Two News Items Worth Imparting: Photoshop CS4 One-on-One Advanced and dekePod Episode 012

Hello Dear Friends,

Thanks for the Martini Hour love. CW and I's audio-only podcast is doing much better than expected here at the site and on iTunes. I thought people were going to flame us and say things like, "Why are you degenerates drinking on a tech podcast?" or "C'mon, get with the times: do crack!" But no, everyone's all nice and so thanks for that.

But that's not one of the two news items. Here are the news:

First, I finished filming my video "Photoshop CS4 One-on-One: Advanced," the second installment in my cradle-to-grave series for Spanning 10 chapters and 213 movies, it might be the longest, most comprehensive piece I've created so far. Plus, it offers the usual "Corrections to the High Renaissance Masters," including a fews movies in which I turn Raphael's porcine and dour Maddalena (left) into a poised and powerful gal-about-the-village (not left). Also helpful, my rendition includes something resembling a below-the-neck skeletal structure. (Raphael, a gifted artist who obviously hated this woman with everything in him, rendered Maddalena's body as belonging to a fleshy and formless Weeble.)

For those of you thinking, "Hey, you covered something like that in a previous series!" Yes, but timeless art survives the upgrades. Plus, I came up with some important improvements, including a way to reverse the effects of Liquify's inherent and unfortunate tendency to smear pixels in edited areas. I mean, just look at that close-up (below). That's some heavy editing, friends. I didn't take Twiggy and make her thighs 2mm thinner. This is a complete cosmetic reconstruction. To a low-res image I found lying around the Hinterwebs. And yet the results are impeccable.

Second -- and leave it to me to bury this item 20 fathoms deep after a completely unrelated posting -- we are just one week away from the release of the first dekePod in three months. I know, I feel terrible about the delay. But I feel great about the results. This one's very special. It's so kind, so gentle, and so sincere -- well, it'll break your heart, that's all.

You're either going to think, "That's the dumbest thing I ever done saw," or "Finally, it's safe to have faith in humanity again." Mark your calendars for this time next week: dekePod Episode 012, The Droplet Song.

Yes cry. Happy tears.

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The zip file

O yeah! Thanks for your 'helps', but where is the zip file?

In the future

Mr. McClelland, please record the Blend Modes before the Smart Objects. I believe the Blend Modes are more important. Best regards, Adrian, ROMANIA

Any plans for Illustrator CS4 New Features?

Hey Deke, Do you have any plans of releasing a quick video detailing the new features in Illustrator CS4? Thanks, --mike

You mean, like a dekePod?

No, that's not on the docket. But if you poke around the Illustrator CS4 Help & Support page, you'll see links to the more button-down videos I did for Adobe. The Getting Started section top-left gives you access to most. And Mordy has a really nice "Illustrator CS4 New Features" course for the Online Training Library.

Photoshop CS4 One-on-One a Trilogy?

Hello Good Sir, I noticed the title of your new PS tutorial as "One-on-One: Advanced." Will it not be following the previous format of Essentials, Beyond the Basics, Advanced Techniques? I just finished going through your awesome Illustrator CS3 1on1 tutorials and now I can condfidently say that I know Illustrator! Just being aware of all the tools I can use opens up tremendous amount of creative possibilities i can do to my art work. They're grrrrrreaaaaat!

PsCS4 1on1 videos will indeed be a trilogy

Part 1 is Fundamentals, which is live now. Part 2 is Advanced, which I just finished shooting and is being edited. It starts with Levels & Curves and ends with Camera Raw 5, with a whole bunch of parametric layering junk in the middle. And Part 3 will be Mastery, which I will visit in late March, early April. Hopefully, it'll all be live by end of April. Then I'll work on finishing up Illustrator. (Thanks for the kind words on that course, btw!)

