Join Bert Monroy for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating reflections, part of Bert Monroy: The Making of Times Square, The Techniques.
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Reflections are a crucial part of making something look right when it fits into its environment if the environment is made up of reflective surfaces--like say a product sitting on a piece of plexiglass, or some object standing by a window, or a person looking into a mirror; these are all things that have to be considered on how these reflections are going to work. Now in a case of say this product sitting on top of a plexiglass stand, which is the way Apple usually shows the iPhone. That's a pretty easy reflection to do. I am going to take the iPhone right here and I am going to duplicate it, and while I'm back here, I'm going to do a Flip Vertical on it. And then I am going to drag it down so that it fits directly underneath the original, right there.
Now I am going to bring down the Opacity for that reflection. We will bring it down, so we can kind of see through it at that milky white plexiglass underneath, and then the reflection should fade away because this isn't a mirror. It's just a shiny surface. So it doesn't totally grab the reflection. So I am going to give that reflection a layer mask and in that layer mask, I am going to go in there with a gradient and apply black towards the bottom where I want it to disappear going to white towards the top where I want to see it, and there we see we have this really nice simple reflection.
Now, what if we decide we want to put this phone at an angle against a surface that is reflective as well? So I am going to take the phone and put it at an angle. So I am going to just kind of bring it over here to the side a bit, and I am going to distort it. I am going to give it a little distortion. I am going to distort it down like that and distort it up a little bit, just so we have a little bit more of an angle. I am going to just bring this in a little, just to thin it out again like that. And just to give it a sigh, I am going to duplicate it, and the one in back here I am going to fill with a solid gray, so we will just get a nice solid gray color like that, and I am going to lock the Transparency and fill it.
Just move it out, just a little so it starts to have a little depth to the phone. See, that's good enough. Now we're going to have this object here, so I am going to just draw a shape. Let's say this shape is just like this here. And it's going to be our little kind of plate glass or something that's catching the reflection. So in this layer right here that I created before, I am just going to throw a little tone in there, so I've got white going to a gray. So I am going to throw a little tone in there like this, just like that. So it starts to become this surface there that's going to be reflecting our phone.
So now let's take the phone and its background and just move it out a little bit more. Now it's sitting here. Now we need to know how this reflection is going to work, so what we need to do is to create a little guide for ourselves. I am going to create another layer here, which I'll just call guide, and I am going to get a color that makes it really easy to distinguish it, a nice red. I get my Line tool here and make sure it's set to Pixels and a little bit more Weight, so I can really see it. Now draw a line that follows the edge of the phone right there, just like that, Then I'll do one at the bottom that follows the edge of the phone like that.
So now I have guide as to how my phone should look, so what I am going to do is I am going to take these two, right here. I'm going to Option+Click and drag up like that. When I saw that little line, it made a copy of those two, which I am now going to merge just one down into the one below. Merge it down, OK. And I am going to bring it over. This is going to be my reflection. So I am going to bring it over to here, and I am going to do a Flip Horizontal on it. So now it's a reflection.
Now it's facing it. It's not quite right, but we have our guide, so what I am going to do now is I am going to go in there and distort this. And also, I see thing that we did wrong here. Can you see that edge? That's something to consider when you first start to do your phone, because the reflection, that edge is going to be now on this side. So we'll get rid of this guy, and what we're going to do is we're going to take the two phones again, make the copy, and this time we're going to leave them as is so we can make that adjustment after the fact, because we can't distort these guys together. So I am going to bring them over and do that Flip Horizontal, and then I am going to have to go in there and distort them.
So I am going to base this distortion on the face of the phone. So I am going to bring this down a little, bring this way down, like that, bring this one up. And you notice how it's starting to follow the guides that I prepared for myself. I am going to make it thinner, just like that, which means I have to bring this one back up a little bit, bring this one down, and this one up just a tad, like that. I want to bring it in little further away because I've got to kind of match the distance of this phone right here, so I kind of want to match that distance right here. So we just bring it further over, and then we just bring this down like that. And there we're starting to get sense of what we need.
Click OK on that. Then we take that background one and we bring it out in this direction. So I've get my Move tool and I'm moving out in this direction right there. And because it's little light, I am just going to darken it just a little bit, so I am going to go in there and just darken that little background just like that. So then I can now merge this down into its side. So I merge it down, and we'll bring down the Opacity just a little bit just so it starts to look like it's a little reflection. At that point, we can take away our guide and we see that now we have a reflection of the phone on this other surface next to it.
In this installment, The Techniques, Bert shows the steps he took in Photoshop and Illustrator to create the lifelike detail in his incredible portrait of Times Square. The course follows him as he paints in steam, reflections, shadows, materials like fabric and metal, spot lights and neon light, and even 3D objects such as store logos and M&M'S. Bert shows how digital artists can recreate these effects at home, backwards engineering his artwork with painstaking attention to the tools and commands he used to get there.
- Working with reference materials
- Understanding Bert's alpha channel technique
- Creating complex reflections
- Adding fabric and other textures to objects
- Establishing perspective
- Using advanced blending techniques
- Creating patterns
- Working with Live Trace
- Creating 3D letters