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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 will add dimension to just about anything they're applied to depending on how well you apply them. Now they don't have to be glaring effects. They could be very subtle. Like right here, when we see Kevin Connor from Adobe, he has got some glasses on. I want to create the effect of these glasses and show you how layer styles was crucial in making them look realistic. I have here another file, which is a copy of that where I have gone ahead and flattened a bunch of the layers, and we can see that there are the glasses real close. What I am going to do is I am going to eliminate the front group here, which is that front area.
Let's pick up this blue right here, that we have of the glasses. Right there let's pick up the blue and then we'll turn this off. And you can see that I have paths for the glasses right there. So what I am going to do is I am going to select the outer frame path right there, and then in a new layer I am going to create a layer on top of this right there. I am going to create this layer and let's put it outside here and we are going to call this frame. This is going to be the frame for our glasses. I am going to go ahead and fill that path with that blue. Now I am going to select the inner path right here.
This is the path that makes up the glass area of the glasses. I am going to turn that into a selection, then I am going to turn off my path. Now, the reason I am turning it off is because I am going to delete this interior part of the glasses. And when I hit the Delete key, if the path is turned on the path will be deleted rather than the interior of the blue frame. So now, I go back to my layers, make sure I am in the frame, and I hit the Delete key, which will eliminate that central part. So now I am going to create another layer. I am going to call it the glass. This is the glass.
Now I am going to put that behind the frame. I want it inside the frame and I am going to expand the selection just slightly. 2 pixels is enough. That's going to make it go right in behind the glasses. I won't have any gaps that make it look like there is a hole between the class and the frame. That's just a little bit of an expansion. I am going to pick a light gray color like that and I am going to go ahead and fill that area with that gray. And I can deselect it. Now that I have that I am going to go into the layer styles for the glass.
And here is where I am going to go in and start to create that illusion this is in fact glass. I am going to go in and take that glass and bring down the Fill Opacity so we can see through it, right there like that. And then I am going to give the glass a Bevel and Emboss. And we see that the light is going to come from about this area right here. There is the light coming from that area and I am going to increase the Size of that Bevel and Emboss, just like that, increase the Depth, so I get a really strong light and dark and we did that. Let's just make it a little bit smaller.
We don't want these to look like bottom of the glass is really thick, like a Pepsi bottle or something. No, I want to just make it just a little edge to give them a little thickness to them. Now there's a dark shadow in here. I don't want this. I would like this to look like just another edge of the glass. I am going to change the black to a light gray color and there we can see that now we just have this little hint of the inside of the glass shaded at the bottom right there, like that. Now, this is a glass and glass is highly-reflective. So there should be some little reflections in here.
So what I am going to do is I am going to look at the Glass Contour for the layer style and give it something a little more complex like this one here and you can see what it just did. It just added all these nice little tones inside of the area there. Now, I can bring down the darks a little if I want to, just to make them a little less pronounced inside the glass area. And there you can see that now we have this really nice bright area pushed out up a little and you can see that we have these nice little highlights all along the edges of the glass, which are making them look three-dimensional, and make it look like real glass. I will click OK.
That part of the glass is done. I might want to add a layer on top of that, which I am going to go ahead and clip with the glass. So it will only be seen inside the glass and I am going to go in there and add some white highlights to it. I will keep in mind that anything that's being clipped by a layer beneath is going to be affected, and since I reduced the Fill Opacity for that layer, my white will not be as strong, but I am just going to add a little bit of a glare right through here and let's just soften this brush considerably, and we'll just add a little bit of a highlight right through there and another one right through there.
So it just looks like that there's little highlights on the glass itself, right there like that. Okay, we might want to add another little one just right through there and there we have this nice little highlight showing up. If you want you can go in there and give a little Gaussian Blur just to soften those highlights a little bit, so they just become these little soft edges right in there like that. Now the frame itself needs a little bit of a layer style. So I will go in there and give that a Bevel and Emboss as well, and you can see that it's just conforming to what the glass is, but I would like to just work at it so that you don't see certain areas.
So I am going to turn off my Global Lights, so it's not going to affect the other layers and I am just going to move my light source so that I have it just about where I want it, which is right on the top here and showing me my shadows underneath with nothing happening in this area here. There we see that now we have this nice edge to the frame as well. Now there are a little highlights and stuff of the frame, I am going to use the dodging and burning to create those. Let me go in there and add a little darkness to this edge, just like that, maybe a little darkness to the bottom, a little shadow going right through there, and then I am going to take the Dodge tool.
I am going to add a little highlight right through here, a little highlight right there, and maybe a little highlight right at this edge here, right in there like that. And there you can see that we started adding dimension to the glasses, making it look three-dimensional.
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