Deke's Techniques

Deke's Techniques 198: Aligning Variations to Make a Perfect Composite in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 198: Aligning Variations to Make a Perfect Composite in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques video, Deke will show you how to take all those Warhol variations you've learned about last week and combine them into a perfect composite.

What? You say you didn't create a set of Warhol variations? No problem. You could work with one photo apiece of your six children. Or you could start with six different photos of your favorite kid, leaving your other five to wonder where they lost your love. No matter, this technique works with any set of identically sized photos or illustrations.

But for the record, here is the awesome collection of aforementioned Warhol variations to whet your appetite. (Of course, when I asked him to make this graphic, Deke being Deke decided to try yet another variation for the following.)

As you'll see in the video, Deke's technique for making this grid takes place meticulously, yet effectively, and involves three basic tools:  Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 195: Creating a Series of Warhol-Style Variations in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 195: Creating a Series of Warhol-Style Variations in Photoshop

This week's Deke's Techniques plays with variations on the Andy Warhol-esque effect you first saw in last week's episode. In this movie, you'll see how to make serigraph-style riffs that are true to Warhol's original artwork, and then transform them into Photoshop-inspired imagery that Andy never got a chance to dream of. By keeping your elements on separate Photoshop layers, you can creatively recolor and offset each of the image elements to your liking. 

As Deke points out, the key to choosing the colors for your variations is to keep your color palette "garish, high-contrast, and small." You can watch the movie to see how Deke swaps out the colors and effects to make a collection of related but different variations, suitable for posthumous auction. 

But back to that color selection thing. When Deke was explaining this to me, he showed me a trick that the movie doesn't cover. And I feel dekeOmaniacs far and wide will find this tip immensely helpful. Let's say you wanted to set up colors that are derived directly from the original Warhol work. You can actually let Photoshop help you grab those colors. Read on to see how.  Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 194: Creating an Andy Warhol-Style Silkscreen Effect in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 194: Creating a Warhol-Style Silkscreen Effect in Photoshop

I've long had a fascination with simulating Andy Warhol-style serigraphs in Photoshop. Regular readers of this blog may recall dekePod episode 18: "The Andy Warhol Silkscreen Effect" from nearly four years ago.

Frankly, tho, looking back on that effect, it sucks. And at the risk of sounding like a self-righteous, born-again prig, so do everyone else's effects, including those that you can render automatically using Warhol-style device and computer apps. Because here's the thing: even though Warhol was an unapologetic capitalist who believed in exploiting art for money's sake, he wasn't an app or a rote set of instructions. He was an eccentric, oddball, affected, doll-hair-wearing, exceedingly commercial artist. In other words, in the broadest possible sense, Warhol was a human being. You know, like in the way Pluto is a planet.

Which is why for this and the next two weeks, I'm going to focus on that most classic of Warhol techniques, the mass-reproducible, celebrity-obsessed silkscreen/serigraph effect. Today, for example, I'll show you how to convert the portrait shot on the left (not an actual celebrity, but perhaps she deserves to be, also very nicely captured by photographer olly at Fotolia) to the work of highly theoretically high art on the right.

The Andy Warhol silkscreen effect, in Photoshop, before and after

A musician friend of mine once told me, dismissively, that Johann Pachelbel wrote his famous Pachelbel's Canon in five minutes while taking a dump. (This isn't an actual fact. It was just my buddy busting Pachelbel's chops.) Difference is, Andy Dub whipped out his creations in a matter of hours, charged thousands of $$$ for them, and later, after he kicked it, Warhol's stuff dredged up millions in postmortem auctions. (Poor toilet-bound Pachelbel: like all musicians, he could not say the same.)

So I guess my point is this: wanna be an artist and get ahead in life and still have people think you're a legitimate talent? Without wearing doll hair? Well, gosh, dunno if that's possible, but here's a start. Read more » 

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Which Are the Best of Deke's Techniques? Colleen's Exalted Opinion (Plus Your Votes)

My beloved dekeOmaniacs: Of late, I have been asked to weigh in on my favorite of the almost-200 episodes of Deke's Techniques. Now, I pride myself on a) being an excellent judge of useful information, b) having mad curation skills, and c) being notoriously defensive of my own damn opinion. (Yes, I'm aware that these all might be the same thing.) 

But Deke has been asked to speak at a couple of very cool conferences this Spring (the Print and ePub Conference and Adobe MAX), and he's been specifically requested to share the awesome that is Deke's Techniques. So it has come to light that we might want to identify those techniques that would best benefit from a live performance thereof. Thus I bring you: 

What follows are links to my favorite episodes based on the criteria of ingenuity, usefulness, and visual appeal (plus the reality-TV-esque challenge of Deke attempting to explain them in person within his given time limit).

But let's face it, most of you are way further entrenched in day-to-day application of your Photoshop and Illustrator skills. (I, meanwhile, get paid mostly to apply my scathing wit, wordsmithery, curation skillz, and barely suppressed ego.) 

And please, for the love of awesomeness, share your favorites in the comments. Note: You can see the entire collection of Deke's Techniques at, and if your'e not a member you can get a free trial at

To get you started, here are my nominees and reasons for nominating them: Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 191: Building a Universal ISOTYPE Man with Strokes in Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 191: Building a Universal ISOTYPE Man with Strokes in Illustrator

First, don't panic that I've suddenly skipped from episode 105, "Op Art Experiment 1a:Inflated Checkers," all the way up to 191 in a single week. You didn't miss 86 episodes in between. It's just an adjustment in the numbering convention. I previously counted the free videos (the ones posted on this site) and left out the ones that are only available to members of But given that it's a new year and Deke's Techiques is now officially in its third year, I decided to do the rational thing and catch up with the numbering system. And so here we are.

Second, the topic of this week's video: How to create the universal pictographic man symbol in Illustrator. By which I mean, the one below:

The universal symbol/pictograph for man, explained

And the way we'll be creating this man is, dare I say, innovative. Rather than drawing him as a series of path outlines, either tediously with the pen tool (gawd!) or as a collection of rectangles and circles that you combine from the Pathfinder panel, I'll show you how to construct the guy from the Appearance panel by heaping on a series of strokes and a single fill.

Watch the video. And then, if you're in the mood for a step-by-step companion, see Colleen Wheeler's deliciously diagrammed post from yesterday. Many of you will be able to follow the directions just by looking at the figures. Read more » 

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