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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 places where you're getting very close to the subject, like in this particular case here we are looking really close at the blouse, so we see that there is in fact a fine weave in the blouse right here. So we are getting real close, so we can see that, and we see that there is a very fine weave that's visible, the fabric itself right through there. So we can start to see it in these different places. We can see how it's taking on the contours of the fabric as it folds. So we need to create that kind of an effect.
Now, in another movie I talk about creating that pattern. Here we're going to actually apply it to a fabric. So I have another file here where I've just created some simulations of some folds. Now we are not going to see the fabric in the dark areas, but we are going to see it going around the light areas, because in the light areas we'll see through it and see that darkness underneath and so on. So we need to go in there and apply it. First, we have to decide exactly how these fabrics are folding. Now, the dark areas are going in, which means these areas here are coming out in a curved fashion, as is this area here.
It's curved like this and curved here and curved there and then curved like that, which means the fabric has to follow all these individual folds. That also means that we need various sections of it so that we can manipulate each one separately. So I am going to go in here and in a new layer I am going to go ahead and fill it with the fabric that we created, and I'll click OK. And right off the bat, we see that the existing pattern is a little too big for the fabric that we want here.
We want it to be a little bit finer. So let me undo that. I look at the size of this file and I see that this file is 900 x 700. So what I am going to do is I am going to go in there and create a new file that's larger than that, much larger. So I am going to go in there and say 1500 x 1200 and click OK. So here is this much larger file, and here I'm going to go ahead and--in a new layer, because I want it to be transparent--I am going to go in and just fill this with the pattern.
I'll just say fill with the pattern. Click OK. Now I have a much larger swath that I can now do a Select All and copy it, or I can drag and drop if I was working with the Standard View mode, but I'm in Full Screen mode here, so it makes a little difficult to do that. I am going to deselect this, or I could even close it at this point. I have it in memory. So I'm going to go in there and just close this. Back here again I am going to say paste.
There is my fabric. Looks the same as it was before because of the fact that we filled it the same size. But when we pull back, we'll see that there's a lot more to this particular layer. So I am going to go in and say scale, and there we see that we have all this additional space for it. So I am going to go in there and shrink it down. I am holding down my Shift key to keep it constrained, and I'm shrinking it down to the size of this file that I have here. Click OK and now we see that we have the size that I want, a nice size right there.
Now, I need one, two, three, and four-- I need four different pieces of it. So I am going to go ahead and create three more copies to give me a total of four. There we are! So now I am going to go in there and turn these guys off for now, and I am just going to work with this one. Well, I am going to go in there and start to manipulate parts of it. I am going to come in here and this is going to be this corner up here. So I am going to go in here and just drag this up a little bit, so I have some room to work with, and I really don't need all this extra stuff. So I am just going to kind of dump this.
I don't need that part; it just gets in my way right now. So I don't need to see it. So now, this is what I want to manipulate. So I am going to go into my Warp tool, and in Warp, I am going to go in there and stretch this out so that it follows that contour that I have there. I'll just drag these over, drag them down, and I can get rid of the excess later. There is no problem with that. I am going to bring this guy way up here, way over, and bring this right in there. I am going to start dragging these points and start pulling this around.
Now, it really needs to curve around, so what I am going to do is I am going to start to have these areas just curve just like that. There you can see I am starting to get this nice curve happening in there. Now, you can exaggerate it if you want. That's what I'm going to do. I want to exaggerate this, so I get this really fine curve happening in there just like this. There we go! We have it the way I want it. Click OK and there is this nice little curve in there. Now again, I can get rid of the excess--I need to see this stuff--and then I'm going to go in and I am going to give it a mask, so that I only see the parts that I want.
So I give that layer a mask, and I can go in here and very lightly--and I say lightly because I am going to bring down the Opacity to about 27 or whatever-- I am just going to go in there and paint in the mask the parts I want to hide, and you can see I am not doing it in one complete stroke. I am doing it in multiple strokes. I can slowly start to erase it, so I don't get this hard edge. I just kind of very slowly start to soften it up. There you can see I start to have that nice little curve in there. I am just having the fabric exposed just where I want it. So now, the side would be the same thing.
So we'll go in there and let's pull back and look at the next bunch. Here it is! So right off the bat, I am going to just dump this whole area right here, don't want that, throw it away, and I want to make sure I am in the right layer. There you go! Take care of that. All right! So now I've got this piece. I am going to bend that in the opposite direction. I am going to go in there and say warp. I am going to drag it and do the same thing I did before. I am going to go in there and just pull these guys all the way around so I start to really exaggerate my distortion here and I get this nice curve, and I start to play with it. And here I've just got this little bend going down this way, so it's just going to go this way.
I get this little light area happening. Or actually it should be the opposite. It should be going up this way. So we'll just start to bend these guys up, start getting that curvature, bring this down, bring these handles over. That's giving us the ability to go in there and start bending this just the way we want. I start curving this around that way, bring this over some more so we get more of a twist and bring this guy out and curve that and bring this up, and there we're starting to get this distortion on this side.
Once I have it the way I want it, make it happen, get rid of this little excess in here, don't need that, and give that a mask as well. We'll do the same thing on this side. Just go in there and start to just paint this off just like that, just so we start to expose just the parts of that texture the way we want them right in there like that. Now, we have this. We can handle this with probably just one. I am going to bring down the opacity a little bit so I can kind of really see the thing underneath there. All right! And I am going to take away this piece here, and take away this piece here, just so that that isn't invisible, so we can see what we want.
So now that we have this, this piece here will now be warped to follow that contour. Here, we've got to really start to manipulate this. I am going to pull this guy up, bring this down, bring this in. So I am going to start to tighten it up on top here. I want to tighten this area up. So I am going to pull this in, and then pull these guys down, and then I am going to follow this curve. So I am going to start to bring this guy around just like that. You can see where I am getting this nice little angle here.
I am going to bring this in right to that edge and then have these guys kind of follow. These are the sides of the fabric. I am just going to follow that whole movement right there and tighten this up even more. So there we can see where it's just starting to wrap around the light area. I am just going to thicken this a little just so that it starts to fill up right in there, move this over just a little right into that area, and there you can see we're getting this nice curvature. Now I am going to curve this down here even more.
There, we can see where we're getting that nice curve, and I click OK. Let's bring the Opacity back up. I think we can get away with just the three pieces at this point, so I am going to go in there, and give that a mask and just hide all the parts I don't want. I can erase or just hide, which is what I am going to do here. I am going to just hide this whole piece here, get rid of that, and then start to soften up this edge, just going in there and erasing, and just going to go soften that edge so it just blends right in with that fold right through there like that.
Soften this edge, right through there, make it all disappear, exposing only the parts that I want. Then I start to soften this edge, and then I could just go in here back into layer and just eliminate this piece. I don't need to spend time covering that. Just dump that. There we can see that now we have this fabric that's just following the movements of the fabric, and we're getting the textures just where we want it in the areas that we need, and you start to get this realistic-looking texture.
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