Macbeth (1971)

Special effects: Ted Samuels
Matte painting: Gerald Larn /Doug Ferris
Matte camera: John Grant




Comments by matte artist Gerald Larn:


“My work on “MACBETH” was interesting. Roman Polanski asked me to design Macduff’s castle for an exterior shot that was going to appear just once in the film (and even then the building was only going to be seen at some distance). I had to produce a number of drawings, but all were rejected as not having the
characteristics Roman had in mind. He finally accepted an offering looking more like a fortified manor house than a castle. In the film, the castle occupies a very small area and is perched on a very distant hill. There was a further couple of gloomy nighttime close-up paintings of Macbeth’s castle that I carried out.”


A matte shot tests of paintings for MACBETH.

The Asphyx (1973)

Creature designer: Gerald Larn

Illustrations for the title creature “The Asphyx”

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Image from the film .


Comments by matte artist Gerald Larn:

The horror picture (movie) I most vividly remember was “THE ASPHYX”.
(released in 1973 my recent researches inform me). I was asked to design the Asphyx (the title object of the film). The storyline of the film sounded pretty well unbelievable but……work is work!!

What is also associated with the film for me was the fact that the project was to be celebrating a last piece of filming by legendary cameraman Freddy Francis – a kind of ‘fun’ filmmaking/party.

The ASPHYX was a pretty weird project. I in fact designed not only this unbelievable human ‘Asphyx’ but also its guinea pig counterpart. the sculpture and modeling department made three-dimensional clay models of both ‘objects’ from my drawings. Flexible moulds were then made and passed over to ‘Benditoys’- a local toy manufacturer which the department used quite frequently. When the foam plastic models were returned to me (with flexible metal armatures inside) they were painted to suggest ripped and rotting flesh etc.

Ted Samuels did all the animating of the ‘objects’ on the set and at the first rushes, I clearly recall everyone (except Ted) holding their sides and rolling in the isles as the grotesque ‘object’ danced around doing its thing !!


Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

Mate paintings by Shepperton matte department.
Matte painters: Doug Ferris / Gerald Larn/ Bryan Evans/ Peter Melrose
Matte camera: Peter Harman /John Grant

anne copia

Gerald-Larn copia

Comments by matte artist Gerald Larn:

“As for the size of the painting, most CinemaScope mattes at Shepperton were produced on 6ft x 3ft glass. It was a size that had been established by Wally Veevers even before I had arrived in the SpEfx department some five years earlier. It was certainly an ideal size for paintings that were to involve the inclusion of model shots or other opticals in addition to live-action. This was of course the situation confronting us in the Tower of London matte.

The live-action location was at Putney – on the Thames a few miles upstream from the actual Tower of London. The rowers on the river had to be very accurately directed to ensure their boats didn’t either cross the matte line or encroach into the area of Traitors Gate (where a model set-up on our SpEfx stage was intended finally to slot in). I also well remember Associate producer Dick McWhorter, Peter Harman, and myself all becoming, on that occasion, a somewhat uneasy ‘ad hoc’ collection of 2nd Unit directors!!. The location shoot was set up by cameraman Peter Harman and myself and although assistant producer Dick McWhorter was also present, he didn’t interfere all that much. I established the matte area by positioning a foreground glass to which black card was added. So, from the outset I was able to be in control of all aspects of the matte shot.

In the “TOWER” matte a real sky was burnt on and its exposure was finally determined by that required of both the live-action and the painting together”






The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

Visual effects supervisor: Ray Harryhausen
Matte painting: Gerald Larn / Doug Ferris
Matte camera: John Grant / Peter Harman

Comments by matte artist Gerald Larn:

There is really not much to tell about the GWANGI painting. It was of course great to be talking to Ray. Although apart from providing me with lots of photo references of Monument Valley in the States, he left me to my own devices with regard to the composition of the painting. I remember he had set up his own small animation workshop/studio in a building tucked away in a far corner of the studio complex and I paid him a couple of visits while he was at work. I found Ray to be a remarkably modest man and thoroughly ‘sympatico.’ Later on in my teaching career, it gave me great pleasure to meet up with him again.

GwangiCuenca Valley of Gwangi (Gerald Larn)

The other matte paintings were done by Doug Ferris. Text explanations by the book: “Ray Harryhausen, an animated life.”

“For the high shots, the balloon was a matte painting combined with the real curtain”

Gwangi- matte 2

“For the low shots inside the arena, I used a matte painting of the balloon and canopy”


Dr Who and the Daleks (1965)

Fx supervisor: Ted Samuels
Matte paintings : Gerald Larn

Comments by matte artist Gerald Larn:

Yes, you can also see the glistening river effect at the bottom of the gorge painting. We filmed some mirror reflected light that was then burnt on at a low exposure to try and give some life to the shot.



Daleks’ Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966)

Fx supervisor:  Ted Samuels
Fx supervisor: Ted Samuels
Matte paintings: Gerald Larn

Comments by matte artist Gerald Larn:

What I am sure of is that I had to visualize and paint the crashed flying saucer matte very early in the production of the film. At that point, the flying saucer model (later to be filmed on our effects stage) had not yet been made. The only saucer reference I had to work from was a selection of scale drawings being prepared for the construction of the model. I can remember it being a tricky operation trying to design the craft from those drawings and at the same time ensure the saucer sat convincingly on the circular underbelly built on the set. It ended up being a series of compromises with which I was never entirely satisfied.

Nevertheless, it’s yet another very pleasant meander down memory lane for me and yes, there was quite a lot of matte work involved in the other shots, adding and topping up ruined buildings.


Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth (1992)

Director: Takao Okawara
Cinematography: Masahiro Kishimoto
Art Director: Tadashi Sakai
Director of special effects: Kôichi Kawakita
Visual effects production designer: Tetsuzô Ôsawa
Matte painter: Toshiyuki Kimura
Matte camera: Kazunobu Sanpei


Filming of the set in the studio. The matte painting by Toshiyuki Kimura.

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Godzilla mothra 1b

They also added some falling rock with an optical printer.

Godzilla Mothra01


Godzilla Mothra02 Godzilla Mothra03 Godzilla Mothra05


Posted in 90s



Toshiyuki Kimura began his artistic career in the film business in the late eighties. he learned the technique of traditional matte painting from master matte artist Yoshio Ishii.

“Yoshio Ishii is my master. When I was 23 years old I learned the method of drawing matte painting from him. He was a nice person and kind and he told me Toshiyuki. you are just a painter. You don’t forget the painter’s soul. this is the most important for you and our way. I painted old school’s matte paintings until 1993 or 1994″.

I always use cardboard as the base material., painting with acrylics. I learned from YOSHIO ISHI (matte artist), Koichi Kawakita( special effect dir.), and MINORU NAKANO ( visual effect supervisor)

He started to use PC to paint with Photoshop 4.0, and became a digital artist “Now I’m visual effect supervisor /Matte Artist/Concept designer/model maker, especially miniature model is so fun”. He was asked to make digital matte paintings for Spawn (1997) working for ILM.

“ILM is the most top of the VFX industry. I accepted the HELL matte painting shot and I had to finish looks like the ILM stuff. I made pre visuals and concept matte art and sent to ILM and dir, and they shocked and all was OK. I could deliver from TOKYO JAPAN .. didn’t move on here. Therefore I became a Visual effect dir. and concept/ matte artist on this movie CASSHERN . it´s just my fighting story about analog to digital. because I used it a lot of analog-style and shoot miniature and set, matte art and CGI mixed on it.”

