Photoshop

Creating Faux Fireworks against a Synthetic Sky in Photoshop

The unrelenting number of blog posts every July about how to photograph fireworks on the Fourth has finally driven me to seek relief. Nothing against those writers, I've written a few firework photography blurbs myself over the years. But let's face it, not much changes in terms of strategy from year to year. (In a nutshell: tripod, long shutter speed, low ISO.) If you don't think you've heard every tip or trick, by all means google on. I'll be over here celebrating my freedom with Photoshop, as the founding fathers intended. 

Yep, time for something fresh and fun. In my quest for artistic liberty, I found this delightful tutorial from defender of creative freedom Howard Pinsky, which uses text outlines, some tweaking of standard Photoshop brushes, and some Outer Glow layer effects to create a firework text effect. Howard was kind enough to let us share it here, so I could start slacking off for a long holiday weekend: 

But Howard's approach is so infectious, I forgot to start slacking immediately. I wanted to see how these faux fireworks would work  against the synthetic sky I learned to make way back in Deke's Techniques 015: Building a Synthetic Starfield. With a little tweaking for my own handwriting, fake background, and lack of subtlety, I came up with this:

dekeSparkle

Here are a few tips for riffing of Howard's tutorial. (Riffing, the second-most sincere form of flattery after downright imitation).  Read more » 

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Photoshop One-on-One: Fundamentals updated for Photoshop CC (and long live CS6, CS5, CS4, and CS3)

This is the obligatory blog post to let you know Deke has a new course available at lynda.com: Photoshop CC One-on-One Fundamentals, which basically updates Deke's flagship course for the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop. This is the foundational course in the One-on-One series that helps you get your bearings, learning such things as navigation, managing image size, using layers, straightening and cropping, and more. And this course is scheduled to be updated for any relevant updates that happen to arise for Photoshop CC. You can click the image below to check out the table of contents: 

But, we're well aware that not everyone is keen on hopping on the Creative Cloud. (I wracked my brain for a bandwagon + cloud metaphor there, but got nothing.) And so, I want to make sure that anyone who wants a good foundational education in Photoshop knows where to go, regardless of which version they're using.

Turns out, Deke has been doing some form of this course all the way back to Photoshop CS3. To that end, I've made a playlist at lynda.com from which you can choose the version of Fundamentals that you need for your particular version of Photoshop. Because everyone deserves a solid foundation. Click here to check it out, then choose the version you need:

If one of these courses looks right for you, but you're not a member of lynda.com, you can get a free week's trial to check it out at lynda.com/deke. Fundamentals, now in every Photoshop flavor.  Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 234: Creating Volumetric Monster Parts with Photoshop Shape Layers

Making a Monster from Shape Layers

What, you ask, are "volumetric monster parts?" Well, check out this week's free movie and find out. OK, it's really just me replacing the mundane word shapes with the awesome phrase monster parts. And that's basically this week's Deke's Techniques in a nutshell: Deke started with a sketch he created with his son Sam, turned it into shape layers, and then gave the alien dude real volume with the use of deftly applied layer effects.

In other words, this semi-frightening visitor from the absurd mind of McClellands was created solely by entering parametric instructions to Photoshop. (OK, a bit of pen-toolery was required in the transformation from a pencil-and-paper sketch, but the lovely shading of our hero's green complexion was created primarily from entering editable values into Photoshop's Layer Style dialog box. 

The final McClelland alien monster come to life in Photoshop

For instance: Read more » 

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Bigger Works Better with Photoshop CC's Improved Image Size Command

My fellow dekeItarians, when it comes to enlarging images in Photoshop, bigger is better (than it was before). The redesigned Image Size command in Photoshop CC (released yesterday) now has a handy new preview feature and a better algorithm for increasing the size of your image. In this free excerpt from Deke's Photoshop Creative Cloud Updates course at lynda.com, Deke shows off the new preview window which lets you see what you're doing as you do it and demonstrates how the new Preserve Details interpolation method vastly improves the way Photoshop enlarges images. 

When you first evoke the Image Size command in Photoshop CC, you'll immediately notice a difference from previous versions of the interface. The dialog box now sports an actual preview window that lets you see what you're doing as you do it. So, if I open Deke's sample file (a rasterized circle and cross graphic) then choose Image > Image Size, here's what I see:

New Image Size dialog box in Photoshop CC

The image preview comes in very handy for demonstrating the second significant improvement to the Image Size command, a new interpolation method for upsampling called Preserve Details. Read on to see how much better this new method works for enlargements: Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 232: Creating Highly Reflective Sunglasses in Photoshop

Create reflective sunglasses in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke turns ordinary dark sunglasses into uber-cool reflective mirrors in Photoshop. The sunglasses in question happen to be mine, shot on my very own face against the dunes of the White Sands National Monument in Alamagordo, New Mexico. 

My advice, if you're going to let someone use a fairly natural version of your 48-yr-old face shot against an unforgivingly reflective backdrop of white sand dunes in order to make a point, insist that you look this cool in the final result:

Once you properly mask the glasses, the reflection technique is a simple matter of applying a couple of layer styles. Read on to see how Deke made these radical reflections:  Read more » 

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