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Notes from Deke's Illustrator Techniques at Adobe MAX 2015

Hey, MAXers.

Thanks for coming by the Deke's Advanced Illustrator Techniques session at MAX this year (even though technically you haven't done it yet because it's still the night before!). Here is the link to the file with the improved links to Deke's Techniques in the back of your lab notes.

For those of you who didn't come to Adobe MAX this year, or worse, came but didn't come to my specific session, I forgive you. And as long as you're a member of, you're welcome to these notes as well. Heck, for all I know, you don't even have to be a member to make this work. Free notes for all, I say.

Oh, hey, while I'm at it. Let's have free files for all! As soon as we get some happy internet I'll get the updated files here, too.


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Introduce Yourself to the Wonders of InDesign (with Deke's Help)

My fellow dekeQuarians, have you been thinking of adventuring into InDesign, especially now that it's part of your CC subscription anyway? Deke's latest course is designed to give you a thorough introduction to the tools you'll need to create your first page layout project in Adobe InDesign. No experience required. 

Introducing InDesign Read more » 

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The CanAm dekeSessions, a Video Review

Deke McClelland at Niagara Falls

Greetings from sunny (at least for today) but chilly Buffalo, NY. Deke's here presenting four sessions at the CanAm Photo Expo---the 53rd annual gathering of the Niagara Frontier Regional Camera Club. We're told that things are going to get pretty crazy later tonight down by the toasty warm indoor pool area.

I've ducked in to that pool area twice today when I just couldn't get the Buffalo chill out of my California bones. But Deke won't be by the pool tonight. He's preparing and resting for the (count 'em) four dekeTastic sessions he's presenting tomorrow. I know, lucky Niagaran Frontier Photo Folk get to spend all day with Deke, if they wish. 

Each session is based on a theme that's informed by a curated collection of Deke's Techniques. I thought I'd gather everything here so that the friendly, enthusiastic participants in Deke's audience tomorrow will have an easy place to go for more information, so that those of you not here enjoying the Niagarian icy sunshine can follow along at home, and (mostly) so that Deke doesn't have to memorize multiple complex URLs to share at the end of each session tomorrow. (For those of you not here, it's like a little taste of live Deke without the wind chill factor.)

Click Read More to get a list of links to watch the movies at (Many of these movies are free at, but if you're not a member and you run across an exclusive movie you'd like to watch, you can get a free week's trial membership by going to You'll need to be a member of dekeOnline to jump to the list, but hey, that's always free (sign up here).  Read more » 

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Design Illustrated: Heavy Metal Type from Scratch in Photoshop

Featured in a recent Deke's Techniques episode (CS6+) and a very early Deke's Techniques episode, Deke's striking heavy metal type effect is made completely from scratch using a little Myriad Pro, some Photoshop pattern-making,  a few simple channel acrobatics, and a series of stacked layer styles. Even the hammered metal background is made out of nothing but Photoshop magic (also known as filters and styles).

Yep, believe it or not, despite its hauntingly industrial flavor, this image is (as least as far as Photoshop is concerned) is:

Try it for yourself with these illustrated instructions, designed for Photoshop CS6 and later, but with advice for how to accomplish it in earlier versions: 

(If you're not a member of dekeOnline, you can become one here to read the entire article.)  Read more » 

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Friday Fundamentals: Illustrator Pen Tool Mysteries Decoded

For today's Friday Fundamentals adventure, we'll be deciphering some of the mysteries of the Pen tool in Adobe Illustrator. I used to think the real mystery was figuring out how to draw efficiently with bezier curves. When to click and when to drag. And what to drag. And where to drag. And where to click...

However, a recent review of a free movie from Deke's Illustrator CC One-on-One: Fundamentals course reminds me that there's an even more basic and ancient Illustrator mystery: what on earth do the various stages of the Pen tool cursor actually mean? Ancient Illustrator spirits, what are you trying to tell me? 

Decoding the Pen Tool Cursors in Adobe Illustrator

Ostensibly, the following movie---a free sample from Deke's course---is about one of the more basic Illustrator maneuvers: connecting two open paths. But as you'll soon see, during the course of simply connecting two line segments, the cursor changes to indicate what's going to happen next. (What's going to happen next is my true Illustrator mystery; please tell me I'm not the only one who's ever inadvertently drawn a giant gash across my artwork by misconnecting endpoints.) 

The chart that Deke uses to explain the various Pen tool states might look familiar to those of you who follow Deke's Techniques (where Deke once explained how to draw this very chart in, uh, Illustrator, but, uh, without the freaking pen tool.)

Think of this movie as the decoding of that chart. And now, for those of you whose heads are aching, read on as I additionally decode the video, using Deke's sample file for, uh, Illustrator illustration: Read more » 

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