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 » 

. Tagged with:

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 » 

. Tagged with:

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 » 

. Tagged with:

Deke's Techniques 336: Drawing a Clenched Hand in Illustrator

Drawing a Clenched Hand in Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques video, Deke demonstrates how to draw a hand (his own) by tracing a sketch (his own). Although the title refers to a clenched hand, a word that normally evokes a fist, you'll discover next week that what our fists are in fact clenched around is one another. 

But first, it all starts with a single hand. Using a photo of a sketch he drew of his own hand, Deke shows you how to place the template, trace with the pen tool, reposition anchor points as you go, switch to Outline mode for precise alignment of points, and apply variable width to your strokes. You can see the results of the trace on the right below. 

Tracing a sketch in Illustrator

Next week, as promised, we'll put four of these hands together in a classic 1970's style emblem of interwoven hands.

Meanwhile, for members of, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how he got from the "scanned" (i.e. shot with a camera phone in an activity that passes for scanning these days) sketch on the left to the cleaned up traceable image in the center. If you're not a member of, you can check this exclusive video (along with over 300 other Deke's Techniques, and a mountain of other courses from Deke and the rest of the talented lyndaAuthors) signing up at for a free week's trial.  Read more » 

. Tagged with:

Deke's Techniques 334: Straightening and "Uncropping" a Photograph

Deke's Techniques 334: Straighten and "Uncrop" a Photograph

In this week's free Deke's Techniques video, Deke takes a problematic but once-in-a-lifetime family vacation photo and "uncrops" in Photoshop: straightening the horizon, filling in the background, and even restoring missing detail. Here's the starting point, a wonderful moment atop the pyramid at Coba, a Mayan ruined city in the Yucután peninsula:

An epic photograph with some fixable problems

If you've ever straightened a photograph in Photoshop, you know that the rules of geometry require that you'll crop away some part of your image. So after straightening the horizon, Deke sets out to restore those areas. In the process, he also makes some room at the bottom of the image to allow for the restoration of his younger child's toes. Along the way, you can see how he uses Content-Aware fill to fill in the gaps, then fine tunes with the Healing Brush to cover his tracks. 

For members of, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he actually restores the cropped off bit of Sam's right foot. (The trick is to steal it from another photograph.) Here's the finished project, suitable for commemorating this epic adventure:

Epic photo "uncropped" to restore missing detail

If you're not a member of, you can get a free week's trial to check out the members-only movie as well of the rest of Deke's Techniques by going to and signing up. Read more » 

. Tagged with: