Deke's Techniques 489: Customize Your PixelSquid Art in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 489: Customize Your PixelSquid Art in Photoshop

My daring dekeOsaruses, in this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke takes the 3D dinosaur model from PixelSquid that he showed you last week, and sets it down in a more appropriate atmosphere.

To adroitly acclimate him to his new environment, (is it really a "him," it's hard to tell with dinosaur models), Deke uses built-in lighting layers and layer masks---provided with the file when you download it from PixelSquid---to accurately adjust the creature by using Photoshop layer effects.

The result is that this:

PixelSquid 3D dinosaur before Photoshop tweaking

Becomes this:

PixelSquid 3D dinosaur after Photoshop tweaking

All accomplished by simply adjusting color and lighting that's already built into the file by our friends at PixelSquid, who have provided no less than four different adjustable layers of light.

In other words, you get to do the fun part, because the tedious part has already been done. And playing with dinosaurs in Photoshop should be fun. (And at the moment, free as well.)

If you're a member of, Deke's got two exclusive movies this week. (If you're not a member, you can get 10 free days at In the first, Deke uses built-in masks to brighten the eyes and teeth of the creature.

Whitening the eyes and teeth of a 3D dino from PixelSquid

And in the second, he applies a blur to create depth-of-field, also facilitated by features PixelSquid has built into the file.

Creating depth of field around a 3D dinosaur

Deke's Techniques, where you can play with Photoshop and dinosaurs at the same time! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 488: Introducing PixelSquid 3D for 2D Designers

Deke's Techniques 488: Introducing PixelSquid 3D for 2D Designers

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke introduces you to a new extension for Photoshop known as (the delightfully cephalopodic) PixelSquid. It's designed to give you adjustable 3D objects for your 2D projects.
Four views of the same object from PixelSquid

Basically, you can choose your object from the PixelSquid catalog---like this Deinonychus here---then drag it around by the tail (or any other part of the image) to see it from different angles. 

Move the object around to your desired angle in PixelSquid.

Once you get the view you like (complete with transparent shadow), you can either download it as a layered PSD file or just have it added to your PixelSquid panel in Photoshop, where it will magically appear (once you refresh).

From there you can place, transform, change the angle, render out the layers, and modify the layers to suit your creative needs. Next week, in fact, Deke will show you how he modified this creature to make his own Jurassic dekeWorld.

PixelSquid is in its early squidlet form right now, so it's free to sign up and download the extension. Their installation instructions are clear and simple. And if you check out, you can see what Deke's been accumulating for future projects in his lightbox.

Deke's PixelSquid lightbox

(If anyone can make an interesting graphic out of a rubber band ball, a pint of beer, and a scorpion, it's Deke---with the help of PixelSquid, of course.)

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Deke's Techniques 486: Create High-Resolution Ice Type in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 486: Create High-Resolution Ice Type in Photoshop

In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques movie, Deke celebrates the fifth anniversary of his weekly program by revisiting the very first episode—Creating Ice Type in Photoshop—but with a totally modern twist...making it high resolution (and CC friendly).

The technique itself still relies on the cool, clever use of smart objects, layer effects, and the application of the totally retro Wind filter in Photoshop. Thing is, although it’s 2016, the Wind filter is still so very much a stone age digital effect so we have to trick it into blowing downward to make icicles and apply it four times to reach a modern resolution. But the result is as fabulous as ever:

Chilly icy type treatment in Photoshop

Remember, all you need to create this fabulous frozen treat is some standard type, a blue background (Deke uses this frosty photo from, and Photoshop. And if you have a membership to, you can see how to edit this text to customize your own icy imagination in this week's exclusive movie.

Of course, if you’re not a member, you can get a free 10-day trial at by heading to That way you can update your ice type skills, as well as start in on all your other Photoshop and Illustrator resolutions for 2016.

Deke’s Techniques, bringing you ice and magic for five years, almost 500 episodes...and counting! Happy New Year, my darling dekeCicles! Read more » 

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A Visit from Saint Deke-O-Las

My beloved dekeFolk: Tonight seemed appropriate to share a poem I wrote for an Ignite presentation I performed at the Photoshop Conference last month. Wishing you peace and poetry in 2016.

Here goes:

Deke in the booth

My story tonight, is about my friend Deke.
Who posts a new helpful technique every week.
There are almost five hundred, but due to short time
I will give you one preview; and do it in rhyme.

Geisel and Moore

OK, everyone’s heard of iambic pentameter.
But my favorite verse? Anapestic tetrameter.
And though it sounds stuffy, it’s never a bore,
As when wielded by genius like Geisel and Moore.


