Many of the images that we accept, almost without question, as the backgrounds for scenes in motion pictures, are in part or in total the creation of matte painters.
These image can make us believe the action is taking place in a fantastic other world, or in a slightly modified version of this one.
DUSSO is the professional handle of Yanick Dusseault, a matte painter and production artist working in the film and, to a lesser extent, television industries. I wrote a short post on his work back in 2005.
Dusseault has worked for major special effects houses like WETA Digital, where he was Senior Matte Painter for Lord of the Rings the Fellowship of the Ring and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.
Since 2003 he has been working with ILM (Lucas Digital), for whom he is a Lead Matte Painter and was responsible for many of the striking background images for Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith.
Other film credits include The Island, War of the Worlds, Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean and Terminator III.
His web site includes galleries of his matte painting, production art and personal work. Many of the images in the Matte Painting section include photographs that were the basis of altered backgrounds, along with the finished matte painting.
There is a special gallery for his work on Star Wars: Episode III, in which you can see large images of his wide aspect, sometimes 360° panoramic background paintings for that film.
Dussseault works digitally and the level of detail in his images is striking, as is the mastery with which he creates imaginary landscapes and cityscapes, and imbues them with the realistic feeling of sunlight, dusk or the scattered light of cloudy skies.
I love the luxurious detail he has lavished on the image above, top (I don’t know what film is was for), and the wonderful building that takes its design cues from a 1930’s radio. In looking at the large version in his Production Art section, I was also impressed with the way the sunlight plays across the tops and edges of the building’s form, and the rather daring darkness in which he casts the shadowed areas of the building and the streets and plaza below.
In order to achieve the effect of a projection of physical reality, matte painters must exert precise control over tonal values and subtleties of color, any deviation wide enough to be noticeable can “break the spell” and remind you that you are seeing a mock environment, rather than a believable setting for the story.
Dusseault is at that top level of matte painting artistry that can make you believe the unreal is real, and transport you to other worlds, times and places.
4 Replies to “DUSSO (Yanick Dusseault – update)”
The top image was concept art for a Superman Returns game adaptation. He’s currently part of elementFX (http://www.elementfx.net/index.htm) when last checked.
Admittedly my first reaction on seeing the top image was that somebody has gone and made a building out of my grandmother’s gothic old Philco radio. But seriously, this is really captivating work. I highly recommend viewing the 3 minute or so animation called Hangar 7 on Dusso’s site. It makes you realize just how archaic the term “matte painting” is in the age of 3-d rendering and computer-aided animation.
have a painting by Dusso and have loved it for thirty years. It’s painted on massonite about 6 feet tall. It’s about a statue of a native warrior of Peru, I think. It’s in the jungle with some vines and leaves around it. The warrior is three dimensional with an elaborate headdress., some of it one dimensionsl. An art professor at a college was enthralled with it too. How old was Dusso at the time?. Thanks to a wonderful artist. You have brought much happiness into my life. God bless you. Connie Kidwell 925 Freedom Blvd. Watsonville, CA 95076
I have a Dusso painting on masonite of a Native American with hair pulled back in a sort of knot. It has a lot of detail on the shadow of the face and neck. There is a head band, a necklace and an indian pot on three legs beside it. It is signed Dusso 75 and the signature is in a small box outline. It is approximately 11″ by 14″. I would like to know more about it and the artists early work. I’m also wondering about the value for insurance purposes. I would appreciate any information. I live in Arizona and I love the painting. Thank you, Margaret
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