Sixties Space Siren

dekePod Episode 009: Well, kids, we did it. If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, this episode of dekePod is your answer. Because honestly, for the nation's sake, for the world's sake, it's time to reflect. Take stock. Even celebrate. Time to rejoice in our hopeful future while at the same time glorify our romantic past. And what better way to do that than to honor Iowa's most famous native son, Captain James T. Kirk of the Startship Enterprise? With an awesome, not to mention advanced, technique. Here's the official marketing description:

If you’ve seen an episode of the original Star Trek, you’re no doubt familiar with the show’s main character, Captain Kirk, and his eternal blurry-eyed fascination with women. Every time he came in sight of a love interest, she appeared to him in diffused focus. In this episode of dekePod, Deke shows how you can achieve a nearly identical effect in Photoshop with such flattering results that you yourself could win the captain’s affections.

Keep ears and eyes out for references to Spock, Laura Bush, Nichelle Nichols, Ronald Reagan, Nurse Chapel, Hillary Clinton, Walter Koenig (twice!), Sarah Palin, and George Takei. It's our most star-studded episode ever.

If you're interested in downloading this video, try one of these links:

  • For a high-quality QuickTime movie, right-click here and choose Save Target or Download Link or the equivalent.
  • For an M4V file that you can play on an iPod, right-click here and choose one of those same commands.
  • Or you can subscribe to dekePod via RSS or iTunes.

You can also check out the page at my book publisher O'Reilly Media.

Fun fact: James T. Kirk hails from the town of Riverside in Washington County, which went to Senator McCain by a narrow margin of 5228 votes to 5140. Gosh, kinda has me wondering: How do you think Kirk would have voted?

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Hi Deke, I have recently started playing around with HDR images. The big issue for me is that although this technique offers a lot of potential the amount of "how to" information on this subject is, well, limited. I have one book on the subject that gives a good coverage but repeats many of the technique cliche's that have now been driven from my own visual toolkit since I started watching your videos on By this I mean that the image editing techniques used don't have anything like the impact that your own apporach produces. So the question is can you recommend any good sources for HDR related information or are you likley to do a good HDR video tutorial any time soon? RapidBill - NZ

The two guys for HDR

At the present moment in time are Colin Smith and Ben Willmore. They're both taking the topic very seriously. Or geeking out on it. Depends on your perspective. Colin is at Ben is at


Well, to all I know adobe never creates all shortcuts. They know that most pros will change them to their liking and the rest of us is going to be happy with basic setup. So we actually see only 40-50% of all menus as shortcut the rest is up to us. I know that example given is people using painter and PS for preparation of the image for painting. Why to learn different shortcuts if you can make them all same in both applications, save them and just use them with new software version that's released. Also for those with Cintiqs and Wacoms, while you we use express keys you are going to assign similar shortcuts to perform same task rather than to specify each application separately, so why not to have them all the same? Of course those that are same.

Thanks for the explanation

I thought I was going insane (although that is still debatable at the moment). So in other words…. It doesn’t matter what you set your camera up to? You might as well just shoot in whatever mode and then just adjust in Bridge? Funny though to think that Bridge looked to ignore the ISO and shutter speed as well cause that is what made my pictures darker and more saturated in the firs place; which got change in Bridge once I clicked on them. Is there any work around to that? I got access to all the courses on and can look into that but like to know where I should start.  Thanks for all the info; that was very helpful.

Clear Up “Copy Merged”

Deke, I was excited to learn about “Copy Merged” from this dekepod but I’m a bit confused. Can you clarify when “Copy Merged” is and isn’t available? It seems to pretty much be unavailable. What am I missing? Roger Head Camp Counselor Camp Photoshop

Copy Merged is to Paste Into

As pie is to ice cream. Actually, that's not true. (And if it were, I wouldn't know what it meant.) Forget Paste Into. That was an unfortunate albatross. Open a multilayered file. Lasso some junk. Choose Edit > Copy Merged. Your copy will be the composite of all the junk in the selection. When Copy Merged is not available: a) You're working on a flat file. b) The active layer is the only visible layer. c) For whatever reason, there is nothing to merge with. Remember that Copy Merged is a composite command. So it's 1) looking for a selection outline and 2) looking for two or more visible layers to smush together. As long as it has those two things, it's happy. Bitch/gripe/complaint/petulant whine: Photoshop's Copy commands to this day rely on selections. They shouldn't but they do. So not right.

merge selected layers and duplicate merged results into new...

