Deke's Techniques 654: Op Art Experiment 3a: Volumetric waves
Deke indulges in a third set of computer-generated Op Art experiments in Adobe Illustrator.

Deke's Techniques 626: Selecting and Masking Eyes in Photoshop

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke reveals his clever approach to selecting the human eye. By employing an intersection of two elliptical marquees, he can deftly grab an eye or two and make them pop out of the image.

He begins with our Dreamstime model, she of the tattooed face from last week's episode:

Then, in a slightly counter-intuitive next step, he zaps her entire face into intense saturation, courtesy of an application of the Camera Raw filter:

Face intensified with Camera Raw Satuation and Vibrance adjustments

Then, he restores a bit of realistic skin tone with a sepia-ish fill layer:

And finally, he reveals those eyes (and eventually the lips) by selecting and masking to reveal the previously applied intensity:

Eyes and lips revealed with a Photoshop mask

If you're a member of you can check out this week's exclusive movie in which Deke shows how he selected the lips.

Deke's Techniques, revealing the intensity underneath the everyday. Read more » 

. Tagged with:

Deke's Techniques 624: Tattooing Your Face in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 624: Tattooing Your Face in Photoshop

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke shows you how to tattoo your face. And do so using Photoshop so that you can rethink that decision at any time.

Here's our model from the Dreamstime image library, tweaked by Deke to prepare her for the awesome dekeIfication that's about to happen to her:

Then, after drawing the design in a series of pen tool paths, he applies these totally removable decorations to her face:

A face tattooed in Photoshop

Frankly, this might be one of my favorite techniques of all time. But even if you're not quite set to do such elaborate work in the name of intricate face painting, this video has a lot of great advice for developing some basic Photoshop skills, including:

  • Efficiently copying and pasting layer styles
  • Knowing when to use Fill opacity instead of the regular kind
  • Pasting, merging, and clipping paths and shape layers to create one integrated design.
  • Tweaking layer styles to create more realistic lighting and texture.

For members of, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how to use the Pen tool to create the design (as well as add a Feather the entire design to increase the realism.)

An even more intricate Photoshop face tattoo design.

By the way, if you're not familiar with the Pen tool and are inspired by Deke's deftness with it, you can check out his two-part course on using the Pen tool: Learning the Adobe Pen Tool and Adobe Pen Tool: Mastery.

Deke's Techniques, tattooing your face! (Seriously, what else is there to say.)

. Tagged with:

Deke's Techniques 622: Masking with Photoshop's Pen Tool

Deke's Techniques 622: Masking with Photoshop's Pen Tool

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke demonstrates how meticulously mask a sweet shark using the precision of the Pen tool in Photoshop.

The story begins with a night dive in Maldives which was overrun with nurse sharks and stingrays (not to mention divers). We were assured by our guides on the Carpe Vita that this would be a night dive not to miss. Basically, we descended 60-70 feet, hooked in to avoid being swept off by the current, and just let the creatures swim around us.

Thus this photo that Deke took, while he was more or less tethered to the rocks and while he was forgetting much of what he learned from Hergen in the making of their Underwater Photography: Wide Angle course. The coral is over exposed and the focus is a bit off the main subject.

Shark the dark

No matter, Deke may still be learning how to balance currents, sharks, stingrays, scuba gear, photo gear, my total anxiety with night dives, and being underwater, but he's got unassailable command of Photoshop. Armed with the pen tool and some color fills, he gets very close to the effect he was looking for in the first place.

Shark with a Pen tool path to mask the background

If you're a member of, Deke's got a follow-up movie in which he shows you how he uses a second masked layer to make brightness and contrast changes to enhance the effect.

Deke's Techniques, useful around the world and under the sea. Read more » 

. Tagged with:

Deke's Techniques 620: Making Multicolored Vignettes in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 620: Making Multicolored Vignettes in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke shows you how to create a flexible multi-color vignette in Photoshop. Now, while there are a few different ways to create vignettes, this particular project calls for a specialized approach---adding a multi-colored gradient in the form of a well-feathered vector-based shape layer.

This technique allows for the addition of custom colors (something Camera Raw would not provide) and the application of the vignette to only the visible part of the image (without having to crop or flatten anything).

He starts with this composite of the boys that he created in last week's episode.

McClelland lads on Segway split screen

Then, he adds a gradient fill layer with custom colors that match the elements of the photo: green in the upper right to match the foliage, red across the bottom to match the driveway, and blue in the upper left to make that blown-out sky actually blue:

Custom gradient fill layer in Photoshop

Next, he carves out a vignette by converting that layer to a shape layer: an ellipse subtracted from the center of the colors.

A vignette created with an elliptical shape layer

Finally, he feathers the ellipse-shaped hole (which is essentially an incorporated vector mask) and changes the blend mode and opacity.

A vignette created by feathering an ellipse

If you're a member of, Deke's got an exclusive movie in which he adds a pixel-based layer mask to that vector-based shape layer in order to remove the vignette colors from his children's extremities.

Arms and feet masked from a vignette

Deke's Techniques, custom coloring the corners of your world! Read more » 

. Tagged with:

Deke's Techniques 619: Creating a Vector-Based Gradient Mask in Photoshop

Creating a Vector-Based Gradient Mask in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke tackles the old split-screen dilemma with a completely flexible approach. Rather than create a static gradient layer mask between two images of his equally beloved sons, he creates an imminently flexible and editable mask (with a convenient feather setting) using vectors.

So, when both of your sons display the same amount of dogged determination, you don't have to choose. You can draw a vector between images of each, and using vectors (that can be reconsidered at will depending on the flailing gestures of each son) create a split-screen effect that can be readjusted. Like so:

A vector mask gives you more split-screen flexibility.


I have to say this was so effective, my mom thought they were the same photo (oh, like I'd let these guys obtain two gyro-segways, Mom.)

Deke's Techniques, finding ways to split your loyalties gracefully! Read more » 

. Tagged with: