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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 can be so effective in creating the third dimension, because basically, layer styles are lighting effects. If you look at the names of the layer styles, you have Inner Glow and Drop Shadow. Most of these things are the effects of light on an object. Now to create some effects in the painting here, like for instance we'll zoom in on this little sign right up here and you can see that you get the impression that they're light bulbs behind that sign. It has that glow toward. That little darkness along the edges gives it that impression that they are light bulbs inside there.
And the the same thing will happen over here. You can see that again there is this little dark haze that's going on. That gives an impression that there are two long bulbs right inside this area here. A very simple use of the layer styles can give you these really accurate effects. Let's go in here and create a 3-dimensional effect for this little sign here. That's the Bubba Gump sign from the painting, but we're going to make it a little different here. Straight on and we want to make it look like it is a sign that's all lit up. So what I'm going to so here is play around with it a little bit.
So the first thing I want to do is I want to take the actual Bubba Gump sign, and I'm going to go into my controls, into my Adjustments, go to Hue/Saturation, and I'm going to go in there. I'm going to punch up the saturation on that sign quite a bit so it starts to look like it's lit up, just like that. Click OK and that's good enough. That's got really strong saturated color now. So I'm going to go in and I'm going to double-click on it to bring up the layer styles, and let's just move it over here so we can see what's going to happen next. To give the impression that there is light bulbs inside the sign, I'm simply going to give the sign an Inner Glow.
Now I'll bring up the size here. You see that what we're seeing is that there is a light tone along the sides. That's not what I want. I want the center of the sign to be bright and make it look like the bulbs are inside. So I'm going to change the color of this to a deeper tone, say like about this orange right here. Now it disappeared, because again I'm going with a color that's darker than the contents of the image. So now I'll go in here and change the mode to Multiply, which added this darker tone right along that edge, giving me the impression that this is lit up from inside.
Now the frame itself, I want this to look 3-dimensional. So here is the frame in its own layer,and we're going to say that the lights coming from this side over here. It's coming from the street. The building is here and the street is here. So I am going to go into the layer styles for the sign itself, and I am going to give it a little Bevel and Emboss, right off the bat. And we want the light to be coming from this side right here. So now, you see that I've got this Bevel and Emboss. I'm going to increase the Depth so I get really strong lights and darks. I'm going to make the Size really small.
Bring it down to about 2, so I just get this little tiny edge on the two sides. I might be even it make one, just so it looks like it's just got a little tiny edge to the sign. There we go. We have this nice brightness on this side. Now the actual sign is inset into the frame, so I'm going to give this particular guy a Drop Shadow as well. There we'll see that we have this little drop shadow. We're going to bring the light down just a little bit like this. So there is our little drop shadow inside, which I can kind of increase the Spread, so it become a little bit sharper, just like that, and we have the little shadow inside.
I'll bring down the Opacity a little bit, because this is a brightly lit sign. So I get this little hint of a shadow right inside there. Click OK. The shadow is out here too. I don't want it out there. So now that I have the drop shadow and the Bevel and Emboss for that frame, I'm going to come over here and say Layer Style > Create Layers. This little message will pop up to warn you that sometimes when you're making layers out of individual layer styles, sometimes there will be a conflict. When they're working together, they work fine, but if you separate them into separate layers sometimes the modes might conflict. So there is that possibility that things won't look the same as it did when you first applied the layer style.
So it's kind of like a little warning that some things might not work. Usually they do, but if you've added say five different layer styles and you're going to combine this with another layer that has another five layer styles, you're going to run into some conflicts and it won't look as good as it do when you originally assigned the layer style. So, now that we have them as individual layers here, I'm going to go to the Drop Shadow layer and I'm going to go in there and just erase this area right up in here. Now I'm not totally sure I want to erase it, because what if I want to move things later? Rather than erasing, which is destructive, I'm just going to give that a layer mask, and in the layer mask, I'm going to go in there and using black I'm going to just paint out that area up there, so I don't see the shadow on that side there and I don't see the shadow on this side here, just like that.
I'm just painting it out, so that way if I ever decide I want to just move things around, the shadow is still intact. I've just hidden parts of it using a layer mask, so I don't see the shadow outside the area of the frame. But there you can see that now we have a sign that looks 3-dimensional and looks like it's lit up from inside and has the effect that I wanted to get.
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