Coffer Illusion and the Hidden Circles

Deke's Techniques by Deke McClelland

Hey, gang, this is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke’s Techniques.

Every Tuesday, for seven uninterrupted years—from January 4, 2011, through and including December 19, 2017—this is how I have greeted those of you inclined to watch me. Perhaps fittingly, those seven years took us all the way to Episode 666. Roughly split between free weekly episodes and follow-up episodes available to members of

(By way of convenient example, December 19, 2017, witnessed the release of the free Episode 665: “Celebrating the Winter solstice at Carhenge,” and the for-profit Episode 666: “Adding a time lapse of partial eclipses.”)

That’s a lot of movies. By the end of 2017, Deke’s Techniques clocked in at far-and-away the longest course in the library: 115 hours, or 2 weeks of 8-hour days, weekends included. Which is, admittedly, crazy long. (Still, it’s not a course, am I right? It’s a series!)  But around these parts, we count things by Content Buckets. And say what you will, Deke’s Techniques is a deep, ever-twirling, never-ending Bucket.

Anyway, something happened last week that has never happened before (with the exception of scheduled end-of-year holiday breaks): We missed a week.

The campus is based in Carpinteria, California, possibly the least lucky and most lucky city in America. Least lucky because some of the country’s worst and most costly natural disasters have recently surrounded it. The Thomas Fire and ensuing mudslides, events that physically destroyed and separated Ventura County, Ojai, and Santa Barbara; with Montecito in between. Events that stranded and devastated some of my dearest friends. With not a mention from our national leader, btw. Why bring politics into this? Forgive me, this is not politics, this is an enormous if otherwise everyday/average violation of common decency. It’s as if our federal government has announced a state of war with one of its most iconic and—say what you will but this is without dispute—its most successful state.

Most lucky? Because Carpinteria literally exists in the center of everything that happened. And yet, happily, it survived.

Anyway, that whole human drama thing kinda upset the apple cart production-wise, and so here we are a week late. Is Deke’s Techniques in danger? No. Is it back? Better than ever.

Which is why this week, I’m shooting fish in a barrel. And by fish, I mean circles. And by barrel, I mean a bunch of rectangles.

That’s all you get. If you must have more, watch the movie.

To my friends in Ventura, Santa Barbara, Montecito, Carpinteria, and all of California, the state in which I was born: All of my love. Same to Washington and Oregon. All hail the western states: Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, all blessed with some of the most amazing National Parks and Monuments the world will ever see. And then the rocky snow states, the states with the flatirons and the wind-blown sandstone and the red, red rocks: Colorado, Utah, and the land of my father, New Mexico.

Not to mention the Entire Nation and Whole Wide World.

See the circles. If we can all just see the circles, I truly believe, we can all just get along.

Deke’s Techniques, devoted to helping you (and me and everyone) see the obvious.


Next entry:Shading the Panels in Your Photoshop-Based Coffer Illusion

Previous entry:Cool Thing of the Week: The Birth of the Peace Sign


  • Hello, Deke. I’m from China and I’m studying your One on One tutorial. I like your technique and style very much. I hope you can continue teaching and wish you better and better. Thank you very much.
  • I’m headed to the studio today, @Yulen, and I appreciate the encouragement!

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