Deke, Thanks for the explanation. I guess I had it in my head (a head full useless info in need of a spring cleaning) that Copy Merged would work similar to or the same as Merge Layers from the Layers palette. That leads me to the function I’m really looking for. This would be too long to fit in a menu but it would say something like “merge selected layers and duplicate merged results into new layer”. Any short cut for that? One of the reasons I want to do that all the time is to get a merged layer with transparency. I suppose that could be made into an action? Roger Head Camp Counselor Camp Photoshop


Or Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E on the PC I believe this is what you're looking for. (By the way, I think my old dekeKeys used to block this. I can tell you how to fix that if it's a problem.)

I want Stamp Selected Layers!

Deke, Not sure I should continue this but I will anyway. Cmd-Shift-Option-E, according to my history palette, is a “Stamp Visible”. I looked in the index of your new one-on-one book but could not find this interesting shortcut mentioned. I couldn’t find if in any PS menus either. So where are all the secret keyboard shortcuts and what they do? Does Adobe keep this stuff a secret or are there so many they’ve lost track of all of them? This is not the short cut I was hoping for. I want to only merge the layers I have selected into a new layer not all visible layers as it appears "Stamp Visible' does. So I guess I’m looking for “Stamp Selected Layers.” Roger Head Camp Counselor Camp Photoshop

PS Shortcuts

Roger, here are links to PS CS3 shortcuts (mac and pc). Shouldn't take you too long to memorize these :-]. DP

u mind

DP, do you mind if I place your shortcuts links on my blog? Maybe Deke will come up with the list for CS4? Roger Head Camp Counselor Camp Photoshop

Please Do

Roger, no problem using the links. I don't own rights to any of this. I just Googled CS3 shortcuts one day and found these. The CS4 shortcuts can be downloaded here Glad to help. davep

Hey Roger

still not sure, but maybe you are looking for Stamp down (Ctrl-Alt-E or Cmd-Option-E), it takes only the selected layers and copy-merges them to a new one. best wishes fab

perfect stamp

Fab, exactly what I was looking for. I figured it existed. But hard to find. Or should I say how to find? I suppose it was buried in dekePOD Pilot #2. Does anybody else think Deke talks fast? I've been to his training at Photoshop World. He didn't seem that fast. Maybe he's part of a parallel Star Trek universe with his Sixties Space Siren. Roger Head Camp Counselor Camp Photoshop

Me, talk fast?

Of course I talk fast! It's not training. It's antitraining. Please, do not pay attention to dekePod. Let it wash over you and infect your brain. That is dekePod's purpose. Once it has laid its eggs in you, it will leave in peace.

photoshop for insomniacs

Thanks for your help! ...see you are making posts at the magic hours, the same hours early in the day I am watching you on - just ordered the new book and can hardly wait for the new channels and masks - could you do more instruction on HDR and focus stacking and tone mapping with channels and masks? I mean since you don't sleep....

Beam me up, Deke!

Always enjoy the pods, Deke. Absolutely love the soft focus on images. I played around with some when taking pictures of my kids; they looks so cute.... but oh, looks are so deceiving. I have a question that is not related to this issue but figured I should asked the PS God himself to hopefully get an answer to this question. I have a Canon Digital Rebel XTi and use Adobe PS CS3 and same version of bridge. The other day I went out around the country and took some pictures of the trees turning. I purposely underexposed them a bit to give them a darker more richer color (which I had a pic to insert here) and when I downloaded them into Bridge they looked the same until I clicked on the individual pics; then the color turned into a more subtle (more to real life tones) images. What is that all about? I don't really want Bridge to tune down my images! That is why I shoot them like that to start with? Any ideas? I've already checked the settings and don't see anything that I need to change. Or is there? All hail the Deke Master! Thanks Angie

