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 587: Customizing a New Document in Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 587: Customizing a New Document in Illustrator

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke abandons his traditional heart-shaped approach to Valentine's Day and illustrates his love for you dekeIntines by showing you how to customize Illustrator's New Document presets.

This practical approach is one of the things that I love best about Deke. I mean Valentine's Day usually just means that all our favorite restaurants are full of stressed out couples who hate going out to dinner when we really haven't noticed what day it is and just want to feed the kids without cooking.

But here at, you get a gift that will last all year, every time you start a new project in Illustrator. The key to unlocking this ability is to know where your preset files live, and then either cutting and pasting this into a new folder window in on the PC:

%AppData%\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator 21 Settings\en_US\x64\New Document Profiles

...or choosing Go > Go to Folder on the Mac and entering this:

~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Adobe Illustrator 21/en_US/New Document Profiles

You'll have to unlock permissions as well, but Deke shows you how. And once you're in there, you can change the artboard name and dimensions, the swatches that will open by default, the document size, the Layers panel thumbnail size (yes!), and more.

And crucially, Deke shows you how to employ this fabulous not-exactly-a-template when you need to use it.

So if you're looking for frivolous (but impeccable and heartfelt) heart shapes, you'll have to go back to Deke's Techniques 042 and 43:

How to draw a heart (in Illustrator) and gloss it up (in Photoshop)

But if you're looking for true Illustrator love, accept this sincere gift from Deke, good any day of the year. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 584: Tinted Custom Arrowheads in Adobe Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 584: Tinted Custom Arrowheads in Adobe Illustrator

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke riffs further on the ability to customize arrowheads in Adobe Illustrator. This time, he shows you how to set up those arrowhead symbols so that you can create tinted versions. So what once looked like this:

A boring arrowhead

Gets tweaked in the file (see last week for instructions) to become these:

Creating tinted custom arrowheads in Illustrator

Which are then employed in a colorized way in your Illustrator document to become this:

Custom tinted arrowheads

In the course of the movie, you'll learn a great deal about how to use the path-wrangling commands in Illustrator to get them to bend your arrowhead shape to your will (or to your vision). It's a customized frenzy of joining, subtracting, pasting, dividing, and ungrouping...with pointy things.

For members of, Deke's got an exclusive movie, where he manipulates the components of those arrowhead symbols even further, by adding the ability to add multiple colors. The trick is to create both solid and tinted forms of the same shape that can be employed together:

Making pairs of custom arrowheads for color customization.

Which eventually yield this when combined together in your document:

Custom multi-colored arrowheads created in Adobe IllustratorAnd of course, it's not Deke if things don't get mildly ridiculous, so a second exclusive movie this week shows you how to make a multi-colored, shaded smiley face "arrowhead." (At what point does it stop being an arrowhead?)

A circle of smileys created by customizing arrowheads.

Note, there's no real reason to do this via arrowhead customization, but hey, it's Deke and there's always some seemingly useless bit of information that will undoubtedly, one day, pay off...if you're really lucky.

If you're not a member of and you want to go down this rabbit hole to the very bottom, you can get a free 10-day trial from with which you can watch all the episodes of Deke's Techniques and while the day away learning new things about Photoshop and Illustrator.

Deke's Techniques, making sure you think outside (and inside) the black triangular arrowheads! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 582: Creating custom arrowheads in Adobe Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 582: Creating custom arrowheads in Adobe Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke digs down into Illustrator to figure out how to make custom arrowheads. The trickiest part of this whole thing is to find the file that you need to edit.

The file  will (at least for today, until Adobe sees fit to change it) be at one of these locations:

  •  Under Windows, bring up a folder window, click in the path field, and type in:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe Illustrator CC 2017\Support Files\Required\Resources\en_US
  • At the Macintosh Finder, choose Go to Folder, and type in:/Applications/Adobe Illustrator CC 2017/Support Files/Resources/en_US

The second trickiest part (OK, THIS IS CURRENTLY THE TRICKIEST PART BECAUSE WE'RE WAITING FOR AN UPDATE TO THE MOVIE) is to unlock the permissions so you can edit the file. On the PC, right-click on the file and choose Properties. On the Mac, right-click and choose Get Info, then give permission to yourself to Read & Write. Ten Deke has created this handy cheat sheet:
Where to unlock the file

Finally, you get to tweak (well, copy and tweak) an existing arrowhead, turn it into a symbol, and employ it on your next arrowless line. Eschewing Deke's rather mundane arrow customizations, I actually made a copy of "Arrow 20" and with a few drags of the corner widgets, turned it into this lovely heart shape, suitable for creating a magic wand that brings love and warmth to the dwellers of dekeTopia. (And everywhere, really, we all could use a magic heart wand these days.)

Changing a boring arrowhead into a heart

If you're a member of, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week, in which he shows you how to turn these "arrowheads" into custom end caps.

Customized endcaps in Adobe Illustrator

If you're not a member of, you can get a free 10-day trial at to check it out.

Deke's Techniques, teaching you how to thwart the system and write your own endings.
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Deke's Techniques 580: Symbols and Spaces in Adobe Illustrator CC 2017

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In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke takes one for the training team and makes sure you know about a new symbols and spaces feature in text inside Adobe Illustrator 2107. Not sexy. But useful. When it works right.

While some of these symbols have been around forever (and had Mac OS level—shortcuts associated with them), PC users can now enjoy analogous keyboard shortcuts for entering their bullets and squiggles without having to resort to entering cryptic numerical codes.

Symbols available by keyboard shortcut in AI CC 2017

Illustrator also now has non-standard spaces you can enter via shortcut or menu as well, including a hair space and a thin space. Check out the video to see not only how it works, but where the limitations are.

Space options in Adobe Illustrator CC 2017

Meanwhile, if that is as boring to you as it is to me (it will undoubtedly be exciting to...someone), then Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you an infinitely more exciting feature update in Illustrator 2017, that of the wacky world of live polygons.

Live polygons in Adobe Illustrator CC 2017

If you want to check out the polygon movie and you're not a member of, you can get a free 10-day trial by signing up at

Deke's Techniques, bringing you the mundane and the exciting in the same week. Read more » 

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