Use Camera Raw as a filter to selectively desaturate a color photo.
Deke shows you how to use Photoshop CC's ability to apply Camera Raw as an editable filter to change the colors in a photograph.

Deke's Techniques 349: A Low Color Photo with the Camera Raw Filter

Use Camera Raw as a filter to selectively desaturate a color photo.

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke shows you how to apply Camera Raw as a smart filter (twice) to create a low saturation version of a color image. One instance selectively reduces the hues on a color-by-color basis, and the second provides luminance adjustment. The result is the questionably saturated image on the left (I am not a surf nor do I willingly wear purple in the wilderness), becomes the tasteful sepia-like image on the right: 

Before and after colorizing with a Camera Raw filter application

For members of, Deke's got a couple of exclusive movies this week. The first shows how to create a similar effect using Adjustment Layers, which allows you to a) create the effect in Photoshop CS6 and earlier and b) create a file that's about 1/4 the size of the Camera Raw version. 

The second exclusive movie shows you how to use a reversed color lookup table to switch out colors for a different, dramatic stylization:

Colorizing with a reverse color table lookup method

If you're not a member of and would like to check these exclusive movies out, you can get a free week's trial at Read more » 

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The Ring Tutorial to End All Ring Tutorials (Part 2: Engraving Your Elvish Message)

I know. Things don't always go as planned in Middle Earth. Or here on Regular Earth, where I promised a weekish ago that I'd write out the step-by-step story of how to inscribe the 3D Ring to Rule Them All. So presuming you've either used the Deke's Techniques video version or Part 1 of this tutorial to make your virtual 3D ring, here's how to add the mysterious inscription to fully flesh out the effect. 

Engrave your 3D Illustrator ring

(Note, it doesn't have to be about "The Ring." There are some tips here that will help you inscribe any 3D object in Illustrator.) 

1. Darken the ring.
In order for our inscription to look suitably daunting, it will help if the ring provides a darker, more ominous backdrop.  Change the color of the ring by Shift-clicking on the Fill swatch in the Control Panel and dialing in the following color: R 50, G 20, B 10.

(If you've taken a break between making the ring and inscribing it, i.e. you've closed the file in between---maybe because it took me a week to get Part 2 finished---make sure your banana-shaped ring shape is selected by clicking it with the black arrow tool.)

Change the color in the control panel. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 346: Creating Uniform Hand Drawn Letters in Illustrator

Create uniform hand-drawn letters in Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke shows you how to create some custom hand-drawn letters in Illustrator, and keep them looking like they are part of one related typeface. 

The trick is to repeat certain shapes, namely the letter I, wherever they are appropriate. So, the straight vertical shape of the I also becomes the spine of the F, R, E, and P. The single vertical shape of the I is repeated in four other letters.

Along the way, you'll get to ignite these Illustrator skills:

  • Placing a scanned sketch and making it a template
  • Making the letters uniform with some base lines that are reused for each character
  • Exploiting the nuances of the Paste command options in Illustrator
  • Using the Pathfinder panel to combine the duplicated shapes into letters
  • Using the Blend command to distribute the type character's elements uniformly

If you're a member of, Deke's got two follow-up movies in which he shows you how he creates the R, P, and U (which require special handling due to their curves and holes) and then how he puts this text to use in Photoshop. If you're not a member of, you can get a free week's trail at to check it out. 

Of course, this is the text he used to fire up his project Designs dekeConstructed: Retro Superhero. Your free week of (or your full-fledged membership) will give you access to learning how to make that entire project, too. 
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The Ring Tutorial to End All Ring Tutorials (Part 1)

So you know how the cinematic interpretations of JRR Tolkien's Hobbit-based works are about eight bazillion times longer than their literary sources? Yeah, this is the opposite.

This is a longish, literary-ish (well, you know, to the best of my ability), interpretation of Deke's ten-minute video tutorial on how to create the famous artifact at the center of Tolkien's work. For those of you who like a bit more detail in your literary-fantasy-virtual-artifact-creation tutorials, here are the step-by-step instructions I promised from this week's Deke's Techniques episode.

Final 3D Ring

(Tomorrow, I'll detail how to totally geek out on the elvish inscription, but you'll have to wait for Part 2. After I got about halfway translating this technique into words, I pulled a Peter Jackson and decided it was better to serve up as two parts.) 

1. Create a new document in Illustrator.
Begin at the beginning. In Illustrator, choose File > New and set your dimensions to 1080 x 825 points. For good measure, set the Bleed to 18 pts all the way around. Then click OK.

Create a new Illustrator document


2. Add a suitable background by placing a fiery photo.
First you'll need some flames. Deke used this one from Fotolia artist халлва. (By the way, you can download 25 free images by signing up for a free month's subscription at 

Choose File > Place, then navigate to the image you want to use as a background in the Place dialog box. When you find it, click it to select it, then click Place.

(In truth, you don't really need any background for this, but having a darker canvas to work on will definitely help with the next few steps.)

3. Name your backdrop layer.
Practice good layer maintenance by double-clicking the name of the layer and calling it something useful like "backdrop." I've also done the same for the specific image layer (i.e. I renamed it "fiery"). Also, click the lock icon next to the layer in order to lock it down, so that it doesn't slide around when you least want it to.

Tip: If you want your Layers panel thumbnails to be nice and big, like Deke's, click the icon in the upper right of the panel (1) and choose Panel Options (2) from the panel flyout menu. In the Layers Panel Options dialog box that appears (3), set the Row Size to 70 pixels and click OK.

Increasing the thumbnail size in the Illustrator Layers panel Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 344: Creating the 3D Ring (to End All Rings, or Something Like That)

dekeSters Unite!

It's Labor Day weekend (OK, it was) here in the States, which means we pay no attention to what Labor Day really means but use it as an opportunity to go camping with our family. So I am literally phoning it in tonight (well, using a network created by my phone, anyway). I'll be back later this week to write a step-by-step tutorial on this awesome technique (as it deserves) for those of you who like words.

In the meantime, enjoy this free video in which Deke creates a 3D ring in Illustrator, and then if you're a member of, you can watch how he engraves it with elvish in this week's exclusive movie. Not a member, get a free week at

See you soon, dekeItariat! Read more » 

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