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.

Martini Hour 053, In Which Photoshop Turns Twenty and Martini Hour Turns One

You know, it seems like only yesterday, our favorite little pixel-wrangler was just learning how to grasp things with its tiny little hand tool. And today a grown-up Photoshop turns 20---as sophisticated, complex, and worldly a piece of software as there ever was. It's also the one-year anniversary of the day Deke and I lost our heads and decided to record the goings-on in the dekeLounge, so we could share with our martini-quaffing, computer graphics-loving friends everywhere. We celebrate these two happy occasions on the Martini Hour this week, by sipping champagne out of martini glasses and chatting with our good friends Adobe Product Managers John Nack and Bryan O'Neil Hughes. 

And forward-thinkers that we four are, rather than wax sentimentally about the last 20 years of Photoshop, we decided to look ahead to what might inform the next 20 years: Read more » 

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #9: Levels

Feature #9: Levels

Feature #9 is my favorite adjustment command: Levels. Adjusted only slightly since its introduction in Version 1.0, this seminal feature lets you set the black and white points, as well as correct the midtones without harming either. It refrains from clipping colors unless you tell it to. It boasts Photoshop's first on-board histogram. And it works as well in CMYK and Lab as in RGB.

(Well there's another clue for you all.)

We had nearly twice as many entries last week as the week before, with 19 of you correctly guessing Levels or some variation. The winner is earthrat, whose guessed "Using Levels to work." Congrats to earthrat!

Now it's time to guess Feature #8. Hint: It's the ultimate convenience tool. All members have been sent an email invitation with a URL to enter the contest. (No direct URL this time around.) Join dekeOnline now to receive a reminder and an invitation to next week's contest!
Read more » 

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Martini Hour 052, In Which Colleen Compliments Our Guest's Definition of a Martini

At last, a guest who knows a good martini when he is offered one. This week's guest, Tom Hogarty, besides being discriminating beverage connoisseur, is also the Adobe Project Manager for Lightroom, Camera Raw and the DNG file format. We wanted to talk with Tom specifically about the Lightroom part of his job, because the newest version of the product is currently in public beta (from Adobe Labs), meaning it's downloadable for you to check out yourself. Yes, you're welcome.

Tom concisely calls Lightroom his digital assistant, that is, the device which handles all the necessary tasks for managing your digital photography. Then we remind him that it's "Martini Hour" (even if it's more like a half-hour) and he can be a little more effusive. 

Here are some of Tom's favorite things about the Lightroom 3 Beta that he graciously shares with us: Read more » 

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #10: Color Settings

Feature #10: Color Settings

Hey gang,

The word is out: Feature #10 is Color Settings, Photoshop's command for regulating all things related to color management. It affects every image you create. Color Settings is located under the Edit menu, in case you're wondering.

For those of you tracking the contest, the winner is jude, who guessed "Edit... Color Settings...," which is spot-on.

Fully 25 of you guessed this feature (or something very much like it, as in "color management" or "color profiles," both of which are fundamentally correct). And frankly that amazes me. It means a surprising minority of you are reading my mind with an alarming degree of accuracy.

Which is excellent news. Because now it's time to guess Feature #9. Hint: It takes something bad and makes it good. Click here to take the survey (or skip it if you filled it out last week) and submit your entry! Read more » 

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Martini Hour 051, in Which Deke Discovers Our Guest Can't Even Find Matching Socks

Despite his mismatched socks, we still trust this week's guest, photographer and author Ben Long, to be our resident expert on travel and photography, and doing the two well together. In the time I've known him, Ben has taught photography in Florence, been on assignment in Africa, and ridden his motorcycle numerous times across the Great American Southwest. I think Deke actually met him on a cruise ship. The guy is everywhere. This week's show is full of terrific tips for shooting on the road---whether you're just driving up the road to your favorite watering hole, hiking out in the wilderness, or traveling to exotic lands in search of interesting local beverages.

Here are the key areas to think about next time you're headed out on the open road: Read more » 

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