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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Photoshop Content Awareness: the Move, the Patch, the Cheating at Golf

In honor of the first chapter of Deke's latest course update, Photoshop CC One-on-One: Intermediate, I got to thinking about interesting uses of the Content-Aware family of Photoshop tools (the subject of Chapter 1 of said course). 

Basically, "content-aware" features work similarly to earlier Photoshop features (Move, Patch, Fill) but they do so in a way that considers the contextual information present in the image. So, instead of telling Photoshop, "Hey, Fill this selected space with the Background color," you instead say, "Fill this, and figure out what it should be filled with based on the contents of my image."

The net result can be magical or tragic, but if you use the right combination of tools (and admit the fact you may have to clean up your results with some classic Healing Brush or other retouching work) then Content-Aware tools pretty much stay on their side of magic. 

For example, let's say I recognized the fact that one is not allowed to move one's golf ball closer to the hole. But let's also say, that although the USGA prohibits moving your ball, they don't explicitly say you can't move the hole. It's Photoshop Rules, people. And here's how Photoshop's Move and Patch tools, in their Content-Aware modes, can really shine. 

Here's a quick look at how to use these two tools to their greatest golf-gaming advantage. Because although you may not need to cheat at golf, you may find untold riches in knowing how to leverage these features in your own work:  Read more » 

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Repeat Performance: InDesign's Useful if Imperfect Transform Again Individually Command

Full disclaimer, I stole, borrowed, actually learned the following knowledge thanks to a tweet from Friend of dekeOnline and former InDesign PM Michael Ninness. Every once in a while---probably when he's creating beautiful reports full of useful insights in his high falutin' position as's SVP of Strategic Development---Michael remembers something useful about InDesign that others might not know. Then he tweets it to the world. In this case: 

Ninness tweet

I admit, my syntactically inflexible would-be English major's brain could barely parse this sentence, but I had to know more. And I had to trust Ninness. That capital I in "Individually" was no accident. It's actually a key part of the command. 

And the command is one of the few approximations InDesign has of that handy "Repeat Formatting" command in (of all things) Microsoft Word. As far as object-level formatting goes, it's as close to "Please do that random thing I just did again to this other thing" as INDD gets. 

So thanks to Michael's tweet and my tendency to seek out all manner of efficiency in InDesign, here's a fancifully illustrated guide to the "Transform Individually" commands in InDesign that may just make your life easier:  Read more » 

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