Photoshop Top 40: The Contest

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I really love your ideas....

I really love your ideas... it awaken the artist within me that have been sleeping for quite sometime now... Thanks a lot!

I love your ideas in this

I love your ideas in this blog and I love the idea of the drop cloths, with one caveat: Since they are heavy,they're going to filter out a lot of light.canvas prints(

No limits in advertising

Here's my entry:

I thing that from the list, my top one used was the Refine Edge command, beeing that I had a lot of elements that were masked, masks created many times using the Selection Calculations. The Brush Tool was used for the cracks in the road and the Dodge and Burn, along with the Liquify command were an integral part for creating the ripped edge of the street. I'm pretty sure that almost all of the top 40 entries were included to some degree in the creation of this promotional banner.

The top speaks for itself...

The top speaks for itself... great job! i ll definitely submit url for more

i cant select right on vanishing point!

hi deke! (i dont know if u read this?!?)

well i was learning in your lynda course about vanishing point but i ve 1 serious doubt!

after finishing create plane tool, the lines are not straight (never in horizontal plane!). so i cant fix correctly the image inside the points!

how do i create straight lines, both horizontal and vertical way?!? horizontal s impossible!

i ve made an example to explain that here:

there are 2 images (its a widescreen TV with another image inside the tv, like projeting an real image on tv). the first picture shows the lines not straight and the another one with the other image inside the tv with wrong horizontal line, not good shape in horizontal line. how to fix that?!?

i didnt find the answer in your lynda course, help me deke!


Tutorials are made to use them


Go to to watch the tutorial of the dekeLine.



Congratulations to all the winners. Marc Gaudet, you said if you won you'd re-do you image using the images you get off Fotolia as your prize. Well your entry is perfect as it is, it's done the job of getting you the prize and I hope you use your Fotolia images on new projects and that we someday get to see them.

If there isn't yet a tutorial on how Michael Brunsfeld did his image, I hope that either he or Deke will do a video demo on how it was done.

I am embarrassed to admit that this competition showed me that I am not as 'nice' a guy as I thought I was. I think it was the very generous prizes that brought out the petty, jealous, greedy part of me. I would go through the other entries and poke holes in them and say why I didn't think they deserved to win. Then I came to one called 'Connected' by rgalka and said "Pah!, sentimental mush... but I like it, I really like it." and then I realized I also liked a lot of the other ones I found fault with!

Once again, congratulations to winners (and the rest of the top twelve).

Hey Mushnoggin... rgalka

Hey Mushnoggin...
rgalka here... "sentimental mush" is exactly what I was going for ;O) after all this was a gift for my friend, the mother in the photo... with her "little girl" who is now 25... I printed this out at 13"x19" and framed and matted it.... When she open it she started crying out so loud that her husband came running in from outside to see what happened! Her happiness really made me happy...

And thanks for eventually liking it ;O)


where are the winners listed?

What am I missing? I don't see the list of the winners and their entries.

On the front page

The winners are announced on the front page of the site.


In the rules, I said I was cutting things off on Tuesday at 5pm Pacific. And fixin' how it's after midnight in that time zone, I reckon I better close things down. I'm not shutting off comments because I want people to be able to write about each other's stuff. (And besides, 13 months from now, the spammers will want to make random posts about how much they love butterflies.) But any entry posted after this comment will be null and void. Which means, love ya 'n' stuff, but no prizes for you. Now comes the fun part where Colleen and I get to choose the winners. Which is going to be tough because there are so many incredibly great submissions! More than three of you deserve to win. But hey, who said life's fair?

delighted but somewhat sad because of some fact

I'm utterly delighted that my submission reached Best12! It's a great honour. Thank you for your appreciation! It was worth the effort :)

Among my personal choices concerning the best submissions were also "Martini" and "Holiday Flowers." I'm glad you've chosen it. Congratulations to the winners!

