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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.) Since Times Square is being designed primarily for the print, that's going to be how people are going to see this. This is not something to be seen onscreen. A 25-foot print doesn't look good on the Web. So printing along the way has been very important for me. For one thing, it's very important to see the overall piece. I could see it on the screen, but I don't see the whole thing. So I have been doing these small, little prints along the way. The final is 60 inches, so this is like one-sixth of it.
So this gives me - it starts to give me an idea of how it looks, and I have printed many along the way. They are all stacked up here at different stages, so I can see how things are working. Everything has to be printed and every little part has to be printed because I have to know, am I going to waste a lot of time putting in details that the printer isn't going to hold up? So in this top drawer here, I have all these sections set up. I have the Building on the Left and the Central Area and up 7th Avenue, Up Broadway, the Street Level, the Buildings, the Toys 'R' Us, the People, and I'll look at any one of these guys and in there, there will be a whole series of parts, like, for instance, the Iron Man.
This is an early stage, and I want to see how much detail I was getting. So in the final piece over here, here's an interim where I started making notes, and there is the final one where here is the actual character I created, and there it is in the actual size this it's going to be in the final painting. I went and created a lot more detail, sometimes when I need just so that when I bring it down, it's going to look really clean and crisp. In some cases, I've actually had to do an actual size.
Now again, I am limited to 44 inches here, so I can't go to full 60 inches. So what I have done is I have broken it up into sections, but these were printed actual size, and these are just done on a regular paper, just so I could see how things are working and making sure that all the parts are going into place. The building that's just to the left of this, I went ahead and printed an actual size of that, just to make sure that things were working out right. And when I had this giant print, I'll see these little things that I won't see on the screen.
On the screen, I am not seeing everything together. If I pull back, I am not seeing detail. So these are the little things that I'll miss. So I need to make these giant prints as tests, so that I can see how things are working, go back to the original art, and start making those fixes. So I keep these pretty well- organized, so I just want to make sure that everything is working together. And like the street level, here's this little Nuts for Nuts sign. All these things, they all get printed so I have a little actual size kind of a print showing me how things are working until eventually everything is done. The entire street and all the elements are in place. Then I will print one huge piece, which I will hang somewhere, and then I will sit there for hours and look at it inch-by-inch, study what's going on, and that's where the final touches come into place that will make the whole thing hold together.
As far as prints are concerned, I actually sold three already, even though it's not finished. So I am not expecting a lot of sales because how many people have a 25-foot wall? But I have sold two that are small and one that a guy's not sure yet, but he wants a pretty large print. So I didn't do it because I want to sell prints. I did it because this is a hell of a challenge, and it's been fun.
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