Deke's Techniques 545: Drawing a Bacterium with Gradient Mesh in Adobe Illustrator
Deke shines a microscope on how to draw a bacterium in Adobe Illustrator using Gradient Mesh.

Deke's Techniques 545: Drawing a Bacterium with Gradient Mesh in Adobe Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 545: Drawing a Bacterium with Gradient Mesh in Adobe Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke shows you how to make the body of a microscopic bacterium using the Gradient Mesh tool in Adobe Illustrator.

Why? You ask. (And I know this may not be the first time you've ever asked this question in 545 episodes of Deke's Techniques.) Well, like many things Deke, this project began as a way to demonstrate something completely different...specifically, Illustrator's ability to zoom in to 6400%.

This slide from Deke's Illustrator One-on-One: Fundamentals actually features this very creature.

The welcome page featuring a tiny bacterium you can't see.

Can't see him? That's because he's only half a point tall and could easily be mistaken for a dust speck on your monitor.

Illustrator zoomed to 75 percent.

(Actually, my monitor did have a dust speck and I initially zoomed into the wrong spot! Wait, here's something...)

Zoom in Illustrator to 3300 percent

And in a delightfully dekeIsh reveal, it's a fully formed bacterium, complete with villi and a flagellum (flashback to middle school biology!)

Bacterium revealed at 6400 percent.

The key to making his capsule-like creature is Illustrator's Gradient Mesh tool, which allows you to set up points across your object and then assign specific color variations in order to provide shading and highlights to your bug body. It's actually a pretty useful thing to know how to do, even if you're not planting microscopic infectious easter eggs in your images.

If you're a member of Lynda.com, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how to create said villi all over the body of your creature. Not a member? Sign up at lynda.com/deke for a free 10-day trial.

Deke's Techniques, infecting you with new illustrative ideas each week! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 543: Building a Better Screenshot (of Photoshop) in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 543: Building a Better Screenshot (of Photoshop) in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke pulls back the meta-curtain and shares some techniques for building a better (Photoshop) screenshot in, well, Photoshop.

This technique was born during our recent update to the Photoshop Channels and Masks book that we're currently working on. Basically, when you want to show a Photoshop screenshot that actually shows a selection (i.e. the marching ants are visible), then you need to boost those white and black dashes artificially if you want them to be seen.

Enter the ability to create a shape layer from a selection. To create bigger, bolder ants, we'll first stroke the selection in a big, bold black. Then, we'll duplicate that layer, and stroke it with a properly dashed white line. The result is a selection outline that's hard to miss.

Make bigger bolder marching ants for better tutorials in Photoshop

(Deke also shows you how he recreated the Quick Select cursor as well, crisp and clear enough that oldsters like us can see it.)

If you're a member of lynda.com, or you take advantage of a free 10-day trial from lynda.com/deke, Deke has an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how to create an action from this procedure so that you can sass up your selections in split seconds.

And stay tuned for the project that inspired this latest technique!

Deke's Techniques,
making sure you can actually see what he's talking about every week. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 540: Rendering a Person in Chrome in Photoshop

Greetings from Wakatobi, Indonesia, my dekeTravelers. In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke covers an unsuspecting model in chrome and then sets him adrift in a field of stars. This is definitely a something old (Chrome filter), something new (Select and Mask workspace) kinda technique. So, basically, youngsters and old timers alike will enjoy, especially if they like Terminator movies.

Boy rendered in chrome with Photoshop's Chrome filter and Select and Mask.

I'm going to make this quick because the sun is setting here in beautiful Southeast Sulawesi. The skies are almost as colorfully gorgeous as the coral reefs below. Oh, speaking of colorful, here is this week's exclusive movie for Lynda.com members, in which Deke takes our chrome-plated friend from the previous movie, and sets it against a fiery blast of a background. If you're not a member of Lynda.com and you want to check it or any other episode out, you can get a free 10-day trial by signing up at lynda.com/deke.

A firey blast made from the Photoshop clouds filter. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 538: Turn a Panorama into a Tiny Planet

Deke's Techniques 538: Turn a Panorama into a Tiny Planet

Speaking of tiny planets, sorry for the delay this week. We're coming to you from the other side of world (from our perspective), and I think the monkeys of Ubud have absconded with most of our internet.

Anyway, in this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke wraps a panorama of the New York City skyline around its own aqueous core in order to create a tiny planet. If you're a member of Lynda.com, you can see how he adds a bit of shading and depth to Jupiter for realism (because that's what you expect from your tiny planet, a realistic quality.)

Industrious little planet created in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques, bringing you the entire world from the other side of the world. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 536: Turning the World Upside-Down in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 536: Turning the World Upside-Down in Photoshop

In this weeks (belated, but) free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke shows you how to use Photoshop to turn the world upside down. I'm hoping to use this technique myself this week, since tomorrow we leave for Indonesia and my first foray below the equator where I will try to remember which way the ground lies (exacerbated by the fact we will then be spending alot of time under water.) Now I'm really turned around.

But anyway, back to Photoshop. After turning the world upside-down, via a fairly easy Rotation operation in Photoshop, Deke adds to the effect with our fairly acrobatic model jumping from a handstand. Or is he just hanging on to the planet for dear life?

The world turned upside down in Photoshop

And of course, no puzzle in absurdity is complete without an augmented Lens Flare. See how this problematic filter forces even Deke to take a coupla educated guesses to get it right.

For members of lynda.com, Deke's got an exclusive followup movie in which he confirms that our hapless model is indeed trying to hang on to earth for dear life:

Traveling through space courtesy of Photoshop

If you're not a member of lynda.com, you can get a free 10-day trial by heading over to lynda.com/deke and signing up.

Deke's Techniques, turning the world on its head every week! Read more » 

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