Deke's Techniques 344: Creating the 3D Ring (to End All Rings, or Something Like That)

dekeSters Unite!

It's Labor Day weekend (OK, it was) here in the States, which means we pay no attention to what Labor Day really means but use it as an opportunity to go camping with our family. So I am literally phoning it in tonight (well, using a network created by my phone, anyway). I'll be back later this week to write a step-by-step tutorial on this awesome technique (as it deserves) for those of you who like words.

In the meantime, enjoy this free video in which Deke creates a 3D ring in Illustrator, and then if you're a member of, you can watch how he engraves it with elvish in this week's exclusive movie. Not a member, get a free week at

See you soon, dekeItariat! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 343: Baking a 3D Donut in Illustrator

Mmmm, 3D Illustrator Donuts

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke bakes some delicious 3D donuts...FROM QUASI HUMAN HEADS. No it's not an early Halloween episode. No it's not an incredibly timely homage to Homer Simpson. It's actually a Mordy Golding-inspired technique in which Deke uses Illustrator's 3D Revolve effect on a couple of paper doll-like heads and turns them into DELICIOUS DONUTS. Mordy's Magical Donuts

(*Mordy Golding is an accomplished Illustrator wizard. He is known to appreciate donuts, but his diet explicitly prohibits the eating of actual human heads.)

Here's a visual recap:

Donut math

Check it out when you're not watching the Simpson's marathon, eating real donuts, or wondering what flavor "pink" actually is. Mmm.  Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 341: Integrating a 3D Object into a 2D Scene

Integrate a 3D object into a 2D scene

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke shows you how to infest your formerly calm 2D photographic waters with a suitably threatening 3D shark inside Photoshop. This, I feel, is a story best told in pictures. 

So basically, this: 

Sharkless Ocean

Plus this:

Blind shark in a transparent sea

Equals this:

Fully integrated 3D shark

Any questions? 

OK, you probably have questions. Watch the video to see how Deke incorporates Mr. Hammerhead (created by author Ryan Kittleson) into the his photographic ocean (from the image library.) 

And if you'd like to see how Deke gets Ryan's 3D object into the image in the first place, check out this week's exclusive video for members. Not a member? You can get a free week's trail at Swim on! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 340: Select Focus Area and Pseudo Engraving

Select Focus Area and Pseudo Engraving

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke takes a photo of his friend ( director Scott Erickson), isolates the portrait from its out-of-focus background, and applies an engraving effect that results in currency suitable for Scott to use to start his own country. He was thinking of calling it Scottland. 

Now, you may not need to produce your own "Scottish" currency, but you'll find a stash of valuable tips in this week's video that you can use for your own projects. Namely: 

Masking the in-focus part of an image with Photoshop CC's new Select > Focus Area command. (You can see another example of how it works in Deke's Photoshop 2014 Creative Cloud Updates course, right here.) For quick removal of the other elements in the photo, Select Focus Area works fairly well (and like any selection you can improve the results with Refine Mask).  In this example, we're gonna apply an edge-tweaking effect anyway so we don't need perfect results:

Before and after application of the Select Focus Area command


Adding a textural element to your composition. You can see how Deke approaches adding a texture (on top of the effect) and fine-tuning it with a Color Overlay style and Color blend mode. (By the way, you can find lots of textures in the same place Deke got this one, at, where you can download 25 free images by signing up for a free trial subscription here.) 


Learn secret handshakes of the Layer Styles dialog box. During the course of the video, Deke reveals these two mysterious areas of the Layer Style dialog box and what they can do for you. 


Incorporate Deke's Techniques of the Past! Finally, Deke adds this currency-like element to add legitimacy, which you may recall was created from scratch in Illustrator in Deke's Techniques 168


And remember, if you want to go back and watch other Deke's Techniques episodes, you can get a free week's trail by signing up at to gain access to older and exclusive-er episodes.  Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 338: The Four Interlocking Hands of Brotherhood and Teamwork

Four Interlocking Hands of Teamwork in Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke shows you how to take last week's hand-drawing---which may, at one point, been have beenmisunderstood as a fist---and intertwine it with three of its brethren to make a classic (if you lived through the 1970s) intertwined four hands of peach, brotherhood, teamwork, and intergalactic cooperation. 

Along the way, you'll learn some useful tips for creating interwoven objects in Illustrator, namely: Read more » 

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