Deke's Techniques 354: Archiving and Enhancing Your Child's Artwork

Archiving Your Kid's Art in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques video, Deke discovers an old piece of artwork from my nine-year-old son (who is now 18), insists that we must save it for posterity, and subsequently scans and enhances it digitally, so that I don't destroy it in a cleaning purge. 

This technique not only creates a compelling visual artifact, it saves you from feeling guilty when you know it's time to purge the refrigerator door of its "current" (read: out-of-date) decor. 

Here is the canvas in question, nine-year-old Wheeler's watercolor-esque (on canvas?) interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night. 

Original scan of child's art

After scanning and cropping, Deke uses Photoshop CC's ability to apply Camera Raw as an editable smart filter to enhance the color and contrast. The result is a digital artwork that doesn't take up room in our already full-to-the-brim storage area. (Hmmm, I wonder if Deke would be willing to archive some of his own early works this way.)

Child art enhanced for archive with Photoshop

For those of you who have forgotten what the original (Vincent's, I mean) looks like (as if you could): 

Original starry night

But I share this because in Deke's member-exclusive video this week, he fuses together the works of both geniuses, using some complex transforming and blending in Photoshop, to create this fun interpretation of both mixed together: 


If you're not a member of and would like to check this exclusive video out, you can get a free week's trail at For the rest of your free week, you can enjoy all the other 350+ Deke's Techniques, plus anything else from the vast lynda library that suits your own childlike creative curiosity.  Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 352: Extracting a Masterpiece from Its Frame

Extract a Masterpiece from Its Frame

In this week's free Deke's Techniques, Deke shows you how to create your very own copy of a classic masterpiece, because, well, photographs of art in the public domain belong to everyone. Or no one. Something like that. Deke's done the research for you on the legal issues; meaning he found this article on paying for the use of photos of public domain artworks. 

The photo in question (shown below)---of 15th century painting St. George and the Dragon by Bernardo Martorell---was shot by Deke during a game of "Masterpiece Bingo" we played at the Art Institute of Chicago. The game consists of finding the paintings that were used in the classic Parker Bros Art Auction Game that we both played as children. 

St. George and the Dragon on the wall at the Art Institute of Chicago

Deke begins this virtual personal restoration with some Camera Raw work: lens correction, chromatic aberration, and white balance fixes. Then he moves to Photoshop, where the new Perspective Crop tool allows him to remove the frame and fix the perspective at the same time. The result can be set to the same known scale and size of the original (which is not listed on the back of my Masterpiece game card so I'll take Deke's word for it), using Photoshop's upsampling abilities to create a "life-size" digital reproduction. (Which you can print, or, of course, resize to include in your blog post.) 

Deke reproduction

If you're a member of, this week's exclusive members-only video shows you how to accomplish this dekeProduction nondestructively, using a smart object and the Free Transform Tool. If you're not a member, you can sign up for a free week's trial at Slaying your digital dragons with help from Deke! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 349: A Low Color Photo with the Camera Raw Filter

Use Camera Raw as a filter to selectively desaturate a color photo.

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke shows you how to apply Camera Raw as a smart filter (twice) to create a low saturation version of a color image. One instance selectively reduces the hues on a color-by-color basis, and the second provides luminance adjustment. The result is the questionably saturated image on the left (I am not a surf nor do I willingly wear purple in the wilderness), becomes the tasteful sepia-like image on the right: 

Before and after colorizing with a Camera Raw filter application

For members of, Deke's got a couple of exclusive movies this week. The first shows how to create a similar effect using Adjustment Layers, which allows you to a) create the effect in Photoshop CS6 and earlier and b) create a file that's about 1/4 the size of the Camera Raw version. 

The second exclusive movie shows you how to use a reversed color lookup table to switch out colors for a different, dramatic stylization:

Colorizing with a reverse color table lookup method

If you're not a member of and would like to check these exclusive movies out, you can get a free week's trial at Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 346: Creating Uniform Hand Drawn Letters in Illustrator

Create uniform hand-drawn letters in Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke shows you how to create some custom hand-drawn letters in Illustrator, and keep them looking like they are part of one related typeface. 

The trick is to repeat certain shapes, namely the letter I, wherever they are appropriate. So, the straight vertical shape of the I also becomes the spine of the F, R, E, and P. The single vertical shape of the I is repeated in four other letters.

Along the way, you'll get to ignite these Illustrator skills:

  • Placing a scanned sketch and making it a template
  • Making the letters uniform with some base lines that are reused for each character
  • Exploiting the nuances of the Paste command options in Illustrator
  • Using the Pathfinder panel to combine the duplicated shapes into letters
  • Using the Blend command to distribute the type character's elements uniformly

If you're a member of, Deke's got two follow-up movies in which he shows you how he creates the R, P, and U (which require special handling due to their curves and holes) and then how he puts this text to use in Photoshop. If you're not a member of, you can get a free week's trail at to check it out. 

Of course, this is the text he used to fire up his project Designs dekeConstructed: Retro Superhero. Your free week of (or your full-fledged membership) will give you access to learning how to make that entire project, too. 
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Deke's Techniques 344: Creating the 3D Ring (to End All Rings, or Something Like That)

dekeSters Unite!

It's Labor Day weekend (OK, it was) here in the States, which means we pay no attention to what Labor Day really means but use it as an opportunity to go camping with our family. So I am literally phoning it in tonight (well, using a network created by my phone, anyway). I'll be back later this week to write a step-by-step tutorial on this awesome technique (as it deserves) for those of you who like words.

In the meantime, enjoy this free video in which Deke creates a 3D ring in Illustrator, and then if you're a member of, you can watch how he engraves it with elvish in this week's exclusive movie. Not a member, get a free week at

See you soon, dekeItariat! Read more » 

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