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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.
Another gold chain in the painting is this one, worn by my wife Zosia. Now getting in close on this one we see that this one is slightly different than the one before. This is made up of links that seem to be solid with a slight separation between them. Creating this one is similar, but with a slight variation here and there. So let's go to a blank file here where we're going to create the basic shape for this particular link. We won't use link there. We just choose one of these guys and make it really small and I could just make a little loop like that.
Now if you want it to be perfect then it helps sometimes to just use a path. So I'll create a little path where I create a little loop like so, then I know that my loop is exactly where I want it. It is the shape that I want. Maybe I might want to curve it just a little bit like that. Now that I have the shape that I need, I could make the size a little smaller about like that, then I take that path and using that brush, I go ahead and stroke it. So now I have the basis for my brush tip. I turn off the path and then select that shape and we'll turn that into a brush tip.
I say Brush preset and we'll call this chain2. Now we could throw it away. Now back here in our canvas, I am going to create a path that's going to represent that chain. Now in this particular case, I am not going to follow the chain. I am just going to create a big loop, like so. There is the loop. That's going to be the path of our chain. Let's save that. There it is. So now I am going to go in there and get my brush. I am going to choose the brush which will up here at the bottom down there, right there next to our previous chain. Click on that and it does that, which is kind of good for calligraphy, but in the case of our chain, it's not going to quite work.
So I go to my Brushes panel right here. I am going to increase the Spacing between those little tips. I am going to increase it quite a bit, because now these are not the links; these are the spaces between the links. So I am going to increase it about like that. That's giving me a nice space, just like that. Now I am going to go into my Shape Dynamics where I am going to turn off the Pen Pressure. It's on by default. I am going to set the Angle Jitter to Direction. So now it's going to follow as you can see the direction of my stroke.
So now that I have that, I am going to make the size a little smaller. Let's bring the size down to say some like about 35, maybe 35 will be good. That's a good size for our brush. So now I am going to go in here and I have all my settings and I am going to pick a color that I want. So I am going to get a dark brown color. These are the spaces between the links, so I'll pick a nice deep brown like that and I make sure I am in the layer. Right there. I am going to call this layer spaces.There we are.
So, now I'm in the layer, I take the path. I am in the brush that has the settings that I just set up. I could go ahead and stroke it with that. Now those are the spaces between the links. Now to create the actual links, I am going to choose a color that's got more of a golden tone, so let's go back into the oranges here and we'll pick a color like say that one right there. And I am going to choose a hard edge brush, like this one. It's set at 35 which right now is going to give us that. That looks good.
So I am going to go to my Layers panel. Right now, I got my spaces selected. If I create a new layer, it creates a layer automatically on top. I want to create a layer behind it. So I am going to hold down my Command key, which Ctrl on a PC, and I am going to click on that and now you can see that it created the layer beneath the currently selected layer. This one I am going to call links. These are the actual gold links in between these spaces. So now in that layer behind the spaces, I go to my Paths. Here is the path.
I am in the brush, selected with a hard edged brush with the gold, and I say stroke it. So there we see that we now have the links in between. Now to make this start to look real, I am going to go into the layers panel and double-click on the spaces and give them a little Bevel and Emboss, and that Bevel and Emboss is going to give a little tone there. I am going to bring the size down to about one. I am going to push up that Depth way up so we get really strong lights and darks, as you could see right inside there.
Here you can see them happening. I am going to move the light right about to this area here. So now we could see we're getting these nice little highlights inside of our spaces. So now I'm going to go in there and click OK and now for the links themselves I'm going to Layer Styles for that. I am going to give that little Drop Shadow, because it's the shadow that the chain is casting. Increase the Depth a little bit and increase the Size, so it softens it up a little bit, just like that. I am going to give this a Bevel and Emboss as well, and the light is still from the same direction.
I am going to push up the Depth on this one, so I get the really strong lights and darks. So I want those lights to be really bright. I am going to lighten that up a bit there and this black, that's not good. So I am going to just change that to a nice deep brown, so it gives it more of the golden color that I want right there. I am going to soften it up a little bit, just a little bit of a softening just like that. Now to add a little more tonality to that, little reflections in there, I am going to go to Satin and with Satin, I am going to change the color from a black to a nice deep brown like that. I am going to choose one of the Contours that are little more complex like this one here, and I am going to play around with the Size until I start getting some nice little reflections, maybe the Angle a little bit.
I start getting some weird little reflections going on in there and maybe I will invert it and there we can see now we get just nice little reflections inside the metal. I am going to click OK on that, the way it is right now. Now I am going to add some additional tonalities to this by going into my Burn tool and on the links I am just going to go in there and burn certain areas, like right in there. I am going to set this up to my Shadows, which is going to really darken those tones, go into Highlights, which is going to kind of really make them darker. So I just going to darken certain parts, which is bringing out those little links in between, and maybe we'll darken a little area right here, maybe a little tone right in there.
Then I'll go with my Dodge tool and I'll add a couple of highlights in certain places. I get it small and just throw a little highlight right through this little area, right in there like that. Adding these nice little reflections of light all through my little chain so the end result starts to become this nice little kind of metallic golden chain that takes on any shape that you wanted to. Now keep in mind that a slight variation on any of these shapes and you can create an entirely different looking kind of a chain. It could also be a snake. It could be just about anything you want.
Just remember that it's not what I did, but how I did it. With a little variation here, you will solve the kind of problems that you might be faced with in your daily work.
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