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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, patterns are fairly easy to create, but sometimes some patterns are little more complex, especially when they are interlocking patterns--patterns that run into each other rather than their normal step and repeat. One such pattern is bricks. We are going to come in here and look at a brick wall, real close here, and there is a brick wall right there, and those bricks are interlocking into each other. Let's go in there and create a brick pattern. You need symmetry, so I am going to go in there and I'm going to turn on my grid.
And what's going to happen is our bricks are going to be the size of one of these little blocks here. I want the subdivisions to represent the grout in between the bricks, so I'm going to increase the number of subdivisions to a higher number, so they become little tiny ones. You can see it back here, and I am going to go in there and change it. Another thing to keep in mind is that you need perfect symmetry. So, in order to get that symmetry, I'm going to use an odd number. And it might seem odd at first, but you'll understand it as we start to create this pattern.
So, I used 11, which gave me enough of a size for that grout between the bricks. So, I click OK. Now, I am going to zoom in to see my bricks right here. In a layer, I am going to create the first brick. I am going in here and select a section. You can see, it's taking up four blocks down, and I am going to go and pick a color for my brick. A little redder and we will pick a color like that right there. And I am going to go ahead and fill that in the layer with that color, Foreground Color. Do it.
So, now I'm going to grab this and I'm going to copy it straight over, leaving one subdivision in between. There is my grout. Now, the reason for the odd number is that I can now duplicate this and center it underneath the other two. There is the reason for that odd number, see? Because I have five on this side, five on that side and that odd number gets centered directly underneath the one above it. So now, what I am going to do is create my pattern. That's it.
That's all I need for the pattern is three bricks. And I select it like this. Now, you will notice that my selection is such so that it's flush up here. The step and repeat, it needs a grout up here, there is the grout up on top. And it's flush here. There is the grout on this side. I have five sections here. The six that the missing are right there. So, now I can turn off my background, so I ensure that I have transparency in between and I define my pattern. It is that simple.
Go in there and call it 'brick'. Make it happen. Now I can just throw these away. I don't need them. And I can pull back a bit. And what I will do now is I am going to turn off the grid. I don't need to see it anymore. And in my background here, I'll put some color in the background. We will get some color for the grout. Let's just say we want to grout to be this little beige-y color like that. I am going to go ahead and fill it with that, and I will give it some noise, Add Noise.
In this case, I am going to say non-monochromatic, so it will introduce a few other little tones in there, and I'll just kind of bring it up to about 8, right there, and I've got this nice little fine grit to it back there. Or you might want to have a little more grit to it, so let's go with a 12. There. Then in this layer here, I will create my pattern. So I am going to go ahead and say fill that with the pattern, and there is the bricks we just created. Click OK and there we see our bricks, which I'm now going to go in there and give those noise.
We will add noise to that. This time, we will say Monochromatic and bring it out to about say 8, so we just get a little fine grain in there. Click OK and we have the bricks. Now, we will take this a step further. You can double-click on it to bring up the Layer Styles and we will give the bricks a little drop shadow, and we will give it a little Bevel and Emboss, which will just kind of bring up the depth a little bit. Bring down the Size to soften it up, so we have these nice little bricks coming out of the wall. But sometimes you have something that's a little more complex.
Pulling back on here, we have another brick wall right over here. Now, in this low-res version, we really can't quite make it out, so I do have a high-res version of that section right here, so you can see that. There we these brick pattern. Now, here we see that the bricks are separated by a row of small half-bricks, and also, this building is older, so you see that the bricks seem to have a little wear and tear on them, a little aging to them. They're a little more broken up. So, that requires a whole other type of a pattern-- something that where you won't really see the pattern, but you will see the damages in the bricks, and so on.
You can see that some bricks are discolored more than others and so on. Let's go and see how that starts out. That starts out this way. I created four little bricks, and each one is different, as you can see. I can take those bricks now and I can duplicate it and the duplicate, I will bring down and center it below, bringing up a little bit, and those I will do maybe a Flip Horizontal or a Flip Vertical-- anything to start making them look different. Now, you know that yeah, well, this guy looks like that guy, but he is reverse.
You can take individual bricks within this group and start to break them up. What happens at the end is that you end up with a pattern like this. Here is the basic pattern, so you see that there is a lot more than the three bricks we used before, because that way we are going to get enough variety in here so you are not going to see it. There is the row of half-bricks, which are also varied in shape along the top. Now the symmetry is perfect. You have a pixel right here. You have got two pixels between the others. So, that one pixel combined with this one pixel will give us the two pixels on either end here, so it will be even with these bricks here.
We are missing this little chunk over here. There it is. So, this is cut at a very precise spot, so that the step and repeat will be seamless. Taking this into a brick pattern will complete the whole scene. Let's go and see what that will look like. So, here we see the grout, and there we see the pattern of irregular bricks in which each brick was handled separately, so I can go in here and with a Dodge & Burn tool I can go in here and just lighten this one brick up.
Let's go to the brick layer, and we will lighten this one up a little bit, right in there like that, and maybe we will darken this one, and so on. So, we added variety to the entire brick pattern, so it starts to look like a wall that's fairly irregular and worn by the elements and so on. And we have a larger section of that pattern, which was then used for the building that we see in Times Square. It was reduced heavily to bring it down to fit the actual scene, and there you can see how a complex brick pattern can easily be created.
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