Marco P. brings to attention this article on Gizmodo, where Jesus Diaz looks at how realistic-looking paintings on glass were combined with real action shots to give the impression of a bigger set. The result, a convincing scene CGI can't match.
When I saw Return of the Jedi in the movie theater back in 1983 I and everyone else thought this matte painting of a Rebel hangar was a real thing—that, somehow, they managed to build a full size set with giant models. It was all a magic trick that used distraction to fool your brain. This BBC documentary explains how.
A listing of famous matte paintings here.
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