Toshiyuki Kimura Filming Live action plate  at guiana highlands for the film REX.

rex fiming plate at


Two matte paintings byToshiyuki Kimura made for the film  Toki Rakujitsu (1992). Toki Rakujitsu. (Malin Post-Production/Copyright © SHOCHIKU Co.,Ltd. All Rights Reserved.)

tokio raku 1 tokio raku 2

REX Kyōryū Monogatari  (1992)  matte painting composited image .


AKira Kurosawa´s Madadayo (1993)  matte painting  above moon and factory chimney and telegraph pillar and destroy town .

Madadayo 1 Madadayo 2

Kimura Matte painting  for Godzilla versus Mothra (1992)

Godzilla mothra 1b


1990 LADY BATTLE COP (matte painter: Malin Post-Production)
1991 The Great Shogunate Battle (matte painter: Malin Post-Production)
1992 Faraway Sunset TOUKI RAKUJITU (matte painter: Malin Post-Production)
1992 R E X (matte painter: IMAGICA)
1992 Godzilla vs Mothra (matte painter: Malin Post-Production)
1993 MIZUNO TABIBITO (matte painter: IMAGICA)
1993 Mādadayo (matte painter: Malin Post-Production)
1993 Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla II, (Special Effects /Godzilla’s second brain design/modelar : Malin Post-Production)
1994 YAMATOTAKERU ( digital matte artist : Malin Post-Production)
1994Godzilla vs Space Godzilla (digital matte artist : Malin Post-Production)
1995 Godzilla vs. Destoroyah (digital matte artist : Malin Post-Production)
1995 TENSYU MONOGATARI (digital matte artist : IMAGICA)
1995 Sharaku (matte painter :IMAGICA )
1996 A C R I ( Image Board / digital matte artist ;Photon VFX/IMAGICA)
1996 ULTRAMAN TIGA (TV dorama/ digital matte artist )
1997 CATS EYE (digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE)
1997 SPAWN THE MOVIE (digital matte artist : EYEdentify /ILM)
1998 Galaxy Express 999:Eternal Fantasy (digital matte artist : EYEdentify /LOOPHOLE)
1998 THE RING (digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE/BIG X)
1998 S A D A (digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE/IMAGICA)
1999 Shinsengumi (digital painting :EYEdentify /LOOPHOLE)
1999 The Dimension Travelers (VFX/digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE)
1999 H A K U C H I -THE INNOCENT – (VFX/digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE)
2000 Thatary A Girl in Wonder ( ART Director / Concept Design / VFX supervisor / Matte Art :LOOPHOLE)
2000 Isola: Tajuu jinkaku shôjo (digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE/BIG X)
2001 INUGAMI (digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE/BIG X)
2001 St. John’s Wort – Otogirisou ( Concept Design / PAINTING :LOOPHOLE)
2001 The Hanging Balloons (VFX/digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE)
2002 Koiniutaeba (VFX/digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE)
2002 13steps (VFX/digital matte artist : LOOPHOLE)
2003 DORAGON HEAD( Concept design/digital matte artist):LOOPHOLE/IMAGICA
2003 MOON CHILD ( Concept Design / Matte Art :LOOPHOLE )
2004 C A S S H E R N (VFX supervisor / Second Unit Director / Concept Design /storyboard artist/Compositor/digital matte artist)
2004 Jiyuu Renai (Bluestockings) (VFX/digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE)
2005S H I N O B I ( Concept Design /Matte Art :LOOPHOLE/IMAGICA )
2005S Saishu heiki Kanojo ( Concept Design /Matte Art :LOOPHOLE )
2006 Warau Mikaeru Arch Angels ( Concept Design / digital matte artist/ VFX supervisor :Nice day)
2006 UDON ( digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE)
2007 Dororo ( Concept Design:LOOPHOLE/IMAGICA)
2007The Sword of Alexander ( Concept Design / Space Craft Design :LOOPHOLE/Nice day)
2008 The Chasing World ( Concept Design / Matte Art :LOOPHOLE)
2009 Kaiji ~Jinsei Gyakuten Game~(digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE/ Malin Post-Production)
2009 Killer Virgin Road (digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE/ Malin Post-Production)
2009 Black Kaisha ni Tsutometerundaga, Mou Ore wa Genkai Kamo Shirenai (Concept Design / Matte Art : LOOPHOLE/N-DESIGN)
2009Freedom Fighter GOEMON (Matte Art Direction / Matte Art
2010 Nanase Futatabi the Movie (Animation Director /LOOPHOLE)
2010  kaibutukun (TV/dorama concept design/digital matte artist
:LOOPHOLE /EDP graphic works )
2012 Ichimei /Harakiri: Death of a Samurai ( digital matte artist /VFX
2012 Kaibutsu Kun (VFX ART Director / Concept Design /digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE/EDP graphic works )
2013 Seki Seki Ren Ren ( VFX ART Director / Concept Design :LOOPHOLE / NIPPON EFFECT CENTER)
2013 SPEC ( digital matte artist : LOOPHOLE/N-DESIGN)
2015 HITONI YASASHIKU ( VFX supervisor/Concept Design/Model Maker/Matte Art :LOOPHOLE )
2016 -L- Need your LOVE ( VFX supervisor/Concept Design/Model Maker/Matte Art :LOOPHOLE )
2017 INUYASHIKI (digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE /Picture Element Inc.)
2018 ERASED Netflix ( Concept design/digital matte artist :LOOPHOLE/IMAGICA)


Chikyû Bôeigun / The Mysterians (1957)

Director: Ishirô Honda
Cinematography by Hajime Koizumi
Production Design by Teruaki Abe
Director of Special Effect: Eiji Tsuburaya
Special effects photographer Hidesaburo Araki
Special effects photographer Sadamasa Arikawa
Special effects art director Akira Watanabe
Matte painting: Unknow


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GOJIRA (1954)

Director: Ishirô Honda
Cinematography: Masao Tamai
Production Design: Satoru Chûko/ Takeo Kita
Special effects director: Eiji Tsuburaya
Director of photography special effects¨Sadamasa Arikawa
VFX art director: Akira Watanabe
Matte painting: Hiroshi Mukoyama 

Before and after images of tho matte painting shots.

Godzilla2 -matte bef godzilla2 godzilla3 godzilla3matteshot1

More matte paintings and miniature shots from Gojira (1954)

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Matte paintings timeline on Spanish Films.

1940. Pierre Schildneck Russian designer, who moved to France and then to Spain, painted glass shots for “La florista de la Reina” (1940) and “Pepe Conde (1941) with Enrique Alarcon as an assistant.Schildneck used the technique of matte painting he learned with Percy Day in France. He filmed the shot masking the areas which he will paint over, and then paint the glass in his studio filming again the glass on the original negative.

1942. Enrique Salva and a young Emilio Ruiz as an assistant, begun to paint in camera glass shots for art director Sigfredo Burman in “El abanderado” They use the technique of ” glass shots” placing the glass in front of the camera, and painting the miniature with direct reference of the real stage, filming the painting with the actors at once.


1944. Pierre Schildneck as chief designer for the film “La torre de los siete  jorobados” uses miniature models and matte paintings to recreate the underground city under Madrid.


