
2010- 127 Hours Specialty Props)
2009- White on Rice (Art director)
2009- Gentleman Broncos (Model Supervisor)
2008- TTN: Passport Redrock (Short) (color illustrator)
2008- The Fly Boys (Model Supervisor)
2006- Big Dreams, Little Tokyo (Art Director)
2006- Big Dreams Little Tokyo (set designer)
2000- U-571 (Model Design, Model maker)
2000- U-571 (model maker)
2000- Red Planet (scenic model maker)
1999- Mystery Men (Visual Effects designer, model crew chief)
1999- Deep Blue Sea (visual effects designer: model supervisor)
1999- Blast from the Past (Model Maker)
1999- A Tribute to the Wizard of Oz (Video short) (set designer – uncredited)
1998- U.S. Marshals (Model Art Director)
1998- The X Files (Model Maker/Sculptor)
1998- Star Trek Insurrection (Designer/Illustrator
1998- Sphere (miniature construction design: Grant McCune Design)
1997- Dante’s Peak (Visual Effects designer/model lead
1997- Batman and Robin (model maker)
1997- A Smile Like Yours (Model Art Director
1996- The Long Kiss Goodnight (Visual Effects designer
1996- Memoria letal (design: Grant McCune Design)
1996- Larger Than Life (Matte Painter)
1996- Executive Decision (Visual Effects designer, model crew chief)
1996- Daylight (Visual Effects designer, model crew chief)
1996- Daylight (model maker: Grant McCune Design)
1995- Mortal Kombat (Model Art Director)
1995- Die Hard With A Vengeance (Model Art Director)
1995- Batman Forever (Visual Effects designer,Model maker )
1995- Batman Forever (model maker: Grant McCune Design)
1994- True Lies( Model Maker)
1994- Star Trek Generations (Designer/Illustrator)
1994- Speed – (chief model maker: Grant McCune Design)
1994- Richie Rich Model Maker/Scuptor
1994- Ed Wood (FX Prop Builder)
1994- D2: The Mighty Ducks (FX Prop Builder)
1994- Blankman (FX Prop Builder )
1993- My Boyfriends Back (Matte Painter)
1993- Cliffhanger (model maker)
1992 –Freejack (Concept Artist/Matte Painter)
1992- Bram Stokers Dracula (Model Builder)
1992- Batman Returns (Model Maker/Scuptor)


Atlantis the Lost Continent (1961)

Director: George Pal
Cinematography : Harold E. Wellman
Art Direction : George W. Davis / William Ferrari
Makeup Department: William Tuttle
Special photographic Effects: A. Arnold Gillespie /Robert R. Hoag
Matte painting supervisor:Lee LeBlanc
Matte artist: Matthew Yuricich
Visual effects (animation) Project unlimited: Wah Chang / Jim Danforth/ Gene Warren

Matte paintings made at MGM matte department under Lee LeBlanc.

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That was a reused matte painting of the Roman circus painted by Peter Ellenshaw for Quo Vadis? (1951) It was also a MGM film, so they just add the triangle hole painting on the floor.

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Miniatures  made by Arnold Gillespie unit.

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Mutant creature makeup by William Tutle.



La Guerra Gaucha (1942)

Director: Lucas Demare
Cinematographer: Bob Roberts
Production Designer: Ralph Pappier
Matte painting: Ralph Papier


The landscape on the upper  part over the cannon was painted on glass.


Pappier painted several  cloudy skies for that war-epic film.

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Mexican film industry used matte paintings and miniature tricks since the 40´s. The miniature and model works were usually under the art directors and the name of the model makers and miniature artists remains unknown.

I have found only one matte painter credited at Mexican films, Max de Vega. He was a Mexican artist who worked also at USA, painting mattes at T.C. FOX matte department under Fred Sersen. I guess he went back to Mexico from time to time painting mattes at some films.

During middle 40, matte painter Irving Block went to Mexico after working at 20th Century Fox, and he set up a FX department. He went back to USA to work at MGM.

At some of those films there were some Mexican FX technician credited. But I don’t know if any of those artists were involved on the matte paintings. Probably there must be any Mexican art director or scenic artist who executed those matte paintings from time to time.

Those are the only matte painters I know for sure that worked at some Mexican films aside from the Spanish artist Enrique Salvá, who worked at Mexico during some years at the middle 50´s.

Miniatures and models were used also very often, but uncredited. I only can get credit to the art directors for probably supervising and designing the miniatures without knowing who the miniature builders were.

