Photoshop

dekeUpdate: 3D Printing with Photoshop CC

One of the most talked about and technologically significant updates to Photoshop Creative Cloud last week was the addition of 3D printing support. Now, I don't necessarily find 3D printing to be as significant to my day-to-day Photoshop experience as say, linked smart objects, but I get that this is the future calling. And although I've resisted embracing 3D in general (mostly because I haven't mastered 2D yet), I understand that actually creating these objects in real 3D space (otherwise known as reality) has vast potential for our long-term daily lives.

And, I can no longer argue that these Photoshop creations are just 2D representations of 3D objects, because once you "print" in 3D, the Z-axis gets real. I know, at an early age, I was exposed to Carl Sagan's explanation that the "plexiglass cube-within-a-cube I am holding is really just the 3D shadow of a 4D tesseract." But I've also been exposed to the ideas and observations of another modern thinker, Deke McClelland.

And the good folks at lynda.com have seen fit to unlock Deke's new movie about 3D printing in Photoshop that lives inside his Photoshop Creative Cloud Update course, so you too, can hear about the cosmos of printing from Deke. Click the image below to watch it at lynda.com:

And if you'd like to get Deke's insights into the workings and usefulness of the other new Photoshop features, you can get a free week's trial at lynda.com by going to lynda.com/deke and signing up. A week will give you enough time to learn about the new Perspective Warp command, the aforementioned linked smart objects, and more. Plus the rest of the week to explore Deke's Techniques, Deke's One-on-One courses, and the vast library of other lynda.com offerings. The Photoshop future is here. And it's got a z-axis.  Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 285: Making a Scalable Avatar in Illustrator

Make a Scalable Avatar in Adobe Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke takes the photo-inspired paths he drew in Photoshop last week, brings them into Illustrator, and completes his scalable, vector-based homage to my cartoon self. He also leaves me a little happier this week, as you can see from the "Three Faces of Colleen" progression below. 

But you don't need an avatar of me, you say. (Wait, why would you need an avatar of me?) Fear not, the advice you can glean while watching Deke create Cartoon Colleen can be applied to your own photo-to-avatar transformation, as well. In this video, you'll see how to take the paths we traced last week and combine, join, cut, erase, bend, and otherwise adjust them into shape.

Along the way, you'll also acquire such pearls of wisdom as: "Best to draw the avatar bald, so you can update its hairstyle as needed." Or: "If you don't know the person well, you may want to run it by them before posting to Facebook." Since variations on this image have been all over Deke's Facebook page since he started working on it, we can assume he doesn't put me in that category. 

At the end of this exercise, you'll see how Deke created the uniform black-and-white strokes that make up the structure of my alter-ego. If you're a member of lynda.com, you can watch the exclusive movie this week that shows you how he added the shading and blue (?) hair. (Is Deke trying to tell me something?) 

Not a member? You can get a free week's trial at lynda.com/deke. Then you can scour the entire collection of Deke's Techniques looking for other pixel-based experiments I've been subject to.  Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 284: Tracing a Photo in Photoshop to Create an Avatar

Trace a Photo in Photoshop to Create an Avatar

First of all, Deke, is it really fair to make someone watch a video, featuring a photo of themselves on vacation, on the first day back at work? OK, I admit, it's often hard to distinguish between "vacation" and "work" here in the dekeOpolis. And also, this particular exercise was done in the service of creating a cool avatar for yours truly. 

You can use what you're about to see in this week's episode of Deke's Techniques to create your own avatar, rendering yourself cartoonishly looking off into your horizon of choice. In the video, Deke uses the pen tool to trace around my profile in order to create paths that he'll import to Illustrator in next week's episode. 

For me, sometimes, watching people draw is akin to watching paint dry, only without the mind-altering fumes. But watching a master of the pen tool work is really illustrative for those of us who suffer from xenophobia. Listening to Deke narrate where he's clicking and how (with various modifier keys) to trace my face is actually quite useful. 

Here's the photograph he starts with: 

Which, when he's done working his pen tool magic, becomes this outline:

Tracing a photo with the pen tool in Photoshop

Pretty close, but not enough to garner me swarms of Twitter followers. Next week, he'll use these paths in Illustrator to finish the project. Here's a sneak peek at the final result:

An avatar created from a photograph.

See you next week in cartoon form! Read more » 

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Friday Fundamentals: Understanding Selections and Layers in Photoshop

Did you ever start a class feeling like everyone else had been meeting for a couple weeks behind your back? Starting out with Photoshop gave me flashbacks to freshman calculus where the engineering students in the front row constantly jumped out of their seats to correct the flustered grad student T.A. 

If you're just starting with Photoshop (I mean just starting) or if you've managed to eek out projects, but feel like you're getting by with luck and guessing, then this Friday Fundamentals installment is for you. It features a video from Deke's new course at lynda.com, Introducing Photoshop, called "Understanding selections and layers." And it's chock full of basic Photoshop concepts that a beginner might overlook in their overwhelmed-ness:

In this movie, you'll get a quick background on, well, the Background (which is technically not a layer), actual layers, and how to make a simple selection (the blue ball-face above) and stash it on a layer. These are all critical concepts to understand, especially when you're using Photoshop in the service of graphical design. Try it out. It may answer those questions you missed when we all secretly got together without you during the summer. 

If you'd like to see more of the course, or recommend it to a friend who might benefit, you can get a free week's trial at lynda.com/dekeRead more » 

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HDR + ACR in Photoshop CC

My guess is that many of you already appreciate the wonders of HDR. But just in case, here's the idea: Armed with a digital camera, you capture multiple exposures of a single scene. (Most commonly, you set your DSLR to rapid-capture three or more "bracketed" shots, which can be accomplished handheld or with the aid of a tripod. Check your manual.) Then you use some form of software to merge the exposures into an astonishing work of highly detailed imagery.

If you live and breathe HDR, the best tool is a program called Photomatix Pro from HDRsoft. It costs $99. Which is only fitting this time of year. You deserve a gift, am I right? Yes, I'm right.

Meanwhile, for you Adobe enthusiasts, there's Photoshop CC. It offers the ability to merge multiple exposures into a whopping 32-bit-per-channel composite and then develop the result in ACR, better known as Camera Raw. Photoshop CC costs considerably more than Photomatix. But, of course, Photoshop has other jobs to do.

Here's an example of HDR in Photoshop CC:

Skyline Arch in Photoshop HDR

That first image is the initial HDR merge of five exposures that I caught of Skyline Arch (high atop Arches National Park, Utah). The second is my development of the 32-bit-per-channel image in Camera Raw. In the third image, we start tripping with Motion Blur set to the Luminosity mode. And fourth, the best use for Radial Blur I've come up with in years, set to 70% opacity.

The overhead is huge. A typical 32-bit 22-megapixel ACR-HDR composite weighs in at close to 1GB. (Seriously wtf?!) But what you can do, you would not believe.

I reveal all in next week's Deke's Techniques. Read more » 

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