Although I'm not entirely sure if I should write what I noticed meanwhile... Especially after announcement of the winners. But I thought that disclosure of this information would be fair to the other contestants. It concerns the Grand Prize submission's originality of the idea, which is somewhat similar to Chris Spooner's:

Dear Deke or Colleen - if my comment, especially the lower part is inappropriate in this situation please feel free to delete it. I meant no harm. Thank you!

I'm delighted to see the Chris Spooner tutorial

And it's a safe guess that Martin Dörsch has worked through that tutorial as well. But he's obviously taken the technique and put his own spin on it, peeling the lines apart, tucking the lines into the paper, adding paper blemishes, and introducing dimension to some of the undulating lines. I'm very comfortable calling this an original piece of artwork.

That said, thanks, Lolka, for giving me the heads up on the spoongraphics tutorial. When the stakes are this high, it pays to exercise a little extra vigilance.

ok :)

I believe that it might be seen from different perspective so as I say I wasn't sure whether to write it or not. Actually it was my friend who noticed it after I happily showed him the results and my "humble" work among them :) And then there was this moment when my friend looked and almost shouted: "hey either it's Chris Spooner's submission or stolen!" When he showed me the tutorial it was a little bit disappointing to know the truth... after all where is the "creative ingenuity"?

Thank you Deke for explanation. Eventually I'm glad that I decided to write it. I'm also glad that really truly genuine works took the 2nd and 3rd place!

Ps. Constant vigilance! ;)

I would agree that it is

I would agree that it is similar (fact is that he probably picked up the idea and the techniques from the tutorial) but he took it to the next level. It's all subjective anyway. And every great rock band stole from the Beatles...
Congrats to everyone that won- it makes for good inspiration for next year!

Special Prizes

Dear Deke & Colleen
I would apprecite if you give us a critique for every contribution ..and how to improve our Artwork in the Future ..& what is the technical & Aesthetic strength & weakness with our work... with this concept every one of us will be a winner...!

Thanks in Advance

Good idea but...

I'd love to receive criticism from Deke and Colleen on my comps, but imagine all the time and work needed to accomplish that.

We're all busy as heck at this time of year. I dont suppose it's any different for Deke & Colleen :)

Sure ..

Their Comments is a real honor ...and hope that will be possible

Black Seals ... White Reveals...!

From hope to despair

I honestly want to say something nice and magnanimous about all the excellent entries in this competition. But with each great entry I see, my own attempt seems really pathetic and the lovely prizes at the top of the page seem to grow wings and fly further and further away.

Oh well, it was fun to do and I got to 'meet' fellow Deke fans that I wouldn't have if it weren't for this competition.

Nice to meet you all and well done!

Top 40 contest - Welcome to the Pond

#21 , #26, # 20 Welcome to the Pond (Click the image for high-res.) To see how this image was put together, click here.

Dragons and.. well.. whatever the person is ;)

Ok.. So on this one I started with the person (identity not specified.. mwahaha..) and messed around with what was going on there because, as is obvious from the pose, I wanted to go a bit dramatic on this one. The skin changed and they learned magic and the dragon came out, which was origionally a black and white pen drawing done on paper then scanned, all other adjustments to the reptile were done in photoshop, much the same as the person. On this one I as well used many features and discovered a new love for the burn tool! Which in this case was used for much of the shading. Top 40 features used were: 37, The fill functions 32, The pen tool 31, The brush tool 26, dodge and burn 28, Hue/saturation 27, crop 21, the gradient tool 20, Free transform Along with many, many, MANY more :) Of Dragons and People For high-res, click here.


Hi everyone. Here is Zyta, drinking a lot of juice all over the place!!! For this effect i have used several features from the top 40. Including Feature #17 Layer Effects that come to us today : - Layer Effects - Smart Objet - The Pen Tool - The Gradient Tool - Refine Edge - The Brush Tool - Hue/Saturation Good luck to everyone Orangina For high-res, click here.


