dekeBlog

A Visit from Saint Deke-O-Las

My beloved dekeFolk: Tonight seemed appropriate to share a poem I wrote for an Ignite presentation I performed at the Photoshop Conference last month. Wishing you peace and poetry in 2016.

Here goes:

Deke in the booth

My story tonight, is about my friend Deke.
Who posts a new helpful technique every week.
There are almost five hundred, but due to short time
I will give you one preview; and do it in rhyme.

Geisel and Moore

OK, everyone’s heard of iambic pentameter.
But my favorite verse? Anapestic tetrameter.
And though it sounds stuffy, it’s never a bore,
As when wielded by genius like Geisel and Moore.

Halloween

Now, for Deke, Halloween is the best time of year,
But this season has miracles honored and dear:
Christmas or Haunnukah, really don’t care,
Deke’s magic is make a boy fly through the air.
Tomas on the RugSo, it turns out my charming young nephew Tomas
Likes to think that he’s gravity’s three-foot-six boss.
So he lies on the floor as if it were a wall,
And pretends he’s omnipotent, ruler of all.
Clouds from fotoliaWe needed some clouds in which Tommy could soar,
And this fantasy photo has drama galore.
If you’re looking for stock, here’s a good place to seek,
About which you can learn at fotolia/deke.

Quick SelectionSo we’ll place the young hero, and size him quite nicely.
The next step involves Quick Selection precisely.
It’s the best way to start this meticulous task
Of extracting the boy from the rug with a mask.
Refine EdgeQuick Selection is fine for initial selection.
But in order to reach Deke’s true masking perfection,
We will need Refine Edge to provide some enhancement.
Before we move on to some hands-on advancement.
Four photoshop toolsNow, this mask is not simple, not something to rush.
Deke applies some precision with lasso and brush.
A polygonal lasso to capture Tom’s hair,
Which is given a Smudge so it blends with the air.
MaskThe mask by itself is a beautiful sight.
The concealed parts are black; the revealed bits are white.
Press Option and click to see only the mask.
In Windows press Alt to complete the same task.
Navel to noseFrom the mask we return to the RGB view,
To see how the boy appears set on the blue.
And now that he’s carefully captured those toes,
Deke will measure the angle from navel to nose.
Blurry boy After stashing him safely inside a smart object,
Deke’s got himself set for the rest of the... probject.
Some motion blur stretched to five hundred or so,
And the angle we measured a minute ago.
Gradient maskOf course we still want to see Tommy’s cute smile,
And a gradient mask will reveal it in style.
Here’s a clue to the question I often did ask:
There’s finally a use for that Smart Filter mask.
Gradient overlayA gradient overlay, foreground of white,
Covers Tommy’s cute toes with a quick blast of light.
You can drag it around, before clicking OK
To ensure the light lands where you want it to stay.
Outer glowAfter duping that blast to the layer below,
Deke also applies a bright orange outer glow.
A Linear Dodge blend is really quite nifty.
And a size value set to two-hundred-and-fifty.
Clouds masked with Refine EdgeIn order to tuck Tommy’s toes ‘neath the clouds,
Deke quick-selects puffs to become the feet’s shrouds.
And so here are the clouds as the edge is refined.
This will give us a lay'r to put Tom’s toes behind.
Tommy in the cloudsDeke creates a new Tom with Control-Alt-Click layer,
Or Command-Option-click if it’s Mac that you flavor.
First group all the stuff, then just finish the task
By Alt/Option clicking a New Layer Mask.
BlastA quick blob of white at the foot of his feet.
After dabbing some blue, the effect is complete.
He bursts from the clouds, with his Superboy movement.
In a six-year-old’s mind, this is quite an improvement.
The final boy through the cloudsSo, with smart objects, motion blur, layers, and masking,
Comes this holiday miracle yours for the asking.
Away goes the carpet, replaced with the sky;
In Photoshop little boys learn they can fly.
Merry PhotoshopThis technique first appeared the fifteenth of December.
(We took a week off, and we hope you remember.)
Now let me exclaim, as we fade out of sight,
Merry Photoshop all, and to all a goodnight. Read more » 

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An August Avalanche of New Courses at dekeAcademy (aka Deke's lynda.com collection)

My dekeAdemics, welcome back to school---the School of Deke, that is. Our favorite graphics guru has been working his digital fingers to the bone this summer and has not one, but three, new courses out at this month. (And there's another one just gone to the elite editing team. Whew. You've earned a quick nap, Professor Deke.)

