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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.
In this tutorial we're going to modify an existing brush in Photoshop, one that comes with the program, in order to make it do what we want it to do. One of the things is going to be a somewhat complex and another one simple. Let's zoom in and look at the complex one first. Way up here we see this one bllboard and when I zoom in you'll see that the shirt is made up of intricate crochet pattern. Pulling back, we're going to zoom in on this simpler one, which is way down here, which is the strings of lights that adorned this little enclosed eating area of the Novotel Hotel.
Those are the two we're going to do right now. Like I said it's an existing brush, and that brush is going to be a solid circle. Let's switch to a white and what it does is that. It just creates a streak. Well, that's perfect. That's exactly what we want. We're going to modify it though to do what we've need it to do. In this particular case it's to crochet. So in the Background layer I've added a nice little gradient of colors kind of like a flesh tone. And on top of that is a series of paths, all these paths that make up the shape or the pattern for the crochet.
And this is covered in more detail in another episode dealing with Illustrator Connection. But that's what's going to guide our brush, but first we have to go in there and create that brush. So we have the brush. We've picked the Size, hard edge. So we go into our Brushes panel. In the Brushes panel we're going to modify the brush to do what we want it to do. We're going to turn off the Transfer modes and make sure that those aren't on because you want to it to be hard edge. In Brush Tip Shape I am going to bring the Spacing down to 1 % so it is a solid line.
The Size should be smaller. So I am going to go in there and I place the cursor over the image so I can kind of gauge the size. I am going to reduce the Size of the brush to size that is just about what I want, which is a 10. Then I kind of test it out, see what it looks like. And maybe I can make it a little smaller. Just go down to 8. And an 8 looks good. I'll do that. So now we see that it's going to give us the right size that we want, but instead of having a straight line like that what we want it to do is to look more like the little stitching.
So in that Brushes panel again, I am going to increase the Spacing between them just enough so that they're just touching. See, I don't want to have a dotted line. I want it to just touch. At 100%, they are distinct dots, one next to another. But by making it less than 100 % they start to encroach on each other, making them look like they're attached. And about there, about 74, that looks good. So now we're getting that kind of a look. So now I make sure I am in the layer right here which we'll call the crochet and I have my path.
I am in the brush with the parameters set for it so I can take the path and say stroke it, which is going to create that whole effect that we see there. We can deselect the path and we have the crochet, which now we want it to give that dimension to make it look like it is in fact the stitching. So I want to go into the layer styles for it, give it a little drop shadow so it is separated from the skin below, and we give it a Bevel and Emboss. Now the Bevel and Emboss I am going to decrease the Size. My brush size is less than 10 so 5 is just halfway across.
I don't want that much so I am going to say let's make it about 3 and I am going to increase the dark side. And this light side, well, we don't really see the light side because it's white against white. So I am going to change the white to a gray and change the mode to that of Normal. So we're just picking up that little gray edge right along the sides there. So now that gave the threads a nice dimension. Click OK. And the other thing that would be needed at this point would be to wrap this around the skin. So depending on the complexity we could do something simple like say just Warp it. And we'll grab the center part and bring it up.
And we'll just kind of bring these edges in, like so. So it starts to wrap around the skin the way we want it to, right about like that. And there you could see that it is now this crochet pattern wrapped around the skin. Now the little lights that we saw before, that's even simpler because of the fact that in that particular case we were just doing straight lines, right. I have my background here which I am going to go ahead and invert to black. Then in the layer on top of that I am going to say this is the lights, little strings of lights.
And I've got some paths that I created for those strings of lights. Now we're going to use the same exact brush we used a second ago for the crochet, but in this particular case we're going to increase the distance between them. So I am going to go in there to Spacing and make them more of a dotted line like that. Once I have that, I am in the brush. I take a path and say stroke it. Take off the path and there we have these nice little strokes. Now these are lights in the night sky so what I am going to do is I am going to go into that layer that we put the lights into, and I am going to give them a little Outer Glow. Yellow is fine.
I'll just make it a little bit bigger and spread it out a little bit so they get that nice little kind of a harder edge to them. That's all that was necessary. And there you could see we have these nice little strings of lights which could be strings of lights around a Christmas tree or whatever it is that you want to do. But it is that simple to simply take a existing brush that comes with Photoshop and alter it to do what you want it to do.
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