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Renowned artist Bert Monroy is known for his hyperrealistic style of extremely large format Photoshop illustrations. As an early adopter of digital imaging tools, he has been working with Photoshop since before it was released as a product by Adobe. He is the author of several books that showcase his illustrations and digital paintings, co-authored the very first book about Photoshop, and has authored numerous courses on photorealism for lynda.com. He is the former host of the long-running podcast Pixel Perfect with Bert Monroy, and an inductee of the Photoshop Hall of Fame. This installment of Creative Inspirations takes viewers inside the home studio and the personal world of this modern-day master. Watch as Bert adds the finishing touches to his largest digital image yet, a 25-foot wide digital illustration of New York's Times Square.
In Bonus Features, Bert talks about the differences between digital and traditional art and how he chooses reference material for his paintings.
Bert Monroy > Digital art, what is the whole concept of digital art? Digital is something that has completely changed our lives. And basically what it really is is a medium. And it's a misunderstood media. For one thing the art community has kind of shied away from it. "That's not art. The computer is doing all the work." I dare you to turn on Photoshop, open a brand new canvas, and wait.
And the most important part about digital, which I wish we had in real life: undo. You have a Command+Z and the mistake is gone. What digital does is it really enhances the creative process. It's all instant, it's spontaneous. Having to wash out the brush before you pick another color, that maintenance right off the bat slows down the creative process. The show is a retrospective.
The show is not just only my work but it's kind of the history of digital art and it shows where it started. Because digital art is just a big tag that it just means it was done digitally but what can be done is up to the imagination of the person sits in front of the machine. It's not photorealism. It looks like a photograph by my work is not photorealism. My pieces are more like a really more like hyperrealist. They're more like being there. So I also sketch. Why? Because the camera distorts.
I use a little point and shoot, no interchangeable lenses, so there is some distortion that happens. I also take notes. My notes will tell me like right here, if I zoom in on this little area here, there's this black line. That black line right there. What is that? Well it's the cable that's holding up the sign but it just looks like a big black line. My notes told me that it was a metal cable encased in a tube of plastic. So if we go into the actual painting we see that there's the metal cables encased in the tube of plastic.
See it inside? So I'll throw little things in there like down here you'll see there's little dried paint chips and stuff like that. So I make up things along the way just to give it a little more life. See the reflection in there? There is that reflection of the tablecloth in the glass. I don't guess at the way things are going to look. It might look good to me, but it might the wrong and if it's wrong the untrained eye is going to look at that piece and they're going to say that looks phony. They might not know why, but something is wrong and your eye will be drawn to that imperfection.
So I try to make sure that all my paintings are precise and accurate in every detail, that every shadow, every reflection has to be accurate, or else it's not going to look real. That's the challenge for me, that I discovered by just experimenting with the software. When I do a commercial piece, I don't have the luxury of taking 300 hours. I have a deadline so I've learned all the tricks through my personal work. Another question people ask, how come there's no people in any of your paintings? Well, the painting I'm doing now is going to shut that question down because there'll be about 600 people in it.
So they're all going to be people I know. You can be there on your own, take a deep breath, and look around. Look at every little detail that you normally wouldn't do. Now, this comes from growing up in New York City, and I would walk around it's like "Look at these beautiful buildings, look at this great garbage can." Everything looked beautiful to me, but nobody ever looked at anything. So I kind of forced people to stop and look at something. Take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy what you're looking at.
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