1946. For “Dulcinea” Enrique Salva and Emilio Ruiz paint a glass shot for the upper part of sets and sky into the studio.


1948. Enrique Salva y Emilio Ruiz made several glass paintings for Sigfredo Burman in “Locura de amor”

locura amor matte1

1948 For the Portuguese-Spanish coproduction Ines de Castro” Pierre Schild painted several mattes to complete medieval sets.

Inesde castroPSchild01

1948. Art director Alfonso de Lucas executed some glass shots for the film, “Don Juan de Serrallonga”. painting the second floor of the house and the sky.


1950. Pierre Schildneck paints on glass the Gran Via street in Madrid for “El ultimo caballo”.

caballo matteultimocaballo copia

1951. Enrique Salvá and Emilio Ruiz painted several glass shots for Sigfredo Burman in “Alba de America”. ( At left is E.Salvá, at right  E. Ruiz).


1952 Alfonso de Lucas used a glass shot trick for the film “los ases buscan la paz” He pasted a photo of Budapest and added some painted houses to match the foreground set.

1954. Art director Juan Alberto Soler after working with Pierre Schild , painted some glass shot for his films, like “El duende de Jerez”

Duende matte

1955. For the film “Marcelino pan y vino”, Pierre Schildneck uses the technique of matte painting to create the abbey on the hill.

marcelino1 marcelino2

1955. Emilio Ruiz paints a cityscape in a glass sheet for “Cruz de Mayo” The glass breaks and he repeats the paint on a sheet of a wood silhouette. This method he perfected over the years, painting on cut out aluminum sheet.

1957. Enrique Salvá travels to Mexico and paints mattes for “Cabo de Hornos” When back to Spain he died in a traffic accident.

1958 . Antonio De Miguel, scenic painter, and assistant of  art director Enrique Alarcon executed several glass paintings for  “Donde vas Alfonso XII?”

donde vas 1

1959. Emilio Ruiz paints glass shots for “The legions of Cleopatra” and “The last days Pompeii ” beginning a long term collaboration on Hispano-Italian co-productions, mostly peplums, Spaghetti westerns, and war films.

cleo legions matte1

1960 – Pierre Schild retired from movies. After Enrique Salvá death a few years earlier, Emilio Ruiz remains the only artist specialized in this technique. Although some other scenic artists and art directors continue to paint on glass occasionally.

1960 Juan Alberto Soler painted some glass shots for “Gaudi” to recreate the construction of some monuments and buildings designed for Architect Antonio Gaudi.


1961. Antonio de Miguel painted a glass shot of old Peruvian City of Lima, for the film “Fray Escoba”.


1963. Antonio De Miguel painted glass shots for art director Enrique Alarcon for many films like “Rocío de la Mancha”


Perseo l’invincibile (1963) Emilio Ruiz painted glasses foe many Sword and Sandal movies, most of them filmed in Spain and Italy.


1965. Juan Alberto as art director of Itali-Spanish film “Toto de Arabia” painted a glass shot to complete the upper part of an Arabian style set.


1967. For the war film Dirty Heroes (1967) “Dalle Ardenne all’inferno” Emilio Ruiz makes several glass shots using his cut out aluminum technique.

ardenasinfiernogrande1 Emilio Ruiz-Ardenas al infierno67

1967. in addition to his tasks as an assistant art director, Antonio de Miguel paints a glass shot for “Cotolay”


1973 . Emilio Ruiz painted miniatures on cut out aluminum for Ray Harryhausen´s “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad”.

Golden_Emilio_Ray Golden001

1977. Emilio Ruiz began a fruitful collaboration with Juan Piquer Simon at “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”

where time began matte1

1980. scenic artist Julian Martin Benito,  paint his first glass shot for the film “Jalea real” beginning a career as a glass painter for over twenty years.


1981. Emilio Ruiz make model miniatures and glass shots for “The Sea Devils” by Juan Piquer

Los diablos del mar12

1981. Emilio Ruiz supervised foreground miniatures and glass shots for “Conan the barbarian” He begins a long term collaboration with Dino de Laurentiis.


1982. Julian Martin oversees the miniatures and glass shots for TV series “Teresa de Jesus”

Copy of teresa84valencia

1983. Art director Julio Esteban painted on a masonite cut out for the film “La loca historia de los tres mosqueteros” to recreate a typical French inn for XVII century.

mosqueteros locos 1

1984. Art director Julio Esteban painted an Islamic city on a masonite cut out for the comedy “Cuando Almanzor perdió el Tambor”

Almanzor matte1

1984. Francisco Prosper set designer and model maker, painted  a few glass shoots  for the film “La Biblia en pasta “

Biblia- Prosper babel Towe1

1984. Julian Martin painted on glass the top of the mansion for “Los santos inocentes” by Mario Camus.

santo0s inocentes matte julian.

1986. Emilio Ruiz oversees the miniatures and glass shots for Dino de Laurentii´s “Taipan”


1987. Francisco prosper executes several glass paintings for Italian-Spanis coproduction “Los alegres picaros” He erase modern buildings, street lights and Tv antennas painting in glass period buildings, trees walls, etc.

Prosper-Picaros 87

1989. For the TV series “la forja de un rebelde” Julian Martin was responsible for miniatures and cut out paintings to recreate the city of Madrid at the early 20th century.


1991. For the film “Christopher Columbus, the discovery” Emilio Ruiz painted on glass the medieval city of Granada and surrounded mountains.

emilio-colon1 emilio-colon2

1991- For TV series “Historias del otro lado” Julian martin executed several in-camera cut out foreground paintings.

historiasdel otro lado1

1992. The art director Gonzalo Gonzalo executed two glass shots for the film “La vida lactea”.


1994. Emilio Ruiz paints Rome on glass for the Italian comedy “S.P.Q.R. 2,000 and a half years ago”


1998. Julian Martin among other miniatures, painted a cut out masonite for the ceiling of the Prado Museum for  “La hora de los valientes”.

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1998. For “La niña de tus ojos” by Fernando Trueba,  Emilio Ruiz painted on glass the German UFA studios in the late 30s.

1998 la niña de tus ojos. maqueta pintada

1999. To recreate the city of Barcelona at early years of  20th century Julian Martin painted several glass shots  for “La ciudad de los prodigios”


2001. Again for Fernando Trueba, Emilio Ruiz paints the Shanghai of the 40s, on a masonite cut out placed behind the actors for “El embrujo de Shanghai”


2007. Emilio Ruiz dies shortly after completing a New York painting for “Luz de domingo”

NewYorkEmilioR EmilioLuzDomingo


Boris Masník

Boris Masník (born April 11, 1951) is an artist and film effects supervisor. He studied television and film graphics at the Prague Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design. In 1977 he joined the Barrandov stunt studio. For the next 21 years, he has worked as a film effects specialist for almost a hundred Czech and foreign film and audiovisual projects. He cooperated in the search and implementation of new trick technologies. In 1998 he joined UPP (Universal Production Partners) in Prague, which is dedicated to digital post-production, computer animation, and film effects. It focuses on the links between classic film processes and new digital technologies. His work was awarded the Alfréd Radok Prize at the 1999 IFF in Karlovy Vary. He is also an active professor at various universities and film colleges.


