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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.
Patterns are the solution to so many situations that come up in imaging. Take for instance right here. You've got to look at this T-shirt that we have. I am going to go a little closer here and zoom in on this. You see that it has got this nice little ribbing. There is tiny ribbing right on the edges of the T-shirt. Another file with a similar ribbing is this one here. Here we are looking at ribbon on the edges of the sleeves. All these nice, little simple lines that also then wrap around the edges. Let's go in here and create that kind of a pattern.
The pattern is simple. In this particular case, it's extremely simple. I am just going to go into there and create a long, vertical line like so, and we get in real close so we could see what's going to happen. And I am going to fill that with a gray. We will fill that a nice deep gray like this. I will just go ahead and say Fill with Foreground Color, and there it is. Now, selecting this, there is where you are going to create the pattern. If I was to select it like this, well, this area here of white does become the pattern, so the next line next to this one would be a way over here, and it would be a very wide rib.
But in the case of a T-shirt or other cloths that had that kind of a texture to them, the ribbing is very tight. It's very close. It's almost the thickness of the threading itself. So, I am going to go in here and make a selection that's twice the thickness of this actual piece here. So, let's get in real close, so we can see what's going to happen here. We see that thickness of our rib right there and double the size right there. Now, you might want to have this even softer. So, what I might want to do is to go in here and blur this just a little bit. We will give it a little blur.
Not a Blur More, not a Gaussian blur, maybe a second one, just to soften it up just a little bit. So, now I am going to go in here and select it form the center now. And I am going to select it so that I have a selection right about like that. So now, this space here plus this one will tell me how close it's going to be to its neighbors. Now, it's just about twice the width of the line itself, which means these lines are going to be fairly close to each other. I came on this side because the fact that I do have this anti-aliasing on this edge caused by the blurring. So, now that I have that selection right there--and that's all I need to select.
I don't need to select the entire line; I can select the small portion of it. I'm going to go in here and say Define Pattern. And you will notice how it's showing me a pattern. It's just one pixel slice because it's all continuous. It doesn't need to have all that information. It just looks like one pixel slice right there. And click OK. So, now that we have that, I can throw this away. We don't need to see this anymore. I didn't put it in a layer, but that's okay. We'll just go into here and say Select All and delete it and do background color, and there it is.
So, now let's pull back, and I've got a couple of paths here that make up the top of a T-shirt. So, let's go in here and pick a color for our T-shirt, say a slightly off-white like that. I'm going to select that path now. This is the path right here for the T-shirt itself, and in a layer, right on top of this, we will call this shirt body. That way we know that this is different from the collar. And I will go ahead and fill that path with that tone. So now, I am going to select this part of the collar right here.
I am going to create another layer, and I am going to call this layer collar left. And I am going to go ahead and fill it with that color there too, just so that we have some tone inside there. And I select this one and create another layer, which of course we are going to call 'collar right' and fill the path with that tone. So, now we have these basic shapes.
We can turn off our paths. We no longer need them. So, I am going to select the long rectangle right across here, fairly large in size about like that that's going to encompass the entire area of the colors themselves. And in a totally separate layer-- I want to call this layer ribbing-- and I am going to go ahead and fill that with that pattern we just created. So, I go down here and say Pattern, and there is that pattern. You see that it's looking at it as a single-pixel length.
Click Ok and there you can see that we fill that selection with the pattern. Now, this pattern right now is fairly large. That's why I created these big sections because we are going to go in there and resize it. I can deselect it now, and what I am going to do is I am going to duplicate it. So, now I have two. Why? Because we have two different sides of the collar. So, let's turn one off for now, and we will work with this one, which we are going to put right here by collar left. Now you see that collar right came out in front because we're behind that there.
So, I am going to take this guy right now and I am going to clip them with collar left. So, I'm going to click on it right there, and we see that is now contained inside of that area. So, now we are going to go in there and distort this to get the effect that we want, and we will do that by warping it, because warping is going to give us the ability to go into them and make all kinds of transitions to this. So I am basically going to warp it to follow the shape of this collar. So, you can see I am pulling these handles up so that I've got that edge like that, and I am going to bring this one down, way down here like this, and then bring these handles over so that they match where I'm traveling, set that up, and bring this guy over this way.
And this long one here, we are going to bring down, bring this one over. And you can see how we are starting to distort our little collar here, so that we get the angles that we want. And then we have got to bring these handles in. Here, I am actually working with the points themselves, the shapes inside. I am going to keep moving these until I have the right angle. See, there is the angle that I needed right there. So, I am going to twist this around and bring this over. Now, I've got a concentration here, so I am going to move these, so I started getting the concentration on the other side.
