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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.
The texture that we see way down here in the asphalt, right in here, it looks like a conglomeration of bunch of the light colored dots and black dots and so on, all this is is just a couple of filters. So let's see how that was created. Right here, I'm going to create a layer. We are just going to have our asphalt. We'll call it texture, because we're going to need a couple of them. So now, I'm going to take this layer and we'll just fill it with black. It doesn't matter what color we fill it with because what's going to happen now is we're going to start to apply filters which are going to give us the final effect that we want.
So I'm going to go in here and I'm going to say Add Noise and it's got a lot of noise. Very high numbers so that I get a really strong coarse noise like that. Which I am going to say OK. I have this noise and now we are looking real close. You see that it's basically just a couple of grays but mostly black and white. So what I want to do is I want to add a little variation in there. A little bit of grays so that I can then manipulate this noise the way I want. So I'm going to blur it. I'm going to give it a little Blur More. That's enough.
I don't need to blur it that much because all I want to do is introduce more gray, as you can see there. Now that I have that gray I can go in there and manipulate this by reducing the amount of noise that we have visible. I'm going to do that by using my adjustments of Levels. So in Levels I'm going to push my dark slider in and you can see that right off the bat, we are starting to eliminate a lot of the noise. It's starting to look like a star field. I have another movie where I use this technique for a different purpose, but right here we're just going to bring it down. Bring the whites in a bit so that we get real strong whites. The black a little bit further and there we have that.
So now we've got all these nice little dots but in the street scene there are at an angle, right. So they're usually round and at a slight angle because we're looking at them at an angle, so to get that effect what I'm going to do is I'm going to apply another filter. I'm going to go in here and give it a filter of Motion Blur. The Motion Blur filter, which right now this is great for creating rain. Right there you can see we have some nice rain happening. But what we're going to do is making called straight across. Right here we'll set it going straight across and we'll bring that Distance in just a little bit, just a little bit so we are getting little streaks.
That starts to flatten our little tone right there, so there we have that. So I'm going to duplicate that layer, so I have two of them. Now the second one, what I'm going to do is I'm going to do a little rotate on it. I'm going to go in there and do a complete 180 on it. So it looks totally different than the other. And I'm going to invert this one. Right here and this one's in black dots on a white field. So let's just turn both of them off for a seconds. And here is we're going to create in the background our actual street.
Now you should do in a layer but just for the saving of time we're going to right here. So I'm going to with a dark gray like so, and a much lighter gray for the foreground color. I like that. And I'll throw a gradient in there. Nice, even linear gradient, dark on top, then light at the bottom like that. So there is our street close towards us and going further back. Now we'll turn these guys back on, which right now they completely hide, right. So, let's just look at the first texture. That's the one where we have the white dots.
So what I am going to do I am going to set that one to Screen and now we see that we have the white dots that are appearing above our little gradient. This one has the dark dots. So this one I am going to set to Multiply, and there we have all the little dark dots appearing on top and there we see where we start to get our sense of the gradient, which is the asphalt underneath and then the texture on top of it. Now I could lessen the amount of dots or made them stronger. That's up to you.
But you could see that the basic steps that went into creating that texture that eventually became the asphalt that we see here on the streets of Times Square.
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