I Woke to the Most Hilarious Experience

Last night I read an article that made me laugh so hard, Kool-Aid came out my nose. Which was weird because I was drinking gin.

(BTW, I have to tell you, I discovered a new one: It's called Leopold's Navy Strength, and it might be the best stuff I've ever tasted. For you to agree, you'll need to have swilled airplane fuel and survived. Assuming that's the case, add a hint of coriander and you have yourself a cocktail.) Read more » 

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Fifty Feels Fukken Fantastic

Well, gang. I went and did it. Despite considerable efforts to the contrary, I lived to see my fiftieth birthday.

Happily, the event randomly coincides with my fiftieth course for, the very recently released Photoshop CS6 Beta Preview.

Last Thursday, some of my friends threw me a grand party that started at 7pm and didn't stop until we had drained three mini-kegs, two cases of champagne, a big vat of some yummy Hendricks-based cocktail, two bottles of tequila, and a bottle of my favorite Scotch, Lagavulin. Thereby proving that while I may be old, and my liver may be older, I'm not dead yet.

Along the way, they presented me with two of the best presents I've ever received: an interstate sign to celebrate the birthday and a highway sign to celebrate the course. They're full-sized and made of real metal. Isn't that clever?

Deke turns 50 and releases his 50th course for

Plus, they wrote special messages all over the backs, as pictured below. My favorite: "50 years and just 50 titles? Hope your next 50 are a little more productive." Awww.

The backs of the previously shown signs

Tonight, a fancy dinner. Tomorrow, off to Hawaii with my boys. After that, back in the driver's seat, if only to lose myself on the highway of life.

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The Tragic Solemnity (or, If You Prefer, Quiet Authority) of My Photoshop CS6 Videos

Oh gosh,

A couple of days ago, I posted a bunch of videos on Photoshop CS6, which is now in public beta.

Some of you commented on the tenor of my voice. Examples include "Deke are you OK?" and "Was someone holding a gun to your head?" Here are some others:

Please, Deke, don't keep using that tone of voice! Sounds like you either had a death in the family or just got over a long illness! Read more » 

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Photoshop CS6 Enters a Several-Week Period of Free Public Beta

Tonight, at 9:01pm California time (that's 1 minute after midnight on the East Coast), Photoshop pulls off something it has attempted just once before: It enters a nearly seven-week period of public beta, during which you can download the program for free. Yes, Photoshop CS6 is available, right this moment, for your immediate click, install, and enjoyment. And it will cost you nothing.

That is to say, you won't have to shell out cash. But you will have to expend some attention. Because, and make no mistake about this, CS6 is one of the biggest upgrades to Photoshop since its inception.

Which is why I've created a total of 29 movies on the topic for, including the one above and five more embedded in this post. The full 29-movie course is available, in its entirety, for free to members and non-members alike. Just click on this link, Photoshop CS6 Beta Preview, and start watching.

Meanwhile, here's my take on the product: After many months using the application, I put it in the same rarefied air as Photoshop 1 (a big upgrade from no Photoshop whatsoever), Photoshop 3 (layers!), Photoshop 5 (color management, layer effects, history, editable text), Photoshop 7 (healing, Camera Raw), and Photoshop CS3 (smart filters, 3D). Feature-wise, it's closest to the 1990's-era Photoshop 5. Because the damn thing's dripping with the stank of the spanking new. If this were a car, you'd be driving it for a month just to learn all the gizmos and then sitting in your garage just to smell the upholstery. And honestly, friends, this is one good-smelling application.

In fact, Photoshop CS6 may be the most impressive upgrade to the program since Adobe assigned the CS trademark. My two cents, love to know yours.

For example, there's the infectious tang of the dark interface, feature in the above movie. (Lightroom users will say they already had this, but this is Photoshop, so where's the comparison?) The darkness is calming and it allows you to focus on your image without the distraction of the bright stuff around the edges. On the PC, it looks like the image below. On the Mac, it's topped off by a light gray menu bar, which sucks, but it's a necessity of the light OS. Click the image below to see a full-res view.

The new dark interface in Photoshop CS6 Read more » 

And that's just the beginning. What follows is a list of my Top 10 favorite features in the program:

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Deke's Miniaturization Technique Takes over the World: Ireland Edition

Each week, when I write up my thoughts about the Free Deke Technique of the Week on the blog, I like to consider how these often whimsical techniques might actually be used on files other than the ones Deke provides. While trying to think of a project appropriate for the week leading to St. Patricks Day---a day when we here in the states turn the solemn observance of the death of the patron saint of Ireland into an excuse to drink copious amounts of Guiness---I stumbled back over the Photoshop "miniturization" effect that Deke created last year.

And I thought, "If I could apply this to a travel photo from a trip to Ireland, I could make some sort of tenuous connection between that awesome tilt-shift video of Rio de Janeiro that made the viral rounds during Carnivale last month and Johnathan Swift's story in which Gulliver encounters the Lilliputians (you know, the only part of Gulliver's Travels that I ever even knew about until I read the book in grad school, because up until then, I'd only seen the cartoon)." 

What does this have to do with St. Patrick's Day? Well, I'm applying the effect to a photo I took in Ireland, of course. And Mardi Gras is another holiday we use as an excuse to drink. And Swift was Irish. All of this should be obvious. Plus check out the mundane before and delightful after of my formerly banal photo of Listowel, County Kerry (a place where, as far as I know, St. Patrick was never alleged to have worked any miracles):

Listowel before and after miniturization

Here's a step-by-step of how Deke's technique applied to my particular photo: Read more » 

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