Boris Masnik working on a glass painting for the film “Stalingrad” (1993)

stalingrad_01stalingrad 2




2016- Who’s Who in Mycology (Short) (special effects)
2013- Kovár z Podlesí (visual effects supervisor)
2013- -Horící ker (TV Mini-Series) (visual effects supervisor – 3 episodes)
2009-Proc bychom se netopili (TV Series) (FX supervisor – 2 episodes)
2008- Smutek paní Snajderové (special effects)
2008- Tobruk (prep artist)
2008- O rodicích a detech (visual effects)
2006- Obsluhoval jsem anglického krále (visual effects supervisor: UPP)
2006- -Der letzte Zug (visual effects supervisor: UPP)
2006- Perfume: The Story of a murderer (miniatures supervisor: UPP)
2005- Andel páne (visual effects supervisor)
2005- Hostel (visual effects supervisor: Czech Republic)
2003- O Jecmínkovi (TV Movie) (special effects)
2002- Andelská tvár (special effects supervisor)
2001- Bez tváre (special effects)
2000- Samotári (computer special effects)
1999- Z pekla stestí (computer special effects)
1999- Vsichni moji blízcí (special effects supervisor)
1996- Kolya (special effects)
1993- Sakalí léta (special effects)
1993 – Stalingrad (VFX/matte painting)
1991- Carodejky z predmestí (special effects)
1991- Slunce, seno, erotika (special effects)
1989- Nebojsa (special effects)
1989- Slunce, seno a pár facek (special effects)
1988- Jak básníkum chutná zivot (special effects)
1987- O princezne Jasnence a létajícím sevci (special effects)
1987- Veselé vánoce prejí chobotnice (special effects)
1987- Chobotnice z druhého patra (special effects)
1986- Chobotnice z druhého patra (TV Series) (special effects – 1 episode)
1986Carovné dedictví (special effects)
1985- S certy nejsou zerty (special photographic effects)
1984- Poklad hrabete Chamaré (special effects)
1984- Tajna starog tavana (trick effects cinematographer)
1983- Létající Cestmír (TV Mini-Series) (special effects – 5 episodes)
1983- Návstevníci (TV Series) (special effects – 15 episodes)
1979- Tajemství Ocelového mesta (special effects)

Mikhail Krotkin



1973 Docker (Production designer)
1971 Farewell to Petersburg (Production designer)
1967 Zelyonaya kareta / The Green Carriage (special effects)
1964 Spyashchaya krasavitsa / Sleeping beauty (special effects)
1963 Cheryomushki (special effects)
1962 Dikaya sobaka Dingo (special effects )
1962 Cholpon-utrennyaya zvezda (special effects)
1961 Kak skruchivayetsya verevka / How the rope is twisted (1961) (Production designer)
1960 Pikovaya dama / Queen of Spades (special effects )
1956 One night / Odna noch (1956)
1956 Starik khotabich / Old Man Hottabych (1956) (special effects)
1956 The road of truth / Doroga Pravdy (1956) (Production designer)
1955 Gvozd programmy / The highlight of the program (Short) (Production designer)
1955 Ovod (special effects art director)
1953 Sluga dvukh gospod (special effects )
1953 Тени / Shadows (special effects )
1950 Musorgskiy (special effects)
1947 Cindarella (special effects designer)
1943 Kino-kontsert 1941 (Documentary) (special photographic effects)
1943 Vozdushnyy izvozchik (special effects )
1942 Paren iz nashego goroda / Lad from Our Town (special effects )
1942 Sekretar raykoma/ Secretary of the District Committee
(special effects art director)
1937 Velikiy grazhdanin / Great Citizen (special effects )

Arseni Klopotovsky

Arseny. Klopotovsky


Born: August 29, 1924 in USSR
Died: January 1, 2013 (age 88) in Russia

He started his career as a visual effects artist in charge of miniatures and matte paintings and during the sixties, he moved to production designing.


Two paintings by Klopotovsky.

klop1 Klopt2

Two matte paintings  by Klopotovsky made for the film Avitsenna (1957)

Avitsenna.1957-1 Avitsenna.1957-2


Two matte paintings made  by Klopotovsky for Maria, the Wonderful Weaver(1960)

1 2


1985 Solntse v karmane / The sun in yopur pocket (Production designer)
1983 Polosa vezeniya / Lucky Streak (Production designer)
1983 O beshchayu byt!! / I promise to be!(Production designer)
1979 Den svadby pridyotsya utochnit / Wedding day will have to clarify (Production designer)
1978 Zamurovannye v stekle / Walled in glass (Production designer)
1976 Vsyo delo v brate / It’s all about brother(Production designer)
1975 Chestnoye volshebnoye / Honest magic (Production designer)
1972 Zolotyye roga / Golden horns(1Production designer)
1971 Derzhis za oblaka / Hold on to the Clouds (visual effects artist)
1970 Varvara-krasa, dlinnaya kosa / Barbarian beauty, long braid (Production designer)
1969 Troye / Three(Production designer)
1967 Ogon’, voda i … mednyye truby / Fire, water and … copper pipes(Production designer)
1965 Zhenshchiny/ Women (Production designer)
1965 Morozko / Frosty (Production designer)
1963 Korolevstvo krivykh zerkal / Kingdom of Crooked Mirrors (Production designer)
1961 Khrustalnyy bashmachok Zolushki/ Cinderella (visual effects artist)
1961 Leon Garros ishchet druga / 20,000 Leagues Across the Land (visual effects artist)
1960 Mariya-iskusnitsa / Maria, the Wonderful Weaver(visual effects artist)
1959 Ya byl sputnikom solntsa / I Was a Sputnik of the Sun (visual effects artis
1957 Avitsenna (visual effects artist)
1956 Za vlast Sovetov / For the power of the Soviets (visual effects artist)
1954 Ob etom zabyvat nelzya / This Must Not Be Forgotten (visual effects artist)
1954 Sluchay v tayge / Incident in the Taiga (visual effects artist)

Mattes and miniatures on Japanese Films

Finding information about the history of japan matte painting is a very difficult task.  Most of the matte work made in Japan during the ’50s to ’80s is uncredited. I have found small pieces of information about some movies and a few matte artists.  If anyone has more information and want to share it, I will be very pleased to hear about it.


1954 – Gojira
1956- Rodan
1957- Chikyû Bôeigun /The Mysterians
1961- Mothra
1963- Kaitei gunkan / Atragon
1964- Mosura tai Gojira /Godzilla vs Mothra
1966- Terror beneath the Sea
1967- Kaijûtô no kessen: Gojira no musuko/ Son of Godzilla
1969- Nihonkai daikaisen/Great Battle of the Japan Sea
1969- Ido zero daisakusen / Latitude Zero
1973- Gojira versus Megaro
1978- Message from space / Uchu kara no messeji
1989- Gojira versus Biorante

Thanks to Mike Johnsons and Roger Todd.

Gojira vs. Biorante (1989)

Director: Kazuki Ohmori
Cinematography: Katsuhiro Kato (as Yudai Kato)
Art Direction: Shigekazu Ikuno
Director of special effects: Koichi Kawakita
Miniature pyrotechnician Tadaaki Watanabe , Mamoru Kume
Special effects cinematographer Kenichi Eguchi
Miniatures Sadao Ogasawara Yasuo Nomora
visual effects Yoshiyuki Kishimoto, Horiaki Hojo
Matte artist: Yoshio Ishii


biollante3 biollante4

Kaitei gunkan / Atragon (1963)

Director: Ishirô Honda
Cinematography by Hajime Koizumi
Production Design by Takeo Kita
Director of Special Effect: Eiji Tsuburaya
Matte photography: Hiroshi Mukoyama
Special effects photographer: Sadamasa Arikawa
Special effects art director: Akira Watanabe
Director of special effects photography: Okei Tomioka
Matte painting: Unknown


A model submarine into a miniature cave.


