Learn How to Mask Hair, Down to the Final Fragile Follicle, in Photoshop

My final video course of 2011 for the Online Training Library is now live. Titled Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Hair, it lives up to its name, showing you how to mask and composite the most fragile of all photographic details, hair, in that most powerful of masking applications, Photoshop.

Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Hair

(Yes, I'm aware that the term "follicle" specifically refers to the root of the hair, not the part we see and therefore need to mask. It's all about the alliteration, dammit!)

My goal is to boost both your skills and your confidence. As well as pass along lots of useful, in-the-trenches techniques. All in just 3 hours and 6 minutes! Here's an illustrated outline of the four feature-rich chapters and the fun, challenging projects that accompany them: Read more » 

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The Next "Photoshop Masking & Compositing" Course Goes Live @

Ask anyone at Adobe what distinguishes Photoshop from every other image-editing program, app, or digital blip on the planet, and they'll tell you "masking and compositing." Apparently you agree, because my video course Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Fundamentals is tearing up the planet over at It's N-to-the-1-to-the-L-D-C, as the dope kids say. As if I'd know.

Naturally, I'm gratified. (Thanks very much, btw!) Plus, it emboldens me to report: Today I and my beloved video publisher release another installment in the series, Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Advanced Blending. The image below might make it look exacting and academic. Which it is. But it's also expansive and practical. Because it tells the ultimate post-processing story: How to paint without permanence, create without consequences, and, in the end, mask without masking. In short, how to assemble photorealistic artwork through the pure power of artistic thought. It really is that good.

Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Advanced Blending

This is a short course, just 4 hours, and yet it manages to comprise 9 chapters. Here they are: Read more » 

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dekeSpeak November 8


The Newsletter of Things Deke: November 08, 2011

Hello, gang:

Did you know that you can get a one-week membership for free? If you're not already a member, just go to and sign up. You can watch all those Deke's Techniques episodes that you've been missing! (The free membership part will be our little secret.) Read more » 

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"Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Fundamentals" Goes Live Today

Photoshop Channels & Masks has traditionally been one of my most popular video series in the Online Training Library. Which is why I decided to update the course and rename it Photoshop Masking & Compositing. After all, if it ain't broke, fix it.

It starts today with the release of my entirely reinvigorated primer course, Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Fundamentals, in which you'll learn everything there is to know about selections, alpha channels, layers, compositing, clipping masks, Color Range, the Quick Mask mode, Refine Edges, everyday channel masking, Calculations, layer masks, vector path outlines, and knockout layers. Give me your time, and I'll make sure your compositions look their absolute best.

And this is just the beginning. There will be many satellite courses, including (but not limited to) Advanced BlendingThe Pen Tool, and my personal favorite, Hair. (I'm working on Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Advanced Blending, complete with mathematical formulas for each and every one of the blend modes, as you read this.)

Here's my chosen splash screen, complete with a toucan. Because let's face it, toucan's are about as cool as masked birds get:

For a chapter-by-chapter analysis (there are nine chapters in all), read on: Read more » 

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Dad's Smashed iPhone: Frame It or Bury It?

So there I was with my esteemed friend and colleague, Colleen Wheeler. We were on foot, en route to a wine bar along one of Ventura, California's lovely beaches, on the other side of the scenic interstate 101 from where I had parked my car. After passing a "No Pedestrians Allowed" sign---at which I thought, don't call me a pedestrian you racist!---we were unexpectedly confronted by a busy and treacherous highway exit ramp. (Hello, State of California, walking people and exit ramps don't go together!) There is no stop light, which means the rapidly exiting automobiles are permitted to slam into the dainty endoskeletons of unsuspecting bipeds at full speed. So we did the only thing sensible: We scurried across the exit ramp like daring road-kill squirrels.

As we enjoyed our wine (yes we survived), Colleen thought it would be fun to show me every photo she had ever taken on her iPhone. Which added up to about 700. And much as you love someone, reviewing that person's photo album makes you a bit catatonic. And so as my eyes fluttered, I had this ill-formed thought that I had photos on my iPhone, too, and I should, there was that one, right, which? So I felt my right-side pocket, and then the other one, and my jacket, and, hold the phone, no iPhone!

I explained my lack of phone to Colleen. She called my number and it went right to v-mail. We retraced our steps. I saw something that looked like a flat pack of cigarettes in the exit ramp. I watched it get run over once, then twice. I squirrel-scurried in, scooped it up, and sure enough, it was my iPhone.

The phone was face down, its back marred by multiple tire tracks. I turned it over and this was what I saw. (Click the graphic for a high-res image that you can use, free of charge, for any of your cracked glass compositions.)

My smashed run-over dead-gone-dead iPhone

The phone was, and is forever more, dead. Read more » 

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