The Undersea Life of Deke McClelland (and Photoshop)

Today marks the release of an all-new course at Enhancing Underwater Photos with Photoshop. Yes, my dekeQuarium dwellers, you can now go under the sea with Deke and the sharks (as well as jellyfish, angel fish, parrot fish, groupers, octopi, turtles, eels, and, did I mention, sharks?)

Enhancing Underwater Photos with Photoshop

The real star of this undersea world is Photoshop itself. Shooting underwater is tricky, and the equipment can be expensive. But you'll see in this course that Photoshop can sweeten even the simplest of shots, even those taken with the underwater equivalent of a standard point-and-shoot or with a stolen frame from a GoPro video.

And you don't need to be a member of or a seasoned scuba diver to get great tips out of this new course. For instance, the first chapter, "The Moon Jelly," features a creature that lives very near the surface of the sea and the entire chapter is completely unlocked for anyone to watch. Check out this translucent transformation and click on the image to start watching:

Moon jellyfish before and after Photoshop

Each of the free videos in this chapter have a hidden bonus tip, because, after all, Deke's got more Photoshop knowledge than there are fish in the sea. (OK, only a minor exaggeration, but I'm creating a mood here.) Here's what I mean:

In "Selecting a frame from a GoPro movie," you'll not only see how to isolate an individual frame to develop as a still photo in Photoshop, but you'll also see how to convert that image to the correct color space.

In "Correcting contrast with the Overlay blend mode," you'll not only see how an adjustment layer and blend mode can work in powerful tandem, but you'll see how to set your own shortcuts to get at this power more efficiently.

In "Turning the ocean a true Caribbean blue," you'll not only see how to restore what you remember as the correct color, but you'll also see how to get rid of those pesky automatically generated adjustment layer masks.

In "Enhancing clarity with the High Pass filter," you'll not only see how to invent your own Clarity, but you'll also see how to set those big useful thumbnails in the Layers panel.

And, in "Cropping an image that can't be harmed," you'll also see how to add more High Pass filter to provide detail sharpening.

(It's like Deke has provided little shark sucker tips that latch on to his big apex predator advice and come along for the swim.)

There are some other great free movies available as well, each with a useful quick tip for your own underwater adventure shots. Here are a few (with their respective projects in before/after style for your inspiration.)

Selecting the best frame of a fish in motion from the chapter where this queen angel fish gets the royal treatment.

Queen angel fish before and after.

Bring out the the detail in a turtle's eye. Buddy tip: if you can't immediately spot Deke under the water, look for the guy with a GoPro-on-a-stick chasing the turtle.

Turtle before and after

Developing multiple octopi at the same time in Camera Raw, in which Deke works on what may be two different octopi simultaneously. (Or it may have been the same creature seen at the beginning and end of a night snorkel.)

If you're not a member of, and would like to see more of this course, you can sign up for a free 10-day trial at, which will give you access to the chapter on this magnificent creature:

Shark in all its glory

See you under the sea, you gorgeous dekeOpuses! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 396: Put Your Photo Behind Ribbed Glass

Put Your Photo Behind Ribbed Glass in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke places a glamorous portrait behind a ribbed glass effect in Photoshop. It's step one in an homage to Madonna's MDNA album cover, which uses a repeating gradient that you create yourself, which is then applied as a displacement map. In other words, this:

Original photo

Plus this:

80 pixel gradient stripes to use in the ribbed glass effect

Equals this:

The Photoshop-created ribbed glass effect.

If you're a member of, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he riffs off this idea, but with a displacement map created with the Glass filter.

Angled distortion lines with the Glass filter as a displacement map

If you're not a member of and would like to check out this exclusive movie, the entire Deke's Techniques collection, and every other bit of awesome in the library, you can sign up for a free 10-day trial at Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 393: Assembling DICOM Slices into a 3D Image in Photoshop

Assemble DICOM Slices into a 3D Image

This week's free Deke's Techkneeques episode is a classic lemons-to-lemonade story. In attempting to keep up with the younger set, Deke not only sacrificed his knee to keep a volleyball in play, but continued to play for another two hours to prove he wasn't damaged. Which, of course, damaged his old-man knee. Which, in turn, gave him the chance to turn the DICOM files from his MRI into a 3D model of his injured knee. Read more » 

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What does that [insert quasi-enigmatic Photoshop feature] do, anyway?

It's concievable you could work with Photoshop for a considerable amount of time---twenty-five years possibly, as of this week---and still have features that are still a bit of a secret handshake to you. For Photoshop's twenty-fifth birthday, Deke has teamed with to create a series of videos:

What do [mystery Photoshop features] do, anyway?

What does the fox say?

These videos are free this week in honor of Photoshop's 25th birthday. Check out the list and click to shine the light of Deke's insight on any of these curious (but useful) Photoshop features: 

What do
blend modes do, anyway?
Blend modes allow you to mix Photoshop layers together in a variety of ways, allowing you to create compositions, colorizations, and other creations by simply changing how a layer behaves with regard to the layers below it.

What do blend modes do?


What do color modes do, anyway?
Color modes---RGB, CMYK, and Lab---refer to different ways Photoshop handles the color interaction inside of Photoshop.

What do color modes in Photoshop do?


What do channel operations do?
Before there were layers and other means of composition, there were channels. And channel operations, or chops, were the only way to make blended images.


What do healing tools do?
The healing tools are one of the primary weapons used in retouching, so for some, they are virtually synonymous with Photoshop.

What do healing tools do?


What do layer masks do?
Layer masks (and their partner, adjustment layers) allow you to reveal only part of a layer, thus selectively revealing the contents of layers below.

What do layer masks do?


What do sharpening filters do?
Sharpening allows you to increase the crispness of the image to really bring out image detail.

What do sharpening tools do?


What do selection tools do?
Selection tools allow you to choose one element in your photographic image and isolate it from its surroundings.


What do smart objects do?
Smart objects allow you to wrap a protective container around an entire layer of your image, allowing you to abuse it at will whilst keeping the contents safe.

What do smart objects do?

Any other magical, puzzling, or just unfamiliar features you'd like to know more about in Photoshop? Twenty-five years is a long time to collect secret handshakes. Read more » 

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Happy 25th Birthday, Photoshop!

Happy Photoshop Birthday, my dekeItarians. It's a big two-five for the Supreme Pixel Wrangler this year. And our friends at, notably the esteemed documentarian Scott Erickson, have put together some delightful, short retrospectives on the evolution of Photoshop. If you're a fan of Photoshop history, check out these gorgeous videos featuring dekeHimself and some of's oldest and dearest friends:

The Evolution of a Tool Palette
Watch some notable Photoshoppers discuss the impact of some notable PS tools. 

The Rise of Digital Photography
A luminary-rich discussion of Photoshop's photographic evolution.

Rise of Photoshop for photographers

The Desktop Publishing Revolution
Today's digital designerati reflect on the game-changing arrival of Photoshop.

The evolution of Photoshop tools

All three of these movies are free to all. But if you're inspired, there's much more at If you're not already a member, you can get 10 days free by signing up at Read more » 

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