Deke's Techniques 577: Quick and Chalky Chalkboard Type
Deke turns regular text into a chalkboard effect thanks to some filters, blend modes, and an adjustment layer.

Deke's Techniques 503: Elongating a Snake in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 503: Elongating a Snake in Photoshop

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke takes a snake and makes it longer. Now, lest you think a) Deke has completely lost it or b) Deke has completely run out of ideas, don't worry, the second one will never happen.

Elongating a snake before and after

But as obvious (and yet, absurd) as this exercise seems, there are some solid Photoshop skills at work here. In the movie, you'll see how Deke eschews the Clone Stamp tool, but then embraces the...Magic Wand. Maybe he really has lost it? Don't worry, he still uses a precision mask to clean the thing up.

Yes, in fact. And in all seriousness (well, as much as we ever employ around here), these kind of compositional changes are the bread-and-butter of everyday Photoshop work. In fact, the need for a longer snake arose out of creating this composition for Deke's Photoshop CC 2015 One-on-One: Advanced course:

An adventure montage featuring the longer snake.

If you're a member of (or you take advantage of the free 10-day trial from, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how he turned this longer snake into a silhouette, again to meet the needs of his composition. Oh, and he adds a tongue because well, what adventure poster is complete without a snake tongue?

Turn the longer snake into a silhouette.

Deke's Techniques, bending and stretching (virtual) animals to your creative will every week. Read more » 

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Update Complete! Photoshop CC 2015 One-on-One: Advanced Course

The wait is over dekeOtopians, the latest installment of Deke's flagship Photoshop course, Photoshop CC 2015 One-on-One: Advanced has been updated with seven new chapters, complete with all new sample files and projects. If you've finished the first half of this second course (that's not confusing in any way), you can now catch the second half. If you were waiting to start until the thing was complete, now is your chance.

And don't forget, if you're not a member of, you can get 10 free days to check it out by signing up at

Here's an overview of what the course covers, and a sneak peek at some of the projects covered:

Chapter 16: Color Range and Focus Area

Chapter 16: Color RangeAs long time dekeOlytes know, Deke likes to think of the Color Range command as "the Magic Wand on steroids." See how to use it's power to select complicated elements, and then apply equally complex effects like "color reflections," selective focus, and, of course, rocket plumes.

Chapter 17: Layer Masks and Refine Edge

Chapter 17: Layer Masks and Refine EdgePhotoshop's Refine Edge command does just that: takes your carefully made layer mask or selection outline and refines it for impeccable composition creation. Plus killer Thunder Kitty.

Chapter 18: Scale, Rotate, Skew, and Warp

Chapter 18: TransformResize and rescale your layers for customized composition. Deke shows you how to bend, twist, stretch, and spin your elements around to bend them to your will with the Transform command.

Chapter 19: Smart Objects

Chapter 19: Smart ObjectsSmart Objects behave as virtual protective envelopes around objects in your Photoshop compositions. Behave with impunity, knowing smart object will protect the contents within from just about anything.

Chapter 20: Image Reconstruction

Chapter 20: Image ReconstructionWhat to do when you inadvertently cut of a key bit of your child's foot? Reconstruct with Photoshop. Deke even shows you how to "uncrop" and image to restore pleasing proportions.

Chapter 21: Liquifying an Image

Chapter 21: Liquify Liquify lets you take those unflattering angles, and helps you virtually suck in your gut. It may seem like cheating, but knowing how to accomplish this is a realistically important skill.


Chapter 22: Vector Shapes

Chapter 22: Vector ShapesVectors allow you to draw shapes and lines that end up being resolution-independent and ultimately scalable. Plus you can make custom shapes and even turn text into editable shape outlines.

Chapter 23: Blend Modes

Chapter 23: Blend ModesBe the master of math and bend the Blend modes to your will. Telling one layer how to interact with another will give you untold visual effect power. And you can use them in place of masking for quick compositions.

Chapter 24: Layer Effects

Chapter 24: Layer EffectsThese dynamic effects can give your compositions depth and texture in just a few clicks. And they're completely editable, so you can adjust to your own desires.

Chapter 25: Levels and Curves

Chapter 25: Levels and CurvesIt's all about mastering the histogram, using the Levels and Curves commands to change the tones of your photograph on a luminance level by luminance level basis. Ultimate tonal control, my dekeOpotamuses.