Los tres mosqueteros (1942)

Art director: Manuel Fontanals

Los tres mosqueteros42

Las abandonadas (1944)

Art director: Manuel Fontanals

Las Abandonadas1

Amok (1944)

Bugambilia (1945)

Art Director: Manuel Fontanals   Matte painting: Max De Vega

Bugambilia01 Bugambilia02

Camino de Sacramento (1945)

Art director: Luis Moya    Special effcts: Machado brothers.


Vertigo (1946)

Art director. Jorge Fernandez    Spcial effects. Edward Fitzgerald

Vértigo 1946

Cuando lloran los valientes (1947)

Art director: Carlos Toussaint


Vida intima de Marco Antonio y Cleopatra (1947)

Vuelven los Garcia (1947)

Los tres Huastecos (1948)

Art Director: Carlos Toussaint.

los tres huastecos 48

Subida al cielo (1951)

Las mil y una noches (1957)

Cabo de Hornos (1957)

Glass painting: Enrique Salvá

Caperucita y Pulgarcito contra los Monstruos (1961)

El imperio de Dracula (1967)

Art Direction: Arcadi Artis Gener    Special Effects: Ricardo Sáinz

El Imperio de Dracula El Imperio de Dracula2

Germany VFX. Mattes and miniature tricks

Germany film Industry was, since the early days, a powerful source of creativity and technological advances. Prior to WWII German films possessed a visual uniqueness that was a huge influenced on other countries. Cinematographers and art directors developed lots tricks to achieve fantastic effects required for German directors. Many of those artists and technicians moved from Germany to other countries due to the War.

Glass shots and miniatures were in use at German films from the silent era, but importunely I haven’t found any information about German matte painters. At that time matte and miniature artists were uncredited, and only head of department used to get credit on the films, usually trick cinematographers like Eugene Shufftan.

German Films  with traditional VFX work, mattes and miniatures:

Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (1924)

Metropolis (1927)

Munchausen (1943)

Mahabharat (1965)


Director: Babubhai Mistri
Cinematography: Narendra Mistry/ Peter Pereira
Special Effects supervisor: Babubhai Mistri
Art Department: A.A. Majid

FX artist, art director and director, Babubai Mistri was a pioneer on Indian Film Industry using forced perspective tricks with miniatures or split screen effects.

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Munchaussen (1943)


Director: Josef von Báky
Cinematography: Konstantin Irmen-Tschet / Werner Krien
Production Designer: Otto Guelstorff/ Emil Hasler
special photography effects: Konstantin Irmen-Tschet
Special effects: Ernst Kunstmann
Optical cinamtography: Theo Nischwitz


Foreground miniature painting, probably a glass shot

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The baron gets invisible by means of trick cinematography.


Miniature balloon makes a trip from Venice to the Moon.

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Richard III (1955)

United Kingdom

Director: Laurence Olivier
Cinematography by Otto Heller
Production Design: Roger K. Furse
Art Direction: Carmen Dillon
Special photographic Effects: Wally Veevers
Matte painting: Bob Cuff, George Samuels, Albert Jullion

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El Clavo (1944)


Director: Rafael Gil
Cinematography: Alfredo Fraile
Art Direction and miniatures: Enrique Alarcón
Glass shots and Backdrop painting: Enrique Salvá
Glass and backdrop painting assistant: Emilio Ruiz

Clavo1 Clavo2  Clavo4 Clavo5 Clavo6a Clavo7

Not sure if this street view is a matte painting or a foreground miniature. Enrique Alarcon was an expert on the use of hanging miniatures like the ceiling at the image below.




Conrad Tritschler


Born Conrad Joseph Tritschler 1867 in Carlisle, England, UK
Immigrated to the United States in 1923.Died June 9, 1939 (age 72) in London, England

Tritschler was a successful scenic artist working at  British stage theatres. you like it1902

Mr Tritsçhler went to United States of America to work for Richard Walton Tully productions on films like  Trilby (1923) and Flowing Gold (1924)  where  he painted sets and backdrops.

Conrad Tritschler Trilby

Sometime during the late twenties and early thirties he went to work for Howard Anderson Company to make glass and matte paintings.

Working for Anderson, Conrad Tritschler was responsible for White Zombie’: glass paintings, such as the exterior and upper interior of Legendre’s castle. In an interview,  director Victor Halperin once described the combined technical processes of Anderson and Tritschler: “We had sets built up to a certain height  maybe 25-30 feet high, and they worked in and fited in paintings to finish the rest of the interior of the castle where much of the main action took place. You couldn’t tell one part from another. It looked like all interior stone. Individuals walked in the front when they were searching for the castle, and they’d see the castle off in the distance on top of a huge rock, and that was all painted. We saw the individuals move and the waves of the sea in the foreground, so we could combine them in the same camera shot.”



