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Deke’s Techniques

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

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #24: Curves

Where luminance is concerned, no feature gives you greater control than Curves. It lets you reign in highlights, open up shadows, and reveal all points in between. Curves takes a bud of an image and makes it blossom.

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #25: Selection Calculations

Press the Shift key to add to a selection. Press Alt (or Option) to subtract and Shift+Alt (Shift+Opt) to find an intersection. Helpfully, these tricks apply to layers, channels, and paths. They're a power user's dream.

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #26: Dodge and Burn

Photoshop offers two tools that paint with luminance: The dodge tool paints in brightness, the burn tool paints in darkness. They're crazy useful, and they've gotten so much better in Photoshop CS4.

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #28: Hue/Saturation

Hue/Saturation not only spins colors and intensity values, it lets you modify one color independently of all others. And it does so in such a credible way, you would never know it was there. Perfection.

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #29: Liquify

The Liquify filter lets you paint in distortions so you can perform digital nips and tucks. You can slim people down, edit their posture, and make them look exactly how they wanted to look in the first place.

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #30: Actions

The Actions palette lets you record your work so you never have to do it again. Plus, you can build up complex visual effects and share them with others, as Deke demonstrates in this jaw-dropping video.

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #31: The Brush Tool

The modest brush tool is one of the deepest, most versatile tools in Photoshop. It's not only a terrific painting tool, but it is also invaluable for masking, as this video demonstrates.

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #32: The Pen Tool

Newbies select images with the quick select and magic wand tools. Highly automated, but they rarely work. Experts use the pen tool. It's an art form unto itself, but it always works.

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Photoshop Top 40, Feature #33: Calculations

One of the oldest, most abstruse commands in Photoshop, Calculations lets you merge two channels to create a new alpha channel. It's a tough nut to crack, but crack it you must if you want to master masking.