Add Strokes and Fills to Type in Adobe Illustrator
Deke teaches you how to add strokes and fills to your type in Adobe Illustrator, providing a workaround for the limited power of individual character attributes.

Deke's Techniques 394: Adding Strokes and Fills to Type in Illustrator

Add Strokes and Fills to Type in Adobe Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke reveals how to apply strokes and fills to text in Adobe Illustrator, skirting around AI's limited control over individual character attributes.

The trick is to apply your strokes and fills to the entire text object, which then allows you to use the Appearance panel to apply a variety of strokes and even a gradient fill effectively. In the video, Deke will show you how to get there and, of course, how to avoid falling into the ineffective trap of trying to apply attributes to individual characters. Just look at all that Appearance panel goodness going on here:

Use the Appearance panel in Illustarator to apply strokes and fills to a type object.

If you're a member of, you can catch this week's exclusive movie, in which Deke shows you how he filled in those gaps behind the letters and applied a stroke to the whole shebang.

Fill in the gaps behind letters in Illustrator

If you're not a member of, you can get a free 10-day trial by signing up at This will allow you to check out the entire library of Deke's Techniques with some bonus time to peruse Deke's other courses as well as the vast array of other instruction to be found in the library.

What Illustrator + Type gems might you find in the Deke's Techniques archive? Here's one example from the collection on Hand-drawing custom-made letters, which is currently unlocked for all in the library:

See you next week! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 393: Assembling DICOM Slices into a 3D Image in Photoshop

Assemble DICOM Slices into a 3D Image

This week's free Deke's Techkneeques episode is a classic lemons-to-lemonade story. In attempting to keep up with the younger set, Deke not only sacrificed his knee to keep a volleyball in play, but continued to play for another two hours to prove he wasn't damaged. Which, of course, damaged his old-man knee. Which, in turn, gave him the chance to turn the DICOM files from his MRI into a 3D model of his injured knee. Read more » 

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What does that [insert quasi-enigmatic Photoshop feature] do, anyway?

It's concievable you could work with Photoshop for a considerable amount of time---twenty-five years possibly, as of this week---and still have features that are still a bit of a secret handshake to you. For Photoshop's twenty-fifth birthday, Deke has teamed with to create a series of videos:

What do [mystery Photoshop features] do, anyway?

What does the fox say?

These videos are free this week in honor of Photoshop's 25th birthday. Check out the list and click to shine the light of Deke's insight on any of these curious (but useful) Photoshop features: 

What do
blend modes do, anyway?
Blend modes allow you to mix Photoshop layers together in a variety of ways, allowing you to create compositions, colorizations, and other creations by simply changing how a layer behaves with regard to the layers below it.

What do blend modes do?


What do color modes do, anyway?
Color modes---RGB, CMYK, and Lab---refer to different ways Photoshop handles the color interaction inside of Photoshop.

What do color modes in Photoshop do?


What do channel operations do?
Before there were layers and other means of composition, there were channels. And channel operations, or chops, were the only way to make blended images.


What do healing tools do?
The healing tools are one of the primary weapons used in retouching, so for some, they are virtually synonymous with Photoshop.

What do healing tools do?


What do layer masks do?
Layer masks (and their partner, adjustment layers) allow you to reveal only part of a layer, thus selectively revealing the contents of layers below.

What do layer masks do?


What do sharpening filters do?
Sharpening allows you to increase the crispness of the image to really bring out image detail.

What do sharpening tools do?


What do selection tools do?
Selection tools allow you to choose one element in your photographic image and isolate it from its surroundings.


What do smart objects do?
Smart objects allow you to wrap a protective container around an entire layer of your image, allowing you to abuse it at will whilst keeping the contents safe.

What do smart objects do?

Any other magical, puzzling, or just unfamiliar features you'd like to know more about in Photoshop? Twenty-five years is a long time to collect secret handshakes. Read more » 

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Happy 25th Birthday, Photoshop!

Happy Photoshop Birthday, my dekeItarians. It's a big two-five for the Supreme Pixel Wrangler this year. And our friends at, notably the esteemed documentarian Scott Erickson, have put together some delightful, short retrospectives on the evolution of Photoshop. If you're a fan of Photoshop history, check out these gorgeous videos featuring dekeHimself and some of's oldest and dearest friends:

The Evolution of a Tool Palette
Watch some notable Photoshoppers discuss the impact of some notable PS tools. 

The Rise of Digital Photography
A luminary-rich discussion of Photoshop's photographic evolution.

Rise of Photoshop for photographers

The Desktop Publishing Revolution
Today's digital designerati reflect on the game-changing arrival of Photoshop.

The evolution of Photoshop tools

All three of these movies are free to all. But if you're inspired, there's much more at If you're not already a member, you can get 10 days free by signing up at Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 391: Chiseling Letters into Stone

Chiseling Letters into Stone in Photoshop


In this week's free Deke's Techniques video, Deke takes plain old type and turns it into chiseled letters of antiquity in Photoshop. The effect involves taking said ordinary type, turning it into a smart object, then adding a bunch of layer effects (of the Emboss nature mostly) and a bit of filtering.

Chisel letters into stone in Photoshop


Since this idea originally came about from a member request, I thought I'd see if I could recreate it on my own, using a different texture and type that I created myself. I used a bit of marble I found at and the Trajan font that comes with Photoshop CC that Deke suggests. With just a few color adjustments during the effects application (I made my shadows a little warmer, due to the color of my background), the technique was easily transferable to my own project:



For members of, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how to create the chiseled border around the letters by adjusting the technique to use shape layers.

If you're not a member of and you'd like to check this (and almost 400 other Deke's Techniques out), you can get a free 10-day trial by signing up at In other giveaways, if you'd like to try out the technique on a different stone background, you can find a treasure trove of granite, marble, and concrete at Check out to choose 25 free downloaded images to use in your own projects. Read more » 

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