- The Count of Monte Cristo (1934)
- White Zombie (1932)
- Don Q son of Zorro (1925)
- Flowing Gold (1924)
- Trilby (1923)



The Magic Bow (1946)

United Kingdom

Director: Bernard Knowles Cinematography: Jack Asher/ Jack E. Cox Art Direction:Andrew Mazzei Special photographic effects: Philippo Guidobaldi Matte painting: Albert Jullion magicbow1 magicbow6 magicbow7 Camera movement from matte painting to small set. magicbow2mattes Scenic paintings probably by Albert Whitlock who was scenic artist and background painter at Gainsborough Pictures during that time. magicbow02 magicbow03 magicbow04

Lord Jim (1965)

United Kingdom

Director: Richard Brooks
Cinematography: Freddie Young
Production Design: Geoffrey Drake
Director of photography second unit: Skeets Kelly
Camera operator second unit: John Grant
Special effects: Cliff Richardson
Visual effects: Wally Veevers
Matte painting / Scenic painting: Peter Melrose


Miniature work made under Wally Veevers supervision.

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Peter Melrose matte paintings.

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Two samples of Melrose Scenic paintings.

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Peter Melrose talked about  his work on Lord Jim at “Little shop of horrors” magazine.

“I met with Wally Veevers while working on a film at Shepperton Studios […] George Samuels and Albert Julion, two superb painters, had recently died. Wally asked me to come and paint the mattes for a film called LORD JIM (1965), and I accepted with some trepidation since the film, being shot in 65mm Ultra Panavision, called for some very exacting work. The first matte I had to paint for LORD JIM was, in fact, the opening shot. It depicted a coast guard tower in the Hong Kong harbour, but it wasn’t quite as straightforward as that since a lot of work on the background to eliminate modern looking buildings was required also. When it was shown at rushes (or dailies as you say), Freddie Young, the lighting cameraman on the film, was heard to say ‘I don’t remember shooting that building’. Wally was delighted that even the DOP hadn’t recognized the shot as a painting, and so, of course, I was in!”

Posted in 60s

Marooned (1969)

United States

Director:John Sturges
Cinematography:Daniel L. Fapp
Production Design:Lyle R. Wheeler
Special Effects:Chuck Gaspar
Visual Effects:Lawrence W. Butler/ Donald C. Glouner/ Robie Robinson
Miniature effects: Terence Saunders
Dir of photography: second unit: W. Wallace Kelley

Rotating Earth painting.


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Cat´s Eye (1985)

United States

Director: Lewis Teague
Cinematography:Jack Cardiff
Production Design: Mentor Huebner/Giorgio Postiglione
Special visual effects: Barry Nolan
Creature supervisor: Carlo Rambaldi
Creature operators: Frank Schepler, Paolo Scipione, Steven Willis
Foreground Minitures: Emilio Ruiz
Model makers: Angel Arriola, Jacinto Soria

Rambaldi creature.

CatCreature CatCreature1 Catcreature2

Carlo with his creature.


For achiving the desired effect they buil oversized set. Director Lewis teague explained why. “Even though extraordinary things have been done with opticals in the recent years they are usually identifiable; audiences are usually sophisticated enough to spot them. In a total fantasy film, you can accept opticals; in Return of the Jedi you know there are opticals so if you identify a particular shot as a process shot, you’ll accept it. But Cat’s Eye, which is a fantasy in a contemporary, realistic setting, I tried to make all the effects as realistic as possible. So I’m avoiding blue-screens and matte shots like the plague.”

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For the second segment they used foreground miniatures with Emilio Ruiz del Rio.

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Model maker Jacinto Soria working on the building facade.


North by Northwest (1959)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cinematography: Robert Burks
Production Design: Robert F. Boyle

MGM FX Department:
Special Effects Supervisor:A. Arnold Gillespie
Matte painting supervisor: Lee LeBlanc
Matte artist: Matthew Yuricich
Matte camera operator: Cliff Shirpser

Sculptor: Henry Greutert
Storyboard artist Mentor Huebner

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Scenic painting used for the United Nations Set.


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Topaz (1969)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cinematography: Jack Hildyard
Film Editing : William H. Ziegler
Art Direction : Henry Bumstead
Special photographic effects : Albert Whitlock
Storyboard artist: Thomas Wright (uncredited)
Some images from a VHScopy of the German TV documentary.
1. the plate.


