Deke's Techniques 603: Drawing a Half-Circle Highlight in Keynote
Deke figures out how to draw a semi-circle to highlight a key element of a keynote slide.

Deke's Techniques 526: Introducing Adobe Photoshop Sketch

Deke's Techniques 526: Introducing Adobe Photoshop Sketch

In this week's free Deke's Techniques, Deke takes a first look at his favorite of the Adobe apps, Photoshop Sketch, which allows you to draw anywhere with natural-style tools. Adobe doesn't actually use the word "mobile" here, but it's designed for iPhone and iPad. And I'm not sure how mobile it is when Deke's iPad Pro is so big we like to refer to it as the iPlatter.

Regardless, here is a drawing he made and joyously colored to share his exuberance for  the CreativePro Conference that simultaneously shares Deke's enchantment with this app:

An almost Seussian representation of the Creative Pro logo for Creative Pro Conference 2016

Anyway, Adobe Sketch (and the aforementioned iPad and Apple Pencil) is officially Deke's favorite way to indulge his virtual drawing desires.

In this episode, you'll get a general orientation to:

  • How to choose your brush from the variety of virtual implements available.
  • How to use and set the various attributes of those brush settings.
  • How to select colors and lift colors from within your artwork.
  • How to add/delete pages to/from your project.
  • And if you're a member of, he's got more tips and tricks in this week's exclusive movie.

If you're not a member, you can get a free 10-day trial subscription to check it out by signing up at Read more » 

Deke's Techniques, helping you have a satisfying drawing experience without using any paper products.

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Deke's Techniques 525: Combining Group Photos in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke demonstrates how to really blend your blended family together in Photoshop. That is, how to take two separate group photos, taken from different angles, with different composition, and even different subjects, and turn them into one big happy Photoshop-assisted team.

We start this weeks project with a couple of shots that Deke and I (respectively) took on the grounds of the Rock of Cashel in Ireland whilst on vacation with all our sons. No one else was around (and anyway, who trusts strangers to shoot your family photo?) and it seemed irreverent to rest the camera on a timer on a 17th century headstone.

So I shot the gang with Deke in frame:

One shot without Colleen

And he did the same with me in the shot:

One shot without Deke

And with the magic of Photoshop's Auto-Align Layers feature, Deke matched up the two images, and then mix-and-masked to create the family photo we were looking for.

Although the undifferentiated gray Irish skies and the textured grass were pretty forgiving, there were a few challenges that required creative problem-solving. Check out the movie to see how Deke resolves a couple of challenges, ultimately electing to repeat a detail of Max's dark coat, rather than give Max an extra head growing out of his shoulder (although his brother might have found that amusing.)

After a bit of vanity retouching (on himself) and careful cropping, our rag tag team looks like a coherent whole. You can see in the Layers panel where little bits of work were done to make our team shine together (and in the case of Wheels and Deke, not shine quite so much!)

Combined group shot in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques, keeping your family all together and with no duplicated appendages. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 524: Masking a Tilt-Shift Landscape in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 524: Masking a Tilt-Shift Landscape in Photoshop

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke takes an image I shot of the Irish countryside that features Hole Abbey, and adds a touch of realistically crafted but magically whimsical tilt-shift effect to turn a 13th-century Cistertian monastary into a whimsical miniature ruin.

The result is that this image that I shot from the Rock of Cashel out into the plains of Tipperary:

A regular-sized view of the Tipperary landscape from Rock of Cashel.

Turns into this fairytale landscape:

Tiny little Hole Abbey with tilt-shift blur and masked filter effect.

The trick is not only to line up Photoshop's Tilt-Shift Lens Blur effect correctly, but to then mask away any grass, bushes, rocks, etc. that detract from the miniaturization simulation because they really shouldn't be at the same imaginary depth of field as the ruin itself.

Enter a great use-case for the filter mask that comes with all smart filters (unless you turn it off out of irritation). By masking the blur so that it only reveals the abbey and its accompanying trees, the idea that this is a charming remnant of a tiny medieval civilization is made more "realistic."

Now, if I can just convince Deke that the fields were not quite that green...

Deke's Techniques, making sure your supernatural landscapes adhere to the laws of optical reality. Read more » 

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CreativePro Conference Preview: Deke on Channels and Masks

Hey, my dekeAfficianados and those of you who strive toward Photoshop compositing perfection:

At the upcoming CreativePro Conference (Minneapolis, July 10-13) Deke will be reviving (and expanding) his classic Channels and Masks master class in an all day seminar before the full conference gets underway.

As many of you know a) making good selections and mastering masks is one of the most important skills you can hone for making realistic (but, of course, often fantastical) compositions in Photoshop, and b) Deke is a Titan of Photoshop Selection Mastery.

(I read a description of Deke somewhere online today in which they called him a "Titan" which I loved because a) true and b) it reminds me of this Goya painting, Saturn Devouring his Son, one of Deke's favorites, and c) I may come close to wanting to chew the head off of one or two of Deke's own sons today. Anyway...)

In celebration, I've put together an excerpt from the notebook Deke will be using for this class--giving you a quick, but scientific look at the Color Range command. It's a PDF to members of (sign up here), and you'll find the link on the other side of the jump.

Friends of Deke can also get $100 their CreativePro conference registration by entering the code CPDEKE when they sign up.

Deke will also be teaching two Deke's Techniques sessions, one for Illustrator and one for Photoshop for Designers, and then he and David Blatner have concocted a session involving the word Triumvirate, which is almost as cool a word as Titan.

Click Read More to gain access to the free handout excerpt. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 523: Adding Gradient Overlays to Your Mobius Strip in Adobe Illustrator

Adding Gradients to Your Mobius Strip in Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke applies gradient overlays to last week's true möbius strip project. This complex set of four gradients, repeated three times, provides the formerly flat strip with a ribbonesque volume.

The process involves isolating one of the three sections of the strip, then creating a series of overlapping custom gradients that can be repeated in the other sections. As a wordsmith for whom shading is one of the secret mysteries of artists, I'm mesmerized by this optical illusion:

One-third of the set of gradient overlays in Illustrator

Which, when spread out to the other sections is gorgeous all by itself, even though its sole purpose is to add depth to the layers below:

The full gradient mobius strip

And here's what it does when applied over the final result of week's project:

The final möbius strip created in Adobe Illustrator

Remember, if you missed any of the steps in last week's exclusive movie, you can get a free 10-day trial by heading to

Deke's Techniques, adding magical if illusory volume to your mind-bending mathematical möbiuses.

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