Returning Home to Flood-Ravaged but Hero-Rich Boulder

As I mentioned last week, we were traveling abroad when record rainfall ravaged Deke's hometown of Boulder, Colorado. Boulder, which normally gets around 1.7 inches of rain in September, got over 17 inches in one day. Boulder Creek had a 100x increase in its water flow. And whilst Deke and I studied the 100-year and 500-year flood maps of Boulder from across the Atlantic, we came home to the aftermath of what some are now calling a 1000-year rainfall event. Do they sell insurance for that?

The pictures and stories were harrowing, and we weren't sure exactly what to expect, knowing that there had been basement flooding in both of Deke's homes.

The floodwaters that turned the streets into veritable rivers had receded, but piles of ripped up carpets and temporary large-scale trash containers all around the city served as a reminder of what we missed. Thanks to some quick, tireless work by neighbors, family, and friends who responded to our frantic texts and calls from Spain, the water had already been pumped out of the basement at Deke's condo and a preliminary rescue mission had started on the contents. Left behind were some interesting smells and and some notable casualties: 

Although there is some poignancy to this waterlogged collection of Deke's life's work, and the structural damage to his property is not insignificant, there were others in the area who lost their homes, their cars, and even their lives. Our friends and family members in Boulder definitely fell into the "it coulda been worse" category. 

The creek in back of Deke's family home didn't breach. The charming server in our favorite restaurant was rescued by a policeman from what she called "class 5 rapids" down a main thouroughfare. Deke's producer, Max and family were unscathed (albeit unsettled) by the waters rising in their backyard, and we got to find out, in that way you do when faced with disaster, just how hard-working, generous, and tireless a community can be and what's truly important in the end.  Read more » 

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Photoshop One-on-One: Advanced Updated for CC

This week, the third installment of Deke's Photoshop One-on-One series, the Advanced course, has been updated for Photoshop CC. This phase of dekeTraining is particularly useful for optimizing your photographs and learning how to create impeccable selections and composites. 

If you're not a member of, you can get a free week's trial at to check out the course. If you're not a member of Creative Cloud, you can still catch the CS6 and CS5 versions of the course at 

If you're familiar with the One-on-One approach, you know Deke likes to use compelling real-world examples to teach Photoshop features, so that you learn in context and with relevance to your own projects. Here's a look at the chapters covered in this installment, as well as a sneak peek at some of the hands-on projects you'll encounter in this latest course: 

Chapter 23. Shortcuts and Settings
This chapter includes the update to Deke's custom shortcuts, dekeKeys, and advice for getting the color settings right in Photoshop. 


Chapter 24. Smart Objects
Learn how to leverage this feature that allows you to put artwork inside a protective envelope of sorts, and then tweak (and update) with impunity, like in this watermark-creation project:  Read more » 

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Friday Fundamentals: Gauging the Best Sharpening Settings

This week's Friday (not quite Friday) Fundamentals features a video from Deke's latest Photoshop course, Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate. "Gauging the Best Sharpening Settings" is an unlocked video I've placed here for your Labor Day Weekend enjoyment. (Disclaimer: I had to hit the road yesterday to beat the traffic to my own holiday enjoyment, thus the "Friday Fundamentals" posting on Saturday. At least you know I thought about you dekeLlies once I secured my own vacation spot.) 

Sharpening is not about focus, but rather about editing an image to make its details appear more sharply defined. As Deke points out earlier in the course:

"It's important to note that we're not talking about focus. Photoshop can not reach back into your camera and adjust the optical focus of your lens element. Nor can it invent detail that does not exist. In other words, if an image was shot blurry, it will remain blurry. What Photoshop can do is take a well-focused image and make every detail appear crystal clear."

Read on to see how it works: Read more » 

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The DJI Phantom (Menace): Deke's Awesome Adventure in Aerial Photography

"One man's quest to master aerial photography armed with nothing more than a DJI Phantom quadcopter, a GoPro Hero 3, and an irrepressible optimism in the face of potential (and ultimate) destruction."

For those of you who follow Deke or dekeOnline on Facebook, you've heard the saga of our boy and his new toy---a Phantom quadcopter that transports his GoPro into the sky (sometimes) to capture video from on high. 

Much of the hilarity (and learning curve) of the past week is captured in the video above, as Deke attempts to remotely control the UAV and its on-board camera over his hometown of Boulder, Colorado. 

One day when we were planning to hit the studio---this story on a Colorado town that wants to legalize hunting and shooting down drones---got Deke so nervous that the window of freedom for using his personal UAV would soon close that we had to abandon in-studio work for the day and get out into Boulder's great outdoors.

sequence of shots from Deke's quadcopter plus goPro setup

So what do you think about using personal UAVs for aerial photography? Aside from the public menace that Deke represented during his learning phase (which will now take a hiatus as the quadcopter is sent in for repairs), how do these images make you feel? Awed, astounded, annoyed, apprehensive?  Read more » 

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A Sense of Intermediacy: New Intermediate Courses for Photoshop and Illustrator CC

It was a windfall week in video training if you're ready to move past Deke's beginner-level courses and you're using Creative Cloud. This week, online training company released CC-friendly versions of both Photoshop One-on-One: Intermediate and Illustrator One-on-One: Intermediate.  

The Photoshop course tackles those next-level features like the potentially useful Content-Aware tools, adjusting photographic tone with the Levels command, adding and managing text in your graphic, creative control via Layer Styles, and printing (to mention a few subjects). Click the image below to see the full table of contents at 

Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate

Meanwhile, the Illustrator course covers vital layout features like Layers and Groups, the controlling your objects with the Pathfinder panel, understanding Swatches and Stacking order, the oh-so-cool and useful Gradient features, and (again) more. You can click this image to see the full TOC of the Illustrator course: 

Illustrator CC One-on-One: Intermediate

If you're not quite ready to become a member of, but you're interested in taking this dekeInstruction for a test drive, I have two useful ideas for you: 

First, you can get a free week's subscription to by going to A week will let you peruse these two courses, as well as the bajillion other videos available. (At least, it was a bajillion last time I checked. Probably more than that now.) 

Also, always unlocks a certain number of movies in any new course. For instance, you can check out "Using the Pattern Generator" without being a member (temporary or otherwise). The movies that are listed in blue in any course TOC are free to all.  Read more » 

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