Deke’s Techniques: The Challenge Will Go Ahead as Planned

So far, we have received two entries for Deke’s Techniques: The Challenge, in which I invite you to share a technique, in video form, that riffs off three of mine. As I write this, one entry is live, the other will be published soon.

My team and I just had a meeting to determine whether we should prolong the contest to give people more time to enter. Or worse, cancel the contest for lack of interest. Both of which seem like reasonable options. Who knew The Challenge would be mine?

But here’s the thing: Have you ever enrolled for a class or signed up for a trip, only to watch it be canceled because too few people signed up? And then you think, “Damn, I really wanted to do that. I signed up!” It amounts to a violation of an inherent promise.

This morning, I also got word that, for legal reasons, has pulled my most recent technique, in which I showed how to create the Olympic rings. I’m disappointed, but I respect the decision. The IOC has revealed themselves to be a bunch of litigious shitheads. And where there’s potential liability, it’s totally within a company’s right (here I speak of to protect itself. Although, I will admit, I am thinking that my next technique should be to show you how to draw the Mickey Mouse ears.

All of this led me to a simple decision: dekeOnline is a small outfit. It’s just me and a few trusted contractors. I’m not a big corporation. And, so, I should not behave like one.

We will go ahead with The Challenge exactly as planned. If we only have two entries by Tuesday night, then those two people will win and win big! If we get more in the next few days, fantastic.

The odds are very good right now. Possibly better than they have been for any contest I’ve witnessed. So, if I were you—you know, just sayin’—I’d get to work!

Next entry:Deke’s Techniques 82: Hand-Coloring Line Art in Photoshop

Previous entry:Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate Has Arrived (and Thus There Was Peace and Tranquility in the


  • Thanks a Million, Deke!

    So happy to hear the contest is still going on. I’m finishing my video and will be submitting it shortly!

  • Redo the rings as a series

    Redo the rings as a series of interlocking octagons. Most people should see the connecttion.

    Looks like Nike already thought of this -

  • It should have been open worldwide.

    I think an important drawback is that the challenge is US only, I would definitely enter if it was not. I’ve been studying your tutorials for more than 5 years now.

  • dito

    same here, since it was US only, I didn’t even think about entering :/

  • Incoming Submission


    FYI: I’m in the process of mastering the audio—will be submitting before midnight tonight.

    I am extremely pleased that the contest will go on—I would have been very upset as I have spent a lot of time on it!

  • Rough Draft Submission


    Sounds like chances aren’t that good for my submission to be rejected because of 100 already being submitted—but I’m still nervous.  Would you frown on my submitting a rough draft (with link to youtube video) and then updating the video tonight after I’m done with the final cut? 

    Just a little nervous that worst case scenario, all my work would be for naught.


  • Competition

    Sorry to hear about the rings saga. Our opening ceremony over here was fantastic and you have to give due credit to Danny Boyle for putting on an inventive + multi-threaded show. I am trying to get a handle on this competition thing going on over there with you guys. C’mon only 2 entries you are having a laugh mate. You gotta be kidding me with all the “wealth of talent” in the States that is all that can be mustered?
    Hey you guys and gals are eating way too many burgers over there and getting darned lazy. Creativity is all about go-out-go-do-stuff not sitting around on your arses dreaming about weird shit.
    Yours disappointed,


  • \“Arses\”

    “Arses” - is that like some kind of fancy furniture, like a Chase Lounge?


  • Yeah, well, we don’t have a lot of options

    There are enormous issues with sending prizes to other countries. (You can only imagine trying to ship stuff to, well, you can probably think of a dozen countries.) Worse, every country—-especially those in the EU—-have such draconian contest laws that the mere act of posting a contest to an international environment is ultimately little more than an invitation for lawsuit.

    Believe me, this was a difficult decision. But, you know, my intent was to have fun, not lose my business.

