Deke's Techniques 394: Adding Strokes and Fills to Type in Illustrator

Add Strokes and Fills to Type in Adobe Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke reveals how to apply strokes and fills to text in Adobe Illustrator, skirting around AI's limited control over individual character attributes.

The trick is to apply your strokes and fills to the entire text object, which then allows you to use the Appearance panel to apply a variety of strokes, and even a gradient fill, effectively. In this video, Deke will show you how to get there and, of course, how to avoid falling into the ineffective trap of trying to apply attributes to individual characters. Just look at all that Appearance panel goodness going on here:

Use the Appearance panel in Illustarator to apply strokes and fills to a type object.

If you're a member of, you can catch this week's exclusive movie, in which Deke shows you how he filled in those gaps behind the letters and applied a stroke to the whole shebang.

Fill in the gaps behind letters in Illustrator

If you're not a member of, you can get a free 10-day trial by signing up at This will allow you to check out the entire library of Deke's Techniques, with some bonus time to peruse Deke's other courses as well as the vast array of additional instruction to be found in the library.

What Illustrator + Type gems might you find in the Deke's Techniques archive? Here's one example from the collection on Hand-drawing custom-made letters, which is currently unlocked for all in the library:

See you next week! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 393: Assembling DICOM Slices into a 3D Image in Photoshop

Assemble DICOM Slices into a 3D Image

This week's free Deke's Techkneeques episode is a classic lemons-to-lemonade story. In attempting to keep up with the younger set, Deke not only sacrificed his knee to keep a volleyball in play, but continued to play for another two hours to prove he wasn't damaged. Which, of course, damaged his old-man knee. Which, in turn, gave him the chance to turn the DICOM files from his MRI into a 3D model of his injured knee. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 391: Chiseling Letters into Stone

Chiseling Letters into Stone in Photoshop


In this week's free Deke's Techniques video, Deke takes plain old type and turns it into chiseled letters of antiquity in Photoshop. The effect involves taking said ordinary type, turning it into a smart object, then adding a bunch of layer effects (of the Emboss nature mostly) and a bit of filtering.

Chisel letters into stone in Photoshop


Since this idea originally came about from a member request, I thought I'd see if I could recreate it on my own, using a different texture and type that I created myself. I used a bit of marble I found at and the Trajan font that comes with Photoshop CC that Deke suggests. With just a few color adjustments during the effects application (I made my shadows a little warmer, due to the color of my background), the technique was easily transferable to my own project:



For members of, Deke's got an exclusive movie this week in which he shows you how to create the chiseled border around the letters by adjusting the technique to use shape layers.

If you're not a member of and you'd like to check this (and almost 400 other Deke's Techniques out), you can get a free 10-day trial by signing up at In other giveaways, if you'd like to try out the technique on a different stone background, you can find a treasure trove of granite, marble, and concrete at Check out to choose 25 free downloaded images to use in your own projects. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 389: Create Your Own Romantic Island Getaway

Create Your Own Romantic Getaway

My dekeDarlings. In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, you'll see how Deke takes last week's smoothed over scene and enhances it to a suitable destiny for a romantic getaway, just in time for Valentine's Day.

Deke transforms a GoPro video into a lush romantic postcard.

To finish this enticing postcard of tropical transformation, which, as you may recall, started life as a lo-res video, Deke uses a combination of the new Adaptive Wide Angle filter to unbend the horizon, a Camera Raw filter to brighten and saturate the image, and the Smart Sharpen filter to firm up the mushy detail.

If you're a member of, Deke's exclusive technique this week shows you how to use a photo filter adjustment to bring out that azure blue of the tropical sea. If you're not a member of, you can get a free 10-day trial to check it out at Consider it our valentine to you! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 388: Smooth Away Noise with the Mean Stack Mode

Smooth Away Noise with the Stack Mode

In this week's free Deke's Techniques movie, Deke applies the Mean Stack mode command to multiple frames from a video in order to create one single photograph with drastically reduced noise.

The method involves converting frames from a noisy video clip into layers in Photoshop, then lining up those similar-but-slightly-off-due-to-being-on-a-moving-boat images using Photoshop's Auto-Align Layers command. Next, Deke uses the Stack Mode's Mean command to choose the average value of each pixel from each of the frames. The result is this noisy single frame (representative of the noise present in each of Deke's fifteen contributing images)...

...becomes this delightfully smooth rendition:

Image stack set to Mean reduces the noise of the stacked layers.

And next week, Deke demonstrates how to dramatically enhance this scene to more emotionally recreate the tropical magic. Here's a preview (actually here is the real thing):

If you're curious about other ways to take advantage of image stacking in Photoshop, there are a couple of other Deke's Techniques you might enjoy. In one, Deke removed "people" (OK, four copies of me and four monkey heads---hey, it's Deke) from the Teatro Olimpico in Vincenza, Italy. In another, he uses image stacks to toy with the tourists on the Piazza San Marco in Venice, allowing you to experience this popular tourist attraction in ways never possible in real life.

If you're not a member of, you can get a free 10-day trial to check out all the episodes by heading over to

See you next week if I haven't run back to the magical islands! Read more » 

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