This was a mock up poster I put together to promote (in case you cant guess ;} ) Civil War Reenacting! As far as advertising for this hobby goes, its rather scarce and upon hearing about it, other people tend to think that its some kinda nerdy thing.. So this is to show just how awesome and epic it really is!!! Civil War Reenacting For high-res, click here. For this poster I used SEVERAL of the top 40 features. However to name a few specifically, there were: 37, The fill functions 32, The pen tool (Go pen!) 31, The brush tool 28, Hue/saturation 27, crop (Always) 21, the gradient tool 20, Free transform (Yet again.. Always!) So these are basically the obvious ones.. The ones you can look at the picture and say "Thar' eet is!" and know which feature was used :) I can only hope that this info is sufficient for ya.. Ta ta!

Coyote Country

Here it is: Coyote Christmas I started off with two photos I took last week at the River of ClipArt, oops, I mean River of Lights, a holiday light show the city of Albuquerque puts on at the Biopark each year. One photo was of the coyote; the other was of lights that I deliberately blurred. I pasted the coyote in on top of the blurred lights, then *cropped* the image somewhat (there was some extraneous stuff I didn't like so much). There were some lines behind the coyote that I also didn't like too much so, since the background of that layer truly was black, I used the *brush tool* to paint some black over them. I used a *free transform* to flip the coyote horizontally (but not the blurred lights layer) -- I wanted him to walk left to right, the way our eyes move, not vice versa. Then I used a Soft Light blending mode to blend the coyote with the blurred lights (which was the background layer). The image was a bit dull, so I duplicated the coyote layer and used a Screen blending mode to brighten the whole thing up. It lacked contrast so I added an S-curve to a *curves* adjustment layer. Then, perhaps out of habit, I made a new LAB document and pasted a merged layer into that. I selected everything but the lights in my merged image, and used a photo filter adjustment layer to um... twist the colors a bit in the background. Before I put the image on Flickr, I used a couple of *actions* I've made: one resized the image, sharpened it, and added a *vector type* layer and a layer style; the second simply took me into the *save for web* dialog. So in all... I used: the crop tool; the brush tool; free transform; curves; actions; vector type; and save for web & devices.

Here is my Entry - "Lord of the Words"

Link to Entry: Lord of the Words For high-res, click here. For the past several years, I have created original Photoshop composites based on past and current movie posters for a PR client's holiday greeting utilizing their office staff as the movie's characters. Thanks to the GREAT Deke tutotials, this year's holiday greeting, based on "The Lord of the Rings" film, went far smoother, faster, and taught me ways of creating effects I only dreamed of producing. Thanks alot Deke!!!!! The various bits and pieces used were custom digital head-shot photos of the individual staff members, pieces from stock photos for the sword, costumes and hair, and brush effects, type and illustration (created in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop). The "GREAT" new features from the tutorials I used were: - Refine Edge - Calculations - Brush Tool - Liquify - Hue/Saturation - Dodge and Burn - Healing Brush - Gradient Tool - Smart Objects (for the type) Plus a few "effects" I've been using all along and can't wait to see if Deke will show a better, more productive way for me to use.

See, once again

This is an excellent job of recognizing your client. I dabble in images, but I (and even more so, Colleen) major in words.

Again, this has nothing to do with who wins this specific contest. But this specific contest is minor. The bigger contest is life, and here's an example of a submission that understands.

