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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 are many surfaces throughout Times Square, made up of many different materials. There's glass and metals and woods. I want to discuss how some of these materials are recreated and filters in most cases is the answer to creating these effects. I am going to look at one of the little sections of the things that are in the streets of Times Square and that's a little Nuts4Nut stand right here and I am going to look at something that's a household item, the little paper towels right there. So what we are going to do is we are going to create new file here and we will create our own little roll of paper towels.
So it requires drawing at first to go in there and create the shapes that we want. So we will create a little circle, a little bit of an ellipse right there like that, which could be the side of the roll right there, and I will create another one right inside, which would be the center of the roll. I am going to just put that right there in the center like that. I am going to duplicate this one and bring it way over here and I am going to shrink this one. This is the end of the roll on the other side, so I am going to just shrink it down a little bit. So that we see it down from that end like that. All right so there it is.
so I am going to just move these guys all the way up here, because what I am going to do is kind of unfurl this roll a little bit. So now I am going to just cut off parts of this path here. I am going to grab that center point and delete it. So I can now take the Path tool and just continue this guy right here over to here and down and back over to close it off. So now we have the complete roll right there. From this edge here, I am going to unfurl the roll by just pulling out a path, bringing it down, like so.
So there is this one sheet that's just down below like that. Now I can duplicate this guy straight across to this side of the roll right there and there since it's further away I am going to shrink that path down just a bit like that. So now that I have that I am going to go in there and close this off by connecting that path to this path and let's do it by getting a whole new line here. Holding on my Option key, Alt on a PC, to eliminate that handle so that when I close if off here, I am still holding that key.
I have a straight line that connects to two paths. Up here it doesn't matter, but I am going to hold down Option key here to make sure that it doesn't go beyond my roll. So there I have the basic shapes that I need to make my roll of paper. So now I want to go in there and start to create the effects. Let's start with the back. This is a back sheet. So it's the furthest back, so it's going to be the first layer that we create and we will call it the back sheet. I am going to fill that with a light gray color, just like that, and I am going take that path and say fill it right there.
So now I am going to take this one, the roll itself, and in a new layer, which will call the roll, we will fill that with that same gray. And this is the side of the roll, which we will create a new layer for that. We will call it the side and again we fill it with that gray and there we have hole.
Now we will fill it with that same gray. We will just keep the same colors. We are going to manipulate these colors later. So once again we fill in that last one. So there now we have all the basic shapes that are going to make up the roll of paper. Now we are going to start to make it look real. Going back to my layers, I have my back sheet here, where I'm going to go in and add a little tone to it. So I am going to take my Burn tool and make it a nice large size. I want to just go in there and start to darken right in here. I am just passing it along there to darken that little edge right there of the paper.
You see it underneath. It's got that little dark tone to it. All right, we might even want to lighten it up a little bit right here at the bottom part some I am going to get a bigger brush there and just going to give it a little highlight right along the front there. I am going to give this a filter. That filter is not going to start to give a texture. I am going to get in there and say Texture > Texturizer and Texturizer one of the modes it has is sandstone which is what I am going to use. I am going to bring my Scaling way down. So it's just a really tiny little texture and bring the Relief down a bit, just bring it down there is just a little hint of a texture like that about two. That's good.
And my light is coming in from the top. That's good. Click OK and there we now have this slight texture to it. Now on the roll, I am going to go in there and add a little highlight. Right through here. I am going to click on this side, Shift+click on the other side, just to get a little highlight going right across the roll right there and let's go back and forth so that we get some nice little highlight going right through there, and there we see the high appearing right there on the roll. Then using my Burn tool, I am going to just add a little shadow right below, just sort of a slight bit like that and maybe a smaller brush and we will just add a little shadow right along the top there like that.
So that's starting to give it a little more dimension. Now I am going to look at that same filter again, the same Texturizer filter, except this time I am going to increase the relief, because this is the face of the paper which has a little more texture than in the under part of the paper. You are not sure how that works, go look at the paper towels in the kitchen right now. But here we go. I am going to increase that relief just a little bit like that and click OK and we can see now that we have that texture going on there. Now comes the hole. Let's jump to the hole area, so we can see exactly where the side of the paper would be, and in the hole area I am going to take my Burn tool and I am going to really darken this top part right in there and darken the bottom just a little.
So I am darkening it just to give it that sense that, there you go, we have this nice little edge to it. I might want to go and give that hole a little layer style and give it a stroke, just a little tiny stroke, and not black. I am going to go with a light gray color like that. The blend is good, the opacity is good. Let' go in there and just say Overlay so we get a little bit of a light tone right there, and bring down the Opacity a little bit, so we get that little edge of the paper right there. So now we got a little edge to our roll.
Now comes the texture of the actual roll of paper right in here. So what I am going to do now is I've got the side. I am going to create a layer on top of it and in that layer I am going to create a nice square, like so, which I am going to fill with that gray and I am going to give that some noise. Add Noise. I am going to say a lot of noise. Monochromatic, so that it stays in the same tones. I don't want any greens and reds in there. I just want these tones right here. Click OK.
Now that I have that, I am going to give that another filter. I am going take that noise and rotate it around to give me the impression of the roll of paper. So I am going to get in there and say under Blur I have a Radio Blur and the Radio Blur has two modes, Spin and Zoom. Spin is the one I want and I am going to push that all the way to 100 and you can see the effect that it's having. So I am going to click OK. It's going to go in there and spin that thing around, which I am now going to just accent a little bit. I am going to bring up the Contrast, by going into something like Levels here and in Levels I am going to kind of push my dark tones in and push my lights up.
So now I sort of get more of that definition there you could see that I am moving these until I got a really nice strong definition of that circular effect that I just got. Click OK. So now I am going to take this. Again deselect it. I am going to move this layer over so that it's centered right inside there, like that. Then I am going to clip it with the side of the roll like that. Now that it's in there, I am going to take it and I am going to scale it so that it starts to have the same sense of the roll that we have here, right there, until we see that it's starting to look like it's going round and round.
Click OK and there we see that now we have the roll of paper. We have the texture of the paper on top and we have the little sheet coming down the below.
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