Deke's Techniques 358: Painting Away "Clarity Halos" Caused by Camera Raw

Painting away halos caused by the Clarity setting in Camera Raw

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke not only removes some unattractive artifacts from his overzealous use of the Clarity slider in Camera Raw, but he actually coins a new phrase---clarity halos---to describe said problem. 

Cranking the Clarity in Camera Raw (or Lightroom, for that matter) can give your image some instant pop, but sometimes it leaves behind an unsightly vestige. Because Clarity uses big radius sharpening, if you're applying it to high-contrast areas you might get more than you bargained for, like the white areas in the tree on the left in the image below.

To fix this problem, Deke uses a wily combination of a blue multiplied layer and that useful but elusive (to me, anyway) Layer Style setting known as Underlying Layer. You can see the effective results in the center image below.

Then, of course, because he's Deke, he obsessively uses the tonal brushes (Dodge, Burn, and Sponge) on a specifically merged section of the image so that the sky looks exactly the way he wants it to. That's the appropriately named image on the right below.

Fixing "clarity halos" caused by Camera Raw

For those of you who are members of, there's yet another---dare I say, final---movie on this landscape project, in which Deke selectively sharpens the photo, which---given all the stress he's put it through---takes some subtlety of thought and purpose. If you're not a member of, you can get a free week's trial by signing up at more » 

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Deke's Techniques 356: Developing the Perfect Sunset

Develop the perfect sunset

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke shows you how to pull an amazing sunset photo out of what initially appears to be a drab ordinary landscape. (I assure you, nothing in our general neighborhood of Boulder, Colorado is ordinary.) Check out this before and after action: 

A drab landscape becomes a superb sunset thanks to Camera Raw and Photoshop Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 354: Archiving and Enhancing Your Child's Artwork

Archiving Your Kid's Art in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques video, Deke discovers an old piece of artwork from my nine-year-old son (who is now 18), insists that we must save it for posterity, and subsequently scans and enhances it digitally, so that I don't destroy it in a cleaning purge. 

This technique not only creates a compelling visual artifact, it saves you from feeling guilty when you know it's time to purge the refrigerator door of its "current" (read: out-of-date) decor. 

Here is the canvas in question, nine-year-old Wheeler's watercolor-esque (on canvas?) interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night. 

Original scan of child's art

After scanning and cropping, Deke uses Photoshop CC's ability to apply Camera Raw as an editable smart filter to enhance the color and contrast. The result is a digital artwork that doesn't take up room in our already full-to-the-brim storage area. (Hmmm, I wonder if Deke would be willing to archive some of his own early works this way.)

Child art enhanced for archive with Photoshop

For those of you who have forgotten what the original (Vincent's, I mean) looks like (as if you could): 

Original starry night

But I share this because in Deke's member-exclusive video this week, he fuses together the works of both geniuses, using some complex transforming and blending in Photoshop, to create this fun interpretation of both mixed together: 


If you're not a member of and would like to check this exclusive video out, you can get a free week's trail at For the rest of your free week, you can enjoy all the other 350+ Deke's Techniques, plus anything else from the vast lynda library that suits your own childlike creative curiosity.  Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 352: Extracting a Masterpiece from Its Frame

Extract a Masterpiece from Its Frame

In this week's free Deke's Techniques, Deke shows you how to create your very own copy of a classic masterpiece, because, well, photographs of art in the public domain belong to everyone. Or no one. Something like that. Deke's done the research for you on the legal issues; meaning he found this article on paying for the use of photos of public domain artworks. 

The photo in question (shown below)---of 15th century painting St. George and the Dragon by Bernardo Martorell---was shot by Deke during a game of "Masterpiece Bingo" we played at the Art Institute of Chicago. The game consists of finding the paintings that were used in the classic Parker Bros Art Auction Game that we both played as children. 

St. George and the Dragon on the wall at the Art Institute of Chicago

Deke begins this virtual personal restoration with some Camera Raw work: lens correction, chromatic aberration, and white balance fixes. Then he moves to Photoshop, where the new Perspective Crop tool allows him to remove the frame and fix the perspective at the same time. The result can be set to the same known scale and size of the original (which is not listed on the back of my Masterpiece game card so I'll take Deke's word for it), using Photoshop's upsampling abilities to create a "life-size" digital reproduction. (Which you can print, or, of course, resize to include in your blog post.) 

Deke reproduction

If you're a member of, this week's exclusive members-only video shows you how to accomplish this dekeProduction nondestructively, using a smart object and the Free Transform Tool. If you're not a member, you can sign up for a free week's trial at Slaying your digital dragons with help from Deke! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 349: A Low Color Photo with the Camera Raw Filter

Use Camera Raw as a filter to selectively desaturate a color photo.

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke shows you how to apply Camera Raw as a smart filter (twice) to create a low saturation version of a color image. One instance selectively reduces the hues on a color-by-color basis, and the second provides luminance adjustment. The result is the questionably saturated image on the left (I am not a surf nor do I willingly wear purple in the wilderness), becomes the tasteful sepia-like image on the right: 

Before and after colorizing with a Camera Raw filter application

For members of, Deke's got a couple of exclusive movies this week. The first shows how to create a similar effect using Adjustment Layers, which allows you to a) create the effect in Photoshop CS6 and earlier and b) create a file that's about 1/4 the size of the Camera Raw version. 

The second exclusive movie shows you how to use a reversed color lookup table to switch out colors for a different, dramatic stylization:

Colorizing with a reverse color table lookup method

If you're not a member of and would like to check these exclusive movies out, you can get a free week's trial at Read more » 

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