Chapter 26: Lens Correction and Perspective Warp

Chapter 26: Lens CorrectionOr, What to Do When Everything Is Crooked. See how to use Photoshop's Lens Correction feature (in Camera Raw) and Perspective Warp to bend reality back to your liking.

Chapter 27: Advanced Camera Raw

Chapter 27: Advanced Camera RawTake Photoshop's most powerful plug-in to it's photo-developing pinnacle. Get beyond that first tab in Camera Raw, and see how to use the Adjustment Brush, Graduated Filter, and Post-Crop Vignetting, just to name three.

Chapter 28: Black-and-White Photography

Chapter 28: Black and White PhotographyExploit the flexibility that Photoshop provides: shoot in color and convert to crisp black-and-white image in post-production. Or give your image a classically crafted sepia tone. All with ultimate flexibility.

Chapter 29: Duotones and Colorization

Chapter 29: ColorizationOr, alternatively take a black-and-white photo and suffuse it with custom color. See how to create colorific effects from the sublime to the, uh, wildly Deke.

Chapter 30: Sharpening Details

Chapter 30: SharpeningEnhance your edges to really make your images crystal clear. Learn different approaches to sharpening, so you can find just the right skill for your image's needs. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 500: Creating a Custom Angry Emoji in Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 500: Creating a Custom Angry Emoji in Illustrator

In this week's Deke's Techniques (Episode 500!), Deke takes control of his digital range of emotional expression and creates a custom emoji in Illustrator to express, well, Rage. (The fact that this "missing" emoji happens to be rage is in direct opposition to the joy we're feeling at reaching the 500 episode milestone!)

Deke starts with a simple outline of his anger, and uses custom gradients in Illustrator to flesh (insomuch as you can call emojis' plasticky surface "flesh") it out:

An infuriated emoji drawn in Illustrator

I can vouch for the effectiveness of this icon. In fact, I customized an early prototype of this project and used it to exactly express my feelings in an ongoing conversation with Deke:

Proof that the new emoji works in context

If you're a member of (or you take advantage of the 10-day trial available at, Deke's got two exclusive movies this week. In the first, he'll show you how to adjust your Infuriated emoji to be more in line with the regular Apple-style characters:

An Apple-style angry emoji drawn in Illustrator

In the second, you'll see how to export your emoji as a PNG file so you can actually send this guy to the subject of your frustrations.

Deke's Techniques...helping you express yourself every week. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 499: Creating an Infrared/Snow Effect in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 499: Creating an Infrared/Snow Effect in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques, Deke emulates an infrared photograph by applying the Channel Mixer. Then, of course, he applies it to some topiary elephants to create a snowy landscape. Because that's the kind of thing Deke does: use Photoshop as his own personal weather machine.

This effect works particularly well on rich-green landscapes, because the primary ingredient here is turning the green channel up and then turning the red and blue channels down, in a way that compensates for potential clipping. You can get a better grasp on all this mysterious dekeMath in the video, so I'll just point out that this:

Topiary elephants before

Becomes this:

A snowy infrared effect created in Photoshop


Deke's Techniques, exploring the evil genius power tools in Photoshop each week. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 498: Correcting Shadows with Dehaze

Deke's Techniques 498: Correcting Shadows with Dehaze

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke shares a way to use  the (relatively) new Dehaze filter in Camera Raw/Lightroom for fixing uneven shadows a family portrait.

My guess is that most people think of the Dehaze filter primarily for, well, removing hazy light from landscapes as Deke initially demonstrates in the video. But it turns out that Dehaze can be efficiently useful for quickly balancing out the inevitable shadow issues in a group shot.

Before Dehazing shadows

It's not that unreasonable or uncommon for the shadows in a group portrait to vary throughout the portrait. Fone thing, it would be boring for everyone to have their head at exactly the same angle with respect to the light source(s). And, you know, each person casts their own unique shadow. By applying Dehaze, in one move of a slider, Deke balances out the shadows and makes this notable improvement:

After dehazing shadows

Personal aside: I've noticed that Dehaze is a great first strategy for underwater photos. Check out the difference between a Dehaze 0 and 100 on this sea star I found lolling about in a mucked-over discarded container in the Lembeh Strait.

A sea star before and after Dehazing in Camera Raw

Deke's Techniques, clearing the haze in your images and your mind! Read more » 

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