  • Well, c’mon, that’s a bit of a stereotype

    I live in Boulder, CO. I’m a relatively fit (for a dude who spends a fair amount of time on his butt staring at a computer). But when I run, bike, or drive around this city, I sometimes feel like a royal fat ass. Insofar as richie-rich cities go, this one’s damn healthy. And correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe we have a total of one McDonalds.

    Then again, Boulder County ranks #1 in U.S. physical fitness. Immediately followed by three other Colorado counties. Seriously, I love this state.

  • Thanks

    Thanks man for not closing the contest.I have submitted my video , and will definitely participate in illustrator and anything goes contest too.
    My enteries are sure so you have a participant wink

  • I’m working on it

    I still have to record mine but I’m doing one for the Illustrator contest. It does have some Photoshop in it but the main technique will be Illustrator. I have a new found appreciation for what it takes to make a good video tutorial. Thanks for not cancelling this contest.

  • My plan is to do something like this

    Will address soon.

  • Keep the challenge!

    -I just got back from vacation and saw challenge email…. Learning curve for Camtasia has also delayed me but love its simplicity. Have been aiming for the Illustrator portion to get my skills up. Not excuses but simply reasons why I haven’t entered yet. Stay patient. We are out there working on our videos.

    Thanks for all the techniques. Am a fan in TN.

  • The three contests…


    Here is my two cents worth (and it probably isn’t worth it). I believe that you put out too daunting of a task for 95% of your followers. I would love to do it, but ramping up (even with the tutorial) to get a professional (semi-professional? OK… a respectable) video in the time alloted all but shot me out of the water. Additionally, one has to actually create the final artwork. That is an awful lot to expect in the alloted time, particularly when many of us (I’m actually talking about me) DO have a life.

    However, as Rod Serling might have said… “Offered up for your consideration…” I think you would get a lot more entries if you first had a contest where only the final artwork was displayed. The name of the file could be the three numbers that constitute the Deke’s Techniques lessons, i.e. 011_012_013.jpg and the graphic would be a cave face and (maybe) have the cave face reflected in some glass. You get the idea.

    Love all the tutorials and that you are not afraid to express your opinion. FWIW, I completely agree with you on the Olympic Committe. How about cleaning up the judges who accept bribes to skew certain events? This would seem to be more important than banning a piece of artwork that is (essentially) not generating a profit or any income of any measurable amount.

    OK, I will step down from the soapbox and go view some more “stuff”.

    Keep up the GREAT work.


  • Submitted a few days ago -


  • deleted.


  • My Challenges

    I have created a video of my photoshop technique but I am having a couple of problems.

    1. Getting good sound.

    2. Referencing 3 of Dekes Techniques.

    I have a kick arse idea that doesn’t seem to related to any of the Deke’s Techniques so far. Of course the techniques were all learned though many of Deke’s training courses but I simply cannot make reference to 3 of Deke’s techniques videos.

    Could I enter my video in the anything goes category, or do I absolutely have to reference 3 of Deke’s Techniques?

    Any sugesstions?



  • Getting good sound

    I’ve had really good luck with an old headset/microphone combo from Plantronics: their 400 DSP USB — it’s about $30 - $40 from the usual online sources. Unfortunately, I recently lost its mic’s built-in windscreen so for my video I used the headset that came with my Dragon Dictate package (it’s another Plantronics combo unit).

    As far as audio recording techniques, keep these in mind:

    1. make sure that the mic isn’t directly in front of your mouth unless you’ve got really good mic technique. I usually have mine to the right of, or slightly below my mouth
    2. check your sound levels beforehand so that they don’t go into the red at all, but aren’t too quiet either and
    3. try to minimize the chances of unwanted sounds ruining your recording (e.g, turn off incoming mail notifications, warn your family not to make any noise, turn off your phone, shut your windows, turn off the a/c, etc.)

    Be sure to rehearse your presentation until you feel comfortable with it but accept the fact that you’ll still need to do multiple takes anyway.

    Try to stay calm — I like to drink some soothing tea just before I hit the record button — and most of all, try to have fun while you’re doing it.

    Hope this helps.

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