Now, for Deke, Halloween is the best time of year,
But this season has miracles honored and dear:
Christmas or Haunnukah, really don’t care,
Deke’s magic is make a boy fly through the air.
Tomas on the RugSo, it turns out my charming young nephew Tomas
Likes to think that he’s gravity’s three-foot-six boss.
So he lies on the floor as if it were a wall,
And pretends he’s omnipotent, ruler of all.
Clouds from fotoliaWe needed some clouds in which Tommy could soar,
And this fantasy photo has drama galore.
If you’re looking for stock, here’s a good place to seek,
About which you can learn at fotolia/deke.

Quick SelectionSo we’ll place the young hero, and size him quite nicely.
The next step involves Quick Selection precisely.
It’s the best way to start this meticulous task
Of extracting the boy from the rug with a mask.
Refine EdgeQuick Selection is fine for initial selection.
But in order to reach Deke’s true masking perfection,
We will need Refine Edge to provide some enhancement.
Before we move on to some hands-on advancement.
Four photoshop toolsNow, this mask is not simple, not something to rush.
Deke applies some precision with lasso and brush.
A polygonal lasso to capture Tom’s hair,
Which is given a Smudge so it blends with the air.
MaskThe mask by itself is a beautiful sight.
The concealed parts are black; the revealed bits are white.
Press Option and click to see only the mask.
In Windows press Alt to complete the same task.
Navel to noseFrom the mask we return to the RGB view,
To see how the boy appears set on the blue.
And now that he’s carefully captured those toes,
Deke will measure the angle from navel to nose.
Blurry boy After stashing him safely inside a smart object,
Deke’s got himself set for the rest of the... probject.
Some motion blur stretched to five hundred or so,
And the angle we measured a minute ago.
Gradient maskOf course we still want to see Tommy’s cute smile,
And a gradient mask will reveal it in style.
Here’s a clue to the question I often did ask:
There’s finally a use for that Smart Filter mask.
Gradient overlayA gradient overlay, foreground of white,
Covers Tommy’s cute toes with a quick blast of light.
You can drag it around, before clicking OK
To ensure the light lands where you want it to stay.
Outer glowAfter duping that blast to the layer below,
Deke also applies a bright orange outer glow.
A Linear Dodge blend is really quite nifty.
And a size value set to two-hundred-and-fifty.
Clouds masked with Refine EdgeIn order to tuck Tommy’s toes ‘neath the clouds,
Deke quick-selects puffs to become the feet’s shrouds.
And so here are the clouds as the edge is refined.
This will give us a lay'r to put Tom’s toes behind.
Tommy in the cloudsDeke creates a new Tom with Control-Alt-Click layer,
Or Command-Option-click if it’s Mac that you flavor.
First group all the stuff, then just finish the task
By Alt/Option clicking a New Layer Mask.
BlastA quick blob of white at the foot of his feet.
After dabbing some blue, the effect is complete.
He bursts from the clouds, with his Superboy movement.
In a six-year-old’s mind, this is quite an improvement.
The final boy through the cloudsSo, with smart objects, motion blur, layers, and masking,
Comes this holiday miracle yours for the asking.
Away goes the carpet, replaced with the sky;
In Photoshop little boys learn they can fly.
Merry PhotoshopThis technique first appeared the fifteenth of December.
(We took a week off, and we hope you remember.)
Now let me exclaim, as we fade out of sight,
Merry Photoshop all, and to all a goodnight. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 483: Making a Boy Fly through the Air in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 483: Making a Boy Fly through the Air in Photoshop

Greetings my dekeQuarians from North Sulawesi, Indonesia, where there is a decided lack of constant Holiday music and the weather is always about 85°.

But no worries, we're headed back to the snow and seasonal sentiment onslaught tomorrow. And in the meantime, this week's free Deke's Techniques features a wonderful tale of a Photoshop holiday miracle. And to make it extra special, Deke tells the story in Clement C Moore-inspired verse.

In this week's project, you'll see how Deke takes my nephew Tomas---as captured pretending to fly on his grandmother's living room carpet...

Tommy on the carpet

and sets him against this dramatic sky...

Dramatic clouds from

to make this composition, worthy of its six-year-old superhero subject:

Boy flies through the clouds courtesy of Photoshop

Along the way, you'll see how Deke creates the mask that moves Tommy from the floor to the clouds. And if you're a member of, Deke's got two follow up movies in which he creates the blast trails with motion blur and masks the legs into the clouds with the Quick selection tool. If you're not yet a member, you can get a free 10-day trial by signing up at

Merry Photoshop, all! Hope you're flying free in this holiday season. Read more » 

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