The Ring Tutorial to End All Ring Tutorials (Part 1)

So you know how the cinematic interpretations of JRR Tolkien's Hobbit-based works are about eight bazillion times longer than their literary sources? Yeah, this is the opposite.

This is a longish, literary-ish (well, you know, to the best of my ability), interpretation of Deke's ten-minute video tutorial on how to create the famous artifact at the center of Tolkien's work. For those of you who like a bit more detail in your literary-fantasy-virtual-artifact-creation tutorials, here are the step-by-step instructions I promised from this week's Deke's Techniques episode.

Final 3D Ring

(Tomorrow, I'll detail how to totally geek out on the elvish inscription, but you'll have to wait for Part 2. After I got about halfway translating this technique into words, I pulled a Peter Jackson and decided it was better to serve up as two parts.) 

1. Create a new document in Illustrator.
Begin at the beginning. In Illustrator, choose File > New and set your dimensions to 1080 x 825 points. For good measure, set the Bleed to 18 pts all the way around. Then click OK.

Create a new Illustrator document


2. Add a suitable background by placing a fiery photo.
First you'll need some flames. Deke used this one from Fotolia artist халлва. (By the way, you can download 25 free images by signing up for a free month's subscription at 

Choose File > Place, then navigate to the image you want to use as a background in the Place dialog box. When you find it, click it to select it, then click Place.

(In truth, you don't really need any background for this, but having a darker canvas to work on will definitely help with the next few steps.)

3. Name your backdrop layer.
Practice good layer maintenance by double-clicking the name of the layer and calling it something useful like "backdrop." I've also done the same for the specific image layer (i.e. I renamed it "fiery"). Also, click the lock icon next to the layer in order to lock it down, so that it doesn't slide around when you least want it to.

Tip: If you want your Layers panel thumbnails to be nice and big, like Deke's, click the icon in the upper right of the panel (1) and choose Panel Options (2) from the panel flyout menu. In the Layers Panel Options dialog box that appears (3), set the Row Size to 70 pixels and click OK.

Increasing the thumbnail size in the Illustrator Layers panel Read more » 

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Do the Impossible: Create and Animate an Optical Illusion

My dear dekeItarians. Check out the welcome movie to Deke's new course. It will bend your brain.

In this latest Designs dekeConstructed course from dekeConstructed: Animating a Mind-Bending Illusion---Deke shows you how to not only create a Penrose triangle (think of the works of M.C. Esher or a 3D mobius-like strip with three corners) but then animate a golden ball rolling around its impossible never-ending sides. What, my words are too mundane and limited for this impossible mind-bending effect created using everyday tools like Photoshop and Illustrator? Here's what I'm talking about: 

Ball travels around impossible triangle created in Photoshop and Illustrator.

I know! And people use animated GIFs to make bananas dance. (OK, that one's kind of awesome.)

You can learn, in patented step-by-step Deke-style, how to construct this dekeDesign in the new course. If you're not a member of, but can't pass up this eyeball enchanting opportunity, you can get a free week's trial membership by signing up at

Once there you can also use the rest of your free week to explore the rest of Deke's House of Illusions---i.e. his awesome catalog of courses----or check out works from the rest of the lyndaLibrary. Amazing! Read more » 

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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 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 and would like to check out this course, you can get a free week's trial at 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 course, what is new and interesting about Photoshop CC (2104): 

New Course: Photoshop 2014

If you're not a member of and you'd like to check it out, you can sign up a free week's trial at 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 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 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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