Just out of interest: why 32-bit...

when, if you convert the HDR to 16 bit, everything gets much easier? I tried to replicate what you did, but couldn't get a separate levels adjustment layer. But maybe that's because I don't have a 64 bit PC? Weird how that levels layer mask is working though. Very strange. :-/ (Edit: this post is in reply to flyboy's "Strange Behaviour" post and was brought to you by Led Zep's "Whole Lotta Love")

16 bit is OK...

... but in 16 bit I still clip the highlights/shadows, whereas 32 bit has an imbecillion brightness levels, so nothing is lost. I had some interior shots done with the sky outside blowing the highlights, so I bracketed the shots to get an extreme range HDR, hence the 32 bit. Of course, once done bringing the highlights back I move to 8-bit per channel space while keeping the 32-bit as a smart object (hey, you never know). You shouldn't need a 64-bit PC to work with adjustment layers in 32-bit. The file I posted is a 64-bit and it already has an adjustment layer in it; you should be able to create an adjustment layer in 64-bit the same way as when working in 8-bit (in CS3 and CS4). Now, if you're saying you can't open it, that's a different story; I created it in CS4 and I haven't got the backward compatibility turned on. But if you check in 10 minutes and then try the link I posted, I'll have the file updated so it's CS3 compatible. Hey, thanks for checking this out. -iVan

I've got CS4, flyboy

I can open the file, no prob. I can see the levels adjustment layer you have, with the sliders set to exactly what you have on your screen shots here. But I can't do anything of any value until I delete the adjustment layer, convert to 16 bit, then play around with the dialogue box that appears at the point of conversion to 16 bit. If I delete the adjustment layer and then try to create a new one, all options are unavailable to me in 32 bit. Did I make any sense?

That's even weirder

I just tried opening it on my other machine that runs on a standard XP platform and it runs fine. But then again, I haven't tried it before I updated the file, and the original file has now been overwritten, so maybe that's it. Try downloading it again, and if you're still having issues I can let you hook up to my computer via internet so we can see each other's monitors - here is a file with my contact info. I don't want to keep it online forever, so I'm posting it this way in order to be able to remove it eventually. As a side note, here's why I edit these few shots in 32-bit. The top and bottom image are the same file, before and after the adjustment in 32-bit. I don't think I could do that in 16, the hot areas just get clipped. 32 bit edit -iVan

I had a play with 16 bit...

and got this: Does that work, or still too flat / blownout ? I did a couple of additional steps past the simple conversion, but nothing greatly complex or time consuming. Other than that, I could play with it using Topaz Labs "Adjust" PS plug-in. It's way cheaper than Photomatix and does a pretty nice job, I think. As to your offer of first class helpdesk services, I'm all ears. Check yer email. ;-) And thanks! :-D

Gimme a few hours, flyboy

It's that time of day when I have to get my daughter, go for a run with her and the dogs, cook dinner, and all that stuff. If you like you can send stuff to me at cliche-guevara[at]hotmail[dot]com or to petranoid[at]xtra[dot]co[dot]nz I love a good mystery :-)

Strange behavior

Hi Deke I'm having some consistent illogical Photoshop behavior in 32-bit HDR across both of my computers and all HDR files I tried this with. I'm posting a very small (600 X 400px) HDR file here to follow along and see what I'm saying. The only adjustment layer in this composition is set to reduce the brightness (picture below). As you can see though, the mask is too light in the dark areas and needs to be made darker to exclude some of the affected areas. Perfect job for the levels command, right? Turns out it's wrong (at least in HDR mode) Click to download If I use levels command (Ctrl+L) to send the dark gray areas of the mask to black, I end up making those areas of the image itself brighter(!?). Even lighter than the layer below. I mean, if you look at the values of the levels adjustment layer - there's no way that should be happening; I don't have any blend modes associated with it either, and even if I did, black areas of the mask should exclude those areas from affecting the layer below. Try doing a levels adjustment on the mask in the file, you'll see what I mean. Try really cranking it, instead of excluding more areas, it affects everything even more. So, how is this possible? Bad math in 32-bit? Also, is there a solution for adjusting masks post-mortem? -iVan