Here's a review of what's new at the ol' dekeAcademy (aka the Deke McClelland Collection at lynda.com): what the new courses cover, who might want to watch them, and why you might find them useful. Remember, if you're not a member of lynda.com, you can still watch a few (often useful) free movies (I've embedded some below for your sampling convenience). And you can always get a 10-day free trial subscription by signing up at lynda.com/deke.

And these will be just a few of our Fall 2015 offerings:

New Course: Photoshop CC 2015 One-on-One: Fundamentals

What: Photoshop CC 2015 One-on-One Fundamentals is a total refresh of Deke's flagship step-by-step project-based Photoshop tutorial for beginners, with all new sample files for those of you who are revisiting what's happened with Photoshop in the CC 2015 version.

Who: Anyone who wants to learn Photoshop from the ground up, folks who haven't used Photoshop in a recent incarnation, or anyone who ever feels like they're half-guessing at why they do what they do in Photoshop.

Why: Because knowing is better than guessing when you're looking for predictable results and efficient creativity.

What else: Complete updates to the Advanced and Mastery levels soon to follow. So. if you find Deke's method works for you, you're set for the rest of your Photoshop education.

 

New Course: Adobe Pen Tool Fundamentals

What: Adobe Pen Tool Fundamentals is a course on the basic skills and knowledge needed for using the powerful, yet mysterious, Pen tool in Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator.

Who: Anyone who wants to learn to draw free-form shapes with precision in any of these three applications.

Why: The Pen tool has some, shall we say, un-intuitive behaviors, but once you know the basics, its powers start to unleash in your mouse-hand.
 
What else: The second part of this course is coming later this year, and will solidify your mastery of precision curve-drawing.

 

Eight Things to Know about Photoshop

What: Eight Things Everyone Should Know About Photoshop is Deke's list of the top  general features in Photoshop that will help you wrap your mind around this pixel-wranging behemoth of an application. It's a sort of "How do I even know what I need to know?" solution.

Who: Anyone who'd like to get more of the big Photoshop picture in a quick and entertaining course.

Why: Actually, these movies Deke created for Photoshop's 25th anniversary were so good we didn't want to let them languish in the history files.

What else: You can read more about this course (and watch the movies) here.

And coming soon, Illustrator 2015 One-on-One: Fundamentals which features this delightful creature, one of my favorite dekeAssets ever:


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Deke's Awesome New Course on Start-to-Finish Logo Design (No Foolin')

Today marks the debut of one of Deke's most impeccably crafted courses to date, Creating and Adapting a Logo, in which he follows the process of developing, creating, and adapting a logo for a fictional space transport service.

For the "brainstorming" part of the process, Deke partnered with the imaginative, talented, and (in this case) prolific Danielle Fritz, who created these 45 sketches of possible ideas for Frontiers Unlimited:

45 potential logo conceptsThere's a free movie in which Deke discusses his review of this amazing collection, considering each idea and how it conveys the company's brand objectives of Magic, Excitement, Prestige, and Safety. Check out this unlocked movie to hear about Deke's initial reflections. (Bonus tip here: How to use Photoshop's "counting" feature to enumerate these images for easier collaborative discussion.)

The follow up movie (exclusive to lynda.com members) takes you visually through Deke's development process. Here are all the stops (including a few internal bits of advice) along the way:

The logo development process

(If you're not a member of lynda.com, and would like to check this movie out, you can get a free 10-day trial at lynda.com/deke to check it out.)

Once you've got membership in hand, you can also check out this video about choosing the perfect, consistent, reliable Pantone spot colors to convey your company's message:

Pantone spot color swatches with recipes

If you're not yet ready to subscribe (or take advantage of your free 10 days), there's another great unlocked movie in which Deke shows you how to load the spot colors into the Swatches panel, and then apply them to different shape areas in the logo:

In the end, you'll see how this process goes from the sketching brainstorm, through thoughtful color and type selection, and on to the creation of useful variations, including a horizontal variation and one that incorporates photographic elements. Along the way, you'll learn valuable Illustrator and Photoshop skills that you can put to use in your own projects, logo or otherwise. Read more » 

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The Undersea Life of Deke McClelland (and Photoshop)

Today marks the release of an all-new course at lynda.com: Enhancing Underwater Photos with Photoshop. Yes, my dekeQuarium dwellers, you can now go under the sea with Deke and the sharks (as well as jellyfish, angel fish, parrot fish, groupers, octopi, turtles, eels, and, did I mention, sharks?)

