Deke's Techniques

Deke's Techniques 288: Upsampling a Layered Composition in Photoshop

Upsampling a Layered Composition in Photoshop

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke explains the fine art of upsampling a layered composition. When you make an image larger in this way, you're instructing Photoshop to make new pixels. And how those new pixels are created will effect the quality of your new, larger image. 

Although the new Image Size dialog box has a wonderful resizable preview window---which will give you an exact prediction for upsampling a simple flat photograph---the preview contained therein is going to be wildly inaccurate for a layered file with myriad types of layers. 

This misleading preview happens because Photoshop "mentally" flattens the image before calculating the preview, whereas, in the real upsampling process each individual layer is considered differently. 

In this movie, Deke explains how each of these layers responds to upsampling, and how to get around some of the effects: 

Rebuilding the horizontal pattern after upsampling is covered in this week's exclusive movie all on its own. If you aren't a member of, you can get a free week's trial to check it out---and all the rest of Deke's Techniques---at  Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 269: Cleaning Up a Crummy Product Shot

Cleaning up a Crummy Product Shot

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke cleans up the flaws in a product shot so that it's fit for say, selling his toys on eBay. Not that he would ever part with this particular set of products (his GoPro, the fancy rig he uses to attach it to his bicycle wheel, and the sporty sunglasses he reserves for looking cool whilst cycling into work.) 

But the techniques he demonstrates in the video might come in handy for your own projects, like taking documenting photographs for insurance purposes, or say, selling your partner's toys on eBay. Check out the results: 

A product shot of the GoPro before and after cleaning up.

The process starts with making some tonal adjustments and applying Noise Reduction in ACR. Then, to make the pristine grey background, this is one of those rare times when a Photoshop Wizard of Deke's stature will actually condone the use of the magic wand. Magic Wand, yes, I said Magic Wand. Set to the default. It's like the justifiably often-maligned tool was made for this purpose.  

Finally, Deke sharpens the image so your audience can appreciate the detail of Grandma's treasured cat statue collection. 

If you need further refinement, like fixing the composition of the collection in your product shot, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week for members of If you're not a member, you can get a free week's trial at more » 

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Deke's Techniques 253: Drawing the Pen Tool Icon in Illustrator Without Using the Pen Tool

Drawing the Pen Tool Icon without the Pen Tool

Anyone who knows me knows I approve of any drawing exercise that eschews the Pen tool. It's not that I don't appreciate the power of a finely crafted Bezier curve, it's just that I'm completely inept at using the tool used to create them in Adobe Illustrator. 

That's why this week's free Deke's Techniques episode is particularly, delightfully, useful to me. Using a variety of Illustrator features, none of which are the Pen tool itself, Deke reveals the variety of implements he used to create the Pen tool icon in last week's useful graphic, which, ironically, showed you how to understand the various states of the Pen tool:

For the record, I highly approve of irony. (By the way, if you love the Pen tool, or wish you loved it, or have always been slightly confused by what it's trying to tell you, you can actually download this very chart from last week's post. )

The icon takes shape via a combination of the Line Segment tool, the Reflect tool, the Round Corners option, the Rotate tool, and, of course, the Transform command (for the itinerant asterisk that accompanies the Pen tool cursor in its native state.) Even if you're not interested in the Pen tool per se, this exercise will empower you with an entire toolset at the ready for the next iconic rendering you might attempt.  Read more » 

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Deke's Technique 220: Creating a Distinctive 2D Video Game Character in Illustrator

Deke's Technique 220: Creating a Distinctive 2D Video Game Character in Illustrator

In last week's episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke shared the prosaic, but presumably helpful, process of extending your Illustrator artwork all the way to the bleed. In the course of that video, however, he inadvertently introduced the world to his distractingly compelling character, the Necrowalrus, who happened to be the subject of the artwork in question. 

Just how attention-grabbing was the tangential introduction of Deke's elusive non-existent video game character? Well, I think this tweet says is all:  

So this week, Deke reveals how to draw some key components of his delightful game-changing Necrowalrus in Illustrator. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 216: Making a Danger Sign Even More Dangerous

Danger and more danger

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke takes a delightfully narrative but not nearly threatening enough warning sign, and adds a sharp-toothed incentive to stay off the frigging cliffs. 

The Cliffs of Moher on Ireland's west coast receive something in the vicinity of one million visitors a year from all over the world. Thus, they need graphically narrative signs that warn people away from the friable edges. But, of course, intrepid photographers ignore those signs on occasion. And Deke, being one of those sign-scoffers decided to use the power of Photoshop to enhance the perceived danger portrayed in the sign. Like this: 

Now, lest you think this is just Deke being Deke (which, it is, on so many levels; I can tell you, I climbed over more than one "No Trespassing" sign, written in English, during our visit to the Cliffs, in order to retrieve him and his fancy camera before they slid off the muddy edge).

But nonetheless, I will also tell you that this particular technique, whilst frivolous and cartoon shark-infested on the surface, nonetheless does a terrific job of showing how to create masks, manage paths, and master the Transform command options. If you follow along, you may just find yourself doing something actually useful with this knowledge down the line. And if not, you're well set to create a humorous warning sign from your next set of vacation photos. 

And for members of, Deke's got an exclusive episode this week as well, in which he shows you how to add that extra bit of texture to your shark (or whatever danger bonus you create) that really sells it as an original bit of sign. If you're not a member of, you can get a free week's trial to check it out at more » 

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