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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.) When I did that first print, Damen, it took 11 months, and it was very frustrating. I was so tired of it. I was so bored with it. I wanted to go to the next painting. It's taking too long. But if you look at that, it's kind of monotonous. There is a girder and then another girder and then another girder, girder, girder, a whole bunch, and the track goes on all the way back. So it was very tiring, and I was afraid I was going to get that with this, for such a long project to take so long.
I thought, "I am going to get bored with this, but if I tell the public about it, I am forcing myself to finish it." But surprisingly, as I have been doing it, there has been absolutely no boredom. Here, every inch, like Times Square, is completely different. Reproducing Times Square is something I have wanted to do. Even before the computer when I was working traditionally, I always wanted to do Times Square because it's such an incredibly colorful place, and I like doing neons. And where do you find more neons than Times Square? All 24 hours, 24/7, that place is alive with people and lights and things going on.
So it was a - the photo study that I based the whole thing was way back in 2004, that I took a bunch of shots that I later then decided to put together. I took some shots which basically formed the painting. In Photoshop, using Photomerge, I combined all four images to form my basic reference for the panorama. Now it's hard to see anything in these shots. There is not much detail. So I did a bunch of subsequent trips to Times Square and took other shots.
There is the first study right here. So these were the original studies for the painting. Here is study two, another set of shots, which were daytime. At this point, I had already started the painting. Study three was a nighttime shot, and this I started getting into more tighter detail of certain things with signs look like the inside of what the interior of the thing looked like. Now the Web is extremely useful in the creation of this because it's giving me a whole other way of getting my reference material.
So here we see that we have the reference material for the Mister Softee truck, the shots that I took and then these shots here came right off the Web. I just did a search for Mister Softee, and I had all these pictures that showed me what the Mister Softee trucks look like, so I could see exactly what was on there. So I could then recreate that whole thing, the right words and so on. Now there have been many times when I am looking at some street corner or something, and I am not sure what exactly is there. So I have gone to the street views available in Google Maps and Google Earth, and I could see street views. And I am not sure exactly what that marquee is, so what I will do is I will just travel up Broadway a little bit here, get right in front of the marquee area, and then I will just turn around and say, "Well, what exactly does that look like?" And I will see, all right. There I see.
There is my little area there. If I need to, I can always zoom in so I can get some detail. So since I haven't been able to go back and make that many trips to New York to shoot this, I had Google Maps so that I can just take a little virtual walk up and down Broadway, and I have all the material that I needed. So it made it real easy to go in there and research what I needed.
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