Cat On The Moon

This picture was inspired by my neighbor’s cat that lounges overhead on the wooden railing, completely secure with himself that he would never fall. It would be easier to list what tools I did not use. Still, looking at the list, I have much to learn. The background pic of the clouds was taken from my backyard. I cut out an additional cloud and inserted it over the main backdrop. I blurred and smugged the edges of the lone cloud and used an inner glow to brighten it up. Then I added a moon made from a circle cropping a circle, and add an inner glow to create a sense of dimension. As well as an outer glow for subtle ambiance. Using Calculations (Tool #33), I began the first steps of extracting the cat from the background, brushing in white refinements on the resulting mask. The whiskers posed a significant problem, but Deke’s words rang in my ears: the Pen tool can extract the minutest thing. He said; so I did. Then I warped and liquefied ( tool #29) the cat into a shape that would sit comfortably on the moon. Once in place I turned the cat into a smart object and attempted every which way to use Curves (tool #24) to adjust color, but ended up using Levels instead. I could not even come close to my desired effect with Curves. And I dedicated several hours to this challenge. With the cat safely placed in an envelope, I color corrected , Hue’d and Saturated ,(#28),added a touch of outer glow and inner glow, refined edged (#35) , and finally Smart Sharpened the little guy. Once happy, I copy-merged, reverted upside down, turned the duplicate into a smart object, and proceed to make a reflected water illusion, using glass filter and several gradients. In this last step I had to try the glass effect many times to adjust the ripples to where I liked them. I used actions on the the very last steps of this process, a formula for applying gradient layers over all to help create depth in the water and give a sense of perspective. My last and final step was to first copy-merge all, then select a feathered strip right out of the middle and deleted the rest of the merged copy; then I added a guassian blur to seamlessly blend the water into the sky. Lastly, I will take him to Save for Web (tool #34) and send him over to Dekeland. Moon Cat For high-res, click here. Files used:

Entry for the contest, "Martini" from Safire Studios ;)

Hello all, Here’s my entry for the contest, I call it Martini. Martini (Click the image for high-res.) Yes I am trying to woo the judges by using something they love... but hey, it’s still a cool montage :) There really wasn’t any plan it all just fell into place, I started with the olives and it kind of grew organically from there. once I had the olives I thought it would be cool if the glass shape was made from an olive tree. once I had the Y section done I was looking for something to represent the drink, as I was looking for something, I downloaded a sky shot and wouldn’t you know it, it almost just fit (with a bit of help from free transform it fit perfectly). The light streaming from behind the clouds looked cool, so I added a secon could with the sun behind to make the view you see, helped out by liquify to get the top flat. I added a stump which connected the tree to the ground and then found a field for the tree/glass to be in, after that there was a lot of tweaking of the color, luminosities and contrasts settings and we have this loverly image that makes me thirsty. Now on to which features I used: Feature 37, The Fill Functions: I used this feature to fill masks with black or white Feature 35, Refine Edge: I refined the mask on the tree at one point giving it a slight feather Feature 34, Save for Web: I output the jpegs using this feature Feature 32, The Pen Tool: used it to mask the tree and olives Feature 31, The Brush Tool: much use of this in masking and adding blue to the sky Feature 29, Liquify: the top of the cloud with the sun behind it was not flat but slightly curved which was the perfect job for liquify Feature 28, Hue/Saturation: there are seven hue/sat adjustment layers giving the image the funky uber saturated look Feature 26, Dodge and Burn used this to make the multiple tree branches and the stump mix well Feature 25, Selection Calculations: I know I used this many times but it’s mostly reflex these days Feature 22, The Healing Brush: used the spot healing brush to make some pesky clouds disapear Feature 21, The Gradient Tool: applied to a mask Feature 20, Free Transform: used on just about everything to make it all fit Feature 19, Luminance Blending: used on a dark blue layer that makes the top of the image darker but lets the white clouds shine through Feature 18, Smart Objects: I made the completed tree a smart object in order to apply a smart filer(Gaussian blur), since the lower stump was too sharp. You can view all the files used to make the image here: and if you want, you can download the full PSD here: Also if you like this and want to see more of my work you can visit my site Thanks all Marc Gaudet

Again, another strangely appealing graphic

Doesn't mean it's going to win, but makes me thirsty.

Sometimes students ask me "How can I get a job in this industry?" Same way as in all industries: Research your employers (hopefully, they're as transparent as me) and appeal to their personal tastes.

It really is that simple.

Thanks :)

that makes the effort worth it.

although the camera would still be nice :)