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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.
Layers make it really easy to go in there and make multiples of something and make them look different. What am I talking about? Well, let's go look at an example right up here. The lights that light up the facades of the TOYS R US building. We see all these different lights and we look at them and they're all at different angles and so on. We get in real close and we see that they are, in fact, different. See that the wires are going different directions. Look at the dirt on the front of each one; they all are different. They have little dirt on the sides. Every individual light is different from its neighbor.
Different angles, and so on. And they're also getting smaller as they get further away. Way down to the end there. Those are ones that are real close to us which are quite large. So let's go look at that. What happened is that I created a single light. I only created one. I didn't have to create 22 of them for that side, but I just created one. And we're going to get in close. We see that it's got a lot of details, a lot of stuff going on, but you see that very clean except for dirt in the front, little bolts and stuff little shadows, but everything.
Absolutely everything in this light is in its own layer. On top we have the comp. That's the composite of all the different layers that's going to be brought in to the overall file. And we could see that every little element is in its own layer. There's groups and subgroups and here you could see we could open up, there's a Front plate and Top housing, which has another little group here that's this cone here, and there is the top brace, and so on. So there's a lot of different layers. Now the reason we see some of the lights and they're all different is because of the fact that everything is in a layer.
They are the same light over and over again, but every one has its little nuance and that's what is easy, because of the layers like the dirt. That dirt layer right there which if I wanted to see that layer in particular, and then I can't remember what I called it, I could just hold down my Control key right here and click on it and I could see there's a list. And right there it came. Dirt, so if I click on dirt, there is the dirt layer right there which I can turn that off. And you could see here as the layer turns off. By changing that layer right there I was able to make every light look different.
And a little tilt here and there made the difference. Now when we look at the file where all the lights have been assembled, right here, we see there they are going back in space, making smaller as they go around. This one is tilted a little bit, this one is tilted that way, and so on. Each one looks different. Now how did I determine their size difference? I used the Blend tool in Illustrator. The series of tutorials on Illustrator will explain this little feature, but right here you see that I have a layer called Guides. And what I did is I created the basic shape and using my perspective in Illustrator I created the far shape, which is a little guy there.
And then I blended from one to the other giving me all the steps in between. So I had a guide for how I was going to shrink each light. So once I added the wire and changed the dirt and the angles of the shadows and such, I was able to then create the second light, the third, forth, all the way down to the end here and they're all going back in space, getting smaller, and each one looks different. So all these lights came from one single light and since everything was in a layer, it made it really easy to make multiples that all look like they're individual lights.
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