Deke's Techniques 620: Making Multicolored Vignettes in Photoshop
Deke uses a custom gradient and a shape layer to create a multi-colored vignette.

Deke's Techniques 548: Drawing Precise Bézier Curve Time and Tangent Lines in Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 548: Drawing Precise Bézier Curve Time and Tangent Lines in Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke reveals some of  the secrets to making an accurate technical drawing in Adobe Illustrator, using the example of the Bezier curves depiction from last week.

What? You're not some ubernerd who needs to explain the results of a week spent deep inside the behavior of Bézier curves in Illustrator?

While you may not be explaining pen tool behavior to others, following along with this video will help you show off your own precision technical drawing skills. It's also a great insight into the mind of Deke, and how he interprets reality through the lens of what Illustrator tools can do. Here's what Deke demonstrates in exquisite detail this week:
 

  • Using the Blend tool to draw things in precise increments. (Unlike Photoshop, where "blend" actually means blend, in Illustrator the Blend tool is really the "even distribution tool" in my opinion, whether you're talking about color, placement, or distance increments.)


The Blend Options dialog box in Adobe Illustrator
 

  • Employing the Scissor tool to snip paths in two precise points.
  • When it's to your advantage to have the bounding box turned off.
  • When Isolation mode is your friend, and not some scary workspace that looks like you've made a mistake.
  • How to use the Move tool to precisely position points without having to strain your eyes or make repetitive mouse movements.
  • Double-checking said precision in the Outline mode.


The Outline mode in Adobe Illustrator helps precisely align drawing elements.

For those of you who are members of Lynda.com, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how to create the complex network of lattice lines he uses. A technique that works even in something like this:

A complex set of lattice lines inside Adobe Illustrator

If you're not a member, you can get a free 10-day trial at lynda.com/deke.

Deke's Techniques, explaining how Illustrator works from inside Illustrator! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 547: How Bézier Curves Really Work

Deke's Techniques 547: How Bézier Curves Really Work

In this week's free Deke's Techniques, Deke explains how Bézier curves work:

The Bezier Curve equation

OK, see you next week!

But really, in the process of developing his upcoming Pen Tool Mastery course, Deke dove deep into the math (as only Deke can) to really try and understand how the Bézier curves featured in Adobe CC applications work. And of course, since he's both a math major and a fine artist, he diligently, diagramatically draws it out for you:

The Bezier equation at work

I'm going to leave the actual explanation up to Deke, but let me just say, if you normally watch Deke with the double-speed option available at Lynda.com, you may want to set your speed back to normal for this particular installation, because the science of this art form comes at you fast and ferociously.

If you use the Pen tool or just want to understand how those control handles work (hint: there's a third one that the interface doesn't tell you about), you owe it to yourself to check out this dekeDive.
The Bezier lattice informs the curve

Deke's Techniques, geeking out so that you don't have to...except, you totally want to! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 545: Drawing a Bacterium with Gradient Mesh in Adobe Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 545: Drawing a Bacterium with Gradient Mesh in Adobe Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke shows you how to make the body of a microscopic bacterium using the Gradient Mesh tool in Adobe Illustrator.

Why? You ask. (And I know this may not be the first time you've ever asked this question in 545 episodes of Deke's Techniques.) Well, like many things Deke, this project began as a way to demonstrate something completely different...specifically, Illustrator's ability to zoom in to 6400%.

This slide from Deke's Illustrator One-on-One: Fundamentals actually features this very creature.

The welcome page featuring a tiny bacterium you can't see.

Can't see him? That's because he's only half a point tall and could easily be mistaken for a dust speck on your monitor.

Illustrator zoomed to 75 percent.

(Actually, my monitor did have a dust speck and I initially zoomed into the wrong spot! Wait, here's something...)

Zoom in Illustrator to 3300 percent

And in a delightfully dekeIsh reveal, it's a fully formed bacterium, complete with villi and a flagellum (flashback to middle school biology!)

Bacterium revealed at 6400 percent.

The key to making his capsule-like creature is Illustrator's Gradient Mesh tool, which allows you to set up points across your object and then assign specific color variations in order to provide shading and highlights to your bug body. It's actually a pretty useful thing to know how to do, even if you're not planting microscopic infectious easter eggs in your images.

If you're a member of Lynda.com, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how to create said villi all over the body of your creature. Not a member? Sign up at lynda.com/deke for a free 10-day trial.

Deke's Techniques, infecting you with new illustrative ideas each week! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 543: Building a Better Screenshot (of Photoshop) in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 543: Building a Better Screenshot (of Photoshop) in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke pulls back the meta-curtain and shares some techniques for building a better (Photoshop) screenshot in, well, Photoshop.

This technique was born during our recent update to the Photoshop Channels and Masks book that we're currently working on. Basically, when you want to show a Photoshop screenshot that actually shows a selection (i.e. the marching ants are visible), then you need to boost those white and black dashes artificially if you want them to be seen.

Enter the ability to create a shape layer from a selection. To create bigger, bolder ants, we'll first stroke the selection in a big, bold black. Then, we'll duplicate that layer, and stroke it with a properly dashed white line. The result is a selection outline that's hard to miss.

Make bigger bolder marching ants for better tutorials in Photoshop

(Deke also shows you how he recreated the Quick Select cursor as well, crisp and clear enough that oldsters like us can see it.)

If you're a member of lynda.com, or you take advantage of a free 10-day trial from lynda.com/deke, Deke has an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how to create an action from this procedure so that you can sass up your selections in split seconds.

And stay tuned for the project that inspired this latest technique!

Deke's Techniques,
making sure you can actually see what he's talking about every week. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 542: Rendering a Person in Liquid Metal in Photoshop

Hey, my dekeOnesians. In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, you will see how to render a dude in liquid metal.

Meanwhile, we are finally back in the states, if not all the way home. Here in our long Seattle layover we have already enjoyed reasonably priced Washington wines, a very delicious hamburger with bacon, water you can drink out of the faucet, and perhaps most importantly for communicating with dekeOphiles, viable internet.

Which is not to say that Indonesia didn't once again provide amazing adventures. If you don't already check out Deke's facebook page, stop by and see all the underwater treasures he's discovered the past two weeks. Also, we didn't wear shoes for over a week in Wakatobi. It's a policy I'm going to implement in Boulder... until the first snow.

Terima Kasih my Indonesian friends and expats for your welcoming spirit and sharing your beautiful undersea wonders. Read more » 

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