Girl Reporter off to PhotoPlus Expo

OK, dekeOlytes. I’m unlocking the Channels & Masks cage, and getting ready to escape to NYC to attend that photo-palooza known as PhotoPlus Expo at the Javitz Center. Just wanted you to know that I’ll be suffering through handling all the new camera toys, talking to all the cool photographers, and drinking all the Officially-Made-in-Manhattan Manhattans, just for you—those dekeOpolitans who like to occaissionally take pictures as well as manipulate them into aliens, monsters, and other expressions of psychological disturbance. I’ll report back on anything super-groovy.

If you’re going to the show, please come by the O’Reilly booth (especially on Saturday when I am on official duty) and say hi. I’m hearing that there will be some new books making their debut there this week, including a special preview of the only-other-Photoshop-book-you-could-possibly-need-besides-Deke’s, the Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers by our good friend Derrick Story, which covers both more (the photographer’s workflow with Bridge/ACR) and less (just the Photoshop tools photographers need) than our beloved One-on-One. It fits in your camera bag too.

Next entry:The Masks Palette

Previous entry:Solution to the Placeholder Return Issue (or It’s Good to Have InDesigny Friends)


  • Hey, Lavonne!

    I met my first dekeFriend in the realWorld today. Lavonne came by the O’Reilly booth today and gave me a heads up on which booth to buy an emergency memory card from. Great to meet you! And pretty cool to get a look at Photoshop CS4 One-on-One before Deke even gets to see it.

  • Thanks Colleen

    Hey Colleen,

    It was great meeting you & giving me the scoop on Deke’s & Derrick’s book. Which one should I get? Well tomorrow is the big day for books. Thanks for all the cool updates & useful information. Hope to see you at the expo again.

  • Glass piece


    Any ideas how can I create a piece of thick glass (a square) that I need to recreate the effect of the computer first used in Mission Impossible, the one they navigate with the hand?  I will appreciate your wisdomy-help.


  • Hi Nuria

    Seeing you didn’t get a reply to your question I figured I’d give it a try. I’m sure Deke reads all posts, but there is quite a few of us that are subscribing to hisBlog here; I would be surprised if everyone gets an answer (no offence Deke, you’re doing a kickPosterior of a job)

    Anyhoo, it’s been a while since I watched MI but I think you’re talking about an effect seen in Minority Report, not Mission Impossible

    Lucky for you, glass surface is real easy to fake; even if you have to show its edge. I assume you know how to use Photoshop, so I’ll just give you the steps.

    1. Open your image and place your “monitor”

    Drop an image of what is in the computer screen into an image of your background. Use perspective transform to place it into the composition in 3D (tip: if you’re working with smart object in CS3 and earlier, there is no perspective transform available. Instead, while in free transform, you have to go to the warp options, choose any of the presets and set its first value to zero. Then use the H and V values to fake a perspective)

    2. Define its edge:

    In the example below, since it’s only a web sized graphic, I simply used the bevel and emboss with the shadows set to 0 opacity. However, if you want a thicker glass, especially in high-res images, you have to draw it. I suggest using gradients in conjunction with vector masks and blend modes:

    3. Blend it with the background:

    I tried using the screen blend mode as a quick and dirty solution, but I wasn’t happy with the results. So I opened  the advanced blending options instead and dropped out the dark pixels by splitting the “This Layer” black slider to values of 0/140. Your images may yield different results, but the trick is to make the screen look like it emits light by dropping out the shadows and showing only the highlights. I also wanted to downplay the effect so I reduced my fill opacity to 90%.

    4. Place the reflections in the monitor:

    Grab an image that will be a reflection of what is on camera’s side of glass and drag it to the top of your composition. Use perspective transform to manoeuvre it into place. Then group it with the monitor. Set the blend mode to lighten so only the lighter pixels show, and drop out more shadows the same way you did with the monitor image. Only, this time use more liberal values as the reflection should be less noticeable than the image in the screen. I also reduced the opacity to 16% to lighten it further:

    5. Create shadows:

    Here I simply used a layer with sold black and reduced opacity, but in a high-res image I would also warp it using a displacement map so it follows the contour of the wall, and also burn and desaturate some midtones to complete the effect:

    Granted, the image looks a tad too clean, but you can easily muck it up and add some blur, noise or film grain to tie it all together. I would also add just a tad of glow to the monitor and dodge the objects in the vicinity to simulate the illumination. Alternatively you might opt to use the lighting effects filter (mask it properly); use your imagintaion.

    To see the settings I used in this example, you can download the layered file at

    Also, I used the following Googled images:

    Hope this helps.



    Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard drive?

  • Love the glass effect

    Actually, I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve had my head so far up a book project this month that I haven’t seen everything that’s come true.

    But holy moly, man, this was a great post. Animated GIFs and everything!

    Looks like CW and I can finally retire.

    Anyway, sorry about that, Nuria, but looks like you’re pretty well covered.

  • Thanks Deke

    I should also add that 99% of Photoshop stuff I learned, I got from Deke’s books and videos. Turned out that was more than enough for a career in image manipulation and a lucrative business. So if you don’t have his books or videos yet I suggest you go get them (I’m as affiliated with Deke as fish is with a bicycle).

    -iVan (aka Flyboy)


    Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard drive?

  • Kudos flyboy

    Very impressive flyboy.  That was a pretty cool tutorial.  It’s nice how after reading enough PS books (Deke’s of course) and watching enough tutorials you learn how not just to blindly follow instructions but to be able to create your own effects (could that run-on sentence be any longer?).  Anyway, nice of you to help out.  DP

  • Ditto, thanks flyboy (loving this community helping each other)

    Says the girl with her head up the very same book project. And we are reading every post, and seeing what our web guys can do about calling our attention to new stuff. But I am loving the community help around here.

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