smart objects

Deke's Techniques 568: Creating a Doctor Strange-Like Mirror World in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 568: Creating a Doctor Strange-Like Mirror World in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, our own strange magician, known as Deke, recreates an effect from the visually stunning Doctor Strange movie.

You can imagine what it's like going to the movies with Deke and having him mentally note all the things he wants to try when he gets back to Photoshop. In this case, it's the twisted mirror world effect of the cityscapes in the film.

Imagery from Doctor Strange

Using smart objects and vector masks, Deke is able to turn this photo of the Hong Kong skyline (courtesy of Dreamstime):

Hong Kong skyline via

Into this bent and refracted world:

Mirror world

If you're a member of and you follow Deke's in exploiting Photoshop's smart objects, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he demonstrates how to swap out your Hong Kong for, say Shanghai...

Impossible higways

or Chicago...

Chicago mirror world

or whichever mirror world you want to create. With your mind (and Photoshop).

If you're not a member, you can get a 10-day trial at with which you can watch this exclusive movie, the entire collection of Deke's Techniques, or anything your visually creative mind can find in the library. 

Deke's Techniques, twisting your world around each week!

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Deke's Techniques 556: Creating Photorealistic Neon in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 556: Creating Photorealistic Neon in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke shows you how to increase the photorealism of last week's Illustrator-created neon sign inside Photoshop.

The technique centers around using the Illustrator file as a smart object (or two) inside Photoshop, thus allowing for much more flexibility than your standard real-world sign made of gas and glass.

To start with, we'll open last week's file as a smart object inside Photoshop: Read more » 

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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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The Brilliance of Smart Objects

Pardon me for my impertinence, but I have an idea. I think the powerfully enabled but abysmally named Smart Objects ought to be called "Magic Wrappers." Because, when you wrap a layer in a Smart Object, you can apply filters and other "destructive" edits to it without harm. Not to mention, change your mind later.

The Smart Object lets you adjust edits like Shadows/Highlights, Gaussian Blur, and even Puppet Warp as many times as you like without starting from scratch. Just double-click an item in the Layers panel to pick up where you left off. That alone makes these wonderful wrappers invaluable. But there's a lot more that you can do with them, as I'm about to explain.

smart object lead image

Today's tip hails from Chapter 29, "The Power of Smart Objects," from the video course Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery on Read more » 

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Martini Hour 094, In Which We Hypocritically Mock Some of Adobe's Odd Feature Names

What's in a name? Does a feature that goes by any other name still function as well? This week we're enjoying making fun of the names of Adobe features that don't really make any sense. And who are we to complain? "Martini Hour" is never really an hour and this week we're drinking Manhattans. So join us on this vaguely hypocritical but otherwise entertaining discussion of goofy names for otherwise highly useful (for the most part) set of features in Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Like Martini Hour, you shouldn't be scared off by the names. 

Martini Hour 094: Adobe's strangely named features

Here is a list of cryptically, oxymoronically, or just ridiculously named features that we enjoy making fun of this week: Read more » 

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