I would characterize this as aberrant

A few things I discovered: --The behavior is identical to that in CS3. --It only happens when you apply an adjustment layer (a static application of the Levels command works the way you'd think it would). --It's commensurate with the degree to which you reduce that second Output value. In other words, just a bit of background darkening brightens the masked foreground just a bit; big darkening results in big lightening. --It only happens if you apply static Levels to the mask while it's attached to the Levels adjustment layer. If you prepare the mask as an alpha channel (complete with Levels) before applying it to the Levels adjustment layer, then everything works fine. It's as if the static Levels adjustment is being tracked differently when applied to the layer mask directly and then causing some kind of compensation. I did not test other combinations of static and layered adjustments, but I wouldn't be surprised if this behavior were not limited to Levels. Incidentally how did this photograph begin life? Multi-exposure comp?

Pretty much

Original plan was to get rid of the scenery outside the windows and replace it with one of my stock shots (this is for a kitchen maker client of mine). But I knew I was going to have issues with the wall immediately surrounding the window as the overexposure would bleed into that area, and reflect in the faucet and countertop. So the idea was to get a series of exposures and fix the window edges in HDR before adding the sky. But by the time I was finished adjusting it, the sky looked good enough, so I abandoned the idea - the image I posted is unfinished, shrunk version. It's too bad this stuff happens btw. Cause I can't remember the last time I made a perfect mask that needed no adjustment after seeing it at work. But as a result, I now have a workaround - will post it later, I gotta blast outa door right now. Thank you so much for looking this up. If I can do anything in return - name it. Perhaps something to do with Caprica? (I actually live on Caprica - a.k.a. Vancouver, BC) Also, big thank you goes out to Petra that worked on this problem for me. Great group of guys and gals you got here, Deke! Cheers! -iVan


Deke, thanks for all those videos and tutorials I noticed that Chris O. made like 4-5 PS CS4 parts for photographers,so with all yours this is going to be the best series ever. I can't wait to have it.

Poor Maddalena

You went and made all those upgrades, but you neglected to fix her hair. I would think with the right tool settings in Liquify that you could have given those fly aways a nice tight weave? lol

When will it be released?

When will it be released? I just finished watching the Photoshop CS4 One On One, where at the end you mention there will be 2 more parts. Is this Part 2? I was on today and it's not yet released. I really look forward to viewing it !! :-)

I just finished filming it

We finished the live action shooting it today, then it goes into the editing pipeline. I'm hoping we'll see it before the month is out (that is, by the end of March).

Photoshop CS4 Channels & Masks One-on-One

Hello Deke, Long time reader, first time writer. Just a quick question in regards to your Lynda video tutorials. Do you have any plans to release a "Photoshop CS4 Channels & Masks One-on-One" video series on I have the book of the same title and am also a premium subscriber at Lynda. I am aware of the Lynda Channels & Masks series you did for Photoshop CS3. If needed, I will work with those videos as a supplement to the CS4 edition of the book. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Keep up the great work, Deke! You've made my transition from "Elements" very smooth indeed. Danno Loveland, CO

PsCS4 Channels & Masks video

Isn't on the docket until later this year. Might handle it as a New Features thing. That particular title is a massive amount of work, and while it's very popular, it's hard to justify redoing it when so little has changed. In the meantime, my Photoshop CS3 Channels and Masks series is about 95% accurate for CS4. And any minor differences are covered in the book. And thanks for your kind comments!

Sounds logical to me

Deke, Thanks for the reply and you're welcome for the comments. Now that you've explained it, it would seem like a New Features title would be the way to go. Regards, Danno P.S. Loved your intro Lynda chapter on the Stanley from PsCS4 1-on-1! It's like "Hey, I've been there!" Very cool.


I was ready for (and hoping for) the advanced installment to your 1-on-1 series for CS4. I'll look forward to seeing it on So many masterpieces in so little time. I'm certain Raphael would give a nod of approval had he stuck around another 500 yrs.