Matte painting of the Easter island statues.

A miniature spaceship in front of a painting.


Matte painting of the island.


Matte painting of the island jungle.

The submarine model emerging on the tank with a painted backing.



More matte paintings from Atragon.

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Mothra (1961)

Director: Ishirô Honda
Cinematography by Hajime Koizumi
Production Design by Teruaki Abe Takeo Kita
Director of Special Effects: Eiji Tsuburaya
Special photography: optical photography: Yukio Manoda
Special effects art director: Akira Watanabe
Director of special effects: photography Sadamasa Arikawa
Special effects lighting: Kuichiro Kishida
Matte work: Hiroshi Mukoyama

mothra1 mothra2as mothra2bcopia mothra3 mothra4a mothra5 mothra6 mothra7


Son of Godzilla (1967)

Director: Jun Fukuda
Cinematography by Kazuo Yamada
Production Design by Takeo Kita
Director of special effects: Eiji Tsuburaya Sadamasa Arikawa
Special effects marionettes: Fumio Nakadai
Art director of special effects: Akira Watanabe
Director of special effects photography: Sokei Tomioka
Optical photography: Sadao IizudaYukio Manoda
Special effects lighting: Kuichiro Kishida
Matte painting: Unknown


The upper part of the set was enhanced by a matte painting.


Only the below part of the tower was a real set. The upper part was a painting.


Matte shot of a marionette monster on a miniature set combined with a real actor (below left)


The island was made as a miniature.




Lucie Fournier


I studied Graphic Arts at the University of Quebec at Montreal, followed by Film Animation at Concordia University School of Fine Arts. I found the dynamic surroundings, artistic and technical challenges of cinema exceptionally stimulating.

For five years I was devoted to film animation and then spent ten years as a scenic painter, participating in the production of television series, clips, TV commercials, short films, and feature films.

Drawn to sculpting through film animation I turned my professional life towards this passionate multifaceted art and in 1998 I founded Arts 3D inc. The company is specialized in sculpture, molding, casting, painting, and production of props and décor for commercial and cinematographic projects.

More about her at



Sculpture credits:

2018 – Death Wish
2015 – X-Men: Apocalypse
2015 – Stonewall
2015 – The walk
2014 – X Men days of the future past
2014-15- Helix (TV series)
2014 – “My Sisters Kids & the Gold Diggers
2012 – Smurfs 2
2012 – White House Down
2011 – Chronicles of Riddick
2011 – Le sense de l´humour
2010 – Shutter Island
2008 – The last templar
2007 – Mummy III
2005 – 300
2005 – Journey to the center of the earth
2004 – The Fountain
2005 – The Greatest Game ever played
2003 – Aviator
2003 – The Day After Tomorrow
2002 – The case of the Whitechappel vampire (TV movie)
2002 – Veritas
2001 – The score
1999 – Babel

Painting credits.:
1995 - L’assassin jouait du trombone  ( scenic painter- matte painting)
1994 – Kazan (matte painting)
1993 – Matusalem ( matte painting)
1991 – Agaguk AKA Shadow of the Wolf ( scenic painter)
1990 – Simon les nuages ( Miniature / matte painting)

Samples of her matte painting work.



L’assassin jouait du trombone


Two matte paintings from .Matusalem

Matusalem (1993)matte1

 Matusalem (1993)matte2

Simon les nuages


The Seventh Sign (1988)

Director: Carl Schultz
Director of photography: Juan Ruiz Anchía
Production Design: Stephen Marsh
Visual effects supervisor: Eric Brevig / Michael L. Fink
Visual effects /Matte paintings: Robert Scifo

Original plate.


Final composition.


Two more matte paintings by Robert Scifo, to whom I am very grateful for having sent me these images of his paintings.

The Seventh Sign 2 The.Seventh.Sign.1988-01The Seventh SignThe.Seventh.Sign.1988-02

George Washington (1984) (TV series)

Director: Buzz Kulik
Cinematography: Harry Stradling Jr.
Production Design: Alfred Sweeney
Matte painting effects by: Van Der Veer Photo effects
Matte painting supervisor: Lou Lichtenfield
Matte painter: Robert Scifo.

Four images showing the composite of one matte painting with the original plate.  From the book  “Special effects. Wire, Tape, and Rubber Band Style” written by L.B.Abbott. 

G1 G2 G3 G4

Two images of the filming of the matte paintings at Van Der Veer photo effects, from the same book.

Scan Scan2


Matte paintings by Robert Scifo for George Washington.

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Final Analysis (1992)

Director: Phil Joanou
Production Designer: Dean Tavoularis
Cinematography: Jordan Cronenweth
Visual effects supervisor: DQI : Hoyt Yeatman
matte artist: DQI: Robert Scifo
matte photography: DQI: Susan Sitnek, Brian Adams


Before and after for one of the matte paintings from Final Analysis.

Final Analysis-mattefinal1




Outrageous Fortune (1987)

Director: Arthur Hiller
Director of photography: David M. Walsh
Production Design: James Dowell Vance
Special visual effects supervisor: Michael Lloyd
Visual effects /Matte paintings: Robert Scifo
Visual effects unit: Phil Huff, Steve Rundell

The final action sequence of the film is full of matte paintings showing how the main characters played by Shelley Long and Peter Coyote run and jump on a series of rocky outcrops.

Outrageous.F.01 Outrageous.F.02 Outrageous.F.03 Outrageous.F.04 Outrageous.F.05 Outrageous.F.06 Outrageous.F.07 Outrageous.F.08 Outrageous.F.09 Outrageous.F.090 Outrageous.F.091 Outrageous.F.092 Outrageous.F.093 Outrageous.F.094

The Dark Crystal (1982)

Directors: Jim Henson, Frank Oz
Cinematography: Oswald Morris
Production Design: Harry Lange
Visual concept design: Brian Froud
Creatures fabrication supervisor: Sherry Amott, Lyle Conway
Visual effects supervisor: Roy Field
Special miniature effects: Brian Smithies
Matte paintings: Mike Pangrazio, Chris Evans
Matte photography: Neil Krepela, Craig Barron
Additional matte artist: Charles Stoneham
Matte camera operator: Martin Body
Optical printing: Dick Dimbleby

During the production and filming of the fantasy-adventure film The Dark Crystal, at Elstree Studios, Borehamwood, British visual effects supervisor Roy Field was commissioned to provide matte shots, and optical printing shots. Veteran matte painter Charles Stoneham used to work with Field. Stoneham started as a matte painter during the middle sixties at Pinewood matte department under Cliff Culley when Roy Field was a matte camera and optical effects supervisor at Pinewood.  When Roy Field opened his own effects company Optical Film Effects in the early eighties, he called Charles to supply glass and matte paintings to him very often. Stoneham painted mattes for  Roy Fields on films like Superman III(1983), Gandhi(82), Supergirl(1984),  Return to Oz (1985), and also Dark Crystal.

Charles Stoneham painting one of the matte paintings for Dark Crystal.

