Deke's Techniques 363: Develop a Portrait of Your Little Joker

Delvelop a Portrait of Your Little Joker

In this week's free Deke's Techniques video, our Halloween homage continues as Deke takes a scarily washed out iPhone photo of an otherwise awesome costume (and model) and turns it into something suitably sinister.

As you can see in the image on the right below, Sam's got the attitude and the make up to really pull of his supervillain alter ego. But the lighting, image quality, and happy suburban kitchen background spoils the ominous mood a bit.

But with help from Photoshop CC's Field Blur filter, Deke manages to turn the comfortably domestic background into something much more mysterious. Then, he uses Camera Raw applied as a smart filter (another CC wonder) to enhance and energize the photo.

Our little Joker, before and after enhancing the iPhone portrait.

If you're a member of, you can watch an exclusive movie this week in which Deke shows you how he created those creepy character lines in Sam's face to take him from a kid in a costume to a truly frightening mini-villain. If you're not a member of and would like to check it (along with over 360 other Deke's Techniques out), you can get a free week's trial by signing up at

Happy Halloween, my creepy dekeSters! No joke. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 360: Turning Yourself into a Dark Elf for Halloween (or Just Because It's Tuesday)

Turn Yourself into an Elf using Photoshop

It's mid-October and dekeGouls and Goblins know what that means, time for Deke's Techniques to go all Halloween on us. Or more precisely, on our children. This year, Deke seems to be particularly interested in creating virtual costumes for the kids, starting with this week's transformation of mild-mannered gentle giant teenager Wheeler into a foreboding dark elf we like to call Wheeler Prime. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 358: Painting Away "Clarity Halos" Caused by Camera Raw

Painting away halos caused by the Clarity setting in Camera Raw

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke not only removes some unattractive artifacts from his overzealous use of the Clarity slider in Camera Raw, but he actually coins a new phrase---clarity halos---to describe said problem. 

Cranking the Clarity in Camera Raw (or Lightroom, for that matter) can give your image some instant pop, but sometimes it leaves behind an unsightly vestige. Because Clarity uses big radius sharpening, if you're applying it to high-contrast areas you might get more than you bargained for, like the white areas in the tree on the left in the image below.

To fix this problem, Deke uses a wily combination of a blue multiplied layer and that useful but elusive (to me, anyway) Layer Style setting known as Underlying Layer. You can see the effective results in the center image below.

Then, of course, because he's Deke, he obsessively uses the tonal brushes (Dodge, Burn, and Sponge) on a specifically merged section of the image so that the sky looks exactly the way he wants it to. That's the appropriately named image on the right below.

Fixing "clarity halos" caused by Camera Raw

For those of you who are members of, there's yet another---dare I say, final---movie on this landscape project, in which Deke selectively sharpens the photo, which---given all the stress he's put it through---takes some subtlety of thought and purpose. If you're not a member of, you can get a free week's trial by signing up at more » 

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Deke's Techniques 356: Developing the Perfect Sunset

Develop the perfect sunset

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke shows you how to pull an amazing sunset photo out of what initially appears to be a drab ordinary landscape. (I assure you, nothing in our general neighborhood of Boulder, Colorado is ordinary.) Check out this before and after action: 

A drab landscape becomes a superb sunset thanks to Camera Raw and Photoshop Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 354: Archiving and Enhancing Your Child's Artwork

Archiving Your Kid's Art in Photoshop

In this week's free Deke's Techniques video, Deke discovers an old piece of artwork from my nine-year-old son (who is now 18), insists that we must save it for posterity, and subsequently scans and enhances it digitally, so that I don't destroy it in a cleaning purge. 

This technique not only creates a compelling visual artifact, it saves you from feeling guilty when you know it's time to purge the refrigerator door of its "current" (read: out-of-date) decor. 

Here is the canvas in question, nine-year-old Wheeler's watercolor-esque (on canvas?) interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night. 

Original scan of child's art

After scanning and cropping, Deke uses Photoshop CC's ability to apply Camera Raw as an editable smart filter to enhance the color and contrast. The result is a digital artwork that doesn't take up room in our already full-to-the-brim storage area. (Hmmm, I wonder if Deke would be willing to archive some of his own early works this way.)

Child art enhanced for archive with Photoshop

For those of you who have forgotten what the original (Vincent's, I mean) looks like (as if you could): 

Original starry night

But I share this because in Deke's member-exclusive video this week, he fuses together the works of both geniuses, using some complex transforming and blending in Photoshop, to create this fun interpretation of both mixed together: 


If you're not a member of and would like to check this exclusive video out, you can get a free week's trail at For the rest of your free week, you can enjoy all the other 350+ Deke's Techniques, plus anything else from the vast lynda library that suits your own childlike creative curiosity.  Read more » 

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