An epic 750,000-layer PSD is done

Bert Monroy eats your wimpy little 50-layer files for breakfast!
After four years and more than three quarters of a million Photoshop layers (spread across several docs), his monster Times Square file is online & zoomable. According to his site,

  • The image size is 60 inches by 300 inches.
  • The flattened file weighs in at 6.52 Gigabytes.
  • It took four years to create.
  • The painting is comprised of almost three thousand individual Photoshop and Illustrator files.

Faces in the crowd include the Knoll brothers, numerous Photoshop experts & authors, and even, somewhere in the lower-rigth quadrant, me. Amazing work, Bert; congrats!

15 thoughts on “An epic 750,000-layer PSD is done

  1. I apologize for sounding a sour note, but I get a weird feeling looking at a hyper-realistic image of Times Square that appears to have only a handful of non-white people. I’m not trying to be politically-correct, but it somehow confirms the complaint that Times Square has been Disneyfied into a Theme Park…right down to the Lion King product placement. It’s an impressive technical achievement I suppose…but it seems to be lacking “soul” if you know what I mean.
    [Point taken, but the population of the photo is based on people who’ve contributed to the world of digital imaging (and to Photoshop in particular) over the years. The ethnic/gender composition of the image is only a reflection of other factors in American society–inequality in educational opportunity, etc. –J.]

  2. Photoshop Channel Chops is my favorite PS book (Monroy is a co-author). This, however, looks like bad CGI. Years of work does not a masterpiece make.

  3. I know it doesn’t quite work this way, but for each of the 3000 original image files, there are 250 layers (to get to 750,000 total). Maybe it’s just me, but does this seem a bit excessive? It sounds like we’re almost looking at one layer per individual brushstroke…

  4. Spotting a number of familiar faces, the immediate question that occurred to me, John, is “Where are you in the crowd”? 🙂
    [Lower right corner, giving my “look man, here’s the deal” look to a guy in a white shirt (my boss Kevin). –J.]

  5. The trouble with Bert populating the painting with all the industry people he knows is that most of the characters in the painting end up being bald old dudes with ‘staches. B

  6. Bert’s artwork is like the Virgin Digital ‘Exercise Your Music Muscle’ wallpaper with over 70 hidden rockbands and artists. Jeff Schewe is the one on the bike close to Scott Kelby pointing his finger, right? Did you spot the Bubba Gump shrimp advertising? Great fun.

  7. I’m pleased to see Bruce Fraser in there—man, how I miss that guy, even though I never had the good fortune to meet him. Were it my project, I may have put him a little more front & center. Maybe carrying a bass in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other.

  8. If I may, I would like to chime in on some of these comments.
    First, you guys are judging a painting based on it’s reproduction on a postage stamp. TS was specially created for the print. It is 25 feet wide. There is no way you can get anything out of that tiny imge on line.
    I totally agree that Manhattan, not just Times Square has been gentrified beyond recognition. I was born in Manhattan and Times Square is a theme park!
    There are over a dozen African Americans and an equal amount of Latinos, though the Latinos are mostly my family. Strangely enough, my reference shots show a similar disparity of racial equality on the streets. Mostly tourist.
    The numbers that have been flying around are different. My website states two different sets. There are over 5k of images and about 500k of layers. Excessive? Not at all if you see the amount of minute detail eve element has.
    Bruce Fraser was a good friend of mine. He is where he is for a specific reason. He is walking off the left side. He did enjoy wine but he loved his scotch. When you see the actual print, you will see that he is holding a shot glass. There is a man walking off on the right side. That is my brother-in-law Richie. He and Bruce both died the same year of the same causes. There is woman in a poster going off on the right. She is Vonetta Mcgee. The actress that died late last year. These people were all close to me and are walking off the painting as a tribute to their lives.
    Every detail is there for a reason. As far as politically correct, let me say this, political correctness is for dealing with other people. When I paint, I am doing it purely for myself. What I share with others is the techniques that I develop during the process in the hopes that it will inspire people to get creative for themselves. As for them liking or hating my work, I don’t care. I do it for myself.
    I spent too many years working for others listening to their “make this redder” or “add this here”. My work is MY work. I do what I want. I truly hope you people will do it as well. There are plenty of critics out there. Do what you feel is right not what you think they will like.

  9. Thank you Bert for continuing to be an inspiration both in your work and in your character.
    Throughout all history, no one has ever erected a statue to a critic.
    Congratulations on the magnificent work!
    from another ol’ BMUGer,

  10. @Bert:
    As far as I’m concerned, you really didn’t need to justify any of your decisions—it stands just fine by itself. My comment was made in the spirit of “*If* it was mine, *I* would’ve…” It’s cool that you chose to make your reply here; the insight is good.
    But I do have a question: I’ve never seen it in person, but…On the news ticker, center-left, is the apparent disparity of jaggedy-ness of the orange and green letters really authentic? If so, it surprises me that curves and diagonals can be rather smooth on some letters, but not on all of them.

  11. The letters are made up of tiny bulbs. What you can’t see, due to the size on screen is the bulbs and their reflection on the neighboring, unlit bulbs. They are accurate.
    I will be putting up on my site some close ups so details can be clearly distinguished. As of yesterday, Adobe will be putting up some as well on their Facebook site.

  12. Bert, with so much detail, how did you know when to put the stylus down and let the pixels dry?
    Great work and congrats on finishing it!

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