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It's a Brand New Day

Whether that phrase conjures up a recent Target commercial, Dr. Horrible's decision to commit Hammer-cide, or (as it does for me) a song someone on the Web aptly referred to as part of "Catholic Folk Mass" in the 70s, it is in fact a brand new day. Here on Earth we've turned our calendars to 2009, here in the States we have inagurated a new president, and here in the United Territories of Deke we are celebrating the arrival of a newest One-on-One book, Photoshop CS4 Channels & Masks One-on-One. The following is my artist's rendition of the book being sworn in:

Damn, that's a sweet graphic. Read more » 

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Correcting an Archival Photo with a Photoshop Edge Mask

Beloved elfin inhabitants of santaDeke’s workshop, you guys have been so patient with us during the rift in the space-time-blog continuum that was caused by Photoshop Channels and Masks One-on-One (the book is that powerful). Although the book won’t be here in time to fill your holiday wishes, I thought I’d give you an early treat. One that might even help you make treats for others on your gift-giving list. There’s a great exercise in the new book about using an edge mask to sharpen an old photograph. Here’s a restored version of an old photograph of my grandparents out for a drive in a borrowed car in Vicksburg, Mississippi circa 1932. (Isn’t it awesome they wore their “riding clothes” to go for a ride in the car?) 

If you think it makes my swarthy, outdoor-loving (and incredibly cool, seriously) forebears look this good, wait ‘till you see how awesome it works for Deke’s pasty, indoor, serious, studio-lit kinfolk in the following tutorial. Read more » 

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The First-Ever Custom CS4 Palette

Dear beloved early adopters of Photoshop CS4,

As you may (or may not) know, Photoshop CS4 supports custom Flash panels. You can author your own panels using a free Open Source utility from Adobe called Configurator. Photoshop's product manager, John Nack, has long championed Flash panels as a way for industry experts, teachers, and passionate users to customize Photoshop to better suit their goals. Interested as I am in all things Photoshop, I decided to put Configurator and Flash panels through their paces. So very late in the creation of Photoshop CS4 Channels & Masks One-on-One, I created a custom palette to provide access to common selection and masking features from one convenient (but tall) location. The book should be out in a month, but members of dekeOnline can download the palette today, for free, and install it in about a minute. It looks like this:

(I told you it was tall.)

Our understanding is that this is the very first-ever custom palette for Photoshop. Which is my way of saying, you places your bets, you takes your chances. (It won't hurt your machine, but it might give you some difficulty when installing.) Again, you must have Photoshop CS4 to use this palette. Read more » 

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Navigating the CS4 Adjustments Palette

Adobe is very proud of the new Adjustments palette in Photoshop CS4. And I can see why. It permits you to access any and all adjustment layers--which rank among the most powerful and forgiving features in Photoshop--from a consistent and convenient launch pad. Plus, there's a small chance that the palette might encourage newbies to switch from static color adjustments to dynamic ones. Okay, so that's hopeful thinking but that's Adobe--always hopeful.

But as your representative in the Phar Phlung Phield of Photoshop Aphairs, I can likewise see how you, as a long-time Photoshop user, might not be so crazy about the Adjustments palette. The classic adjustment layer is one of those it-ain't-broken-so-don't-go-fixin'-it features. The dialog boxes were familiar and they worked just fine as was, thank you very much. From this perspective, quite frankly, the introduction of the Adjustments palette has gone and thrown a money wrench into everything.

The Adjustments palette

But here's the thing: Virtually everything that used to work still works. The shortcuts are different, but every one of them is still there in some way, shape, or form. The old functions are there, if displaced. In fact, just one actual feature has been put out to pasture (tho I hope to see it one day exhumed). And fortunately, we get something even better in return.

You know, on second thought, this might work better if you ask the questions and I just answer them. So shoot. Read more » 

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The Amazingly Malleable Links Palette in InDesign CS4

The following is an excerpt from Adobe InDesign CS4 One-on-One which will not only entertain and enlighten you, but will inspire you to aquire the actual book for yourself. --cw

With InDesign CS4, Adobe has completely rebuilt the Links palette from the ground up. No longer simply a list of the graphics linked from the document and their status, the Links palette now offers a rather dizzying amount of information. Fortunately for all involved, you can easily customize how much information is displayed, allowing you to tailor the palette to suit your needs.

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