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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.
(Music playing.) A lot of things I won't see until I get to the once-over file, which is whole point of the once-over file, because that's where everything has been put into place. Now, what's not working? Like, for instance, there is a lamppost right here. We are not seeing the reflection of it anywhere in here. Until I put it together and put the lamppost in place, I didn't know that there would be a reflection there. My photograph didn't show it. It just showed a couple of white dots that told me that was a lamppost.
So when I recreate it, I create a realistic-looking lamppost, and now I have to go in there and put the reflection of that lamppost in the glass. The actual painting starts in Illustrator. I created that composite of the four photographs to make one long panorama. Now Photomerge does a beautiful job of combining these pictures into one, but what it does is it does bend things and twist them around so that they seamlessly line up. In the process of doing that, it does distort certain things, and it just makes them look good, but it doesn't really adhere to true perspective.
So perspective is crucial for me. So we can see all the different vectors showing up, which are my basic guides as to correct perspective of where these things are, with the vanishing points going up 7th Avenue and up Broadway, down 44th Street on two different sides. So I've got this area here, like, for instance, let's just say I have to got work on this just a side of that facade of the building. So here we see that file where I am working on this side here, and this side is in place, and I have a layer here called Guide.
When I turn that on, and we see that we have these little red lines that just appeared, that our true perspective because they are converging on the vanishing point. So these vanishing lines are a real perspective, not the distortion you are going to get both in the camera and in Photomerge compositing of multiple camera views, which are going to distort that and bend it. So if I was to recreate that exactly, it looks cool as a little photograph, but if we are talking about a 25-foot print, it's going to look distorted. So my perspective is exact, so it follows the horizon, and so on. The very nature of Times Square and its lights make dark areas difficult to photograph.
So like, for instance, that Novotel Hotel way down there, at night all you see is little dots of light which are windows. Now if you are standing there, you can just about make that building up, which you will be able to do in the painting. You will see the building. You will be able to see the bricks. You will be able to see what's going on. You will see the window sill. So this is a low-res version of the current status of wherever the thing is in place, so that I can see how everything is fitting. I don't do it in high-res because the file is just so huge. It takes forever.
Just to show you the difference between this and the actual file, I am going to go zoom into this area right in here. There is the Iron Man, and we could see how rough he is, how pixelated, and there is a stuff in the window there. It looks like a light or something, some weird little things there. Pull back a little bit, and we could see what these things look like. Very rough! Very low-res. Now I am going to open up that file, that section right there in the actual composite. Now we could see, much clearer, what's going on.
I can zoom in a little closer here, and now you see what that light was, and it's these people. There is a little party going on there. There is a guy just looking out the window, and now we could see that the Iron Man is much clearer, sharper. We could see all the stuff going on. Now it looks a little clear right now, a little bland, and that's because this is the composite of the elements. When I do what's called the once-over file, that's when other little details, like there will be a little dirt, grime dripping down through here. In the once- over file, those things get added.
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