Deke's Techniques

Deke's Techniques 199: Creating a Pattern of Size-Changing Circles in Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 199: Creating a Pattern of Size-Changing Circles in Illustrator

Hello, fellow gangsters. This week is remarkable is three regards: First, I'm actually writing my own Deke's Techniques post. (Colleen wrote the last two. But in all fairness, I helped out.) Second, I just today finished recording the last movie in the final course of my four-part Photoshop video opus for, which will be titled Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Mastery. (Lynda doesn't like us making promises, so I can't assure you that it's coming out any time soon. But it is.) And third, in this week's episode of Deke's Techniques, we're back in Illustrator, which I've really been grooving on lately.

I know, you photographers hate it when I visit Illustrator. But in case you haven't received the memo, I'm a graphic artist and I really like to draw. (Did I mention that photographers are sissies because all they do is point and shoot a camera? No I didn't. Which is a good thing because that would've seriously pissed off a lot of people.)

Oh, man, no wonder I don't write more of these things. I'm a liability to myself.

Anywhom, this week, I show you how to create a free-form pattern of size- and color-changing circles inside Illustrator. Which I do by blending between groups, and then grouping those blends, and then blending between those blended groups. Yes, you have to reformat your brain to follow along.

Fortunately, the only thing you have to "draw" is a circle, create a file that measures 612 by 420 points, then make a 43.5-point circle centered at a coordinate location of X: 44, Y: 42. Yowsa, I love this full-on nerd shit.

After that, well, it's all in the video. Spoiler alert: Here's the final size- and color-changing circle pattern, as created in Adobe Illustrator:

The amazing size- and color-changing circle pattern in Adobe Illustrator

And it's all from a single circle! You can draw a circle, right? Well then quit screwing off with your cameras and join in. After all, when you're done, you'll have a piece of art that's worthy of printing on a shower curtain. Try doing that with your high-resolution Ansel Adams homage. Read more » 

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Creating "Rounded Windows" Op Art from Scratch (and Math) in Photoshop

Greetings, my dekeTical Illusionists. Today, I wanted to share Deke's technique for creating a "rounded windows" style work of Op Art. Like the "Inflated Checkers" piece Deke created in Deke's Techniques 105: "Op Art Experiment 1a: Inflated Checkers in Photoshop," this project requires no stock art, no drawing capability, and no sample file to start with.

(Note if you prefer your instruction in video form, Deke covers this very project in the member exclusive episode Deke's Techniques 190: "Op art experiment 1b: Rounded Windows," which you can find here. Not a member? Go to to sign up for a free week trial.) 

Nope, armed with just Photoshop's Pattern Maker and some clever use of the Transform command, you can create this space-bending Bridget Riley-inspired piece of art by simply following these illustrated steps: Read more » 

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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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