Illustrator One-on-One: Fundamentals, updated for Creative Cloud (Still Thriving for Earlier Versions)

On Friday, released the CC version of Deke's Illustrator One-on-One: Fundamentals course, which covers useful foundations for vector-based drawing in Illustrator from basic artboard management and interface navigation, to drawing with the line and shape tools, placing text, tracing line art, getting started with the pen tool, and more. 

Welcome to Illustrator One-on-One Fundamentals

If you're not a member of, you can get a free week trial at to check it out. If you're not a member of Creative Cloud, Deke's earlier titles---going back to CS3---are available from this playlist I created:

A playlist of Deke's Illustrator Fundamentals course for multiple versions

The Fundamentals course has all you need to feel like you might try one of Deke's free Illustrator-based Deke's Techniques as well. If you're new to Creative Cloud you may be thinking it's time to investigate something besides Photoshop for your creative endeavors.  Read more » 

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It's Official: I Love My GoPro Hero 3

Recently, my sons & I traveled to northern California. Specifically: Sacramento, Lake Tahoe, and some places in between. You may, if you like (below), regard one of my notoriously (below) understated photographs (below). That's Sam, scrupulously circumspect, on the left. That's Max, in full-on battle-mode---as rarely captured with saliva between his upper and lower teeth---on the right (below).

Treetop Adventure Park, Granlibakken, Lake Tahoe, California, Max and Sam, GoPro Hero 3

Why do they appear so thusly as they do (above)? Who knows. I dunno about yours, but my kids are crazy. E'en so, I have a theory. It involves a camera. Here, let me explain. Read more » 

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Creating Faux Fireworks against a Synthetic Sky in Photoshop

The unrelenting number of blog posts every July about how to photograph fireworks on the Fourth has finally driven me to seek relief. Nothing against those writers, I've written a few firework photography blurbs myself over the years. But let's face it, not much changes in terms of strategy from year to year. (In a nutshell: tripod, long shutter speed, low ISO.) If you don't think you've heard every tip or trick, by all means google on. I'll be over here celebrating my freedom with Photoshop, as the founding fathers intended. 

Yep, time for something fresh and fun. In my quest for artistic liberty, I found this delightful tutorial from defender of creative freedom Howard Pinsky, which uses text outlines, some tweaking of standard Photoshop brushes, and some Outer Glow layer effects to create a firework text effect. Howard was kind enough to let us share it here, so I could start slacking off for a long holiday weekend: 

But Howard's approach is so infectious, I forgot to start slacking immediately. I wanted to see how these faux fireworks would work  against the synthetic sky I learned to make way back in Deke's Techniques 015: Building a Synthetic Starfield. With a little tweaking for my own handwriting, fake background, and lack of subtlety, I came up with this:


Here are a few tips for riffing of Howard's tutorial. (Riffing, the second-most sincere form of flattery after downright imitation).  Read more » 

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Photoshop One-on-One: Fundamentals updated for Photoshop CC (and long live CS6, CS5, CS4, and CS3)

This is the obligatory blog post to let you know Deke has a new course available at Photoshop CC One-on-One Fundamentals, which basically updates Deke's flagship course for the Creative Cloud version of Photoshop. This is the foundational course in the One-on-One series that helps you get your bearings, learning such things as navigation, managing image size, using layers, straightening and cropping, and more. And this course is scheduled to be updated for any relevant updates that happen to arise for Photoshop CC. You can click the image below to check out the table of contents: 

But, we're well aware that not everyone is keen on hopping on the Creative Cloud. (I wracked my brain for a bandwagon + cloud metaphor there, but got nothing.) And so, I want to make sure that anyone who wants a good foundational education in Photoshop knows where to go, regardless of which version they're using.

Turns out, Deke has been doing some form of this course all the way back to Photoshop CS3. To that end, I've made a playlist at from which you can choose the version of Fundamentals that you need for your particular version of Photoshop. Because everyone deserves a solid foundation. Click here to check it out, then choose the version you need:

If one of these courses looks right for you, but you're not a member of, you can get a free week's trial to check it out at Fundamentals, now in every Photoshop flavor.  Read more » 

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Why I'm Behind on Deadlines, but Up-to-Date on Keyboard Shortcuts

Deke, holed up in his booth working on the world's ultimate guide to Photoshop keyboard shortcuts for the next update to his Photoshop One-on-One: Advanced course, just walked up to my desk and said, "Want to see something evil? Press Command-Shift-Option-Q." (Don't try this at home.) 

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