Glass painting Stoneham-Dark Crystal

The painting showed a wide view of the Mystics village on a  rocky valley.  That matte painting was on the first cut of the film that was premiered in Washington dc, on March 19, 1982. After the negative response of the audience as they felt the narrative was too confusing to follow,  the film was cut  8 minutes and added with new English dialog and a narrator voice-over. The long-shot with a  tilt-down camera movement of that matte painting was removed. I’ve only been able to recover some images of an old and poor quality VHS recording in black and white from that matte shot by Stoneham, although it doesn´t match the painting it looks like it was also the work of him.

Ferris painting DarkCrystal

That’s Doug Ferris working on a glass painting. British visual effects artist Jon Sorensen helped me to identify the artist and told me about that trick.  First, they tried to get the skies with matte paintings and smoke effects, but they were not satisfied. Then they tried with the water tank and Sorensen was called to achieve the desired effects.


At some point in production, it was clear that many more matte paintings would be needed to provide the epic visual imagery that the film required. Especially during the journey that the young hero makes from the mystic village in search of Aughra´s place and far away to the Skeksis castle.  These matte shots were rendered by Industrial light and magic ILM,  in San Rafael, California. Mike Pangrazio and Chris Evans handled the paintings and Nel Krepela and Craig Barron managed the matte camera work.  ILM was in charge of 8 matte paintings.  As Craig Barron remembers “Gary Kurtz asked us to do a few matte paintings to help finish up the production. The plates were shot 4 perf, not VistaVision which was the format ILM was set up in. The show is an example of work we sometimes did in the matte department alone separate from the rest of ILM”

These are the ILM matte paintings for Dark Crystal. The three first paintings were by Mike Pangrazio. The three last paintings of the Mystics voyage to the Tower were by Chris Evans.

DarkCrystal-ILMmatte1 DarkCrystal-ILMmatte2 DarkCrystal-ILMmatte3

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That’s Mike Pangrazio working on one of the paintings.

The three last paintings of the Mystics voyage to the Tower were by Chris Evans.

DarkCrystal-ILMmatte4 DarkCrystal-ILMmatte5 DarkCrystal-ILMmatte6

The rest of the matte painting work on The Dark Crystal was handled by Charles Stoneham.

Dark Crystal- matte painting2Dark Crystal- matte painting3Dark Crystal- matte painting4Dark Crystal- matte painting5Dark Crystal- matte painting6Dark Crystal- matte painting7Dark Crystal- matte painting1

On the last one, the matte painting was a small addition on the rocky cliffs to join Aughra´s Observatory with the set.




Lynette Lee

Biography: Lynette Lee started to work with Ray Caple as an assistant matte artist around the late ’60s on films like Mackenna’s Gold (1969) She married Caple and became his matte assistant for many years until he died at 1993. Apparently, she abandoned the film business.


1978 – Satyam Shivam Sundaram: Love Sublime
1974 – Space 1999
1969 – Mackenna’s Gold

Tatyana Nikitchenko


She was from a well-known family of Film artists at Gorky Studios department of combined shots, where her father Vladimir and her uncle Ivan Nikitchenko worked as well.

She made some matte painting for «Rossija Molodaja», which is a nine series Television film. In the first series, she made a matte painting with northern lights as well as some ships frozen in ice.

1 2

Matte painting from the film  “Daniil knyaz Galitskiy”



1990 – Demqov depi pate (special effects designer)
1987 – Daniil knyaz Galitskiy (special effects designer – as T. Nikitchenko)
1982 – Rossija Molodaja (special effects)
1978 – Ischeznovenie (special effects)

Edward Malikov

Edward Stepanovich Malikov ( February 16, 1937, Moscow – July 17, 2016 , Moscow)  Soviet, Russian film artist.

From 1959 to 1997 worked at the film studio ” Mosfilm “, which was his first and last job. During his career from assistant to the artist of combined shooting, he worked with directors: G. V. Alexandrov , A. L. Ptushko , G. N. Danelia , Yu. N. Ozerov , E. A. Ryazanov, and others.

All free time from working in the cinema, Edward Stepanovich devoted to creating paintings. He used a variety of visual tools and genres

Among his works are works made: watercolor, gouache, ink, ballpoint pen, pencil, pastel. But the most his favorite tool has always remained oil paints. He did not part with the canvas and the brush until the very last minute of his life.

 Art Gallery. samples of his painting work out of Film business.

divers moscow orchesta p6 Storm temple in Moscow

To see more samples of his paintings visit his web site:

Assistant of the combined shooting artist
1960 – Russian Souvenir
1961 – Scarlet Sails
1967 – War and Peace

(combined shooting artist)
1962 – Put k prichalu/ Path to the berth
1967 – Vesna na Odere / Spring on the Oder
1969 – Posol Sovetskogo Soyuza
1970 – More v ogne
1972 – Agent Nr.1.
1972 – Ruslan and Lyudmila
1973 – Molchaniye doktora Ivensa / The Silence of Dr. Ivens
1975 – Sokolovo
1975 -Jaroslaw Dabrowski
1977 – Soldaty svobody
1977 – Mimino.
1977 – Khozhdenie po mukam / Road to Calvary 1977 (TV series)
1978 – Lyubov moya, pechal moya / Farhat and Shirin
1979 – Ekipazh / Crew
1982 – Predchuvstviye lyubvi / Premonition of love
1985 – Battle for Moscow
1987 – Forgotten melody for Flute
1989 – Stalingrad
1989 – Sozvezdie Kozlotura
1992 – Noga
1993 – Deti chugunnykh bogov
1996 – Ермак / Ermak (TV series)

Lyudmila Aleksandrovskaya

Lyudmila Aleksandrovskaya Konstantinovna (nee Turyleva; b. 1917 )  Soviet film artist, member of the USSR Union of Cinematographers (Moscow branch)  Honored Artist of the RSFSR ( 1969 )

Born on November 22 ( December 5 ), 1917. In 1943 he graduated from the fine arts Department of VGIK, workshop specialized in trick photography (directed by A. Ptushko). The first independent work of Alexander as an artist combined shooting of the film “At six PM after the war”(1944).

Honored Artist of the RSFSR, laureate of the State premier of the USSR.

Lyudmila ´s career as special effects artist designing and creating miniatures, matte paintings and all kind of perspective tricks lasted from 1944 to 1987. Most of her work was made at Mosfilm Studios.


Lyudmila and a camera operator on location for the film The Great Warrior of Albania Skanderbeg

Aizemberg- aleksandrovskaya


1944 – At six o’clock in the evening after the war / V shest chasov vechera posle voyny
1944 – The sky of Moscow/ Небо Москвы
1945 – Hello, Moscow!/ Zdravstvuy, Moskva! / Здравствуй, Москва!
1946 – Troubled farm/ Bespokoynoe khozyaystvo /
1946 – Our heart/ Nashe serdtse/ Наше сердце
1948 – The legend of the land of Siberia/ Сказание о земле Сибирской
1948 – Three Meetings/ Три встречи
1948 – Skazanie o zemle sibirskoy
1949 – The fall of Berlin/ Падение Берлина Padenie Berlina
1950 – Cavalier of the Golden Star / Кавалер Золотой Звезды
1951 – Nezabyvaemyy 1919 god
1951 – Bolshoy kontsert
1952 – Kompozitor Glinka
1953 – The Great Warrior of Albania Skanderbeg
1954 – Romeo and Juliet / Ромео и Джульетта
1954 – Ispytanie vernosti
1955 – Volnitsa/ Вольница
1955 – Othello/ Отелло
1956 – V kvadrate 45
1956 – Polyushko, pole
1957 – Sisters/ Сёстры
1958 – Eighteenth year/ Восемнадцатый год
1958 – The Idiot/ Идиот
1959 – Song about Koltsov/ Песня о Кольцове
1959 – Gloomy morning/ Хмурое утро
1960 – Five Days, Five Nights/ Пять дней, пять ночей
1961 – The Court of the Mad / Суд сумасшедших
1963 – Russian Forest/ Русский лес
1965 – Year as life Год, как жизнь
1966 – Chelovek bez pasporta
1967 – Mesta tut tikhie
1967 – Oni zhivut ryadom
1968 – Youth without old age / Молодость без старости
1969 – Viimne reliikvia
1969 – Tinerete Fara Batranete
1970 – Morskoy kharakter
1972 – Nam nekogda zhdat
1974 – Romans o vlyublyonnykh
1978 – Pozovi menya v dal svetluyu
1983 – This sad fun circus / Clowns / Этот грустный весёлый цирк / Клоуны
1971 – Teni ischezayut v polden (TV miniseries)
1973 – S veselyem i otvagoy
1973 – Eto silnee menya
1973 – Veronica / Veronica se întoarce/ Вероника
1974 – Anna Karenina
1974 – Romance of Lovers / Романс о влюблённых
1974 – Samyy zharkiy mesyats
1975 – Mater chelovecheskaya
1976 – Bezottsovshchina
1976 – Mom / MAMA
1977 – Pozovi menya v dal svetluyu
1978 – Poka bezumstvuyet mechta
1978 – Srochnyy vyzov
1978 – Taktika bega na dlinnuyu distantsiyu
1979 – Otets i syn
1980 – Lyudi v okeane
1980 – Tehran-43
1982 – Mat Mariya / mother mary
1983 – Bereg
1983 – This sad fun circus / Clowns / Этот грустный весёлый цирк / Клоуны
1984 – Pobeda / Victory
1984 – Rasstavaniya
1984 – Chelovek-nevidimka / The Invisible Man
1985 – Alov
1987 – Vybor
1987 – Ivan Veliky / Ivan the Great


Zoya Moryakova


Born in Gzhatsk (now Gagarin, Smolensk region) Shortly before the war, the family moved to Moscow

At the end of the Faculty of Art VGIK in 1949 was adopted at the film studio “Mosfilm”. As an artist’s assistant, she had the opportunity to work on the then-shooting Zhukovsky (1950), Away from Moscow (1950), Przhevalsky (1952). Then, already an artist, together with others, participates in the painting of picturesque backgrounds for

Bolshoy kontsert (1951), Composer Glinka(1952) , Zastava v gorakh (1953),  Serebristaya pyl (1953). At the same time, she became closely acquainted with the brothers N. S. and A. S. Renkovy, B. K. Gorbachev , G. D. Aizenberg , L. K. Aleksandrovskaya and other cameramen and artists keen on combined shooting.

 And since the late 1950s, she has been permanently cooperating with the combined survey operator A. S. Renkov , together with whom she fully managed to be realized as an artist.

The scenes of historical and fairy-tale paintings, such as “Pardesi/  Going beyond three seas” (1957), “ Khovanshchina (1959), “Sampo” (1959), “The Tale of Tsar Saltan”(1967) and others, were solved using the method of subsequent drawing. In Emelyan Pugachev (1979) viewers saw, for example, the lost Kazan of the 18th century on the eve of and during the battle of the Peasant War .

In 1971, preparing with the cameraman A. S. Renkov to solve new creative tasks for the picture “Commander of the happy Pike,” they invented and then first put into practice the original method of combined “underwater” shooting.

The graphic works of Moryakova participated in the exhibitions of the Tretyakov Gallery on Krymsky Val, the Exhibition of National Economy Achievements, the North Sea Museum of the History of the City and Navy. A significant part of the sketches, as well as the artist’s drawings, are now kept in the funds of the Cinema Museum, some in private collections.


Zoya Moryakova at 1987.

Some samples of  Z. Moryakova matte paintings.

For the film Love for Love (1983) matte painting of Medieval city of Messina.

Love for love (1983)Matte] Messina_by_Zoya_Moryakova-matte

Two paintings from 1958 – Pardesi/ Going beyond three seas

1024px-Russian_antiquities_by_Zoya_Moryakova,_up 1024px-Russian_antiquities_by_Zoya_Moryakova

For more information and samples of her work visit this link:,_%D0%97%D0%BE%D1%8F_%D0%90%D0%BB%D0%B5%D0%BA%D1%81%D0%B5%D0%B5%D0%B2%D0%BD%D0%B0


1991 – Lessons at the end of spring
1988 – Down with Commerce on the Love Front, or Reciprocal Services
1987 – The Garden of Desires
1987 – The Old Alphabet
1985 – Bagration
1985 – Start over
1985 – Reportage from the line of fire
1984 – Who is stronger than him
1983 – Bouquet of violets
1983 – Love for love
1983 – A lonely hostel is provided.
1982 – Sportlotto-82
1982 – The Red Bells
1980 – White Snow of Russia
1980 – I wish you success
1980 – Green pupa
1980 – The Perfect Husband
1979 – The Return of the Senses
1979 – Autumn Marathon
1979 – The Procession of Golden Beasts
1978 – Emelyan Pugachev
1977 – Destiny
1976 – Three suns
1975 – The Ivanov family
1974 – Earthly Love
1974 – Rainfall
1973 – Paradise apples
1972 – Siberian
1972 – Commander of the happy “Pikes”
1971 – 12 chairs
1971 – Sing a song, poet …
1970 – Kremlin chimes
1970 – The Messengers of Eternity
1969 – Director
1968 – Crash
1968 – Far in the West
1968 – The Golden Calf
1967 – Die Hard
1967 – Mysterious Wall
1966 – The Tale of Tsar Saltan
1965 – Time, Forward!
1964 – Executed at dawn …
1964 – Snowstorm
1964 – The Tale of Lost Time
1963 – the USSR through the eyes of the Italians
1962 – My little brother
1962 – The Apple of Discord
1961 – Scarlet Sails
1961 – At the beginning of the century
1960 – Enemies
1959 – Khovanshchina
1959 – People on the bridge
1959 – Sampo
1959 – Khovanshchina
1959 – People on the bridge
1958 – Pardesi/ Going beyond three seas
1956 – Ilya Muromets
1956 – How Gianni Got To Hell
1956 – Carnival Night
1955 – Saltanat
1955 – The Secret of Eternal Night
1954 – School of courage
1954 – Boris Godunov
1953 – Serebristaya pyl
1953 – Zastava v gorakh
1952 – Przhevalsky
1952 – Composer Glinka
1951 -Bolshoy kontsert
1950 – Away from Moscow
1950 – Zhukovsky




Natasha Nikitina was Born in Moscow.
She graduated from the Theater and Art School in 1972.
Worked at the Gorky film studio as an artist of combined shots (That is how matte shots are names on Russian films) from 1972 to 1986.

She moved to Oslo, Norway where she continued to word as miniatures and matte painting artist for more than 20 years.

