Deke's Techniques 445: Smooth Color Adjustments in  Lab Mode
Deke demonstrates how the Lab mode can correct color without destruction and with a smooth histogram in the end.

An August Avalanche of New Courses at dekeAcademy (aka Deke's collection)

My dekeAdemics, welcome back to school---the School of Deke, that is. Our favorite graphics guru has been working his digital fingers to the bone this summer and has not one, but three, new courses out at this month. (And there's another one just gone to the elite editing team. Whew. You've earned a quick nap, Professor Deke.)

Here's a review of what's new at the ol' dekeAcademy (aka the Deke McClelland Collection at what the new courses cover, who might want to watch them, and why you might find them useful. Remember, if you're not a member of, you can still watch a few (often useful) free movies (I've embedded some below for your sampling convenience). And you can always get a 10-day free trial subscription by signing up at

And these will be just a few of our Fall 2015 offerings:

New Course: Photoshop CC 2015 One-on-One: Fundamentals

What: Photoshop CC 2015 One-on-One Fundamentals is a total refresh of Deke's flagship step-by-step project-based Photoshop tutorial for beginners, with all new sample files for those of you who are revisiting what's happened with Photoshop in the CC 2015 version.

Who: Anyone who wants to learn Photoshop from the ground up, folks who haven't used Photoshop in a recent incarnation, or anyone who ever feels like they're half-guessing at why they do what they do in Photoshop.

Why: Because knowing is better than guessing when you're looking for predictable results and efficient creativity.

What else: Complete updates to the Advanced and Mastery levels soon to follow. So. if you find Deke's method works for you, you're set for the rest of your Photoshop education.


New Course: Adobe Pen Tool Fundamentals

What: Adobe Pen Tool Fundamentals is a course on the basic skills and knowledge needed for using the powerful, yet mysterious, Pen tool in Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator.

Who: Anyone who wants to learn to draw free-form shapes with precision in any of these three applications.

Why: The Pen tool has some, shall we say, un-intuitive behaviors, but once you know the basics, its powers start to unleash in your mouse-hand.
What else: The second part of this course is coming later this year, and will solidify your mastery of precision curve-drawing.


Eight Things to Know about Photoshop

What: Eight Things Everyone Should Know About Photoshop is Deke's list of the top  general features in Photoshop that will help you wrap your mind around this pixel-wranging behemoth of an application. It's a sort of "How do I even know what I need to know?" solution.

Who: Anyone who'd like to get more of the big Photoshop picture in a quick and entertaining course.

Why: Actually, these movies Deke created for Photoshop's 25th anniversary were so good we didn't want to let them languish in the history files.

What else: You can read more about this course (and watch the movies) here.

And coming soon, Illustrator 2015 One-on-One: Fundamentals which features this delightful creature, one of my favorite dekeAssets ever:

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Deke's Techniques 445: Smooth Color Adjustments in Lab Mode

Deke's Techniques 445: Smooth Color Adjustments in  Lab Mode

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke dispels the myth that using the Lab mode to adjust color is inherently destructive. In fact, he'll show you how to correct the color of this '70s-esque flower child:

Sure, maybe the Groovy filter effect is what you want, but frankly, despite those perfectly applied blossoms in her hair, those eyebrows don't look very "I just got out of my VW van on a cross country trip to San Francisco" to me. Deke's technique this week ensures that both her skin and her histogram are as smooth as those perfectly coiffed eyebrows:

Using Lab mode to correct color nondestructively

Along the way, you'll see how Deke makes color decisions in the Lab mode in order to bring this girl back to the colors of our modern age (and eventually back to RGB, which is the final trick here).

If you're a member of, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how to take the refinement to the next level in Camera Raw while keeping it in the Lab mode (which is impossible!) If you can't believe it yourself and you're not a member of, you can get a free week's trial at in order to check it out.

A smooth Lab meets ACR color correction outcome

That's Deke for you, pretending things are impossible then deftly showing you how to actually do them every week. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 443: Blending Multiple Motion Photos in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 443: Blending multiple motion photos in Photoshop

Mind the gap, my dekeOtonians. In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke shows you how to successfully blend four motion-filled photos of the London Underground into one image that captures the speed and movement (and happiness) of being in a tube station as trains pass by.

