Deke finishes his exploration of inline stroke type effects by putting Illustrator's offset path feature to work.

Deke's Techniques 559: Creating a Hovering Head in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 559: Creating a Hovering Head in Photoshop

In this weeeeek's creeepy Halloweeeen-flavored Deeeeke's Techneeeeks, Deke cleanly severs a masked model's head and leaves it floating above her not-very-bloody neck stump. The project was inspired by make-up tutorials like this one, but using Photoshop is far less messy.

He begins with this unsuspecting yet oddly masked model from the Dreamstime image library:

Model with greasepaint mask from Dreamstime

Some simple masking away of parts of the victim's head, then Deke uses some fairly ingenious tricks to create and fill in the stump of her neck. A series of carefully chosen layer effects finishes this Heads Up Halloween horror.

Floating head created in Photoshop

If you're a member of lynda.com (or you take advantage of this week's free week of LinkedIn Learning) you can catch the follow up movie, which takes it one step further by adding back the spine (ew.), which frankly makes it more horrific than a simple floating head.

Severed head in Photoshop with spine placed back in

If this is to grisly for you... then I don't know what you're thinking because I wanted Deke to put some worms crawling out of her neck stump. But, there's a whole host of Halloween techniques you can get by going to the Deke's Techniques library and typing "Halloween" in the search box. One of my favorite ungrisly episodes was last year's Turning Day into Night.

Turn Day into Night in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques bringing you tricks and treats every Halloween. Boo! (Yay!) Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 557: Photoshop's Top Secret Banana Tool

Deke's Techniques 557: Photoshop's Top Secret Banana Tool

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke forgets what time of year it is. Here it's October, the month that contains Deke's favorite graphically inspirational holiday, Halloween, and he's spending time with April Fool's style jokes and Easter Eggs.

But, there are undoubtedly some of you out there as mature and serious as Deke, and desperate to know how to put a banana in your Photoshop toolbar. Or put only a banana in your colleagues's toolbar. (By the way, he learned this trick from another Jesús Ramirez of the Photoshop Training Channel, so I guess something about working in Photoshop all day makes you a little bit, well, bananas.)

Ahem. Along the way, you'll actually have a quick glimpse at something actually useful for getting work done efficiently, the Customize Toolbar dialog box, where you can do other things besides turn on and off the banana.

The Customize Toolbar dialog box in Photoshop where you can install the Banana tool.

If you're a member of Lynda.com, there's an exclusive movie this week in which you can discover yet more surprises lurking inside Photoshop, namely toast, coffee, and transient witticisms. I leave it to you to figure out if there's any lasting educational value there.

If you're not a member and can't resist a good time-wasting look at easter eggs, you can get a free 10-day trial by signing up at lynda.com/deke. You'd then have access to the entire library, including many Deke's Techniques that may help you actually get work done.

Deke's Techniques, making sure you have enough distractions!

Oh, hey, one other thing. Deke's Techniques will now appear here on Wednesdays. (For those who can't wait, you can still catch the new free movie every Tuesday afternoon at Lynda.com). Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 556: Creating Photorealistic Neon in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 556: Creating Photorealistic Neon in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke shows you how to increase the photorealism of last week's Illustrator-created neon sign inside Photoshop.

The technique centers around using the Illustrator file as a smart object (or two) inside Photoshop, thus allowing for much more flexibility than your standard real-world sign made of gas and glass.

To start with, we'll open last week's file as a smart object inside Photoshop: Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 553: Create a Classic Neon Sign in Adobe Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 553: Create a Classic Neon Sign in Adobe Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke shows you how to make "vector based" neon in Adobe Illustrator. In other words, he turns this:

Letters drawn in Illustrator for a neon sign

into this:

 

A neon sign drawn in Adobe Illustrator

The key is to draw open path letters in Illustrator, then apply a series of different colored strokes, and blend the colors together to create the neon effect.

If you're a member of Lynda.com, Deke's got (count 'em) two follow up movies in which he shows you how he created that real world light fluctuation in the sign and then adds the blackout connectors that would exist in a real sign.

If you're not a member, take advantage of the 10-day free trial you can get by heading to lynda.com/deke. Then you can check out these two exclusive movies as well as opening up the entire Deke's Techniques collection.

Next week, we'll go really real-world, and see how Deke finishes this effect in Photoshop.

Deke's Techniques, definitively open for (design) business!

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Deke's Techniques 552: The Rule of Thirds for Smooth Bézier Curves

Deke's Techniques 552: The Rule of Thirds for Smooth Bézier Curves

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke considers how best to position control handles for creating smooth Bézier curves. This edition will be of particular interest to those of you who, like me, occasionally find their pen tool creations to be a bit, well, lumpy.

The key to Deke's approach is to keep the "invisible" control handle in mind. For those of you who didn't watch Deke's Techniques a few weeks back (was your internet broken?), the third control handle is the one that you can't see in Adobe CC interfaces, that theoretically connects the two ends of the other control handles.

After some mathematical and positional noodling, Deke arrives at the conclusion that if you keep this mystery handle at about 1/3 the total of your curve, your shape is nice and smooth. Even if your shape is like this s-curve:

 

Or this oval:

A smooth oval in Adobe Illustrator

Or even this...thing (featuring corner points with smooth segments in between):

An irregular shape with corner points and smooth curves in Adobe Illustrator

 

By the way, this episode is brought to you by Deke working on a new course, Adobe Pen Tool: Mastery, which Deke is toiling away on as we speak and is due out later this year. You can prepare your mind for this master class by watching Adobe Pen Tool: Fundamentals already there and waiting for you in the Lynda.com library.

If you're not a member and you want to check it out, you can get a free 10-day trial at lynda.com/deke.

Deke's Techniques, smoothing your curves with rules of thirds. Read more » 

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