Natasha Nikitina painting on glass for the film “The Polar Bear King”

Polar bear 1 Polar bear 2

Nikitina worked on the foreground miniature ships used for the film Yunost “Petra” (1979-80)





 Foreground miniature made for the Norwegian TV series “Fortuna” (1993)

01fortune FortuneTVseries2

For more information and samples of her work visit this link:


2001 – Aria (visual effects)
1999 – Snails (Short) (set designer)
1997 – Far, Far Away (director, screenplay, set designs, backgrounds)
1996 – Urtidsbilder (animation)
1995 – Edvard. in bronze (set design)
1994 -Ippolita. the little amazon (set design )
1993- Edward. the naked truth (set design, visual effects)
1993 – Edvard. longing Unbearable Lightness (set design, visual effects)
1993 – Fiskeboller (set design)
1993 – Fortuna (TV series) ( Visual effects)
1992 – Edvard (director, set design)
1992 – Giftige løgner (special effects)
1992 – Det perfekte mord (visual effects)
1991 – Gagarin – en romfartsopera (TV Movie) (special effects – as Natasja N.Nikitina)
1991 – The polar bear King ( Matte painting)
1990 – Smykketyven (1990) jewelry thief ( special effects)
1990 – Herman ( miniatures)
1990 . Landstrykere / the vagrants ( miniatures)
1898 – De hvite bussene /The white buses (Miniatures)
1985 – I na kamnyakh rastut derevya (special effects)
1983 – Semero soldatikov / seven Soldiers ( special effects)
1982 – Vozvrashchenie rezidenta /Return of the resident ( combined shooting)
1982 – Ne mogu skazat proshchay / I can´t say goodbye (special effects)
1979- 80 – Yunost Petra /The youth of Peter the Great ( special effects)
1978 – Ischeznovenie (special effects assistant)
1974 – Moskva-Kassiopeya (special effects assistant)

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.

Munchausenmatte1Baron Munch-before&after1b


Munchausenmatte3 Munchausenmatte4 Munchausenmatte5





Munchausenmatte7Munchausenmatte7b Munchausenmatte8munchausenmatte8b


Munchausenmatte90Baron Munch-before&after3

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.

Les croix de bois01 les croix de bois02 les croix de bois03les croix de bois05

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

les croix de bois04


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

les croix de bois06

A battlefield set with a beautiful backdrop painting.

les croix de bois07

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.

Tonight and Every Night - Matte1 Tonight and Every Night - Matte2 Tonight and Every Night - Matte3

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

Tonight and Every Night - mattenight 1 Tonight and Every Night - mattenight 3 Tonight and Every Night - mattenight 6

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

Tonight and Every Night - mattenight 2 Tonight and Every Night - mattenight 4 Tonight and Every Night - Mattenight 7

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.

Those mag01 Those mag02

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.

Thosemag03 ThoseMag04 ThoseMag05

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.

ThoseMag1 ThoseMag2 ThoseMag3 ThoseMag4


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.

PrincessBride. miniature1 PrincessBride. miniature2


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

PBride1 Pbride2 PBride3 PBride5

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.

Legend of the Lost 02 Legend of The Lost01 Legend of the lost03 Legend of the lost04


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


Sudan01 Sudan02 Sudan03 Sudan04 Sudan05 Sudan06 Sudan07 Sudan08 Sudan09 Sudan090

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.

1927. Percy Day develops his version of the latent image technique and applies it in “Le joueur d’échecs” The Chess player.

Chess 27

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 were 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 Gainsborough 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 an oriental fantasy world for “The Thief of Bagdad” The film wins the Academy Award for Visual Effects.

El ladron de Bagdad.1

1945. Percy Day paints glass shots for “Henry V”.

HenryV PercyDayHenry V 04

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


1946. Another scenic artist, Les Bowie began as a 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.

Oliver Twist matte2

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

1948. After Ellenshaw left, Percy Day started to work with other assistants 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 Spur” (1947)

1948.  Geoffrey Dickinson was a 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)

Scott of the Antarctic 00


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? ”

HD quo vadis matte2

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.

Ivanhoe matte 08

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

Puccini- matte01

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

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


1954. Judy Jordan left Shepperton matte department 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 a 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 a 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”.

Jason matte01

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, Field supervising optical effects. Begun his James Bond series, painting mattes for  “Dr. No” and “From Russia with love”

007 Doctor No- 62 Culley

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

1963. Bob Cuff began 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 a freelance, painted mattes for Bill Warrington at “The long ships”.

long ships matte0

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  Abacus Productions to make T.V. commercials.  (Les  Bowie didn´t want to be involved with commercials and acted as a 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 Kubrick 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 responsible for  the matte paintings on “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”

Chitty-Pinewood matte department

1968 . Douglas Adamson was employed as a 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.

Gerald-Larn copia

anne copia

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 a 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 provides mattes for”The pink panther strikes again”. He was assisted by Steve Archer who later became a 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 a matte camera. Scenic artist Peter Wood was commissioned 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 Doug Ferris, Ray Caple, assisted by Liz Lettman, create the matte paintings for “Superman” On the matte camera unit were Peter Harmand, Peter Hammond, and Keith Holland. Dennis Bartlett was traveling 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 Leigh 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” Company.

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 joins 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”.

Doug Ferris with one of his paintings for “Santa Claus”

Doug with Santa Claus intro

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 a consultant at the motion control unit.


1984. Cliff Culley provides mattes and optical effects for TV miniseries  “The Last Days of Pompeii” with his company “Westbury design and opticals” with Leigh Took as a 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 a matte consultant for “Illusion arts”

1984. For  David Lean´s “A Passage to India” Doug Chian paint mattes for Peerless 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 a matte artist. Additional matte paintings were done at the USA. by Disney EFX. The 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 Christmas 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 working 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 Peerless camera.

Baron Munch-before&after1

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

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 paints 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 Culley’s 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 an illness.

Treasure Island-Ray caple2

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”.

princess caraboo Princess Caraboo-Doug Ferris painting1

1995. After decades working as a 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 design” provided mattes and opticals for 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 a 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, a scenic artist who was trained under Brian Bishop, executes a 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  called to make an old school glass painting on 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.

Give Us This Day (1949) 01Give Us This Day (1949) 03 Give Us This Day (1949) 04 Give Us This Day (1949) 05

There are also some beautiful  backdrop paintings.

Give Us This Day (1949) back01 Give Us This Day (1949) back02



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.

Jassy47-01 Jassy47-02  Jassy47-05 Jassy47-06 Jassy47-08Jassy47-03

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.

Scott of the Antarctic 00 Scott of the Antarctic 01 Scott of the Antarctic 02 Scott of the Antarctic 03 Scott of the Antarctic 04

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

Scott of the Antarctic-Miniat01 Scott of the Antarctic-Miniat02 Scott of the Antarctic-Miniat03 Scott of the Antarctic-Miniat04 Scott of the Antarctic-Miniat05 Scott of the Antarctic-Miniat06

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

Raiders of the lost ark01b Raiders of the lost ark02b Raiders of the lost ark04 Raiders of the lost ark05 Raiders of the lost ark06b Raiders of the lost ark08b Raiders of the lost ark090 Raiders of the lost ark09matte

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.

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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)

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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.


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)

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

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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 on 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 Adshead 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.

Cleopatra matte 01

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.

Cleopatra matte 03

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.

The 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 in 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Blockade (1938)

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

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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.

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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.

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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


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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)