Deke's Techniques 428: Auto-Blending Different Depths-of-Field in Photoshop

Blending Different Depths of Field in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Emperor Photoshopus Dekian shows you how to blend two different depths of field, taken from a museum display case at the Roman Baths in the aptly named Bath, England. The result is the in-focus revelation of both the text in the display, and the coins that are the real focus of the exhibit. Tangentially, it will also make clear Deke's love of all things Ancient Rome.

In the video, you'll see how Deke uses Photoshop's ability to stack and blend layers to mix the important information from this placard, that was placed at the back of the display case:

Text in focus


With this detail from Phillip and Otacilia's coins that were mounted on wires coming to the front of the glass:

Coins in focus


To create this composite, in which all the important details are in focus (and some atmospheric bits still retain their original depth of field:

A blend of two depths of field make all the salient information in focus

Check out the video to see how Emperor Deke fine-tunes the process (and thereby saves you some trial-and-error of your own). And if you'd like to check out other treasures from the museum of Deke's Techniques, you can get a free 10-day trial at Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 550: Drawing the Ninio Extinction Illusion

Deke's Techniques 550: Drawing the Ninio Extinction Illusion

In this week's free and oh-so-timely episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke shows you how to create the ubiquitous internet optical illusion in Adobe Illustrator. You know the one: see if you can see all twelve dots in the grid below.

Can you see all 12 dots?

Besides showing you how to create an exact replica of the image that "broke the internet" last week, this week's episode does the following:

  • Allows you to prove to yourself (because you created it) that all twelve dots are actually there because you used Illustrator to put them there yourself. Thus avoiding the "existential crisis" that this illusion created amongst the less scientifically inclined.
  • Reveals that the illusion is dependent on the size and resolution presented to you (because when Deke holds up the printed version at the beginning of the episode, I can see them all without difficulty.) It's interesting that my ability to see all 12 dots sort of depends on how big my screen is, whether it's a video of Deke holding up a piece of paper or the digital file, and how much wine I've had (answer, more wine = the ability to "focus" on more dots at a time).
  • Shows you how to use the Transform effect in Illustrator to replicate important cultural events to exact scale.
  • Demonstrates that the effect works in different colors...

The 12 dots in different colors

And inverted...

12 dots inverted

(Although I feel it's easier to see all 12 dots at the same time in this inverted one. Maybe I'm a witch!)

  • And, perhaps most importantly, this episode invites you to waste ever more time going down the rabbit hole of visual illusion phenomena on the internet. There's even a follow up movie this week in which Deke shows you how to create the scintillating grid effect which is sort of the neurological grandparent of this current fad.

The scintillating grid effect

(Not a member of You can sign up for a free 10-day trial at and watch this and all 549 movies that came before.)

Deke's Techniques, pulling back the curtain on the internet-based illusions! Read more » 

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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, 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

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, 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, 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 for a free 10-day trial.

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

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