Telling Terminator: Dark Fate's Story With Aftermath

Maxx, I just have to ask -- what is it like to work on a James Cameron-produced, Tim Miller-directed, Terminator movie?

It was an incredible honor to be asked to work on this film. I've worked with the team at Blur for years, and have always been a huge fan of Tim as a director and just as a person in general. He's cultivated an incredible family at Blur, and watching him soar as a director is an amazing thing to witness, so even though I don't do client work anymore, whenever they call, I'm there to help in any way I can. Also... its friggin Terminator.

What part did Warzone and Aftermath play in your matte painting?

When the team first started working on the previs they were using Warzone to block out their shots. When I joined to help take that previs to final shot production, it was clear they were going to need a lot more assets. We kicked off the KitBash3d team on creating a new kit, Aftermath, that would work with Warzone, but focused more on specific environmental storytelling, with details that showed an abandoned city that had been left behind after a war. I used the assets to create the concepts and matte paintings for the film, and Blur's 3d team used them for their other shots and sequences.

Can you show us your process?

The process behind the cover is the same as the paintings in the film. Having all the assets ready to go means that I can just focus on shot composition and turn around a painting very quickly.
A: I start by blocking out a city street, designing from a structural perspective, without any camera in mind.
B: Then I start placing cameras to find the shot composition. I usually have 5-10 options, and at this point I can send quick ideas off to a client.
C: Once we have the shot composition, I'll adjust some of the layout, and start playing with lighting.
D: From there, I add some details like destroyed cars, or extra rubble--
E: Now that I have my 3d scene setup, I render out a couple passes to have something to play with in either Nuke (for animated shots) or in the case of the cover, Photoshop.
F: Using photoshop, I get a good sky in, and start compositing the render passes together: 
G: I finish with a final pass of painting details, extending the city, and color correcting 

What advice would you give aspiring artists who want to work on big movies or with their favorite directors, but don't know how to break in?

My advice is don't wait for the big movie to come, that happens over time and with experience. When you're starting out, take any job you can get, just as long as you're learning with each one, meeting great people that you want to work with, and building your portfolio one step at a time. Always be learning, always be growing, consistently strive to be the best artist you can be, and continually put your work out there to be discovered. I hope that KitBash3d makes the barrier to entry a little easier, that we can provide the tools to allow you to create cinematic quality work, that the kb3d community can provide some support during your journey, and that we can inspire you to pursue this incredible path of building virtual worlds.
Maxx Burman is a Los Angeles-based Artist and Entrepreneur, known for his matte painting and art direction work in film, television, video games, commercials, and design. His matte paintings have been featured in films such as GodzillaIron Man 3 and Her, shows including Game of ThronesThe Walking Dead and House of Cards, and video games like Titanfall 2, Halo, Far CryLeague of Legends, and Dark Souls. In 2017, Maxx co-founded KitBash3d and We Are Fuzzy. He currently spends his time dedicated to enabling and inspiring artists through KitBash3d, creating without permission through We Are Fuzzy, and occasionally helping on film or video game projects, but only if it's fun and feeds the soul.


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