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Bert Monroy: The Making of Times Square, The Tools
Illustration by John Hersey

Understanding the layers in lights


From:

Bert Monroy: The Making of Times Square, The Tools

with Bert Monroy

Video: Understanding the layers in lights

Layers have been crucial in the creation of Times Square. If you take in to account the thousands of files that make it up and all the layers in each of those files, it comes up with somewhere in the neighborhood of about 500,000 layers that make up the overall image. Now if we look at some of the individual pieces, you'll see how crucial layers, layers groups, and all these different ones were very important in making the whole thing work. I'm going to zooming right here into one of the facades of Toys R Us and we see that there are some video boxes there. I am going to zoom in to the actual file of one of these boxes.
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  1. 6m 34s
    1. Welcome to the tools used to create "Times Square"
      57s
    2. What is "Times Square?"
      5m 37s
  2. 1h 32m
    1. Using a Cintiq to control the brushes in Photoshop
      3m 33s
    2. Making the chain brush
      8m 49s
    3. Making the single loop chain
      6m 55s
    4. Creating a brush to make furry text
      8m 13s
    5. Creating the look of stitching on cloth
      5m 46s
    6. Creating a rough brushstroke look for the Tarzan sign
      3m 3s
    7. Creating a crochet look brush
      5m 32s
    8. Creating dirt and grime
      6m 16s
    9. Using brushes to create trees in Central Park
      6m 41s
    10. Using a brush to create the look of embroidery
      3m 3s
    11. Creating the stars on the wall of the Toys"R"Us image
      6m 24s
    12. Creating a fabric design
      3m 43s
    13. Creating the look of brick
      4m 27s
    14. Weathering bricks
      8m 23s
    15. Creating light bulbs
      6m 14s
    16. Creating the effect of a fading brushstroke
      5m 36s
  3. 15m 42s
    1. Creating a paper towel
      8m 5s
    2. Creating denim
      3m 25s
    3. Creating asphalt
      4m 12s
  4. 21m 3s
    1. Layer groups
      7m 59s
    2. Making the lights in the Toys"R"Us image
      3m 12s
    3. Understanding the layers in lights
      5m 20s
    4. Creating blinds with a 3D postcard applied to layers
      4m 32s
  5. 32m 55s
    1. Creating a bottle
      8m 50s
    2. Creating an iPhone case
      3m 35s
    3. Creating the iPhone icons
      3m 34s
    4. Creating a ladder
      6m 8s
    5. Creating the effect used on the Bubba Gump sign
      5m 7s
    6. Creating realistic glasses
      5m 41s
  6. 1h 56m
    1. Creating a fabric texture
      9m 46s
    2. Creating Julianne's pants
      9m 28s
    3. Creating a checkerboard pattern on a bottle cap
      6m 16s
    4. Creating a wood texture
      8m 26s
    5. Creating concrete and marble
      3m 14s
    6. Creating a brick pattern
      7m 12s
    7. Creating ribbed metal
      5m 40s
    8. Creating ribbing on T-shirts
      11m 18s
    9. Creating a lime
      8m 29s
    10. Creating leather
      2m 33s
    11. Creating rough animal skin
      4m 0s
    12. Creating a grill on a car
      6m 4s
    13. Creating a car light
      6m 2s
    14. Creating the windshield
      10m 39s
    15. Creating a metal screen
      4m 14s
    16. Creating a quilted metal effect
      3m 18s
    17. Creating wafer quilting
      4m 41s
    18. Creating a pattern on the wall
      5m 16s
  7. 6m 57s
    1. Making the clipping group used on the manga billboard
      6m 57s
  8. 10m 36s
    1. Applying a layer mask to create a reflection
      3m 53s
    2. Linking masks
      1m 35s
    3. Applying layer masks and layer styles to create a chain link in a necklace
      5m 8s
  9. 52m 35s
    1. Explaining channels
      4m 0s
    2. Creating a license plate with channels
      6m 47s
    3. Creating shadows on the cables
      5m 50s
    4. Explaining channel calculations
      3m 46s
    5. Understanding calculations in channels
      4m 32s
    6. Creating a manhole cover with channels
      15m 31s
    7. Creating wiring on lights with channels and calculations
      12m 9s
  10. 29s
    1. Parting words
      29s

