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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.
The contents of the billboards all over Times Square are as varied as the lights on Broadway themselves-- tons of different kinds of images, all kinds of things can be seen, like right here. We see a little lime sticking out of the top of a bottle with little drips of moisture coming down. Let's create that lime right now. I have got some basic paths that I created that are going to be the basic shapes of my little lime wedge. First, I have to go in there and create the textures themselves. So let's turn off the Path for now and in Layers, I created my first layer, and this layer right here is going to be the rind.
This is the rind of the lime. So I've got this nice deep green, so what I am going to do is I am going to fill that entire layer with that dark green. There it is. So what I am going to do with this now is I am going to go in here and give this a filter. So I am going to go down here to my Textures and give it a Craquelure, which is in its default texture right there the way it's set up, that's pretty good. I am going to maybe lighten up those cracks a little bit, just to bring that down so that you can see that the little Brightness is kind of lessening up, and the Crack Depth I can increase it or just decrease it.
I just want a little bump there. Click OK. So I've got this basic texture which I will play with when the time comes. Create another layer. This is going to be that juicy part of the lime. So I have a second color for my background, which is a lighter shade of green, like here. We will fill this layer with that color. There you can see it. So now with these two colors, I am going to fill this layer with a filter. Now I did fill that layer ahead of time because the filter needed something in there to work. You can't work in a blank layer for this next filter, which is Render > Fibers.
Fibers is a great filter for all these kind of effects, and right there, very close to its default, is pretty much what I want. I am going to bring down the strength and I've got these nice tones going on in there. I am going to click OK, and I've got that, which I am going to subject to yet another filter. I am going to take that. I am going to round it up by saying Distort > Polar Coordinates, which is going to whip this whole thing out in a nice little angle like you see there just like that, giving me this nice kind of a spread like that, which I am going to take even further. I am going to go in there and stretch that out a little bit with a little Radial Blur, which I have set to zoom here.
I am going to push this zoom up a little bit just to get a little more to it and click OK, and I get this nice little stretching. So there, that becomes the basis for my textures in my image. So let's turn that off again, and let's start creating the basic shapes. So I am going to go in here and create a layer, which we'll call the rind, and there I am going to get my paths. I am going to look for that path right there, and there it is. It's that shape right there. So what I am going to do is I am going to take that path and in that layer--I am in the right layer-- I am going to say go ahead and stroke it.
It strokes with green. It doesn't matter because these are just shapes that are going to be masks for those textures that I just created. I am now going to select this one big piece. That's that inside part of my rind. So I am going to pick a color for that. I am going to pick something kind of in a creamy tones right here and pick something really light like that one right there. And behind the rind, I am going to create this and call this the meat. All right, so I am going to go in there and just fill that path with that color right there.
So now these are the juicy things, so I'll call this the pulp, all right? So I've got another layer on top of the meat I am going to call it pulp, and I am going to fill those with that green. It doesn't matter the color because that's a texture. So I am going to go in there and save it, my path, fill it. All right, so now I've got all those shapes put together. So now, go look at our layers again and we are going to put the rind right there. There is the rind, which we are now going to clip with the rind texture right there.
Now it's not quite right, so I am going to go in there and select a little portion of it like this and do a little warping on it. So I am going to go in there and say Warp, and I am going to kind of bend this piece in like that and twist that in, and let me undo that because I have the wrong layer selected. I want this, the actual rind texture. So let's go in there and do that warp. I am going to just drag this over here, bring this up, and you can see what's starting to happen to our texture. Let's grab this little handle, bring it in, bring that up there like that.
Let's bring this guy over, and we are starting to bend this thing to make it start to look like the actual edge of our rind. We are just bending these guys over so just to get all this nice little curvature going here. So I've got to bring this way over, so we can get really a strong kind of a distortion to our rind. I'll bring this out like that, and there we could see where we are starting to get that nice texture. Now once I have it in place, I could deselect it. And I don't want it completely through there, so I might want to give it a little mask, and then with the mask, I am just going to soften certain parts.
So I am going to get a soft-edged brush. I am going to bring down the Opacity a little bit and with black, I am going to kind of lighten it up in certain spots, so I don't have this continuous tone all the way through like that, so I am just going to lighten it up like that. There we go. And then I can add it some dimension by going in there and darkening it. So we would darken it down here and I would darken it up on top adding some dimension and maybe a little light right along this middle here, we'll just add a little bit of a highlight right through here just like that. So then we have the pulp.
There is the pulp. So I am going to take this texture and bring it above the pulp right there. We want to look at it, and we are going to clip it with the pulp, and we are going to move that layer until we have the pulp exactly where we want it, right there in that position just like that. And there we see that now we have the pulp inside. Now we want to give this a little dimension as well, so I am going to go into the Layer Styles for the pulp there and give it a little Bevel and Emboss, just to start adding a little highlight. So I am going to increase my highlights right there, and let's have our light coming from say this direction right there, so we have nice little highlights through this area. And this, not good.
We are going to go with a deep green right there like that, and we are going to soften those little tones, bring down that darkness just a little, and punch up that highlight, so we get that nice little juicy part right through there. And then we are going to add some more moisture to this. I am going to go in there with our Dodge tool, and I am just going to kind of lighten these tones up. I am going to go into the texture. I am just going to lighten certain parts, just to start making them look a little more juicy. So I am going to go in here and just add little highlights, and those little highlights that are following the angles that I want I am going to just add a little sense of moisture to this, and then I can go in really light and start adding some more little highlights.
And then to really make it look moist, on the layer on top of that--which I am going to clip as well so we don't lose anything-- I am going to go with white, and with the paintbrush, we shall make it sharp and I've got a lower opacity there. Let's bring that opacity up just a little bit. I am going to go in here and start to paint with a very small brush, paint little highlights, which are going to start to make this look nice and juicy and wet. little highlights right through there, and I see that the brush has a-- yeah, let's turn that off.
Okay, and we'll just start adding little highlights in little places. That's going to make it look moist. Now these highlights, once I have them done and I have them in place, let's give a couple of small ones, even smaller. There we go, just like that, I am going to blur those. I am going to go in there and give them a little Gaussian Blur just to soften them up so they are not so strong, just a little bit so there are just these tiny little highlights. Click OK and there we see that we have this nice juicy-looking lime.
I will do one more thing. I am going to take that meat, which right now is just so solid, and we will give it a little bit of a texture and we will use good old Texturizer. This is a very, very useful little Sandstone mode. It could be stucco, and in this case it's going to be little meaty pulp there of our lime. I'll increase the Relief just a little, click OK, and there we have this nice juicy lime.
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