So, let's just move these guys around until I am starting to get the right angles that I want. Here, I want it to be fairly straight up and down, so I am going to pull this guy way up like this, so that they start to curve on that side, and I kind of straighten these out. So, you can see, I am doing this all visually and I haven't done anything. I haven't committed anything to the image yet until I click OK and this all falls into place. So, you can see I am constantly modifying this until I get all the right angles that I want. So, I am curving this up a little bit, right in there to follow that little curve. Okay, and I got these guys going straight down, and I'm playing around with it until I have it just the way I want it.
And there is what I want, so now I hit Return and I get the little ribbing, which I now going to put this into a mode because right now I have that white showing through it, and I would like it to be that other tone underneath. So, we will try a few different modes. I can try Screen, which is going to give us as the light tones in there. No, maybe want to do Multiply. No, that's going to darken it too much. So we might want to go in there and in fact--you know what, the Multiply does look good because I do want to emphasize the dark tones and leave the grays of the T-shirt to come through. So, to make it blend in better, I am simply going to bring down the Opacity.
I am lowering the Opacity to just get that little hint of the ribbing in there. Now, once we start adding a little texture to this later, as you will see in a minute, this will all start to really come to life. Now, we are going to look at this ribbing, which I am going to do the same this. I want to clip it to the collar on the right. So, I am going to select that layer and as I did before, I am going to go in here and say Warp. So, I am going to say Transform > Warp, and I am now going to work with this layer, which I going to do the same thing. I am going to drag these points down to start to match the area of the collar itself.
Now, when I drag the points, you notice that the handles remain in place, which is giving me this really distorted thing. So, I need to of course grab these handles and bring them back into the scene like that so that they start the match the way they should, and let's bring these guys over and this one over and now to start to give it that shape. I'm going to start to straighten this out, just as we do with the other side. I am going to pull these out and bring these guys way up, so that they start to match our T-shirt on this side. And I want to just play with these little handles until I start getting that little curve that I need up there.
Here is that little curve, bring this around. And this one needs to be a little straighter, so let's just straighten this out a little more right through there like that. That looks good, a little bit of a curve. There, we see it. But I want to thicken this side, so let's just pull these guys out. So, this starts to thicken this, and pull this over so these start to tighten up because they need that foreshortening and starts to go around the neck area. And I can even just pull this one down just a little. There we go. So, now that we have that, I can click OK, and we will match the Opacity.
We have 40 here, so we are going to set this one to Multiply and set its opacity to 40 as well. So, there we see that we have the ribbing on the T-shirt. Now, we are going to start to give this a little more of a sense of real fabric. So, going back to the collar on right here, I am going to take my Burn tool. I am just going to very lightly start to go in there and play around with the collar, and I am going to start adding some tones. Let me set this to Midtones here, so I start getting some little tones going in there like that, and maybe right along the edge, and I like to have a little edge right through there.
If you want to make that even, let me undo that. I am going to bring this tone down a bit just like that. And what I am going to do is I am going to pick the path itself, which I have this path here for that collar. I am going to select the path, and I am going to say use that as a guide for my Burn tool. So, let's just say go in there and burn it. You see how it's just created a little edge right where I wanted it? So, there I got this nice edge, and I might want to accent it in the few spots just to make it little stronger, like right up here and so on--and maybe throw a little tone right in there.
And then we go to the other layer, the collar on the left. Then we will do the same, which is add a little tone right into that area, select the path right there, get our Burn tool, and go ahead and stroke it. Stroke it another time so we get this nice little dark tones happening right through there, and we can see that we start to get the nice definition to our little collar. Same thing would then, of course, apply to the shirt. We can go in there and make a much larger Burn tool and just add a couple of little tones along the top, along that side, and maybe just a little bit along these edges.
So, what we will do is we will take the path that we did before. I am going to reduce the size of this nice and small, and we are going to take those paths, just like we did a second ago, a path for this side right here, which I am going to go ahead and stroke inside this shirt--and make sure we are in the shirt, shirt body. Good, so we've got that. And we will say take that path and stroke it. So, I get this nice little tone. Stroke it again, so we have a little shadow underneath the collar. We select this side and say stoke it, stroke it, and then you can see how we are starting to get this nice little definition to our T-shirt.
You can add as much more if you want, but there you can see how we have used the pattern to create that little bit of fabric that you see along the collar.
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