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Deke’s Techniques

Your weekly quick-fix of Deke, with ideas you may inspire or inform your own projects.


Photoshop Top 40, Feature #13: File Info

Want to let the world know who made your photo? Then choose File Info. Here you can assign a title, an author (you!), a copyright, and a Web site. No image should go out without a visit to File Info.


Photoshop Top 40, Feature #14: Gaussian Blur

Gaussian Blur is a filter that blurs an image. But it's also the math behind the Feather command, drop shadows, and everything that is soft in Photoshop. Watch this video and learn why GB is so important.


Photoshop Top 40, Feature #15: Alpha Channels

Much can be said of masking. Masking is the art of using the image to select itself. Masking lets you apply the entire weight of Photoshop to the task of editing a selection. And masking, thy name is alpha channel.


Photoshop Top 40, Feature #16: Adjustment Layers

An adjustment layer is an independent layer of color adjustment that you can edit any time you like. Plus it affects all layers below it, consumes very little space in memory, and affords the opportunity for selective edits.


Photoshop Top 40, Feature #17: Layer Effects

Yes, layer effects let you make drop shadows. But they also let you create credible compositions, render simple layers in dimension, and add ambient lighting. I cannot imagine working in Photoshop without them.


Photoshop Top 40, Feature #18: Smart Objects

Smart objects aren't all that smart. And they aren't objects. What they are is envelopes. The kind that hold things and keep them safe. The result: nothing you do can cause the image harm. This is Photoshop at its best.


Photoshop Top 40, Feature #19: Luminance Blending

Deep inside the Layer Style dialog box are two slider bars, This Layer and Underlying Layer, that let you blend pixels by brightness. Despite their dull names, these sliders rank among the most powerful features in Photoshop.


Photoshop Top 40, Feature #21: The Gradient Tool

Every app offers a gradient tool. But Photoshop's is special. Not only can you paint a soft transition from black to white. But you can soften the transition from one image to another. It fades, swipes, and more.


Photoshop Top 40, Feature #22: The Healing Brush

Pits, pock marks, pimples. We all suffer blemishes that we wish we didn't. Or so we would were it not for Photoshop's healing brush. This amazing tool grafts good skin onto bad and heals the seams in between.


Photoshop Top 40, Feature #23: Color Range

If you use the magic wand tool, stop what you're doing and switch to Color Range. This outrageously useful command lets you select an image as easily as the wand. But with more flexibility and much better results.