Join Bert Monroy for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with reference materials, part of The Making of Times Square: The Techniques.
During many of these movies I've stressed the importance of using reference to get things to look just the way they should. I use reference for just about everything I do, as do many artists. Looking at these lights over here, coming in close and looking at the lights on the Toys "R" Us building, I didn't guess at what these were going to look like. My original shots had no detail, but I did do additional studies just so I could see what in fact these lights looked like. If we go over here and look under bridge, you'll see that in the folder for Toys "R" Us, I have a folder called Reference, and in there you'll see that there are many, many shots of different parts of the building, including the lights, as you can see right there.
I took many shots, so I could see the detail of what these individual lights looked like. That's the inside, and so on. There is my original shot right there. You can see that there was no detail. It was shot at night, very grainy, so I had no detail, but you can see that there I have other shots where I took similar angles from the exact same spot during the day with the telephoto, so I can see the detail of the lights, so I could then replicate them as close as possible once I started creating the painting. Now, I don't guess at things. Sometimes it requires making a little model for myself.
Like for instance here. We'll look at this one painting of mine right here. I'll zoom in to a certain area just to see. Like right here. We're going to look at this glass right there at the top there. And we see the reflection in the class, the reflection of the tablecloth. Now I didn't have the ability to go back there and have lunch again and place that glass in the exact same spot. No, I just made a little model for myself. I took the tablecloth art before I skewed it, because this was created as a pattern, nice and flat, and I printed it out on my LaserWriter, nice and straight. And I did this.
I printed it out, put it on a tabletop, taped a little tiny mirror to a Kleenex box, and I studied how the reflections were being reflected inside of that glass. That gave me an idea of how it should bend once I looked at it in the painting. You have somebody walking down the staircase and they are going to be casting a shadow, and you want to know how that shadow is going to bend up the steps. Well, you don't have a staircase, you don't have somebody to pose for you, or lot of room to start taking shots; it's not required. It's not necessary to get to that extent.
Here is a little study of a shadow going up a staircase. I took a piece of paper and I folded it into multiple steps, and I lit a little stylus, so I could see how the shadow traveled up the steps. And can I see that it got softer and dimmer as it got further away, and I could see how the steps were breaking up the shadow. So you make little models for yourself in order to be able to see how things work in reality, so that when you re-create them in your image they're not going to look like they are fake. They're going look like they are real.
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