The Tragic Solemnity (or, If You Prefer, Quiet Authority) of My Photoshop CS6 Videos

Oh gosh,

A couple of days ago, I posted a bunch of videos on Photoshop CS6, which is now in public beta.

Some of you commented on the tenor of my voice. Examples include “Deke are you OK?” and “Was someone holding a gun to your head?” Here are some others:

Please, Deke, don’t keep using that tone of voice! Sounds like you either had a death in the family or just got over a long illness!

Can’t understand why Deke used such a depressing tone of voice. Not his style at all.

I wonder why Deke’s voice is so low toned and subdued. The old Deke was better.

Well, I’m happy to report that I’m healthy, blessed with a thriving family, surrounded by splendid friends, altogether free of mortal threat, and generally ecstatic on a day-to-day basis.

But, alas (and quite fortunately, actually), I am your everyday-average vulnerable human being. And every so often, I catch a cold. I hadn’t had one in years. But then I felt the tell-tale signs of a scratchy throat. A few days later, I could barely talk. And next, lo and behold, it was time to record my highest profile video course of the year. (Check it out here.)

So I thought three things: 1) Soldier on. 2) Preserve the old voice. And 3) Speak softly and carry a big piece of software.

My larynx has since healed. (You should just hear me talk. I sound like a real boy!) But in the process of dialing myself down a few notches, I might have discovered a new me. Only time will tell.

Next entry:Deke’s Techniques 114: Creating a Star Wars Hologram Effect in Photoshop CS6

Previous entry:Photoshop CS6 Enters a Several-Week Period of Free Public Beta

  • A relief to hear…

    ... but please don’t discover the new Deke, except when temporarily virally affected. If you ever feel tempted just stand in front of a mirror and repeat to yourself:

    “A Number 1, Top of the Heap, I Do Not Fail.”

    Then gargle.

  • Deke’s voice

    I thought the new voice DID have “quiet authority” and quite enjoyed it. It made me think that I better take this new CS6 thing quite seriously.

    I figured the voice was a reflection of his exhaustion from doing the millions of things he must be doing on a daily basis while still managing to keep us all abreast of the up to the minute changes that Adobe cooks up for us.

    Even Photoshop superstars should be able to vary their personas once in a while. Keep being real, Deke, even if what’s real should change from time to time. And happy birthday!

  • Deke’s voice

    I thought the new voice DID have “quiet authority” and quite enjoyed it. It made me think that I better take this new CS6 thing quite seriously.

    Even Photoshop superstars should be able to vary their personas once in a while. Keep being real, Deke, even if what’s real should change from time to time.

    Depends on what the change is. For 2.5 hours of “new features” video broken into discreet segments that run for only a few minutes at a time you can get away with “quiet authority” with no issues other than concern for Deke’s well being from those of us who have been following (not to be confused with stalking) him for a while. However Deke’s courses can literally run for days, with each subject often chewing up half an hour to an hour. A quiet, serious monotone can’t hold people’s attention for hours at a time. A good example is Paul Nielsen who did a SQL Server course on Total Training. His voice is quiet, authoritative… and puts you to sleep. When I watched it after about 5 to 10 minutes into each session I had to keep rewinding the videos because I’d just drifted off. Paul’s great, knows his stuff really well, but in my humble his presentation style just doesn’t work well in video for long courses, unless he’s changed it since then.

    A presentation doesn’t have to by hyper; for instance Ben Long on Lynda has a fairly unexcited voice but still generally has the necessary amount of modulation of tone combined with the odd spot of desert-like humour to keep the audience’s attention. Garrick Chow is similar though he and Ben have quite different voices. Deke’s primary virtue (aside from the “well duh” of comprehensive technical knowledge in the videos) is that he knows how to modulate his voice to keep the viewer’s attention and occasionally throw in the odd bit of quirky humour. This is not to say that his style hasn’t changed over the years; compare the CS5 course to the fun-fest that was the CS2 course on Total Training and it has a much more serious tone. Which… eeeh, personally I liked the madness that was the CS2 course as my screen name can attest, but I “get” that it may have needed to be wound back a bit for a wider audience on Lynda.

    However in a footrace between quiet authority and keeping the audience awake by shifting your tone and speed, the latter wins out for me in longer videos. (And I can tell you, with nothing but a microphone in front of you and no live audience to get a reaction from so that you know when to step it up and tone it down, it can be hard to do.)

  • Well I’m certainly relieved!

