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 516: Create Chromatic Type in Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 516: Create Chromatic Type in Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke creates an old-school chromatic type effect in Adobe Illustrator. This printing with multiple colors has been around since the wood type days in the 19th century, and thus it was an obvious target for Deke to bring to the digital age. Especially given the delightfully absurd (and thus deke-like) word choices used in the samples, like this one from Wm. H. Page in 1874 (courtesy of the Public Domain Review).

Chromatic type from 1857


Deke's begins with some slightly less evocative---but no less deke-like---language, which he sets in Adobe Copal (a font available in CC via Typekit).

So What, set in Copal type


Copal has a decorative variant as well as an outline version, both of which are useful for this exercise.

The Copal font has a Decorative variant

Using copies of the font in its Decorative and Outline forms allows for copious decoration, colorizing, and adding customized drop shadows to various parts of the letter forms. After adding a layer of texture, here's the result:

A chromatic font effect applied in Adobe Illustrator


And of course, unlike the wood-based typesetting of the 1800's, Illustrator allows for immediate adjustment of the colors to suit your mood.

Changing the colors of your chromatic type effect in Illustrator


If you're a member of, Deke's exclusive movie this week covers how to create a similar effect in Photoshop, which allows for the addition of a photographic background and requires using layer effects and a mask (or two) to create your chromatic text.

A chromatic type effect in Photoshop

If you're not a member, you can get a free 10-day trial by signing up a

Deke's Techniques, bringing 19th century typographic art into the future! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 514: Turning a Logo into a Star in Adobe Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 514: Turning a Logo into a Star in Adobe Illustrator

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke takes an "imaginary" logo (except it's totally based on the former United Pixelworkers logo), and rotates it around in a star shape (like, uh, the United Pixelworkers used to do because they were awesome).

For reference, there was once a company named United Pixelworkers that made awesome t-shirts for designers and other pixel-wrangling nerdistas. Alas, understandably, they had to change their business model and are now defunct-ish as far as awesome t-shirts go, but this was their logo:


And here is my favorite shirt I ever bought for Deke from their site (designed by an obviously cool dude called Evan Stremke):

Cool alignment icon tshirt by Evan Stremke

Anyway, Deke starts with the logo of an imaginary company that likes the letter J:

J Logo created in Illustrator

...and spins it around in a circle in Illustrator using the Rotate tool, custom guides, and even a bit of Shear.

A logo spun around in a star in Illustrator

If you're a member of, you can even see how Deke added those shadows and white border in this week's exclusive movie.

Not a member? You can get a free 10-day trial by spinning on over to

(By the way, the Illustrator One-on-One: Advanced course that Deke mentions is being finished up this week. So, be on the lookout in a month or so. We'll be sure to let fans of Deke know when it's fully cooked.)

Deke's Techniques, spinning the logo of awesome but now defunct companies in circles! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 512: Blending Multiple Shots to Better Frame a Photo (of an Octopus!)

Deke's Techniques 512: Blending Multiple Shots to Better Frame a Photo (of an Octopus!)

In this fortuitously timed free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke shows you how to blend two photographs in order to create one epic photo with the composition and the color you want.

And the timeliness is twofold, since the subject of this week's project is creating a photo of an entire blue-ringed octopus presented with his rings actually shining out from his body in all their glorious blueness. First, the world has been enchanted this past week with the daring escape of Inky the Octopus from his aquarium in New Zealand. And second, the world will soon be enchanted with a couple of excellent underwater photography courses taught by Deke and our favorite underwater photo instructor, Hergen Spalink.

(In fact, it was just yesterday when they wrapped up recording that I let them escape their booth so Hergen could return to Indonesia. Deke and Herg actually figured out how to turn door handles!)

So anyway, the thing about this blue-ring, despite all his properly awesome octopusitude, he's only about three inches "tall." So finding him was a weeklong quest of our dive trip to Lembeh Strait in Sulawesi. Then, once our intrepid guide Fandy showed us the creature, the trick was for Deke to capture a) the whole thing in one frame, and b) capture it while it's blue rings were on display.

So the trick this week is to let Photoshop meld the two pictures of a) all of Blooey in one frame:

Blue-ringed octopus at rest

and, b) Blooey showing off his irritation at our visit, and by extension, his lovely blue rings.

Blue-ring octopus with a bit of mantle clipped off

In a display of masking and reconstruction, Deke is able to do both in Photoshop:

Blue-ringed octopus from Lembeh Strait, Indonesia

If you're a member of, Deke also has an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how he recreated Blooey's octopus garden, after rotating the original image for a more pleasing composition.

If you're not a member, you can get a free 10-day trial at

Deke's Techniques, bringing you the daring, colorful, fully irritated creatures of the sea! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 510: Applying Knockout Group to a Dynamic Path in Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke takes the powerful atomic symbol he dynamically drew in Illustrator last week and figures out how to make those electrons hollow so they reveal the background behind them.

You might think he'd already done that looking at where we left off last week:

A rotated red atom drawn dynamically in Adobe Illustrator

But, in fact, those "hollow" electrons are actually just filled with the background color. Fine if your background is a solid color, but the minute you change it:

The electrons are still red when you move to a new background.

And while I think the red electrons look cool, Deke and the incomparable Illustrator intellect Mordy Golding got to talking about the puzzle and, being the guys they are, had to solve it.

The answer was hidden in the Opacity setting of the Appearance panel, where a Knockout Group checkbox resides:

The Knockout Group checkbox resides in the Opacity area of the Appearance panel.

And after a few more adjustments (namely involving reducing the fill opacity settings of the circles that live inside the electrons), we finally arrive at Deke's desired goal:

The authentically transparent electrons now reveal their true background.

Thing is, Deke and Mordy, being the inquisitive Illustrator instructors they are, gave themselves yet another challenge: how to apply a drop shadow effect to the entire symbol (including the inside of the now-hollowed-out electrons).

If you're a member of, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he (and Mordy) finally figure the puzzle out using Illustrator's Rasterize effect.

The Rasterize effect in Illustrator allows you to get that drop shadow inside the electrons.

If you're not a member of, and you want nothing more than to hear the saga of a couple of Illustrator nerds work out a problem, then you can get a free 10-day trial by heading to

Deke's Techniques, bringing illumination to Illustrator geeks and those who love them! Read more » 

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