dekeBlog

A Hero In No Time: Time Lapse of Deke's Latest Retro Superhero Project

Deke's latest project turns an ordinary mild-mannered gym rat into a classic, if totally made up, Silver Age comic book superhero. Watch the extraordinary video above---created by the editing heroes at lynda.com and featuring the song "Massive" by Poppy Brothers---to see this Photoshop and Illustrator-empowered metamorphosis happen in just over three exciting minutes. Yes, it's an epic saga of heroic transformation.

Turn an ordinary photo into a classic comic superhero.

If you're ready for a challenge like this, be sure to check out Deke's new course, Designs dekeConstructed: Retro Superhero, to see how each step in this Jack Kirby-inspired creation came about. You'll see how to use Illustrator blends to create the Blue Barbeque's signature human grill marks. You'll see how Deke incorporated photographic elements (the flames and smoke) in Photoshop to emulate the comic books of his youth. And you'll even see how Deke went about creating a custom font (used for the words "Fire Up," below) specially for this project. 

If you're not a member of lynda.com and would like to check out this course, you can get a free week's trial at lynda.com/deke. Then you can fire up your design superpowers and set off on your own creative adventure.

But remember: Once you're a superhero, there's no going back. Read more » 

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New Course, New Photoshop: Deke Reviews the Creative Cloud Updates (with New Free Videos)

If you're a member of Creative Cloud, you know (or you're about to know) that Adobe has released a whole new Photoshop (called CC 2014) which actually replaces earlier versions of your Adobe apps rather than just pushes out interesting updated features.

(I wouldn't attempt to explain how or why it's working this way, but I can leave you in the care of Adobe Goddess and Friend-of-dekeLand Julieanne Kost for that part of the mystery.) 

But I can explain, with the capable help of Deke and his new lynda.com course, what is new and interesting about Photoshop CC (2104): 

New Course: Photoshop 2014

If you're not a member of lynda.com and you'd like to check it out, you can sign up a free week's trial at lynda.com/deke. If you'd rather just get some quick, interesting insights from Deke, check out these links to free movies about a couple of interesting new features below. 

Free Movie: "Selecting In-Focus Areas of a Photo"
A new feature under the Select menu, the Focus Area command, allows you to select areas of your image that are in focus and leave the blurry stuff behind. For instance, you can liberate the gentleman below from his out-of-focus partner using this new feature (plus some refinement with the trusty Refine Edge command as Deke demonstrates in the movie.)

 

Free Video: The Color Adaptation Option to Content-Aware Fill
Now when you use Content-Aware Fill to fill in a blank area (or a patch, or anything else that uses the Content-Aware magic calculation to replace pixels), you have the option of choosing a Color Adaptation modification. This feature can help ensure that the fill better blends with its surroundings. Note below how the old-school Content-Aware Fill leaves a grey opaque splotchiness when I attempt to fill in extra canvas. If I turn on the Color Adaption checkbox in the Fill dialog box, the background on the bottom image looks much smoother. 

Check out Photoshop: 2014 Creative Cloud Updates to see more interesting stuff in this latest offering. Or head over to the rest of Deke's collection of courses and remember any movie that's listed in blue in a lynda.com Table of Contents is unlocked and ready to be watched by all.  Read more » 

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New Course: Draw Better and Faster with Illustrator CC

Deke's latest course at lynda.com is a quick (for Deke) celebration of the new improved ways of drawing in Illustrator CC. In just four short chapters and under 2 hours, Deke runs through the new features that will make you better, (stronger), and faster at drawing with Illustrator. Here's what's covered (along with some links to free unlocked videos so you can check them out yourself).

New Cours: Draw Better and Faster in Illustrator

 

Chapter 1: The Now-Useful Pencil Tool
Until CC, the Pencil tool in Illustrator never quite worked as a free-form drawing tool in the way you (or I, or anyone) might wish. But with new improvements, being able to drawing of smooth, fluid lines is no longer exclusive to Pen tool. In this chapter, Deke demonstrates what happens when you add a Wacom tablet and the ability to trace a good drawing to the mix. Look at those smooth curves from that single line in the center image below. 

