Deke's Techniques 514: Turning a Logo into a Star in Adobe Illustrator
Deke takes an imaginary logo and turns it into a star by rotating it in Adobe Illustrator.

Deke's Techniques 514: Turning a Logo into a Star in Adobe Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 514: Turning a Logo into a Star in Adobe Illustrator

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke takes an "imaginary" logo (except it's totally based on the former United Pixelworkers logo), and rotates it around in a star shape (like, uh, the United Pixelworkers used to do because they were awesome).

For reference, there was once a company named United Pixelworkers that made awesome t-shirts for designers and other pixel-wrangling nerdistas. Alas, understandably, they had to change their business model and are now defunct-ish as far as awesome t-shirts go, but this was their logo:

 

And here is my favorite shirt I ever bought for Deke from their site (designed by an obviously cool dude called Evan Stremke):

Cool alignment icon tshirt by Evan Stremke

Anyway, Deke starts with the logo of an imaginary company that likes the letter J:

J Logo created in Illustrator

...and spins it around in a circle in Illustrator using the Rotate tool, custom guides, and even a bit of Shear.

A logo spun around in a star in Illustrator

If you're a member of Lynda.com, you can even see how Deke added those shadows and white border in this week's exclusive movie.

Not a member? You can get a free 10-day trial by spinning on over to lynda.com/deke.

(By the way, the Illustrator One-on-One: Advanced course that Deke mentions is being finished up this week. So, be on the lookout in a month or so. We'll be sure to let fans of Deke know when it's fully cooked.)

Deke's Techniques, spinning the logo of awesome but now defunct companies in circles! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 512: Blending Multiple Shots to Better Frame a Photo (of an Octopus!)

Deke's Techniques 512: Blending Multiple Shots to Better Frame a Photo (of an Octopus!)

In this fortuitously timed free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke shows you how to blend two photographs in order to create one epic photo with the composition and the color you want.

And the timeliness is twofold, since the subject of this week's project is creating a photo of an entire blue-ringed octopus presented with his rings actually shining out from his body in all their glorious blueness. First, the world has been enchanted this past week with the daring escape of Inky the Octopus from his aquarium in New Zealand. And second, the world will soon be enchanted with a couple of excellent underwater photography courses taught by Deke and our favorite underwater photo instructor, Hergen Spalink.

(In fact, it was just yesterday when they wrapped up recording that I let them escape their booth so Hergen could return to Indonesia. Deke and Herg actually figured out how to turn door handles!)

So anyway, the thing about this blue-ring, despite all his properly awesome octopusitude, he's only about three inches "tall." So finding him was a weeklong quest of our dive trip to Lembeh Strait in Sulawesi. Then, once our intrepid guide Fandy showed us the creature, the trick was for Deke to capture a) the whole thing in one frame, and b) capture it while it's blue rings were on display.

So the trick this week is to let Photoshop meld the two pictures of a) all of Blooey in one frame:

Blue-ringed octopus at rest

and, b) Blooey showing off his irritation at our visit, and by extension, his lovely blue rings.

Blue-ring octopus with a bit of mantle clipped off

In a display of masking and reconstruction, Deke is able to do both in Photoshop:

Blue-ringed octopus from Lembeh Strait, Indonesia

If you're a member of Lynda.com, Deke also has an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how he recreated Blooey's octopus garden, after rotating the original image for a more pleasing composition.

If you're not a member, you can get a free 10-day trial at lynda.com/deke.

Deke's Techniques, bringing you the daring, colorful, fully irritated creatures of the sea! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 510: Applying Knockout Group to a Dynamic Path in Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke takes the powerful atomic symbol he dynamically drew in Illustrator last week and figures out how to make those electrons hollow so they reveal the background behind them.

You might think he'd already done that looking at where we left off last week:

A rotated red atom drawn dynamically in Adobe Illustrator

But, in fact, those "hollow" electrons are actually just filled with the background color. Fine if your background is a solid color, but the minute you change it:

The electrons are still red when you move to a new background.

And while I think the red electrons look cool, Deke and the incomparable Illustrator intellect Mordy Golding got to talking about the puzzle and, being the guys they are, had to solve it.

The answer was hidden in the Opacity setting of the Appearance panel, where a Knockout Group checkbox resides:

The Knockout Group checkbox resides in the Opacity area of the Appearance panel.

And after a few more adjustments (namely involving reducing the fill opacity settings of the circles that live inside the electrons), we finally arrive at Deke's desired goal:

The authentically transparent electrons now reveal their true background.

Thing is, Deke and Mordy, being the inquisitive Illustrator instructors they are, gave themselves yet another challenge: how to apply a drop shadow effect to the entire symbol (including the inside of the now-hollowed-out electrons).

If you're a member of Lynda.com, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he (and Mordy) finally figure the puzzle out using Illustrator's Rasterize effect.

The Rasterize effect in Illustrator allows you to get that drop shadow inside the electrons.

If you're not a member of Lynda.com, and you want nothing more than to hear the saga of a couple of Illustrator nerds work out a problem, then you can get a free 10-day trial by heading to lynda.com/deke.

Deke's Techniques, bringing illumination to Illustrator geeks and those who love them! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 508: Make an Atom Symbol with Dynamic Effects in Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 508: Make an Atom Symbol with Dynamic Effects in Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke "draws" an atom symbol in Adobe Illustrator without actually drawing (well, he does make an ellipse and a circle to start with, but filling out dialog boxes doesn't really count as drawing does it?

An ordinary ellipse and circle

Nor do you need any illustration skills to use the Transform effect to copy and rotate two more ellipses around, turn the circles as guides, and then create some well-placed (some might say meticulously placed) nucleus and electrons. At one point, Deke can't imagine why you would need to zoom into 1200 percent to make your electron positioning exact, but I can imagine that Deke definitely needs to. This is chemistry after all!

An atom created with Illustrator dynamic effects

If you're a member of Lynda.com, then Deke has an exclusive movie in which he shows you how to hollow-out those electrons and rotate the whole symbol without leaving said electrons outside their designated orbits. Check out that Appearance panel where all the atomic magic is happening:

Rotated atom symbol and Illustrator's Appearance panel

Not a member? You can get a free 10-day trial at lynda.com/deke.

Deke's Techniques, making chemistry and Illustrator more fun, while still keeping some of the math! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 507: Tracing 500-Year-Old Artwork in Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 507: Tracing 500-Year-Old Artwork in Illustrator

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke takes a legendary 500-year-old line drawing and traces it into vectorious glory in Adobe Illustrator.

He starts with an engraving of Albrecht Dürer's intricate woodcut of what dear old Al more-or-less imagined a rhinoceros to look like from his vantage point in Germany in 1515. He based his drawing on a description and vague sketch he'd received second-or-third hand via Lisbon (where a poor beleaguered rhino specimen lived for a time with the King of Portugal).

So, since he'd never actually seen a rhino, Dürer's interpretation is closer to what I've been affectionately calling the "dinocerous." But it nevertheless did become one of the most influential nature illustrations in Western art. Here's the engraving version that Deke starts with:A 16th-century engraving of Dürer's Rhinoceros woodcut.

With a few precise passes of Illustrator's auto-trace function, and a little bit of patience, Deke arrives at this fully scalable vector-based rendition:A vector-based tracing of Dürer's Rhinocerous in Adobe Illustrator

Deke's Techniques, bringing classic artworks into the digital age. Read more » 

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