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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.
Layer styles have been crucial in the creation of Times Square because layer styles allow you to create a lot of effects that would normally take a lot of steps to create. We'll zoom in on the central area of Times Square here and we'll look at some bottles up there in the edges of Times Square. Let me show you why it was so important to use layer styles to create that effect. So here we have a blank file and I have a path for the shape of the bottle. Now, what I am going to do is I am going to pick a nice color and we are going to say that this a nice apple cider, so I'll pick orangey color about like that.
There is a nice color for our cider, make it a little deeper. There we go. So it will be our nice clear cider and we are going to go in there and create a layer which I'm going to call bottle. Right there, I am going to fill that path with that color. There is this nice orangey color. Now I want to just have to give this bottle some dimension. I want to bring up a very important point here. Look at the layer styles. I'm about to apply a layer style. Look at the layer styles. They all have names. See Color Overlay, Inner Glow, Inner Shadow.
But you see all the controls they give you? Same thing with the filters, look at the filters. They all have very specific names. One thing that's important to note is that you should forget what those names are. Those names will stop you from really stretching out what you can do in Photoshop. Something like Motion Blur, well it makes a little blur to make things look like they are moving. But what it is really doing, is it stretches the things so it can be used for so many things like reflections in water and so many other effects that would normally take other steps to create.
It's very important to study what something is doing, because a little change here in a mode, a little change there in a color, will totally change the effect that that layer style or filter is producing and it could be the solution that you've been looking for that little problem that's plaguing you and your personal work, or your job. So I am going to go in here and I need a dark tone all along the edges of this bottle. So I'll go into my layer styles and the one that automatically comes to mind of course is the Inner Shadow. But the Inner Shadow as you can see is producing the dark tone on one side.
It's not equal all the way around. So that's not the one. That's not what I need. What layer style gives me to tone on all sides? The one that does that is Inner Glow. Now it's called Glow, but that's okay because when you click on it you notice you have all these controls. So what I want to do now is I want to go in here and take that color. I want to change it to a warm version of this color here. So I am going to go in here and just make this nice deep orange like that right there and I'll make it a little bigger. Now we're not seeing it. Why? Because being a glow, it's set to Screen and Screen means that any color that's lighter than the ones beneath should be seen and anything darker will be hidden.
This orange is much darker than our original tone so it's not visible. So by changing the mode to that of a shadow, which is Multiply, there is my dark tone, see. So now it's become an Inner Shadow that's equal on all sides. Now you can go in there and make this even bigger. So I have this nice dark tone/ amber color along the entire edge. That's what I wanted. So I click OK. Now I want a darker tone right along the edge here, an even darker brown right along the edge to make my bottle look even thicker and more dimensional.
Now I can add only one layer style of Inner Glow. Inner Glow is what I need again, but with a darker tone. There is always two ways or three ways of doing the same thing in Photoshop, but sometimes one way is more efficient than others. If I was to take this bottle and duplicate it and then this one I would go in there and say take the Fill Opacity down to 0 and then change that Inner Glow color to something else. But right there what I've done is I've increased the size of this file by having two layers with two layer styles. So that's not a very efficient way of doing it.
If your files are really huge, that could really make a difference. So what I am going to do instead is I am going to take this Inner Glow and take it out of the layer style. I come over here to Layer, go down to Layer Style and go way down here to Create Layer and click on that and you'll notice that the Inner Glow has now been separated out of the layer into its own layer, keeping the file size relatively small. I can now go back to the bottle and double-click on it, giving me the ability to give it another Inner Glow.
Now this is one layer with a layer style and a second layer, which is far more efficient than two layers with two layer styles. So here with the second layer I am going to go, change this to a deep brown, really deep brown like that, change the mode to Multiply, and then increase the Size so I have that nice tone along the edges just like that. Click OK and there we have the effect that I wanted. So now I am going to do a few more things to this. For one thing, I am going to turn off my background and I'm going to hold on my Option key, Alt on a PC, and say Merge Visible.
So I created this other bottle on top here, which this bottle, I am going to go in there and I am going to go to my Hue/Saturation. I am going to bring down the Saturation, make it much lighter like that. Then I'm going to create a little mask around. I am going to take my Pen tool. I am going to draw a little arc right through there like that and surround the whole top portion of this and then turn that path into a selection. And while it's selected, I go to my layers, and I say for that layer give it a mask based on the selection.
There we see then now we have the top portion of the bottle where there is no liquid. We just took this bottle of cider out of the refrigerator, so it's nice and moist. So I am going to add some moisture to this. So on the layer on top of the whole thing, I am going to get white for my color. I am going to get my Paintbrush, which right now is set to a hard-edged brush. There it is. Hardness is at 100%, and I have some settings for it. I go into Shape Dynamics where I set it up so that my size is a jitter, and I have a minimum size set up, and then I have some scattering set up as well.
So it's kind of jumping around. So now I am going to go in here and I am going to start to paint all these little drops, all over my little bottle like so. All different sized drops of water right on the bottle. Now they don't look like drops of water. They look like little white dots. So using layer styles we are going to turn that into real moisture. Let's get a little closer so we can see what's going to happen next. I am going to double-click on it and water, even though it's transparent, it does cast a shadow. So I am going to give it a little Drop Shadow.
I am going to bring the distance in a little bit so they are a little bit closer to the edge and bring down the Opacity. So that's the hint of a Drop Shadow. I am also going to add an Inner Shadow which I am going to make a little smaller right there and I also don't want to add black to the color underneath. What I want to do is just darken the color underneath. So I am going to change the mode. Instead of Multiply, I am going to set it to Overlay. Now we don't see the effect. Why? Because it's affecting the color underneath. So to see the color underneath I am going to go over to my Blending Options right here where I have two opacities, Opacity and Fill Opacity, which I also have here in my Layers panel.
Now the Opacity deals with the entire layer. Bringing this down, you see the layer is becoming transparent. Bringing it down to 0, the layer completely disappeared. Now, Fill Opacity deals with the original pixels that I generated, these white dots. The new pixels that were generated to do the Drop Shadow and the Inner Shadow, they will remain visible because the Opacity will remain at 100%. By bringing the Fill Opacity down to 0, the white dots will disappear. There you go! Now, we are seeing the effect of the Overlay Drop, Inner Shadow,, and so on.
Now, to make this look like water I am going to give it one more layer style of Bevel and Emboss where I am going to bring up the depth, so I get really strong tones. I am going to soften them up a little bit and I'll bring up the Opacity of my whites, so I get really nice highlight right there like that. Now this bottom part, the shadow area, well that's not quite the way I want it. Let's make this a little smaller. There is no shadow in there. The water acts like a little magnifying glass, saturating the color underneath. Black is not going to saturate, so I am going to change that color to white. White will saturate. Now it disappeared. Why? Because of the fact that it's set to Multiply, the mode for shadow.
By changing this to Color Dodge, there I have the intensifying of the color underneath. I am going to bring down the Opacity just a little, click OK, and now couple of final touches. We just brought this out of refrigerator, so maybe with my Smudge tool I kind of push this one up like that, so it looks like it's dripping, and then this one over here it's just starting to drip like that and this one is dripping and maybe this one over here is dripping as well. So you can see how we've created the full effects of the three-dimensional bottle. Given it the tones and given it the moisture by some basic shapes that we're giving layer styles to complete the scene.
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