Enhancing Underwater Photos with Photoshop

The real star of this undersea world is Photoshop itself. Shooting underwater is tricky, and the equipment can be expensive. But you'll see in this course that Photoshop can sweeten even the simplest of shots, even those taken with the underwater equivalent of a standard point-and-shoot or with a stolen frame from a GoPro video.

And you don't need to be a member of lynda.com or a seasoned scuba diver to get great tips out of this new course. For instance, the first chapter, "The Moon Jelly," features a creature that lives very near the surface of the sea and the entire chapter is completely unlocked for anyone to watch. Check out this translucent transformation and click on the image to start watching:

Moon jellyfish before and after Photoshop

Each of the free videos in this chapter have a hidden bonus tip, because, after all, Deke's got more Photoshop knowledge than there are fish in the sea. (OK, only a minor exaggeration, but I'm creating a mood here.) Here's what I mean:

In "Selecting a frame from a GoPro movie," you'll not only see how to isolate an individual frame to develop as a still photo in Photoshop, but you'll also see how to convert that image to the correct color space.

In "Correcting contrast with the Overlay blend mode," you'll not only see how an adjustment layer and blend mode can work in powerful tandem, but you'll see how to set your own shortcuts to get at this power more efficiently.

In "Turning the ocean a true Caribbean blue," you'll not only see how to restore what you remember as the correct color, but you'll also see how to get rid of those pesky automatically generated adjustment layer masks.

In "Enhancing clarity with the High Pass filter," you'll not only see how to invent your own Clarity, but you'll also see how to set those big useful thumbnails in the Layers panel.

And, in "Cropping an image that can't be harmed," you'll also see how to add more High Pass filter to provide detail sharpening.

(It's like Deke has provided little shark sucker tips that latch on to his big apex predator advice and come along for the swim.)

There are some other great free movies available as well, each with a useful quick tip for your own underwater adventure shots. Here are a few (with their respective projects in before/after style for your inspiration.)

Selecting the best frame of a fish in motion from the chapter where this queen angel fish gets the royal treatment.

Queen angel fish before and after.

Bring out the the detail in a turtle's eye. Buddy tip: if you can't immediately spot Deke under the water, look for the guy with a GoPro-on-a-stick chasing the turtle.

Turtle before and after

Developing multiple octopi at the same time in Camera Raw, in which Deke works on what may be two different octopi simultaneously. (Or it may have been the same creature seen at the beginning and end of a night snorkel.)

If you're not a member of lynda.com, and would like to see more of this course, you can sign up for a free 10-day trial at lynda.com/deke, which will give you access to the chapter on this magnificent creature:

Shark in all its glory

See you under the sea, you gorgeous dekeOpuses! Read more » 

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What does that [insert quasi-enigmatic Photoshop feature] do, anyway?

It's concievable you could work with Photoshop for a considerable amount of time---twenty-five years possibly, as of this week---and still have features that are still a bit of a secret handshake to you. For Photoshop's twenty-fifth birthday, Deke has teamed with lynda.com to create a series of videos:

What do [mystery Photoshop features] do, anyway?

What does the fox say?

These videos are free this week in honor of Photoshop's 25th birthday. Check out the list and click to shine the light of Deke's insight on any of these curious (but useful) Photoshop features: 


What do
blend modes do, anyway?
Blend modes allow you to mix Photoshop layers together in a variety of ways, allowing you to create compositions, colorizations, and other creations by simply changing how a layer behaves with regard to the layers below it.

What do blend modes do?

 

What do color modes do, anyway?
Color modes---RGB, CMYK, and Lab---refer to different ways Photoshop handles the color interaction inside of Photoshop.

What do color modes in Photoshop do?

 

What do channel operations do?
Before there were layers and other means of composition, there were channels. And channel operations, or chops, were the only way to make blended images.

 

What do healing tools do?
The healing tools are one of the primary weapons used in retouching, so for some, they are virtually synonymous with Photoshop.

What do healing tools do?

 

What do layer masks do?
Layer masks (and their partner, adjustment layers) allow you to reveal only part of a layer, thus selectively revealing the contents of layers below.

What do layer masks do?

 

What do sharpening filters do?
Sharpening allows you to increase the crispness of the image to really bring out image detail.

What do sharpening tools do?

 

What do selection tools do?
Selection tools allow you to choose one element in your photographic image and isolate it from its surroundings.

 

What do smart objects do?
Smart objects allow you to wrap a protective container around an entire layer of your image, allowing you to abuse it at will whilst keeping the contents safe.

What do smart objects do?

Any other magical, puzzling, or just unfamiliar features you'd like to know more about in Photoshop? Twenty-five years is a long time to collect secret handshakes. Read more » 

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