Deke’s Techniques 360: Turning Yourself into a Dark Elf for Halloween (or Just Because It’s Tuesday)

It’s mid-October and dekeGouls and Goblins know what that means, time for Deke’s Techniques to go all Halloween on us. Or more precisely, on our children. This year, Deke seems to be particularly interested in creating virtual costumes for the kids, starting with this week’s transformation of mild-mannered gentle giant teenager Wheeler into a foreboding dark elf we like to call Wheeler Prime.

The transformation starts with a simple vacation photo of Wheels standing (patiently, but with a typical neutral teenage expression) in line to ride the latest attraction. A bit of development in Camera Raw brings out the desired colors and noise reduction that will serve as a jumping off point for his elvification process.

After Deke goes after the ears, eyes, nose, and mouth with the Liquify tool, our expressive elf really starts to take shape. In this week’s free video, you’ll see how Deke approaches using the tool to create an other worldly creature whose albeit exaggerated features still look "realistic"—-insofar as they aren’t obviously (or carelessly) altered.

For members of, Deke’s got an exclusive video this week in which he shows you how he set our mysterious creature into a more forboding rune-filled background and added some elvish tattoos to really complete the costume.

If you’re not a member of, and would like to fully elvify yourself or your own children, you can get a free week’s trial at and check out the exclusive video (along with over 350 other Deke’s Techniques in the collection). Of course, Halloween is a two-week minimum holiday event around here, so there will be more digital costuming going on next week!

Next entry:Deke’s Techniques 363: Develop a Portrait of Your Little Joker

Previous entry:Page navigation shortcuts in any version of InDesign


Share your feedback, work, homages, questions, wisecracks, advice, critiques, riffs, derision (within reason), frustrations, and love of all things graphical. Log in (or register) to lend your voice.