2. the composition with the painting.


3.The image filmed on location


4. The plate with the matted out areas which the painting will be covering.

5. The final image with the painting.


6. The set showing how the columns where only partially finished by the scenic artists.


7. The final image with the painted upper part of the columns, the ceiling and the distance buildings.


8. The Hacienda shot. Everything was painted except the small portion marked on red , even the water which had some animation with little flickering lights in it.


Some more invisible matte shots, painted by Maestro Albert Whitlock.


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Frenzy (1972)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cinematography:Gilbert Taylor Leonard J. South
Film Editing : John Jympson
Art Direction : Syd Cain
Matte supervisor : Albert Whitlock

Some images from a VHS copy of the German TV documentary.
The set of the jail.


The plate with the unwanted areas matted out.

The painting at Universal Studios.


Detail of the painting.

Frenzy Jaildetail

The final composition


The other painting that Al Whilock made for Frenzy. The original plate was shot at Pinewood Studios back lot. Whitlock painted the rest , as theCovent Garden market in London.

Frenzy dockpainting

The painting.


Family Plot (1976)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

Cinematography: Leonard J. South
Film Editing : J. Terry Williams
Art Direction : Henry Bumstead
Matte supervisor : Albert Whitlock
Matte painter: Syd Dutton
Matte camera: Bill Taylor
This is the first painting Syd Dutton made on his own, under Al´s supervision.


Detail of the painting.

Family Plot-76 (detail)

Dick Smith


Born June 26, 1922 in Larchmont, New York, USA
Smith was make-up director for the National Broadcasting Company for fourteen years. He developed many new materials and shades of color and pioneered in such techniques as the use of foam latex and plastics in unusual quick changes for both color and black-and-white TV shows
Died July 30, 2014 in Los Angeles, California, USA (complications from broken hip)

To know more about the makeup master watch this  interview to Dick Smith.


Dick Smith working o¡n the makeup up for Amadeus.

Amadeus1 amadeus4 Amadeus5

Smith with his team and some of the effects they  built for The Hunger.


Two make ups he made  on Antony Quinn´s face for Requiem for a Heavyweight, and Marco the Magnificent.

heavyweight marco



1999- House on Haunted Hill (special makeup effects design: eyeless apparition)
1992 – Forever Young—Consultant
1991 – Death Becomes Her—Consultant
1990 – True Identity—Consultant
1990 – Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (makeup effects consultant)
1989 – Dad—Designed old age make up
1989 – Reversal of Fortune—Designed makeup for Jeremy Irons
1988 – Everybody’s All American
1988 – Poltergeist III: The Other Side—Created special makeup and effects
1988 – Sweet Home (Japanese film)—Consultant on special makeup effects
1985 – North and South(TV series)(makeup artist: Abraham Lincoln makeup)
1984 – Starman—Created three-dimensional replacement animation sequence
1984 – Prizzi’s Honor—Designed old age makeup
1983 – The Cotton Club—Designed character makeup
1983 – Amadeus
1982 – The Hunger
1981 – Ghost Story
1981 – Scanners—Designed and created makeup effects for finale
1981 – The Fan—Created bloody effects
1981 – Spasms—Created makeup effects
1980 – The Dogs of War—Designed some bloody effects
1980 – Nighthawks—Created disguises and effects
1980 – The Formula—Created aging makeups
1978-1979 – Altered States
1977 – The Fury—Designed effects
1977 – The Deer Hunter—Created DeNiro’s makeup and effects
1976 – Exorcist II: The Heretic
1976 – The Sentinel—Horror makeup
1975 – Marathon Man—Garroting effect
1975 – Burnt Offerings—Horror makeup
1975 – The Sunshine Boys
1975 – Taxi Driver
1974 – The Stepford Wives—Foam rubber breasts
1974 – Carnal Knowledge—Designed aging makeups (not used)
1973 – The Exorcist
1973 – The Godfather, Part 2—Aging makeup and blood effects
1971 – The Godfather
1970 – House of Dark Shadows
1970 – Who is Harry Kellerman and Why is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?
1969 – Little Big Man
1969 – Me, Natalie—Homely to pretty makeup for Patty Duke
1968 – Midnight Cowboy—Designed “Ratso” makeup
1965 – Marco the Magnificent
1965 – Harvey Middleman, Fireman
1964 – The World of Henry Orient
1963 – It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World—Created stunt men masks
1963 – All The Way Home
1963 – The Cardinal—Aging makeups
1962 – Requiem for a Heavyweight