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Bert Monroy on Creating Photorealistic Reflections and Shadows

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In this excerpt from Photoshop Studio with Bert Monroy: Digital Painting, author and celebrated digital painter Bert Monroy shares techniques he used to create a painting of a shoe shop in Photoshop, with tips on how to create realistic reflections and shadows.
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Reflections and Shadows

Paul's Shoe Repair is one of those places that seems to defy the changes of time. As the surrounding landscape of Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, California, has seen businesses come and go, this little shop continues to open its doors every day as it has for countless decades. The interior with its mountains of shoes yet to be done and the neat rows of shoes that have been repaired waiting for their owners to reclaim them give the shop the reputation of having served many generations of happy and loyal customers. Some of the displays of merchandise for sale are so old that they seem like props to accent the antiquity of the place.

Tucked away between other shops and restaurants, and partially hidden by trees that adorn the street, Paul's Shoe Repair sits there calmly and quietly as hundreds of shoppers and university students rush by it every day.

It was its outdated look and humble façade that attracted me to capture a moment of its lifetime. The worn canvas awning that protects the entrance, the stained neon sign, and the decoratively shaped tiles that cover the building, all gently bathed by the shadow of the tree in front begged me to commit them to the screen (Figure 4.1).

Figure 4.1

Figure 4.1 "Shoe Repair"

Many of the techniques that went into creating the painting were techniques that I had developed earlier, such as the damages on the concrete section above the awning (Figure 4.2). I employed the same technique that I used to create the damages on the wall in "Oakland" in the previous chapter.

Figure 4.2

Figure 4.2 The worn texture of the stone section above the awning was created the same way the stone was aged in Chapter 3.

In this chapter I discuss a few additional techniques and concepts behind this painting that will help you learn some very important practices when creating realistic imagery such as reflections and shadows.

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