Deke's Techniques 493: War of the Worlds, The Sun Attacks (Using Blend Modes in Photoshop)

Deke's Techniques 493: War of the Worlds, The Sun Attacks (Using Blend Modes in Photoshop)

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke shows you how to use blend modes, cloud filters, and luminance exclusion sliders to basically portray the sun attacking the earth. It's Photoshop Extreme Global Warming, people.

(Hmmm. Last week, San Francisco was attacked a sinister, but awesome looking, dinosaur, now this? I think the 2016 US Presidential election might be interfering with Deke's optimism about the world. Oh, well, at least when Deke goes dark, it's always bright and colorful.)

So, the orb that attacks the word here is basically our own sun:

The sun, preparing to attack the earth with killer lightning in Photoshop

And the killer rays it emits are actually this spectacular but-not-yet-deadly-solar-powered lightening:

Ordinary lightning, about to be made lethal by the Sun and Photshop blend modes


By applying several (and by that, I mean at least nine) rounds of the Difference Clouds filter, then using the Linear Light blend mode (in concert with the luminance exclusion sliders in the Layer Effects dialog box), this happens:

Sun using deadly lightening (and Photoshop Blend modes) to attack earth

It always zaps my mind when Deke uses those sliders under the "Blend If" option. Especially when he uses the Alt/Option key to break the arrows apart. But if ever I was to begin to understand how to use this advanced luminosity control, this video might be it.

If you're a member of, or you take advantage of the free 10-day trial by going to, there's an exclusive movie this week in which Deke shows you how to make killer attacking clouds using nothing but blend modes (and that If Then command.)

When clouds attack, courtesy of Photoshop blend modes

If you want to understand Blend Modes on a deeper level, you should check out Chapter 23, "Blend Modes," in the recently updated Photoshop CC 2015 One-on-One: Advanced course. (If you checked it out before the holiday break, there are new chapters to be enjoyed, including this Blend Modes deep dive.)

Deke's Techniques, bringing you beautiful deadly catastrophes every week. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 492: Helping Your 3D Dinosaur Escape to the Big City

Deke's Techniques 492: Helping Your 3D Dinosaur Escape to the Big City

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke takes our PixelSquid 3D dinosaur out of the "natural" environment we created for him last week, and gives him a night on the town in San Francisco.

During which, for compositional reasons, Deke changes the direction of the Golden Gate bridge, which, in real life might cause some major traffic headaches as well as making it very hard to find Sausalito.

So sure, those San Franciscans familiar with the Bay Area in real life might take exception with Deke's casual repositioning of the Pacific Ocean---but in  dekeLife, there's a dinosaur on the loose, so dekeAnciscans have bigger problems than geographic chaos.

3D Dinosaur from Pixel Squid placed to run wild in San Francisco

Ultimately, giving our dino dude a night out in The City is primarily a matter of changing the color details for the new environment--by adjusting the existing layers from last week's project. So, gone are the greens and yellows of his previously primordial landscape, replaced by the appropriately orange and purples of a nighttime metro skyline.

Additionally, the depth-of-field effect that Deke created last week (once again facilitated by the the built-in masking layers provided by PixelSquid) can be repurposed as well, with a few minor adjustments to the blur filter and layer mask.

Deke's Techniques, making sure even dinosaurs get a glamorous night out once in a while. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 489: Customize Your PixelSquid Art in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 489: Customize Your PixelSquid Art in Photoshop

My daring dekeOsaruses, in this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke takes the 3D dinosaur model from PixelSquid that he showed you last week, and sets it down in a more appropriate atmosphere.

To adroitly acclimate him to his new environment, (is it really a "him," it's hard to tell with dinosaur models), Deke uses built-in lighting layers and layer masks---provided with the file when you download it from PixelSquid---to accurately adjust the creature by using Photoshop layer effects.

The result is that this:

PixelSquid 3D dinosaur before Photoshop tweaking

Becomes this:

PixelSquid 3D dinosaur after Photoshop tweaking

All accomplished by simply adjusting color and lighting that's already built into the file by our friends at PixelSquid, who have provided no less than four different adjustable layers of light.

In other words, you get to do the fun part, because the tedious part has already been done. And playing with dinosaurs in Photoshop should be fun. (And at the moment, free as well.)

If you're a member of, Deke's got two exclusive movies this week. (If you're not a member, you can get 10 free days at In the first, Deke uses built-in masks to brighten the eyes and teeth of the creature.

Whitening the eyes and teeth of a 3D dino from PixelSquid

And in the second, he applies a blur to create depth-of-field, also facilitated by features PixelSquid has built into the file.

Creating depth of field around a 3D dinosaur

Deke's Techniques, where you can play with Photoshop and dinosaurs at the same time! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 488: Introducing PixelSquid 3D for 2D Designers

Deke's Techniques 488: Introducing PixelSquid 3D for 2D Designers

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke introduces you to a new extension for Photoshop known as (the delightfully cephalopodic) PixelSquid. It's designed to give you adjustable 3D objects for your 2D projects.
Four views of the same object from PixelSquid

Basically, you can choose your object from the PixelSquid catalog---like this Deinonychus here---then drag it around by the tail (or any other part of the image) to see it from different angles. 

Move the object around to your desired angle in PixelSquid.

Once you get the view you like (complete with transparent shadow), you can either download it as a layered PSD file or just have it added to your PixelSquid panel in Photoshop, where it will magically appear (once you refresh).

From there you can place, transform, change the angle, render out the layers, and modify the layers to suit your creative needs. Next week, in fact, Deke will show you how he modified this creature to make his own Jurassic dekeWorld.

PixelSquid is in its early squidlet form right now, so it's free to sign up and download the extension. Their installation instructions are clear and simple. And if you check out, you can see what Deke's been accumulating for future projects in his lightbox.

Deke's PixelSquid lightbox

(If anyone can make an interesting graphic out of a rubber band ball, a pint of beer, and a scorpion, it's Deke---with the help of PixelSquid, of course.)

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Deke's Techniques 486: Create High-Resolution Ice Type in Photoshop

Deke's Techniques 486: Create High-Resolution Ice Type in Photoshop

In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques movie, Deke celebrates the fifth anniversary of his weekly program by revisiting the very first episode—Creating Ice Type in Photoshop—but with a totally modern twist...making it high resolution (and CC friendly).

The technique itself still relies on the cool, clever use of smart objects, layer effects, and the application of the totally retro Wind filter in Photoshop. Thing is, although it’s 2016, the Wind filter is still so very much a stone age digital effect so we have to trick it into blowing downward to make icicles and apply it four times to reach a modern resolution. But the result is as fabulous as ever:

Chilly icy type treatment in Photoshop

Remember, all you need to create this fabulous frozen treat is some standard type, a blue background (Deke uses this frosty photo from, and Photoshop. And if you have a membership to, you can see how to edit this text to customize your own icy imagination in this week's exclusive movie.

Of course, if you’re not a member, you can get a free 10-day trial at by heading to That way you can update your ice type skills, as well as start in on all your other Photoshop and Illustrator resolutions for 2016.

Deke’s Techniques, bringing you ice and magic for five years, almost 500 episodes...and counting! Happy New Year, my darling dekeCicles! Read more » 

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