Frightday Fundamentals: Mastering Elliptical Alchemy for Savvy Shapes and Selections

Wait, Halloween is over, you say? Friday is over, too? Well, I don't care. Despite having originally crafted this review of how the ellipse tools work in Photoshop before Halloween (and thus before Friday), while I was hauling across Wyoming in the middle of the night and diving in a crater in Utah to get my scuba certification, I was also simultaneously coming up with a reason that the post-Halloween era is even more frightening. Because that's just the kind of renaissance woman that I am. 

So, I bring you my slightly spooky review of how the ellipse tools (the Ellipse tool proper that makes a shape or the Elliptical Marquee that makes a selection) work when you hold down various keys while you're dragging with it. I bring you: 

What follows are some, uh, Thanksgiving-themed illustrations that demonstrate how to use the Elliptical Marquee to select much more than a circle, without ever using anything but an ellipse. 

For example, with the elliptical marquee in hand, you can drag out an ellipse of any proportion. Hold down the Shift key to create a perfect circle. Hold down the Alt key to make the point where you start dragging the center of your shape. Note that for this simple selection, the cursor is just a standard crosshair. 

Once you have one selection, you can add another to it by holding down the Shift key when you draw your next shape. You'll know you're adding to your original selection because the cursor has a plus sign on board.  Read more » 

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Illustrator CC One-on-One Mastery: Now with Touch Type Tool Tutorials

This week released the latest update to Deke's signature Illustrator course, Illustrator CC One-on-One: Mastery---and with it you get a dekeSplanation of an amusingly handy new tool in Illustrator Creative Cloud: the Touch Type tool. 

If you're a member of and you're a "let's get right to the new stuff" kinda person, then check out the last few videos of Chapter 38, "Free Transform and Touch Type" in the latest course. If you're not a member of, why then scurry over to and get yourself a free week's trial. 

'Course, if you'd like to see how it works without scurrying anywhere, read on for a words-and-pictures example of how I made a classic deke-with-backward-droopy-e (hey, it's classic around here) in a matter of seconds using Illustrator's handy new feature:  Read more » 

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(De)Shaking It Up with Photoshop CC One-on-One: Mastery

Yesterday, released the latest update to that pinnacle of Photoshop One-on-One tutelage, the Mastery course for Creative Cloud. In this fourth-and-final offering, Deke covers some of the most complex features in Photoshop with his signature step-by-step tutorials and expert-level insights.

(Need a free week's trial at to check it out? Go to and it's all yours.)

One of those sophisticated features covered in this update is Photoshop's new Shake Reduction filter, which aims to reduce the effects of camera shake (i.e. movement of the camera/photographer during exposure). While the feature lives under the Sharpen sub-menu, and does in fact often render a sharper photo, it doesn't work to sharpen existing details as, say, Smart Sharpen does. Instead, it "magically" attempts to reconcile the multiple micro-perspectives that a slightly wiggly (i.e. human) hand might introduce. 

Just so happens that some of the free sample movies from this new course address this new feature in true dekeStyle. I mean, you can find several examples on the web that demonstrate the official way that Shake Reduction works or should work. But Deke's take is slightly more interesting, and to my mind, more practical. Although it doesn't render this GoPro shot of these three amigos (Producer Max PixleySmith, Deke, and James Williamson) tack sharp, it does make for an improved photograph. Here's the before and after to make my point:  Read more » 

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How to Transform a Photograph into a Piece of Comic Book-Style Roy Lichtenstein Art

Came up with this today: "How to transform a photograph into a piece of comic book-style Roy Lichtenstein art." In the spirit of "Oh Jeff...I Love You, Too...But..."

Roy Lichtenstein photo to artworkRegarding a common misunderstanding: The dots you see here are not halftone dots. They are Ben-Day dots, used back when I was a kid (used by this very me, in fact!) to convey solid colors using CMYK combos.

By which I mean, notice that the dot size never varies.

In my version of the story, Hailey has discovered that her on-again off-again boyfriend Biff is once-again carrying on with Madelyn. Hailey and Madelyn, oh dear. Both so perfect. Poor Biff, he just can't choose. But forget Biff...this is Hailey's story. And this...this was Biff's last chance.

Please, make up your own narrative.

The thing requires both Photoshop and Illustrator. Look for it soon after Thanksgiving.
Read more » 

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The Creative Cloud Update to Illustrator One-on-One: Advanced Is Now Live

My darling dekeIstrators, ready for some up-to-date, cutting-edge (as much as a 25-year-old application can cut edges) training for vector drawing? Welcome to Illustrator CC One-on-One: Advanced (released this week at

(And if you're not a member and would like to check it out anyway, you can get a free week's trial at And if you're not a member of Creative Cloud, you can still watch the CS6 version with the same subscription.)

In this third installation of Deke's signature Illustrator video training series, Deke delves into some rather sophisticated topics that will help you create equally sophisticated artwork. Here's an overview of the Table of Contents and some of the hands-on projects Deke uses to demonstrate those high-powered Illustrator tools: 

Chapter 22: Shortcuts and Settings
In this chapter, Deke reviews the custom shortcuts (dekeKeys) and color settings that he recommends for efficiently working in Illustrator. 


Chapter 23: Blends and Masks
Blends and Masks are some of the oldest features in Illustrator. Blending allows you to create custom gradients and transitions. Masking allows you to place those blends inside the confines of a path outline. Both operate dynamically to allow you edit their outcomes at any time.  Read more » 

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