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Bert Monroy: The Making of Times Square, The Tools
5h 56m Intermediate Mar 25, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Making a chain brush
  • Understanding the layers in lights
  • Using the 3D tools in Photoshop
  • Using layer styles
  • Creating wood and fabric textures
  • Applying a layer mask
  • Linking layer masks with layer styles
  • Understanding channels
Subjects:
Design Illustration Design Techniques Digital Painting
Software:
Illustrator Photoshop
Author:
Bert Monroy

Understanding the layers in lights

Layers have been crucial in the creation of Times Square. If you take in to account the thousands of files that make it up and all the layers in each of those files, it comes up with somewhere in the neighborhood of about 500,000 layers that make up the overall image. Now if we look at some of the individual pieces, you'll see how crucial layers, layers groups, and all these different ones were very important in making the whole thing work. I'm going to zooming right here into one of the facades of Toys R Us and we see that there are some video boxes there. I am going to zoom in to the actual file of one of these boxes.

Now it is made up of many different files, like right here we have the SharkTale_figures. There is the actual characters that are on the box that we saw in the wall. Now each one of these is made up of many different layers and each one has its own group. So if we look at the Layers panel right here, you'll see that there is a group for the hero, the girl fish on the left, girl on the right, shark on right, and the shark on left. Opening up any of these, we will see that they are broken up into many different layers in between. You see that some of the layers have layers styles, some of the layers have clipping groups, as you see here, some of the layers have layer masks, all the different things that go into the layer.

Now, putting everything into an individual layer makes it easy to go in there and make changes if necessary. What I'm going to do is I'm go in here and just look at the back. That's the very furthest back layer of the girl on the left and you see just this little fin area right there. I'm going to start turning on each one of these layers so you can see the buildup as it starts to form. There's just this little fin, the back wave, there is the back texture. Now here is the layer that I don't use that's actually how the texture that I created for this back texture.

I'm going to turn that one off, because this is not part of image. I just kept it as a separate layer and it's there. And we have right here, the right wave, the little thing here, and this little edge, the edge appear in the side there at the body, and each one of these things has its own element. So as you can see as they start turning them on, some are named, some are not, and there you can see that all the different parts start to form the overall character, even the little eyes. They just have a little inner shadow, a little stroke added to them. Here are the eyeballs that have a little inner glow to them, and there is the shadow on the face and the left wave, and so on, so we keep turning on each element and the fish starts to come to life.

Now once all the elements are there, here is the little hero with all his little pieces, all of them together. Once all those are combined and created, they go into the overall file for the box, which is right here. There is a box with all the elements in place. Now there is the characters right there. Now you will notice that the little characters are right here. They are a separate layer by themselves, a composite layer. I'm going to show you that in a few seconds, how that works. But here there are many layers that make up the box. Let's turn this off. There is the basic shape of the box, which we can use later right there to crop it and so on.

Let's deselect that for now. There is the blue that you see in the background. There is the little characters. There is a filmstrip, which has a drop shadow added to it to give it that little effect that you see right inside there. There is the little slide shape and that's these little guys, these little vertical lines, and all the different other pieces all turned on and you see all different parts, and there is another shape in there somewhere, and all the different parts that make up the overall box. Now what happens here is that I need to make a composite of this, one composite file that goes into the overall file, where it get skewed into position into the painting.

So what happens is I make sure that the background is turned off, because background isn't part of the image, and I select the topmost layer. Now the modifier keys, they all change the way things function. So if I go in here and just say Merge Visible, you'll see that everything got merged into that one single layer. Let me undo that. Maintaining all these layers individually is very important, in case if I ever need to make a change. Let's just say I want to move this one character over so it will have more room or whatever. Having it as an original file somewhere else gives me the belief that I can go in there and make that change.

So I want to keep all my layers here. So what I do is I select that top layer, I hold down my Option key, which is Alt on the PC, and choose that same command, Merge Visible. When I click on it this time, it created a whole new layer, which is a merge of the layers beneath. Now I can come down here and select the box, come back up to the top and say Inverse the selection, and let just see this box that we see there. Seeing just that one layer and now that I inversed the selection I can just say Delete and it eliminated all the pieces in back that I don't want.

This layer will be renamed box+Comp, which I abbreviate for my composite layer. And that layer will then be brought over to the overall file, where I compose it into scene, as we see here. There it is in place, distorted and shadowed and colorized to the way it should look within the scene, but the layers were crucial in creating it to keep every element separate, easy to modify independently of the others, and allowing me to make changes later if necessary.

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