An Explanation

Angie, The "problem" you're observing has nothing to do with having Auto-correction turned on or any of the other suggestions. This is simply how Adobe Camera Raw, Adobe Bridge and Lightroom, work. When you first open any RAW file in Bridge (ACR and Lightroom too), what you first see is the preview file that is automatically embedded in each RAW file by the camera (some people call it a JPEG but Canon does not say its a JPEG). This is the same preview you see on the camera's LCD...remember that RAW data is not rendered so it cannot be viewed directly like a rendered format like jpeg, tiff, gif, png, etc. so you need some ability to preview the file. That first preview has all the settings as processed and embedded by the camera. Then after the RAW file is cached by Bridge, the application renders/redraws a new preview that is different from the embedded version you first saw. The reason for the difference is that ACR/Lightroom/Bridge only applies two parameters from all the in-camera settings; ISO and Exposure (shutter speed and aperture). All other in-camera settings are ignored by ACR/Lightroom/Bridge. Even White Balance is not read directly; instead ACR parses the White Balance set in-camera and assigns a Camera Raw default White Balance. (You can test this by setting a custom White Balance in Kelvin in your camera; when you open the RAW file in ACR, the number will be different from what you set in the camera). All the other in-camera settings like Picture Styles, contrast, sharpening, etc. are ignored by ACR which is why you're seeing a difference between the initial preview and ACR's version. Another test is to shoot a Black & White image with your camera. When you open it in ACR/Lightroom/Bridge you will briefly see a B&W preview then it will be rendered in color. Why? Again its because these applications do not use the in-camera settings other than ISO and Exposure so the B&W setting is ignored. On the other hand if you open up the RAW file in the software provided by the camera manufacturer (Digital Photo Professional, in your case) your previews will look just as they were set in-camera since the manufacturer's software is capable of reading and applying all the camera settings.

This is 99% accurate

Ironically, I take issue only with the bold portion: ISO (light sensitivity) is not shutter speed and exposure (shutter speed) is not aperture ("pupil" diameter). Otherwise, just right, jan1215. The Bridge is reading different information at different times. But just as the others have pointed out, the Bridge is a wayward wanderer. Very important: The Bridge doesn't do anything to your images. It just has different ways of expressing those images to you on-the-fly as it tries to interpret them. Which might argue that the Bridge embodies something resembling "emotion." Like HAL. When Dave was disassembling him. "Daisy, Daisy, tell me your answer true . . ." That's the Bridge. You just need to learn how to disassemble it. I have some information on that via my videos at But never worry, your images are safe.

Hey Deke

"ISO (light sensitivity) is not shutter speed and exposure (shutter speed) is not aperture ("pupil" diameter)" I was confused by that, too at first but after reading twice I think with "(shutter speed and aperture)" he just referred to exposure, which would make more sense after all.

Oh gotcha

Technically, exposure and aperture are different creatures, but I'm not adverse to that interpretation. Besides which, good summary otherwise.


didn't know it worked that way, thanks jan!

Angie, were you shooting JPEG or RAW?

And when you clicked on them, do you mean you opened them or just selected them in Bridge? Inquiring minds with cake-baking metaphors at the ready want to know.

RAW all the way....

I usually shoot in RAW and the last few I had this strange problem with where shot in that format as well. Strangest thing... I see the image at the same saturated/underexposed setting when I first import them into Bridge but just clicking on them (not opening but just viewing them in the preview pane) will change the color settings..... that is just all kinds of wrong. Hope this answers your questions. I'm really curious on what is going on. I should have taking a screenshot of the before and after but it's a bit too late for that now. :-) Angie

