Pixel Playground

with Bert Monroy
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Pixel Playground
Video duration: 0s 24h 8m Intermediate Updated Jul 22, 2016


Take a 10-minute recess every week and join Bert Monroy in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, the playgrounds of digital artists. Every Friday Bert walks through a fun, self-contained project that tests your skills and challenges the imagination. These programs aren't just image editors; they are sandboxes for creativity and experimentation. Take a spin through a carousel of tools and get reinspired, each and every week.

Design Photography
Illustrator Photoshop

Parisian scene: Do the research

- [Voiceover] Last week, I started talking about the new piece. I showed you how the perspective was established. Now we're going to talk about the research, all the research that goes into this, getting everything just right. So, you need to kind of walk around. I can't just pack up and leave for Paris, this is a scene in Paris, but I just can't leave for Paris tomorrow. So, what I did is I relied on Google Earth. So, we come over here, and we start looking at this scene here, and it's very limited in detail.

This is the original photograph, it's not giving me much detail at all. See, there's that little balcony that we saw a few weeks ago. And then, right here, like, here's the side of this restaurant here, and there seems to be something going on there. I see there's like some kind of an oval, but what exactly is going on there? So I'll tell you what, we'll go over here and look at Google Earth. Now I'm going to go in here and just type in Le Dome, Paris.

And it brings me right in there, see? There we go, so we can close this down. And there's our little restaurant, right there. So what I'm going to is I'm going pull in real tight, and you can see that it is, in fact, a triangular shape here. So I'm going to go to satellite view, near the Earth, and there you can see that we're going to get this nice view, there it is. And we can kind of see what the building looks like, and so on. So what I could do is I'm going to take my little guy, and I'll come down here and stand right here on down the street. And there I can see, like, oh, that really does not look like anything like what's in my photograph.

I see that they have leaded glass windows, with nice designs inside there, okay. All kinds of stuff going on there. Come over here, come to this corner here, and we see that this part here is jutting out at an angle from the rest of the scene there. So all these things have to be researched, and the building itself, we have to go in there and start looking at stuff. Well, I can stand here and just get real close and start looking at some of the details of how things work. So, like for instance, looking at this side again, I'll come back over here and look at that side.

Well, let's go look at our research, right here in Bridge, I'm set up for my street right here. And you can see that I have all these different pieces for the street, shows me what the street looks like, okay. Things like, for instance, the light posts, here is the actual corner, right, and here's the corner of the restaurant. There's a little traffic light right there, little traffic light. And I have some research, there's a light, but there's some other lights. I just did a search for Parisian traffic lights. And I kind of like this one, this is what's in the actual scene, but I like this one, because the guy's got a little attitude there.

So, using that information and this information, I then went in there and started creating my own. But right here, when we look at, here's the pedestrian traffic light. This is the finished art of it, now, it's actually not finished, there's still a few more details to come in. But there you can see the little go guy's on, and the little other guy is turned off. You can start to see the detail that's gone into this, and there's many layers, the wear, turn off the wear, and let's turn this guy off here. And you have some wear, well that's the light box.

Let's go up to the light box, here we go. Put on the wear, and look at all that stuff, all that damage and stuff all through the place. And there's a little sticker down here, and going all the way down you can see the bottom of the pole. So all that was done with that detail that we saw there. Now, the restaurant itself, you can see that I have a folder here called reference, and there's restaurant. So I can go into the restaurant, and you'll notice I have a whole bunch of references on food, okay. I also have the restaurant itself, what it looks like inside, what it looks like outside, all the different things that make up the reference or give me an idea of what it looks like.

And there's those windows, there's all those windows. So by going in here and studying what reality creates, you can see what the real place looks like. Alright, you can see all these different pictures that I've taken all from Google Maps, this is all stuff from Google Maps. You can see they're all screenshots. Every now and then you'll see something that's an actual shot, and that'll be mine, like, there's one of my actual shots, right there. So with all that information at hand, I can then go in there and create something like this.

So again, remember that, that's what it looked like in the photograph, that's what it looks like in the painting. Now this isn't finished, there's not enough dirt in there, but you can see how the leaded glass is there and you can see through it and so on. So now, there's over here, this little reflection. This is reflections, now, in my photograph, you can't see any of that, okay. It's like, what's in there? You can't really tell, there's some car tops, but you can't really tell what's going on in there. So what I did is, once again, I went in there to find out exactly how things look.

So, right here, we'll go in and we'll come up here, and here's the reflected on the angles, here's the different files, okay. A little truck. And here's the actual file that's going to be used. Now, how did I come up with that, okay? What I did is I went in here and did the study, what I did is I actually printed out an overhead view, just you like you saw before from Google Maps. An overhead view of what it looked like, I take these little buildings here, put a little bunch of matchboxes to represent cars, and I put little mirrors, right into these edges here.

And then I took a walk down the street to see exactly what would be reflected in that particular area. There it is, way down there, so I kind of figured out, based on my study here, of where I would see it, and what the perspective would be. See, there's the mirror, I put my camera right in position, right where it's going to be. Let me get out of this view. And there you can see that there's my scene, there's the mirror in place, and it shows me the perspective of what it looks like.

So that way, I was able to then go in there, and there's even more here, more studies of the street itself, just to see exactly what it looked like. Here's the actual scenes, what the shutters look like, what the actual reflection is going to be, and some close-ups just to see what things look like from different angles I looked at it. Once I had all that stuff, then I was able to go in there and create the scene that we see here. And let's go back into, right here, the restaurant side, and there you can see that, once I have it place, I can start to add all the details, and there'll be more stuff in here, because there's going to be stuff visible inside and more cars, once the cars in front here are created, there will be reflections of those cars in there.

But this starts to give you and idea of the research that's involved and how it's done. Either little models are created to study how light travels, and reflections and so on, or just going through, up and down the street, through Google Street View and study what that side looks like, what that hydrant looks like, what that little sign looks like and so on. It's just a question of getting all the details down by studying reality and then recreating it in Photoshop.

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