5 best matte painting software to use today

Milan Stanojevic
by Milan Stanojevic
Deputy Editor
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  • A good matte painting software enables you to quickly access the needed features and options while offering you a good workflow.
  • With plenty of visual effects, Adobe's tool is a great choice for digital matte painting software.
  • With an easy-to-use interface, match your creativity to the best software for matte painting.
  • No matter if you're looking for mate painting tools compatible with Mac or Windows, this guide provides you with great options.
best matte painting software

Matte painting also referred to as glass painting is traditionally made with paints or pastels on large sheets of glass. The purpose? Film-making, of course.

Representing landscapes, cityscapes, and complex environments, a matte painting integrates into live-action footage allowing film-makers to create the illusion of seamless locations.

Although traditional matte paintings are still in use, it is no longer a common practice to photograph and scan paintings into a PC

Thanks to the advancements in graphics design, matte painters have gradually moved their skills and artwork in the digital realm and the effects have never been more astonishing.

Matte painting software allows the artists to express their creativity blending digitally matte-painted textures with computer-generated 3D models and environments, and design visualization effects.

We thought you might want to see what is available on the market in terms of software for matte painting. Without further ado, here are five of our favorite painting programs that you can rely on.


What is the best matte painting software?

Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects

When it comes to graphics and visual effects software, there aren’t many tools that can match Adobe After Effects’ remarkable capacities.

One original way in which you can use this incredibly versatile tool is for matte paintings.

Offering features like color grading, image separation, and extensions in 3D space and a camera tracker to emulate realistic motion, you can achieve stunning matte paintings.

Besides the features mentioned above, Adobe After Effects also helps you not get lost in a variety of tools and options by organizing everything smoothly.

Let’s quickly go through its key features:

  • Graphics enhancements (new dropdown menu expression controls, templates that are easier to update in Premiere Pro, etc.)
  • Seamless work with Adobe apps
  • Pixel-perfect selections
  • Easily remove objects from videos (up to 25 percent faster with a third of the memory)
  • Stunning effects (for videos and images with explosive effects, VR videos to drop your audience right into the action)
Adobe After Effects

Adobe After Effects

Easily create astonishing matte art with an incredible amount of tools on offer.
Free trialVisit website

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe-Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is the pinnacle when it comes to digital painting thanks to its numerous brushes and special effects, not to mention the fact that it gives you complete control over your artwork.

The world’s best imaging and graphic design software boasts an impressive collection of brushes to take your matte painting even further with dazzling effects.

Some of the great effects that you can apply include spray paint or ink wash effect, precise linework shading with pencil, ink, and charcoal brushes, watercolor brushes to splatter effects.

Let’s quickly go through its key features:

  • Play with color and effects using custom or Photoshop preset brushes
  • Your work is automatically saved to the cloud for quick access, no matter where you are
  • Lens Blur to offer a more natural and realistic look when blurring an object in the foreground
  • Improved Content-Aware Fill
  • Object Selection tool (create fast and precise selections by drawing a simple rectangle)
  • Enhanced Transform Warp
Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop

Use the industry-leading software for image editing, to create astonishing matte works.
Free trialVisit website

Adobe Illustrator

adobe-illustrator

When it comes to the state of the art of painting, Adobe Illustrator is the best software that money can buy.

Matte painting is as easy as a breeze thanks to Illustrator’s user-friendly brush widely appreciated for its accurate results.

Besides ease of use, this software also encompasses all the tools required by professionals to create state-of-the-art works with just a few clicks of your mouse.

The results of using this software will astonish you at every step, being designed specifically to never limit your imagination.

Faster rendering of Drop Shadows, and Feather Effects in preview mode and freeform gradients help you create rich color blends that give your matte artwork that breath-taking effect you were seeking.

Let’s quickly go through its key features:

  • Sketch-based development (you can either draw by hand in Illustrator or import art from Adobe Photoshop)
  • Image Trace (transform your imported sketch into an easily edited vector graphic to refine your work)
  • Real-time drawing and editing
  • Enhanced free distort (modify shapes freely through a bounding box)
  • Improved effects (Drop Shadows, Gaussian Blurs, and Feather effects in preview mode)
  • Freeform gradients (create rich color blends that give your objects and artwork a more natural look and feel.
Adobe Illustrator

Adobe Illustrator

Take your matte art creation process to the next level with Illustrator today!
Free trialVisit website

CorelDRAW

pixel painting software

Part of the CorelDRAW Graphics Suite, CorelDRAW is the natural choice for matte painting.

Draw, color, and fill using patterns, textures, color palettes, and color mixers or apply brushstrokes that replicate watercolors, felt markers, and more.

Beyond the effects and options you would normally expect from a powerful software like Corel, what amazes about this software is its capability to adapt to any workflow, indifferent of your expertise level.

Powerful retouching and restoration tools allow you to paint, draw, apply special effects with adjustment filters for greater control, sharpen, blend and blur as well as correct color and tone.

Let’s quickly go through its key features:

  • AI-powered image improvements (AI-powered upsampling and artifact removal features)
  • AI-based effects (experiment with new Art Style effects that leverage artificial intelligence)
  • Effect lens (apply any bitmap effect as a lens to change the appearance of objects beneath it)
  • User-inspired feature improvements (the new Smart Selection tool bring faster, smoother brushes)
CorelDRAW

CorelDRAW

CorelDRAW enables efficient and professional-level matte art to be created from the comfort of your own home.
Free trialVisit website

Graphic Design Studio by Summitsoft

Graphic Design Studio offers an impressive graphic editor perfectly adapted to matte painting.

You can draw or design your very own creations with easy to use pen and pencil tools or add special effects that can take any matte artwork from average to one-of-a-kind.

You can also upload your drawings into the program for further editing and export your work to any platform once you’re done.

Besides having access to a variety of useful options and features, this software ensures that you won’t get lost in the user interface, by neatly categorizing all options into accessible menus and sub-menus.

Let’s quickly go through its key features:

  • Advanced editing tools (to create eye-catching graphics, retouched to the finest detail)
  • Export your graphics to any program, print, or website
  • Enhanced pen and pencil tools (to draw custom shapes and designs)
  • Unique vector manipulation
Graphic Design Studio

Graphic Design Studio

With Graphic Design Studio you can create matte works of art easily, so try it out today.
Free trialVisit website

Matte painting is a widely known VFX technique. It has found a way into the digital world and thanks to dedicated matte painting software it generates even more spectacular results, faster and easier.

This guide provides you with a quick and efficient way for you to make an informed decision, both based on software capabilities and prices.

These recommendations will surely take your creativity to the next level, finding new ground to explore as you go.

Why shouldn’t your artwork benefit from the perks of digitalization? Have you already tried one of the tools from our list? If so, let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.


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