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Take a virtual journey to the bustling streets of New York in Bert Monroy: The Making of Times Square. Digital painter Bert Monroy reveals how he created the minute details that build the impressive 108,000 x 21,600 pixels, 25-feet wide photorealistic portrait of this iconic intersection.
In this installment, The Tools, Bert demonstrates how he uses the brushes, filters, and textures in Photoshop to create everything from the trees in Central Park to the billboards on Broadway, and shares his techniques for keeping his project organized with layers and groups. He also touches on the importance of channels and channel calculations, and how the evolution of the tools in Photoshop from CS3 to CS5 shaped his work.
Now layer masks can create a lot of effects, but sometimes they could be a little bit of a conflict, especially in the case of layer styles. But of course Photoshop has a solution for it. I'll show you such a situation like right here, something as simple as the little chain-link that we see right there. Well, let's go in there and see what I'm talking about. Here I have a file where I've created these three little shapes. One of them sits alone down below, and the other two are on top, just like that. So now I want to create the illusion that these guys are in fact little links in the chain, so I'm going to apply a layer style. That's going to make it look kind of like the little link in a chain.
So I'm going to just say a little Bevel and Emboss, increase the size a bit like that, increase the depth so I get really nice tones, soften it up a little, and let's make this black kind of a brownish tone like that. Click OK. That looks good. Click OK and then apply that same effect to this guy by Option+Alt+Clicking down and creating the effect. Now they both have them. So now I want to create that illusion that they are linking over each other. Let's just say that this guy is through it.
I'm going to do that by applying a layer mask. So I am going to go in there and say give this a layer mask right there. And then I'm going to select this guy, turn them into the selection, and then in that area, I'm going to paint--and let me turn off the marching ants, so we can see the full effect of what I'm about to do. So using black, I'm going to paint in this area where they are overlapping. So I'm going to go in there and just paint right there through there. Now you'll see that it looks like it's going through, but you see what happened to the layer style? Since I've covered up that part of the layer, the layer style now readjusts itself to go to this new edge.
It's getting closer. Look at that. See, right there, we don't want that. We wanted it to be a nice continuous tone, so it looks the way it should. So let's go back to the Layer Styles for this. And in the Blending options, there is a choice right here that says Layer Mask Hides Effects. So I'm going to click on that, and when you click on it, see what happened? Click OK and now you see that the layer style seems to be continuous to the link, and it doesn't stop where the layer mask has been applied.
So now I can go over to the other side here, and I'll apply a layer mask right here. And we'll do it in the mask of course. We'll apply a little layer mask right there, and we see that we this nice look, like it is actually looping through each other, creating that effect, and it looks like it should, because the layer style is now applying itself the way it should. Now to make this complete, what you would do, of course, we would take it to that next step, and that would be to add one layer on top of this where I'll create a little mask, a little shadow you might say.
So I am going to take a little black and let's go right in here, deselect, and we'll throw a little shadow right in there, and a little shadow right here, and a little shadow in here. It doesn't look like I'm doing what I should, but watch. You'll see how it all works in a second. I have a little shadow right down there. This is where the shadows should be. Okay, so I'm going to take that layer and I'm going to blur it a bit. So we'll just give a little softening by blurring it just a little bit, not that much, like so. Okay, I'm going to put it in Multiply mode and bring down the Opacity a bit, just like that.
All right, so now I'm going to give that a mask, in which I'm going to turn these guys into a selection and paint in where I don't want those shadows to appear, like right in here. And I don't want it in there. There we go, right through there, and I don't want it in this area here. And then I'm going to make this one a selection. So I could erase it in those places where I don't want in there. Like I don't it say right through this area. I don't want it in there, and I don't want it in here, and I don't want it up there.
So there are the places where I don't want it. Then I can just take both of these. Right there I've got that as selection. I'm going to inverse that selection, so I can add a little black right up in there, right into that area, and actually go across this whole thing there, right up in here, and out here, right in there. So I'm not really erasing them. I'm hiding them based on that mask. So when I deselect it, you can see that I have all my little shadows where they belong, and the links start to look like they are in fact through each other.
And I have got the 3-dimensional look, and the most important thing was that I did it all very easily. All the highlights and shadows were created with a layer style, which is continuous because of the fact that I allowed the mask to continue to style, as you saw in here, by simply clicking on that button right there, Layer Mask Hides the Effects. And then I added the additional shadows just to complete that 3-dimensional look. The shadows are where they belong, where they would be cast by the links, and then created a mask for them to expose only the areas that we wanted to be exposed.
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