Matte Painting Part 3: The Art

In last week’s story we looked at the tools that professional matte painters use. This week we turn our attention to the art and beauty of matte painting with senior matte painter Wayne Hagg (Lord of the Rings I & II). We explore how a senior matte painter works and even explore some of their inspiration by examining Hagg’s breathtaking photography.

Wayne Hagg started his professional matte painting on The Fifth Element – even as a relative new matte painter- everyone of his paintings made the trailer for the film. He has since worked in such films as Lord of the Rings I & II (senior matte painter), in the theatre and in TV commercials.

Seven Swords

wayne/f_7_swords05 Hagg recently worked on Seven Swords(2005). Set in the early 1600’s, when the Manchurians have taken over sovereignty of China and established the Ching Dynasty. Directed by 56 year old, Hark Tsui. The film is a beautiful and epic period piece.


Lord of the Rings

Hagg was Senior matte Painter on Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and The Return of the King (2003). Below is a sample of Hagg’s work from his time at Weta.





Other work

wayne/f_telstra_whale Hagg has also worked in Commercials. This Style frame from a Telstra “Big Pond” spot was completed as an effects heavy, live action TVC.

wayne/f_laBoheme Hagg has even worked in the stage, providing huge 50ft backdrops for Baz Lurhmann stunning Broadway production of Puccini’s, La Boheme.


Below is a sample of Hagg’s photographic work. These images are just a tiny part of a long term photographic project on the Yangtze river in China from the Three Gorges Dam project. It documents how this massive dam project has/will affect the people and towns along the Yangtze. The water has gone up to first stage 135M above sea level with the final level being 175M Above sea level.







This last set of images are from a photograph series in India.