    Well I’m certainly relieved! You’ve always had an infectious enthusiasm in your videos which was decidedly lacking in this last series. My fear was that you had finally burned out and had lost interest—glad to hear it was just a cold, and look forward to more enthusiastic-sounding videos in the future!

  • Glad you’re feeling better

    You’re a fresh change to the usual tutorial videos, with your expressive voice and gestures. The Warichu video cracked me up a couple times.  So stay healthy, especially with a birthday coming up very soon. (We were born on the same day and year!  Yay!)

    Keep up the great work and don’t lose your voice again!

    And Happy Birthday (even if I’m a couple days too early.)

  • The Tragic Solemnity- indeed

    I remember when I discovered video learning in 2005. Prior to that I was doing some work in Photoshop as a hobby, did some websites, had some fun. I watched Micheal Ninness’s “Photoshop CS2 Essential Training” sitting on a floor with a laptop. 15 hours straight. Little did I know, that 15 hours has changed my life. Oh, wow, so this is how you make things…

    But then I realised the meaning of word “Essential”. I was hungry for knowledge… Shortly after that I came across one of your videos, “Photoshop CS2 Actions and Automation”... Who is that “cocky smart ass”? Especially comparing to Mr. Ninness, who sounds like the best teacher in the world, patient, forgiving and always there for you:-). I am not sure I can spend 18 hours with this guy. Obviously I was mistaken. Not only I manged to survive 18 hours but I’ve end up addicted.

    My addiction was growing, I was spending hours on training. I lost my touch with reality, a friend of mine once came to my house and asked:

    - Are you coming?
    - Where to?
    - What do you mean, where to? It’s New Year’s Eve!

    - You’re joking, right? Shit, what year is it?

    That was a time, I left my family and my country for 3 years, joining the immigration forces in Ireland, so I decided I will spend every spare second on learning. Getting ACE was of one my goals. But I become a bit obsessive, I had to now everything, so it took me a while before I got it, but I did. (not that I claim to know everything)

    I watched all of your videos (Ps, Id, Ai, up to CS5, I believe I was prepared to discover this on my own at this point:-). After hundreds of hours I had your voice in my head… I could probably tell, the amount of carbs in your breakfast at any given recording day.

    I know I am a bit off topic here, but I just wanted to thank you, for years of “one way friendship” and amazing learning experience, that has changed my approach to study anything I desire.

  • So glad you are feeling better Deke,

    It seems you had a lot of your fans quite worried. 

    And RenaissanceMan is right.. you are still

    “A Number 1, Top of the Heap, YOU DO NOT FAIL”,

    and don’t you forget it. :)

    Yes, sadly I keep 101 Photoshop tips on my phone.

    .... oh come on!  It’s good edutainmental stuff!

  • OMG - you’re NOT dying from the 50s!!

    Deke, I am SO glad that, not only did you survive turning 50, it didn’t depress you into any major doldrums like the CS6 vids sounded!  LOL - a huge part of what I’ve always liked about your teaching style is your witty and slightly dark approach to everything, shot through with delightful rays of strange positivity.  How’s that for a phrase?  At any rate, the CS6 vids really do sound like your dog just died, your family left you, and your car was hit by space junk.

    Sooooo, I’m glad it was just a cold - keep up the good work, and happy 50!  (8 years ago for me, alas…).

  • Voice of PSCS6

    It spooks me to listen to it.  I AM listening to it, but it is disquieting. It is now my favorite video of yours.

  • Happy Birthday (I know I’m a bit late!)

    Hi Deke,  Just been back at with a sort of revision of stuff I’ve done with you before, and also had a fresh go at the 3D stuff (I get it MUCH better now).

    I too noticed the voice, and am so glad your cold is better.  These things, although minor, can really take it out of a fellow for a while!

    Happy Birthday (to someone like me, you’re just a spring chicken, a new kid on the block—which also proves that one is never too old to learn, or too young to teach (something or other) ...)

    When I look over your body of work, I think to myself, Hey, does this guy *ever* rest?  But I know you do, well, you sleep sometimes don’t you?




    Hi Deke

    I just would like to thank you for all the effort you have put in making those tutorials. These tutorials at has changed my life a lot. I am now becoming more interested in creativity.

    The thing that I like the most in you. is not to leave until completely satisfied. You are just like me. I surely adore that.

  • Your voice

    Thought you had been out on the road with your band.
    Due to your excellent tutorials,  have built up my Photoshop skills to a decent enough standard whereby my daughter who is at Uni. asks ME questions!!


    Anyway the real important question..If you were out with your band on the road what songs would you be singing?

    What instrument would you play?


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