By aligning the four layers, then applying transformations and masks to take the best parts of each, Deke takes these four component photos:

Four motion-filled images of the London Underground


And turns them into this "like being there" experience:

Blended motion in Photoshop


This is one of those movies in which I find myself making a bulleted list of things I learned along the way:

  1. Where Photoshop hides the "Load Files into Stack" command. And that Photoshop has a "Load Files into Stack" command.
  2. That you can reverse the layer order with one click from the Layer menu. (Layers > Arrange > Reverse)
  3. That you can select the intersection of layers in order to effectively crop away transparent scraps brought on during an alignment process.
  4. Deke's masking tricks for choosing the parts he wants of each component.
  5. That Deke either doesn't believe in tripods or is to lazy to carry one. (In fairness to Deke, we were running up and down tube station stairs, cathedral stairs, and, of course, pub stairs all over London day.) Either way, a tripod is not necessary when you use this approach.

If you're a member of, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how he created this bold and brazen high pass color effect.

A high color High Pass effect

If you're not a member of, you can get a free 10-day trial at in order to check it (and the vast library of other Deke's Techniques) out. Carry on, dekeTravelers! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 441: Achieving Realistic Pointillism in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 441: Achieving Realistic Pointillism in Photoshop

This week's free Deke's Techniques episode should actually be called "Achieving a Pointillism Effect in Photoshop that Doesn't Totally Blow." By layering different instances of the Pointillism filter, and making a few other adjustments, Deke actually turns a photo taken from our amazing table on my birthday dinner cruise along the Thames in London...

Original photo of our dinner on the Thames


...into a work of simulated art worthy of the amazing experience it was.

Achieving a realistic effect with Photoshop's Pointillism filter


(Admittedly, it's not A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, but it's a worthy homage created with a few mouse clicks. Call it A Monday Evening on the Bateaux London's Symphony Thames Dinner Cruise with Unlimited Champagne.)

Funny story, when we first got on the boat, we were thrilled with the view from our table at the front (stern?) with windows on two sides. The staff started filling the champagne glasses of all the other tables, leaving Deke and me looking like disappointed puppy dogs wondering why they didn't come around to fill ours. Answer: they were busy preparing this bucket with the whole bottle for ourselves. Our amazing travel agent, Marci from Escapade Adventures, knew us well enough to book the "endless wine" package. That was only one of the times she read our minds---and hearts---on that trip.

Sigh, anyway...back to work. The trick to this technique is to layer three different smart filter instances of Pointillism, each designed to use a different color as the background. Compare the disappointing results when you use a standard, single application of the filter.

Bad dabs


Oh really, that doesn't look bad enough? Check out Big Ben in all its blobby detail:

Blobby Big Ben


Point made, huh? For members of, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how to give those tiny points of paint some simulated depth. If you're not a member, you can get a free 10-day trial at to check it out.

Apply an Emboss effect to your Pointillism filter for even better results

Go for the entire bucket of champagne, dekeAdventurers. It's a much more magical experience! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 438: Drawing a "Which Way is Up?" Pattern in Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 438: Drawing a "Which Way is Up?" Pattern in Illustrator

My dear dekeOtopians. Sorry for the delay. Apparently a one-hour time zone change this week is enough to leave me confused over what day it is. So let me just quickly mention that this week's free Deke's Techniques episode is aptly named "Which Way Is Up? Very similar to "What Day Is It, Colleen?"

While I get reoriented, check out this video and see how Deke draws a tile-on-the-wall-in -London inspired pattern by carefully lining up mathematically drawn squares.  If you're a member of, you can see the exclusive movie this week in which Deke recolors this pattern dynamically (meaning you can change your mind later. You know, once you know what day it is and your eyes stop trying to figure out which direction the pattern is going.)

If you're not a member, don't forget you can get a free 10-day trial by heading to in order to check out all the eye-bending goodness. Read more » 

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