Those who are not conversant in works of art are often surprised at the high value set by connoisseurs on drawings which appear careless, and in every respect unfinished; but they are truly valuable... they give the idea of a whole.
- Sir Joshua Reynolds
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.
- Anais Nin


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Carbonmatter (Dan Wheaton)

Posted by Charley Parker at 9:44 am

Dan Wheaton
Carbonmatter is the web site name and professional nickname of matte painter and concept artist Dan Wheaton.

Wheaton has worked as an illustrator, designer and creative director for a variety of companies in print and interactive design, but the real focus of his career has been on his love for movies and gaming, particularly those in which special effects play a significant role.

This has led to his work as a matte painter and concept artist for companies like Intelligent Creatures where he was senior matte painter for films like Babel, Stranger then Fiction and The Number 23; Ubisoft where he worked on the award winning cinematics for Prince of Persia 3; and Rocket Science vfx; as well as freelance work for companies like Pepsi. He has recently landed his “dream job” and gone on contract with Industrial Light and Magic as a Digital Matte Painter.

Wheaton’s web site has been revised and expanded since I last visited and his online gallery has a nice selection of his work from the film and gaming industries as well as some personal projects. The new additions to the gallery include some marvellously dramatic landscapes for Prince of Persia.

Wheaton really knows how to use strong contrasts in value to punch up a scene and give it focus. He has a particular facility for handling large scale scenes and dramatic landscapes. His landscapes, in fact, often show the influence of the great masters of dramatic landscapes like Frederick Church and Thomas Cole. (I can’t give you a direct link because of the way his gallery is set up, but look in the bottom row in the concept art section for his beautiful (and hilarious) Fill’er Up.)

You can also see the influence of the great futurist and concept artist Syd Mead, particularly in images like Race Day (image above, bottom). This is one of my personal favorites. Wheaton has chosen as his background two buildings on the Champs Élysées in Paris which were used by architect Horace Trumbauer (who also supervised the design of the Philadelphia Museum of Art) as models for two nearly identical buildings, The Free Library and Courthouse, on the Ben Franklin Parkway here in Philadelphia.

You can see a breakdown of steps in this painting on Wheaton’s portfolio on the CG Society site. Wheaton also has a gallery on the CG Channel.

2 comments for Carbonmatter (Dan Wheaton) »

RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. Comment by Daniel van Benthuysen
    Friday, August 31, 2007 @ 11:35 am

    A beautiful combination of old master chiaroscuro technique and new-age subject matter.

  2. Comment by John
    Sunday, September 2, 2007 @ 11:29 am

    I don’t always agree with you, but I see that you are objective in your
    postings. Despite the differences I still enjoy reading your posts and I
    often learn even when our viewpoints are different. :-)

Leave a comment


(required but not published)

Display Ads on Lines and Colors (1st tier): $25/week or $75/month.

Please note that display ads for lines and colors are limited to arts related topics and may not be animated.
Display Ads on Lines and Colors (2nd tier): $20/week or $65/month.

Please note that display ads for lines and colors are limited to arts related topics and may not be animated.

Donate Life

The Gift of a Lifetime
Donate Life