Another Thing to Check Angie, Bridge CS3 Thumbnail Preferences

First let me say I love the community love around here. The autocorrection may be contributing to your unsatisfactory results, as marioja suggests. But since you say you are working in CS3, and based on what you describe, I think the key culprit is a preferences setting in Bridge. In Bridge CS3, choose Bridge > Preferences (I'm on a Mac so I'm giving you the Mac-centered menu here). In the Thumbnails tab, you probably have "Convert to High Quality When Previewed" turned on. This actually isn't a bad setting. You can have Bridge CS3 create all "High Quality Thumbnails" which may give you a more accurate preview of your raw file right from the start, but it could also end up seriously taking forever. It does explain however, why the previews initially aren't as high quality as you expect. Of course, Bridge isn't "doing" anything to your file except creating a preview, so you don't have to worry about Bridge "changing your actual files." And of course, it's unlikely the preview is ever going to have as much info as the actual raw file does. Oh, and note that marioja's directions take you to the menu where you can restore your Camera Raw defaults (thanks!), but you can adjust what those settings actually are by choosing Bridge>Camera Raw Preferences (which is where you'll find that Auto Tone option) without having to open ACR, or from choosing Photoshop>Preferences when you have Camera Raw actually open. Keep us posted on your progress at getting to the bottom of your experience. cw

You have autocorrection turned on

In camera raw options under bridge you have the option to automatically apply corrections to the raw image. In order to turn this off permanently, I believe you need to open one image in raw, then click on the default link on the Basic tab then clicking on the icon at the top right of the settings panel (looks like 3 vertical dots with 3 rows and a bottom right pointing triangle) to select the menu option save new camera raw defaults. Please note that this should turn off the automatic corrections from being applied by camera raw. Let me know if this helps.

Thanks for all the info and help

Sorry I have been out of the loop for a bit now and have not checked the posts. I already checked my setting under the camera raw preference and other than "make defaults specific to camera serial number" and "make defaults specific to camera ISO setting" nothing else is turned on under Default Image Settings. This is something I already checked into to make sure. I also checked the default setting in camera RAW application and they are all set to keep the RAW default. The really weird part of this is once I click on the image ones to just select it and it changes the color or tonal range it stays this way. Rigth now I don't have any other purposely underexposed images to test with so I'm stuck until I shoot more. It's just really weird and driving me nuts. I mean I can adjust for whatever I want with RAW and CS3 but I changed the settings on the camera to how I want to shot and I hate that it gets changed when I look at them in the program. I keep you guys posted if I find out what the heck is causing this. Thanks for all the help... the Deke community rocks!!! Angie

I see the same thing happening in Bridge

and have been since the day one (coincidentally, on the same day I stubbed my appendix on a door jamb and was forced to eat salami for a week. Not particularly relevant, yet uniquely odd)... Aaaanyway, in my experience it's more noticeable when the images are slightly underexposed or full of woody tones (can I say woody here?). I believe that what you first see is the rough preview that gets immediately replaced by an updated version of the image. As a matter of fact, Bridge shouldn't be applying any changes at the point of just previewing the image. Not to disagree with ... uh... Natasha, actually I thunk I'd elaborate on it: even if you have the quick thumbnails option set in Bridge preferences, you may see the quick shift from yummy to drab(ier). I know I certainly do. That very first image you see - I believe it's the preview that was created by a camera in order to display the raw file on its LCD (could be wrong on that particular detail). After the RAW image gets adjusted in any way (short of being converted into DNG, but that ain't adjustment. Just like "ain't" ain't a word), you'll see a circle with two sliders in the upper right corner of the thumbnail. That's a sign that Bridge/ACR actually applied some settings to a file. If you don't see the circles - file intact. I too sometimes get disappointed after I realize the image doesn't actually look the way it first appears. But then, it's mostly the fact the image first appeared warmer and darker, which I can bump in ACR to be happy-happy-joy-joy. Speak of salami, if we're not meant to eat animals, how come they're made out of meat? -iVan (a.k.a. Flyboy) __________________________________________________ Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard drive?


....for using my images! :) (06:08 & 06:09) I like your videos...(although those are a bit fast)

The woman getting the facial?

Coolio -- thanks for making your images available!