Seeking Roadtrip Advice: PePcon (Austin, TX) to Adobe MAX (Los Angeles, CA)

Greetings my dekeOmpanions. At the end of this month, Deke will be appearing at two great conferences which happen to be separated by a few days and, oh, about 1400 miles. Naturally, this led us to think a roadtrip from PePcon (in Austin) to AdobeMAX (in Los Angeles) was in order. We're hoping to a) see some of you there---or there---and b) get your advice for where we should stop in between. Here's a tentative plan that's linked to a public google map, where you are free to enter points of interest and your reasons why. 

You know what we like: interesting, beautiful, or cocktail-related. Bonus points for all three. And I'm digging through the prize closet right now for interesting rewards for those who suggest the best stops. Be sure to leave your user info in the comments if you add a point to the map. 

Starting point: The Print + eProduction Conference (PePcon) in Austin, April 28 - May 1
I love PePcon. Our friends at InDesign Secrets not only always put together a program of top notch experts in the publishing production space, but somehow they always get the smartest collection of attendees as well. Deke will be presenting some live Deke's Techniques and I'll be studying up on how to convert my mad layout skills to electronic formats. 

Ending point: Adobe MAX, the Creativity Conference, in Los Angeles, May 4 - 8
MAX used to be a fairly geek heavy developer-centered conference, but Adobe is really emphasizing creative (read: design) work this year. Like PePcon, many of our favorite people will be speaking and it's almost the closest thing we have to a reunion. 

Points currently unknown between, May 1 to May 6
We'll be driving across West Texas, likely stoping in Carlsbad due to Deke's love of caves and possibly heading to Albequerque for a trip to Gruet Winery, makers of my favorite "It's Tuesday, let's open a bottle of bubbly" sparkling wine. But it's all up for grabs, so let us know your favorite spots. 

And if you're attending either of the conferences, please stop and say hello. At PePcon, we'll be easy to find and at MAX we'll be the crazy folk who just hauled ass across the Southwest.  Read more » 

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Photoshop CS6 One-on-One Mastery Is Imminent (as in, It Will Be Here This Week!)

My dear dekeIstorians, the final course in Deke's Photoshop CS6 One-on-One series---known to the soon-to-be-initiated as Mastery---is nigh. It's imminent. It's due to be released this week!

I know some of our faithful dekeItarians have been waiting for this one; I'm looking at you skinny3829, tjean1332, and yerachmiel. I'm looking at you because I found your missives of yearning in the comments when I searched for "Mastery." (That will teach the rest of you to think about keywording!)

After the jump (do people still call it that?), I'll let you know a few more details about the course content, but let me just say that this completes the set. In fact, if I weren't sailing somewhere in the Caribbean right now, I'd be adding the Mastery course to my Photoshop One-on-One playlist. (I'm typing this in the past, because I'm magic.) 

However, you can a) check out my playlist to get ready for this week's release and b) sign up for a free week trial of at A week should be enough to catch up on the 26-ish hours of the series so far and still have the wherewithal (and time) to watch the Mastery course later this week. Here's what it will cover:  Read more » 

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ADIM (Awesome Russell Brown Design Masterclass) Returns from the Dead: Deke and Zombies to Appear

What do monsters, microbrews, and Deke have in common? They'll all be benevolently haunting the ADIM conference in Boulder April 7–10. ADIM is the brainchild (braaaains) of Adobe Senior Creative Director Russell Brown, in which he brings together:

1. Some of the most trusted names in photography and graphic design instruction (which of course is why Deke will be there, not just because Deke's Techniques 075 was about zombies), and

2. A roomful of computers, with Adobe Creative Cloud installed, manned by designer attendees (the goody bag for the conference includes a year subscription to CC), and

3. Usually some kind of wacky output device (I believe this year it's a machine that etches beer bottles), and

4. Inevitably, costumes, creativity, and chaos. 

Seriously, just look at this awesome logo. You can read the details of the top-notch (in addition to Deke) instructors, luscious goodie bags, and potentially outrageous, instructive fun here at the ADIM13 site. Did I mention zombies are involved? 

And seriously, wasn't this zombie project of Deke's born to be etched onto a beer bottle? That's what too much delicious Boulder brew will do to you people. (Hmm, I'm thirsty.) Don't be scared; come to Boulder. 

  Read more » 

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Making Your Own Luck: My Hunt for a Suitable Four-Leaf Clover

My lucky dekeRechauns. This week, I've been searching for a four-leaf clover---ostensibly in honor of St. Patrick's Day, but mostly because I needed to think of something to write about for today. And I couldn't think of a suitably graphical project centered around the Ides of March.

My journey took me through dozens of Fotolia stock photos, the cache of prefabricated Photoshop shapes, and hours if not minutes of Deke video training on Adobe Illustrator. Eventually, I used the last of these to create my own personal lucky four-leaf clover that combines the whimsy of Colleen-O-Vision, the spirals of Irish Neolithic art, and an adaptation of one of Deke's infamous pirate-themed projects: 

You can easily adapt my method (which is really just an adaption of Deke's method) for your own. So put down your disgusting green beer (for St. Patrick's sake, just grab a Guinness) and let me share my tale.

I started out searching through the stock images in the Fotolia Image Library. There are some wonderful St. Patrick's Day-themed graphics there. But if you want to skip the Lucky Charms-inspired cartoons, I suggest the keywords "clover" and "carpet." That's how I found this gorgeously lit image by Carly Hennigan (Fotolia image #33180070): 

However lovely this photograph is and however much it makes me want to grab my own Guinness and lie down in a bed of clover, I don't see any four-leafers in the frame. So my next stop was Photoshop:  Read more » 

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Photoshop Action as Social Commentary?

Welcome to the Friday forum, my dekeOmmunity. Today's post is brought to you by the Toronto wing of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty via Photoshop Diva Katrin Eismann. In a nutshell (which is an admittedly hard and tiny place to put such a complex issue), Ogilvy Toronto posted this video---"Thought before Action"---about a magical and socially conscious Photoshop action that reverted the model to her true unretouched self. Thus, retouchers are reminded in flagrante delicto that they are not honoring True Beauty. 

(That is, if professional retouchers do all their work in one fell swoop without saving their file before applying an action downloaded from the internet.) 

As the story goes, this action, presumably made available at sites like Reddit where art directors, graphic designers, and photo retouchers lurked---was called "Beautify" and falsely claimed to create a skin glow effect. The mindless unassuming users of the action would instead find their work reverted to the photo's original state. 

(Wait, Reddit? The place where my teenage son goes to look at animated GIFs of sloths playing banjos? The place where President Obama says anyone can ask him anything as long as they can do it in the next half hour? That's where pros go for their retouching actions? Welcome to dekeOnline you poor hapless souls.)

Ok, there's something poetic about using something called an action to attempt to incite---maybe not actual action, but at least social consciousness---about the way women are force-fed unreal idealization in advertisement. And yet, I must ask the following:  Read more » 

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