Draw a seahorse with Illustrator's improved Pencil tool

Click here to watch a free unlocked movie from the chapter in which Deke draws a classic heart-shape to demonstrate the difference between the CS6 Pencil and the vastly improved tool in Illustrator CC. Read more » 

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New Course: Introducing Photoshop, the Photographer's Edition

The massive power of Photoshop can be intimidating if you're just starting out. Sometimes relationships (like yours with Photoshop) can be helped by an introduction from a trusted friend. For those of you who'd like to see what a little Photoshop knowhow can do for your Photography, Deke's got a new course---Introducing Photoshop: Photography---over at lynda.com (and the Introduction and first four movies of it are unlocked so you can try it out free).

Introducing Photoshop: Photography

This particular course is designed to take you from square one---as in, never having used Photoshop before---to practical knowledge of Photoshop's everyday tools for organizing, developing, and refining photographs. Don't take my word for it, hear Deke's introduction by clicking on the image below. 

Watch the first five movies of Introducing Photoshop free

Then, you can click on "next" at the top of the player window to move through the next four movies of the course at lynda.com. If you're tempted by Deke's focused instruction, you can get a free week's trial at lynda.com/deke in order to finish the course.

And since this course is short and to the point, you'll probably have time leftover to move on to some of the more advanced material. My suggestion for the photographically focused is Photoshop CC One-on-One: Advanced, but there's a world of great photography courses in the lynda.com libraryRead more » 

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Updates Update: New Camera Raw 8.4 Includes Before/After View

Yet more Update: I want to thank deke.com members Rbarba23 and Jjohnny for pointing out an oversight I made in this post originally: the new previews in Camera Raw 8.4 do not work for Photoshop CS6, only in the Creative Cloud version. (Camera profile updates are still available for CS6.)

To get some clarity on why Adobe made this choice, we consulted our trusty friend (Adobe's Chief Customer Advocate and solid human being Jeff Tranberry) who explained that they can't ship new features to an already launched product without deferring revenue back to the quarter the product (in this case CS6) launched. If you're like me, reading about revenue recognition policies makes you want to take a nap. It's especially frustrating when the news affects me adversely.

I think Jeff understood this when he alternately pointed me to this concise statement from ACR/Lightroom Product Manager Tom Hogarty  (written back in May of 2013):

Today’s Photoshop CC announcement requires a modest change in our camera raw support policy. Because Adobe is still selling Photoshop CS6, those customers will continue to receive updated camera raw file format compatibility via Adobe Camera Raw 8. When we update ACR8 with new camera support, Photoshop CS6 customers can work with the new version of the Camera Raw plug-in. No new features or functionality will be available in ACR to Photoshop CS6 customers as part of those updates. (No Upright, advanced healing brush or radial filter, etc.) I don’t have a timeline for how long this camera raw support will continue for Photoshop CS6 but I want to be consistent with our past policy of providing raw support for currently shipping products.

So while the news is disappointing for CS6 users, at least I've been able to edit the post below accordingly, and again I want to thank J and R for bringing this to my attention. 

Here'e the original, but revised, post: 

For those of you who use Camera Raw (and last week's Deke's Techniques on its Exposure power would be one good reason to do so), you're used to the "update announcement" that basically consists of a whole bunch of new camera and lens profiles.

But Adobe has made a release candidate version of Camera Raw 8.4 for Photoshop , available via Adobe Labs, that has a feature that might make it worth downloading the "almost ready" version before it comes out via the regular CC update. Yes, my dekePhoto friends, Camera Raw now has a Before/After view. 

Where once you had to toggle the Preview checkbox on and off, now you can see where you started your digital developing and where you've arrived in one view. There's a side-by-side view, an above-below view and my favorite for visual impact if not precise comparison, the split. 

Before and After views in Camera Raw 8.4

Now, my guess would be that purists would correctly point out that the split doesn't really give you a before/after of the same pixels, but how visually satisfying is this? It looks like Camera Raw is lifting a layer of cloudy film off the image. 

If you'd like to try the new Camera Raw for yourself, you can download the CC version here. (As noted above and below, you can download the CS6 version here, but it doesn't include the new features). Follow the installation instructions and be sure to let Adobe know how it's working for you.  Read more » 

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