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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For Photoshop Shortcut Connoisseurs Everywhere: Deke's Custom dekeKeys for Photoshop CS6

Happy Friday, dekeItarians. Earlier in the week, I tried to convince the shortcut-averse among us---via charming anecdotes, empathy, and a smidgeon of mind control---to try out a few Photoshop shortcuts. But I know not everyone needs convincing with regard to the awesomeness of shortcuts.

For those of you who already love Photoshop shortcuts (for instance, Vectorgeek and SimonH74), today's post is about how to download, install, and enjoy Deke's custom shortcuts called dekeKeys for Photoshop CS6.And now for a message from our (my) sponsor, (aka The Deke Himself): 

The reason [I created custom keyboard shortcuts, aka dekeKeys]: You can work inside Photoshop more quickly and fluidly if you can access the most essential commands by pressing a few keys, as opposed to wasting precious (not to mention tedious) time hunting through menus. With dekeKeys, you can work as fast as you can think.

We'll make these keyboard shortcuts available for free to members of dekeOnline. (If you're not yet a member, it costs nothing and it's easy. Just try to follow past the jump and you'll be taken to the instructions.) For the rest of you, read on to find out how to get dekeKeys free, install them, and enjoy their efficiency engendering power:  Read more » 

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Another Path to Deke's Heart: Illustrator Fills and Strokes

For those of you who would love to have a nice new heart shape ready for your Valentine's Day projects, here are some lavishly step-by-step instructions for making the heart from yesterday's Deke's Techniques without those annoying lovebirds poking their perfectly round heads into my tutorial. 

Because frankly, Valentine's Day can be annoying enough without those smug, bald, fashion-challenged, yet otherwise expressionless creatures interfering. (Those two hand-holding automatons might be the universal symbol for Everything I Find to Be Wrong with Valentine's Day.) No, here are the results of my delightfully people-free expression of symmetry: 

Once again, there are no drawing skills required, so for those of you who feel about the pen tool the way I feel about Valentine's Day---i.e. something best avoided (which come to think of it is how I feel about the pen tool as well)---this is for you. Read on to see how it's done: Read more » 

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Getting Behind It: Deke and the Photoshop Curves Command

For those of you who've seen Deke's awesome live-action video explaining the Photoshop Curves command, check out the short video above from our good friend Mordy Golding, in which Mordy captures some of the green screen magic behind-the-scenes in the recording studio. 

If you haven't seen Deke's video, go watch it! Deke actually climbs inside a Photoshop feature. It's like his dream is coming true, and you reap the benefits of a very illustrative explanation of a very complex Photoshop feature: Curves.  

The Photoshop Curves command is the most complex of the luminance controls in Photoshop, meaning---if you can brave it---you'll get fine control over shadows, highlights, midtones, quarter-tones, three-eighth tones, (you get the picture tones) in your image. But using Curves takes some foreknowledge, which is why Deke made the first four movies of the Curves chapter (aka Chapter 26) in his Photoshop CS6 One-on-One course free to all. (The folk at actually unlock 10 percent of every course, and we asked them to spend a concentrated amount of that 10 percent on "unlocking" the Curves feature.)

When should you intrepidly wander into the land of Curves? Basically, when the job at hand is too much for Brightness/Contrast or the Levels command. Read on to see what I mean:  Read more » 

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Turning Universal Woman into Universal Martini, or Happy Hour Courtesy of Illustrator's Transform Effect

My dear dekeOphiles, it's Friday. And to celebrate a week of posts dedicated to creating universal symbols in Illustrator, I've decided to turn Wednesday's Universal Woman into a Universal Martini (which happens to be the universal symbol for finding a place to spend Happy Hour). Just as we created a woman from a man, so too will we create a martini from a woman. It's the circle of life. 

At this point, if you've followed this week's other tutorials (or watched this week's Deke's Techniques episodes), you have an inkling of how powerful, and frankly--entertaining---Illustrator's Transform Effect can be for creating these pared-down symbols of importance. I actually came up with this project as I was writing the Universal Woman tutorial. Or, at least, as I was thinking about writing it while on a plane. Which may have something to do with my thinking of cocktails at the time. Which---in turn---may have something to do with why I was only thinking about writing, and not actually writing it. 

But the point, if I have one, is that spending a week doing hands-on projects with the Transform Effect has not only made me uncharacteristically confident with Illustrator (or at least one feature of Illustrator), but it's also awakened that part of my brain that sees things with a creative, open mind. That may be even more important than actually having handy universal symbols for anything.

So, for both your Happy Hour and your Creative Spirit needs, here are the steps: Read more » 

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