Deke's Techniques 376: Developing the Perfect Holiday Portrait
Deke takes an ordinary outdoor snapshot and turns it into a holiday portrait suitable for framing.

Deke's Techniques 376: Developing the Perfect Holiday Portrait

Deke's Techniques 376: Developing the Perfect Holiday Portrait

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke takes an ordinary snapshot (taken by a nostalgic mom on the day of Senior Prom) and turns it into a suitable-for-framing-then-gifting portrait. It's the least he could do after turning this poor beleaguered teenager into a dark elf a few weeks ago.

Let me be clear, it's not an ordinary snapshot in that it's a) my son, and b) I did manage to get out the DSLR for this one---so he gets to start with a raw file. This allows him to make all the exposure, white balance, and retouching edits dynamically from within Adobe Camera Raw. The final bit of post production, namely sharpening for printing, is then applied in Photoshop.

Before and after portrait developing in Camera Raw

There are a lot of cool tips in here that you can use to make something special out of your otherwise-ordinary candid shot, including how to sneak up on exposure changes without clipping, how a negative Clarity setting can smooth out skin, and how to finesse spot removal changes in ACR.

Meanwhile, this will be the last Deke's Techniques for 2014. We're taking next week off to hang with the kids (including this one). There's a whole collection's worth of movies to keep you occupied in the meanwhile, and if you need a free week's subscription at lynda.com to check out exclusive episodes, you can sign up at lynda.com/deke. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 374: Extrude a Minecraft Tool into 3D Space in Photoshop

Extrude a Minecraft Tool into 3D Space in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke takes the awesome double-headed axe Minecraft-style axe that he created last week, and extrudes it into 3D space in Photoshop CC. (This requires less eXacto-and-glue effort than pasting last week's project to foam core, and is much less messy.) 

Extrude a Minecraft-style weapon into 3D space with Photoshop CC

If phrases like "inflation material" and "image based light, aka IBL" are new to you, fear not. Deke walks through the process of taking this relatively simply drawn shape into the 3D (albeit still square-centered) world. You can read that previous sentence as, "Colleen finds 3D intimidating since she only recently mastered two dimensions, but Deke makes it look unthreatening, even kind of fun."

For those of you who are members of lynda.com, you can watch Deke's follow up movie this week in which he puts the 3D axe into an imagined 3D Minecraft-esque space. 

Place your 3D Minecraft wapon into a 3D landscape

If you're not a member of lynda.com, you can get a free week's trial at lynda.com/deke, with which you can check out the entire collection of Deke's Techniques. If you're looking for more 3D stuff in particular, you may want to check out Deke's Techniques numbers 314 (rockets), 342 (sharks), or 343 (yes, donuts).  Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 373: Create a New Minecraft Tool in Photoshop

Craft a New Minecraft Tool in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke uses trusty old Photoshop to hone a new Minecraft-style weapon: a full-color double-headed 8-bit axe!

You don't need to have any fancy files to create this mining masterpiece, in the movie, Deke will show you how to set up the proper guides so that you can use your very own pixels to make this 40x40 work of weaponry.

Given that we have a houseful of Minecrafters around here, this project opens up a bunch of holiday gifting opportunities. Come to think of it, I may scour the entire Deke's Techniques library to see what other make-at-home items I might create this year. If you're not a member of lynda.com, but would like to do the same, you can get a free week's trial at lynda.com/deke.

Let us know if you put this or any other Deke's Techniques to use in the real world! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 371: Creating Secret Message Type in Photoshop

Create Secret Message Type in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke transforms ordinary type into mysteriously almost-disappearing type effect in Photoshop. It reminds me of the invisible ink we used to employ to pass each other meaningless secret messages when I was a kid.

The effect begins with what is actually a drop shadow applied to text that has been made, well, invisible by reducing its Fill Opacity to zero, leaving only the mysteriously blurry shadows behind. The edges are then firmed up with a Levels adjustment later. Next, Deke applies his secret recipe of layer styles and blend modes to add color and textural mystery. Finally, some custom kerning of the letters randomizes their relative positions.

Because the result is created primarily with layer effects (and without actually disturbing the original letters), you can edit this text and retain the effect. This comes in handy for Deke's follow-up technique (presented in a member-exclusive movie), which puts his original and alternate text into animated GIF rotation.  

An animated GIF reveals the secret message again and again.

Because, as any kid who ever had a set of invisible ink pens knows, the reveal of the secret message is always more interesting than any actual meaning!

If you're not a member of lynda.com, but would like to look within to seek your own answers to Photoshop (and Illustrator's) secrets, you can sign up for a free week's trial at lynda.com/deke. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 369: Setting Type on Fire in Photoshop CC

Setting Type on Fire in Photoshop CC

My dear dekeOmaniacs, in this week's free Deke's Techniques video, Deke revisits an earlier technique (featured in Deke's Techniques 008) in which he sets glowing type on fire. However, rather than using a carefully masked photograph of actual fire to apply the flames, Deke applies completely pixel-based fire created by Photoshop CC's new Flame Generator. Read more » 

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