Deke's Techniques 602: Creating Offset Path Inline Strokes in Illustrator Tye

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke finishes up his Inline Text Spring Fever by finally noodling through how to create this effect automatically with the Offset Path feature in Illustrator. Combined with some savvy use of the Appearance panel, you can turn your boring text into this, with just a few carefully chosen numerical  entries.

Inline text strokes created with Offset Path in Illustrator

If this isn't exciting enough for you, check out what else happened this week: Deke (and my) first encounter with a manta ray in Maldives. Note how calm Deke is while the manta decides whether he's interesting or not. There's no describing the magic of this moment, except to say one of our dive buddies invented an underwater hand signal for "I think my heart just exploded in wonder."

Deke and manta ray

You can see more images from our trip if you follow Deke on Facebook. And of course, the creatures of the Maldavian waters (and our Sri Lankan visit) are bound to make an appearance in an upcoming video.

Deke's Techniques, bringing you artistic automation and aquatic adventure! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 600: Masking Inline Text Strokes in Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 600: How to Mask Inline Text Strokes in Illustrator

In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, Deke resumes last week's project by making those inline strokes inside the letters stop before they hit the edge of the this:


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Deke's Techniques 598: Center-Stroking Letters in Illustrator

Deke's Techniques 598: Center-Stroking Letters in Illustrator

Greetings, dekeRevelers. In this week's free Deke's Techniques episode, you'll see how Deke finally answered a question from our dekeFriend Peter about how to create inline strokes down letters to recreate the effect found in an a poster for the musical White Christmas.

Of course, given the backlog of Deke's Techniques requests, we're going to have to change the message, since Deke's just getting to it now, in the Spring of the year following the two years that followed Peter's actual request.

Inline text in Adobe Illustrator

Last week, this message might have seemed appropriate, but alas today in Boulder, it's looking more like White Christmas. Well, at least it was this morning. But since this is Boulder,  tomorrow the nine inches of snow that fell today will be melted and we'll be back to newly budding crocuses and sprouting leaves on the aspens.

In the meantime, see how Deke made the inline stroke on the "easier" letters in this video. Along the way, you'll get a basket full of very useful Illustrator tips, including:

  • How to use the Appearance panel to make text fills, strokes, and shadows.
  • How to cut-and-paste whilst keeping Illustrator's cryptic features out of your way.
  • How, to use the old-school Blend command to make Illustrator do the math between edges of the letters for you, to precisely set your stroke down the middle.

Alas, some of these letters (E, F, P, and R to be exact) are going to need some hand work to finish the effect. Fortunately, even when Deke uses the dreaded phrase "by hand," he still has ways to get Illustrator (and any calculator you might have nearby) to do some of the work for you. If you're a member of, you can check it out here.

Deke's Techniques, filling your Christmas wish just in time for Easter two-and-a-half years later! Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 596: Fixing Jagged Illustrator Artwork in Photoshop

Greetings dekeOpolitans. We're coming to you from the city that never sleeps, except when you are exhausted from two days on the train to get here, afternoons spent trying to contemplate amazing works of art while still keeping teenagers engaged (and fed), walking briskly through a drizzly Central Park, and hoping once again you are not going the wrong way on the subway. (Boulder is easy; the mountains are on the west, the straight-shot horizon to Kansas is on the east.) Yes, Team Wheeler/McClelland is in New York for Spring Break.

Which means I'm a day late with this week's Deke's Techniques and I got no real excuse except ...Trains! New York! Teenagers!

Deke's right on time though, with this week's free episode in which he explains diagonal anti-aliasing, which is Illustrator's method for getting rid of jagged lines caused by square pixels trying to do a triangle's job. In other words (and pictures), this:Antilaliasing off in Illustrator causing jagged lines

Can become this:
Antialiasing smoothing out the edges

And it can even stay that way when you place your Illustrator drawing into a Photoshop composition:

Antialiased artwork in Photoshop

And if your'e a member of, Deke's got an exclusive follow up movie this week in which he shows you how to overcome those pesky problems you can get when placing an Illustrator smart objectto Photoshop. If you've done it, you know what I mean.

Deke's Techniques, smoothing out harsh transitions everywhere. Read more » 

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Deke's Techniques 595: Mastering Adobe Illustrator 88

Deke's Techniques 595: Mastering Adobe Illustrator 88

In this week's free episode of Deke's Techniques, Deke takes a look at the history of Adobe Illustrator (which turns 30 this month) by playing around with Adobe Illustrator 88.

Illustrator 88 splash screen

This was a team effort, with the Deke's beleaguered support staff (finding and) installing all the necessary software, then Deke digging out his Mac Paint files, then finally my going over to the storage space to dig out a copy of Mastering Illustrator 88 that Deke wrote 29 years ago so he could remind himself how to use it.

Deke with his Mastering Adobe Illustrator 88 book

Funny thing was, it didn't turn out to be the laugh riot the way Deke's Photoshop retrospective was in Episode 303. There was a lot that early Illustrator could do, even text if you were willing to put up with a dialog box like this.

The Type dialog box in Illustrator 88

Check it out, take a look back at the time where you made new anchor points with the scissor tool (?), and join us in wishing Illustrator a happy birthday. Read more » 

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