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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.) So nowadays, with these color printers, you can print on a variety of materials, like a glossy paper or a nice matte paper, various sizes from a little thing like this to a better size, or you can even get really big, like this guy here. This is printed on the Epson GS6000. It's printed on a semi gloss canvas, 74 inches.
74 inches. The Times Square piece: same height, except it's 300 inches. Size is a consideration, okay? If you're shooting, say, 35mm size, you shouldn't expect to print something this big. I remember, pre-computer, I used to do a lot of catalogs and stuff, and I remember we shot this model. It was Cristina Ferrare, and we shot these shots of her, and the client says, "I want her face on the cover." Well, everything we had shot was shot in 35mm. Now we had to blow something up to 8 and 3/4 x 11 and 1/4 the size of that catalog.
It wasn't holding up. It was very grainy. Because of the fact that you're shooting such tiny things, you can't expect to blow it up this big and have it look good. Like you say, well billboards, are they shot really big? A billboard, if you get up close to a billboard, you'll be astonished at how low the quality is. It's really low quality. I remember the first billboard I ever did. I started getting worried. I said, "Oh, my God! What kind of file am I gonna -" I said, "What do you want?" They said, "Well, we want it to be 22 inches wide at 72dpi." I said, "22 inches wide at 72dpi. That's it?" "Yeah." You look at a billboard from a block away, it looks great! If you get up close, you'll see that it is really heavily pixelated. It's really bad! But you're looking at it from far away.
Now, what makes my work unique is that it's not a photograph, so I am creating these things very sharp, very large, so I can get all the detail I want. Epson loves my stuff because of that. No matter how big they make it, it's going to look sharp. Nothing is out of focus because everything in my painting is in focus. Whether you're far away down here or real close over here, it's the same focus wherever you're looking. So, for instance, the fact that the little edges of the paper here are torn and buckled over, the pepper flakes inside the pepper shaker here have all the little rough edges and all the little details that pepper would have, the little stains on the edges of the glasses; these are things that are hard to see on a little tiny print.
These are the things that are hard to see if you're looking at the image full-size on the screen. So, it's important to be able to see all those details, so when you print something this big, the overall piece looks real.
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