Deke's Techniques 595: Mastering Adobe Illustrator 88
Deke takes a look back at an old version of Adobe Illustrator in honor of AI's 30th anniversary.

Brightness/Contrast Not Just "Not Bad," It's Actually Great

If your images look drab, it's often because they are either too light or too dark and they may also lack contrast. Sometimes the lack of contrast can even be hidden until you lighten or darken the image. When dealing with such a photo, the Brightness/Contrast command is one of the most basic adjustments you can make, so it's not surprising that it's one of the first commands most folks try. It's also one of the rare features in Photoshop that actually makes sense to the uninitiated.

photoshop cs5 brightness contrast graphic

Deke admits he used Brightness/Contrast for nearly all his adjustment work during the first six-or-so months that he used Photoshop. (Back in 1990, mind you.) That's both a testament to how intuitive the command is and to Deke's fortitude. Because it automatically clipped shadows and highlights, Brightness/Contrast used to do more harm than good. Happily, that's no longer the case. Ever since its reinvention in CS3, Brightness/Contrast can breathe life into your colors and dramatically improve an image with little effort.

This tip comes from Chapter 7, "Basic Color Correction," in Deke's Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals video series for If you're a veteran dekester, you've heard much of this before, but scroll to the end of the post for some more advanced techniques. Read more » 

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dekeSpeak January 04, 2011

The Newsletter of Things Deke: January 4, 2011

Hello, all!

New Year's Eve always brings annual resolutions to mind. Have you resolved to strengthen your chops in Photoshop or Illustrator this year? With Deke's help, you can chalk up success toward your new objectives in no time. The feature-rich Illustrator CS5 One-on-One: Mastery course is coming soon to In the meantime, if you're interested in something more bite-sized, check out the new weekly Deke's Techniques series, which starts today.

The tip for this issue is to forget anything negative you might have heard about Brightness/Contrast. It's not that tool anymore. And, Martini Hour 96 features a postmortem on CS5: What works best and what still needs work.

dekeSpeak Newsletter January 04 2011

This time of year may be known as the dark days of winter, but the lights are always on at Read more » 

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Martini Hour 096, In Which We Refuse to Jump the Shark

Just a warning, dekeOlytes, if you're feeling sentimental on this penultimate day of the year, this show starts on a bittersweet note. Yes, as you've no doubt surmised, Martini Hour will be coming to a close with Episode 101. Bottom line, we love this show and are grateful to those who've supported it, but we're not ready to don leather jackets and waterskis at the same time. No, we're going out strong, like when Fonzie really was still cool and had a girlfriend named Pinky Tuscadero. That doesn't make any sense to you, how about this: This week Deke and I conduct a "CS5 Post-Mortem," in which we consider which of the shiny new Creative Suite features were useful, which were not quite so, and which we couldn't live without. By the way, if you found a feature more useful than we did, explain in the comments and there may be "collecter's edition" martini glasses in it for you. 

Martini Hour 096: CS5 Postmortem

Here's a list of new features considered after actually working with them for several months: Read more » 

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Dead Line: Paper Post-it Pixels

One of the things I like to do over the holiday break is procrastinate all the "pre New Year" organization I was going to effect by watching clever videos about people not getting work done. If you aren't one of the 4 million+ people to have already seen this, then please share in my procrastination with my compliments. Paper pixels! Do you think he had to augment the factory level of sticky stuff in order to restick these babies over and over? 

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Martin Hour (Takes a) Holiday 2010

And by "holiday" we really mean that Deke and I are eschewing the lounge this week for time with our respective families. But lest you feel neglected, Deke has created this special graphic, which perhaps captures the true spirit of Martini Hour. Yes, I am, in fact carrying Deke on my back in this photo. That's why he looks so happy and relaxed, and I look so strained yet determined. Are you surprised to learn it was Deke who chose this photo for our holiday greeting?

Martini Hour Holiday 2010

The image was shot by our good friend Jacob Cunningham (staff director/cinematographer at as part of a shoot he did at the request of Bert Monroy, to use as reference for Bert's latest painting. Fortunately, Bert chose a different shot when he recreated us for his Times Square piece, so I won't forever be stuck in time (square) lugging Deke around. Actually, in Bert's final piece, Deke and I are contemplating a much more civilized form of transportation, a taxi, driven (if I'm not mistaken) by a young Bert Monroy. We're definitely blessed with talented and sympathetic friends.

Not the least of which is you, our beloved, intrepid dekeItarians. We do sincerely wish you and your respective families a peaceful, fun, restorative winter holiday of choice. In truth, it's the funny, irreverent, curious, patient, wise. and ever-charming dekeCommunity that makes the work not seem like work (sometimes). Peace, joy, and creative freedom to all of you. We'll be back in the lounge with a new podcast next week. Cheers! Read more » 

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