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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.
There is another brush that made an appearance several times throughout the entire painting of Times Square and that is a brush to create stitching, because stitching appears in many places. I will show you a couple. Here is my friend John. We will get in real close. You will see some of the stitching in this piece. So we are getting close here on his arm. We see the stitching on his shirt there, and we see the stitching on the wrist-band, and you come over here and see John. If we are getting close down here, you will see that there is stitching on his shirt, stitching on his jeans, all over the place there. And my wife on her jacket.
And so on her jacket, you will see there's stitching all through it, in all different parts. And even some of the billboards. Like friends as we look here, way back here in the central area you see there is a billboard right there, this little billboard. If you go and look at the billboard itself, the billboard looks like this, and if we look at one of these boots. I'll open up one of the boots themselves. There is boot number 2 and we will get in close in that you will see that there is stitching all through that as well. Even though in the actual painting this doesn't even show up as anything, I created it so it will be as close to the real thing as possible.
So let's go ahead and create a stitch. Now, to create a stitch like in any brush shape that I've created, I am going to use black. But what I am going to do is I am going to start off by creating a little elliptical selection, right there like that, and let's zoom in on it so we could see how it is going to look. I am going to go ahead and fill that with black. So I just go in there and say Fill, with the Foreground Color at 100% normal, and Fill. I am now going to duplicate it straight across. I am holding down my Shift key to constrain that and go straight across and I can deselect it.
So now I've got two circles. Using the Rectangular Marquee tool, I am going to connect the two circles by selecting an area right between the two of them like that and filling that with black as well. And there you can see that I have this long shape, a little lozenge kind of a thing right there. Pulling back there we see that little lozenge. So what I am going to do is I am going to select that and say Define Brush Preset. I can now throw it away. Let's fill it with the background color, which is white, and we are done.
I am going to create a path for myself here. This is a path that the stitching is going to travel along. So it goes like that. Here is my stitch. So we'll go to Path and we'll save that path for later. Now, in my Background I will just throw a color in here, just throw any kind of a color, kind of light beige in there, like so. I will just fill that in there. And in the layer on top of this is where we are going to create our stitch. So we'll call it stitch. So now, I get my Paintbrush and I pick up that brush right there, which is at the end of our little stack.
We recently created it. I am going to go in here and I am going to pick a deeper color. That's going to be the actual stitching. So we'll go with say about like that. Here's a nice color right there. So now the brush does that. So by going into the Brush panel we will be able to go in there to modify it, so it looks like an actual stitch. I am going to go in there and let's bring the size down considerably. That's good size for our stitch. I think it's a little bigger so you are going to see the difference in what we're going to do now, and I am going to increase the Spacing on it. So it has enough spacing between so it looks like it's gone into the fabric and out of the fabric, into the fabric, like a regular stitch.
You're not sure what it looks like? Look down at the shirt you are wearing. There's probably stitching on there somewhere. It's always good to refer to reality to know how to re-create it. Look at how things work and then you can figure it out how to do it in Photoshop. Now, we have that the brush is doing that, so the last thing we have to do is we have done in the previous brushes is going to Shape Dynamics, turn off the control for Size Jitter and set the Angle Jitter control to Direction. Don't change any size on it, no size, no angles, no roundness. You could change your Roundness if you wanted your stitching to be a little squattier. See, I can go in there and do that, but you see how it's doing it to individual strands? Here is a case, where I will control the roundness globally by going back over here and dragging this guy over.
So I can make really thin strips or wider strips and so on. So now that I have all that, that's the only changes I am going to make, because now you can see that it's starting to take on the right form. So what I am going to do here. I am going to go to my Path. I am going to take that. Make sure I am in the layer. I am in the layer stitch. Yeah take that path. I am in the brush and I go ahead and stroke it. Turn off the path. Now there, now we've got the basic stitch going into the fabric. We want to go in there and give the illusion that this stitching has caused a dent into the fabric.
So I am going to go into my layer styles and I need to have a nice even dark color along the entire edge. So I am going to give it an Outer Glow, because that's the only way it's going to give me a color around the entire edge. I am going to increase the Size a bit like that. I am going to change that from that color to a deep version of this color here. So I am going to go to a really deep version like that, way down here, like that and change the mode from Screen to Multiply, which is giving me that dark tone that I want. So I am going to go in there and increase the Size a little bit and maybe lower the Opacity just a little bit.
Then we will go to the actual stitches and say give it a Bevel and Emboss, which is going to give you that nice little raised section right there, and that white is a little too strong so I am going to pick up this color here and lighten it up just a little bit, just so I get a little bit of a highlight there. Bring the Size down just a little so it becomes just a little edge. Bring that to about say 2, so I get just a little edge on the string, and click OK and you see that we have this nice kind of a stitch by creating a single tip that was just two-rounded edges with a straight edge in between and it gave us our stitch.
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