Deke’s Techniques 141: Pimping Your Ride in Photoshop

Today, I unveil a series of three sequential contests that I’m calling Deke’s Techniques: The Challenge, in which I invite you to create a training movie for me. The first contest, which begins today, July 17, and lasts for two weeks (ending Tuesday, July 31) is the Photoshop Challenge. So, naturally, I’m asking for a technique created, at least in part, in Photoshop. (You can use other programs as well if you like.) Two finalists and one Grand Prize winner will receive a buttload of prizes.

Your movie has to reference, however obliquely, at least three of my existing Deke’s Techniques. And so, by way of a proof of concept, I present you with my submission, in which I transform a little lemon of a Yugo into a fiery hot rod. And I do so using, not three Deke’s Techniques, but five!

No movie can be longer than 10 minutes, so I burn through the process very quickly, possibly more quickly than even an adept Photoshop user will be able to follow. But that’s okay for two reasons: First, I give you permission to move quickly through your technique as well. (You may need to!) And second, I include six follow-up movies, available for free at, that explain the entire process at a reasonable and followable speed.

Here’s the official description from

Deke’s Techniques has been a “living” course of Photoshop and Illustrator tutorials that has grown over the past year and a half. This week’s Deke’s Techniques not only celebrates the entire collection of the well over 100 techniques Deke has created so far, but also challenges you to show us what you’ve learned from them and teach it in a training video of your own (potentially earning prizes and glory, along the way, of course).

Since the Dawn of Deke’s Techniques, Deke has been supplying quick instruction on how to do focused techniques in Photoshop and Illustrator that you can take back to your own creative endeavors. This not only means extrapolating how the masking, composition, text techniques, special effects, etc. might apply to a project other than the one Deke demonstrates in his video, but also thinking about how those new-found nuggets of information work in concert.

And that’s just what Deke has done this week. Riffing off things he showed you in Deke’s Techniques episodes 9, 55, 77, 82, and 94, he’ll take an ordinary Cinderella-mobile car in a mundane environment and turn it into a ravishing princess hot rod complete with a posh background and glamorous flame stripes.

The lemon becomes a hot rod in Photoshop

And as an added bonus, there are five free tweaked techniques available to everyone at  in which you can see how Deke took the original techniques and adapted them for this mega-project.

  • Masking and blackening a car (based on episode 55)
  • Drawing a multi-part vector mask (based on episode 82)
  • Masking and painting a shadow (based on episode 94)
  • Integrating blades of grass into tires (a bonus bonus video!)
  • Making a (ridiculously) dramatic sky (based on episode 77)
  • Adding flame stripes to a car (based on episode 9)

You can check them out on our special landing page for Deke’s Techniques: The Challenge. You’ll also find more bonus videos on how to record a training video of your own. You’ll need this information because Deke is challenging you this week to do what he has done, combine multiple techniques into one fabulous training video.

Deke’s Techniques: The Challenge is a three-part contest (Photoshop, Illustrator, and Anything Goes), so you can use your weapon of choice. In each contest, you’ll take what you’ve learned, or gleaned, or surmised from three separate Deke’s Techniques, combine them into one project, and make a training video of your own to explain it. The complete rules, illustrious judges, and fabulous prizes are all explained at (Hint, there may be a subscription and an Adobe CS6 package amongst the fabulous prizes.)

Watch this week’s video to see Deke’s approach, then get to work creating one of your own. And Deke will be back next week with another free technique, which may just be the thing you were looking for to complete your challenge video!

To watch any or all episodes of the series that bears my name, you can visit the full Deke’s Techniques course at And don’t forget, if you’re not already a member, you can sign up for a free 7-day trial at Now get to work!

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