Archive for January, 2012

Deke’s Techniques: Turning a photo into a line drawing in Photoshop

Published by | Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

This week Deke shares one of his most asked-for techniques, how to turn an ordinary portrait into a line drawing. It seems that when people encounter wonderful photo-realistic line drawings out in the wild, they immediately equate said photo-realism with Photoshop. And, if nature didn’t endow you with the ability to draw, then applying some careful Photoshop effects to a well-chosen photo is indeed the way to go.

In this week’s free movie, you’ll see how to take a photographed portrait, apply the Photocopy filter and then adjust and finesse your drawing with the Levels command, Gaussian Blur, a little hand-work (you’re calling it a “drawing” after all), and finally some advanced layer effects. The result is a technique that can work on any well-defined portrait. For example, check out how this unsuspecting photo booth poser in the upper image can become the proto-Nagel woman you see in the lower image below (while doing some fairly wonderful things to my chalkboard in the process).

Colleen Wheeler strikes a pose

Photo transformed into line drawing with Photoshop

For members of, Deke has an exclusive movie in the Online Training Library® this week called Adding a crosshatch shading pattern that really sells the illustration effect. By the time you go through Deke’s meticulous steps, you’ll take this dramatic photo on the left and turn it into the deadly (but awesome) line drawing on the right:

Adding a Crosshatch shading pattern with Photoshop

See you back next week with another technique from Deke!

Interested in more?
• The entire Deke’s Techniques collection on
• Courses by Deke McClelland on
• All Photoshop courses on

Suggested courses to watch next:
• Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery
• Photoshop for Designers: Layer Effects
• Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Advanced Blending
Illustrator Insider Training: Rethinking the Essentials

Tour the Lightroom 4 Beta with Chris Orwig

Published by | Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Earlier this week, Adobe released a public beta version of Lightroom 4, its popular photo-editing and asset-management software for Macs and Windows PCs. The new version is free for the testing: you can download it, try it out, and provide feedback that may influence the final version.

To help you get up to speed with what’s new, we’ve published Photoshop Lightroom 4 Beta Preview with Chris Orwig. It’s a two-hour tour of Lightroom 4′s new features including its enhanced photo- and video-editing features, its ability to tag your photos to a map, and its Blurb book-layout module.

And because free is a very good price, we’ve made the entire course free, meaning, you don’t have to be a member in order to watch it. But as they say on the TV commercials for knives that can slice through Kryptonite, act now to take advantage of this limited-time offer. The Lightroom 4 beta software expires at the end of March, and when it does, we’ll retire this course.

We will be updating the blog periodically with posts that spotlight some of Lightroom 4′s new features, but if you’re curious to see what’s new right now, download the beta preview and check out Chris’s course. Just keep in mind that the software is in prerelease form. It likely has bugs, and you shouldn’t use it for anything critical, including slicing through Kryptonite.


Interested in more?
• The full Photoshop Lightroom 4 Beta Preview course
• All Photography courses on
• All courses from Chris Orwig on

Suggested courses to watch next:
Organizing and Archiving Digital Photos
Creating Photo Books with Blurb

Photoshop Lightroom 3 Essential Training
Aperture 3 Essential Training

An introduction to EQ and filters

Published by | Friday, January 13th, 2012

Anyone who has worked with audio in any capacity has likely seen a graphic depicting a waveform. These waveform graphics display the amplitude expressed across time, but do you really know how those waveforms are generated and why we express them the way we do?

It’s all about pressure and how sound moves through a medium, like air. Changes in air pressure are picked up by our ears, and our brains translate those pressure changes into sound information.

Brian Lee White explains how air is compressed and rarefied to create waveforms in his Foundations of Audio: EQ and Filters course. Check out his explanation in the video here, and then dive further into learning about using EQ and filters to improve the sound of your waveforms…I mean, music.

For more on how to properly apply equalization (EQ) to improve the overall sound of your mixes, watch the full Foundations of Audio: EQ and Filters course in the Online Training Library®.

Interested in more?
• The full Foundations of Audio: EQ and Filters course on
• All audio courses on
• All courses from Brian Lee White on

Suggested courses to watch next:
Foundations of Audio: Compression and Dynamic Processing
Logic Pro 9 Essential Training
Audio Mixing Bootcamp
Mixing and Mastering with Pro Tools

InDesign FX: Exploring the Satin effect

Published by | Thursday, January 12th, 2012

InDesign’s Satin effect allows you to blend colors by combining objects that act like two inner shadows. By default, where the shadows intersect, they knock each other out, creating a kind of highlight.

InDesign's Satin effect blending colors

You can also invert the effect so a shadow is created only where the inner objects overlap. You can change the position of the objects and apply a blur to blend the colors.

InDesign's Satin effect creating shadow only where the inner objects overlap

The effect can be somewhat like beveling, but with intricate shapes, the highlight can zig-zag to follow all the edges of the shapes and create complex blends that you cannot make any other way in InDesign.

In this week’s video, I will show you how to simulate flames by combining a number of effects including Basic Feather, Inner Shadow, Outer Glow, and the real key to capturing the shifting nature of flames, the Satin effect. Here’s a comparison of the flames with and without Satin:

Flames with and without Satin effect

You can see that without Satin, the flames are filled with a plain old linear gradient, but adding Satin introduces a randomness that completes the effect in a very satisfying way. I also show how Satin can help you make ice as well as fire:

Ice made with Satin effect

Expect that it may take a little while to get the hang of using Satin, and remember that a little bit of Satin goes a long way as it’s easy to overdo the effect and create something gaudy. My advice is to be subtle when using Satin. Use it in combination with other effects. Keeping the opacity low, blend with dark colors, and match the Size and Distance values for a good-sized blur. Then try it on some complex shapes to test the unique power of Satin.

For members, I have another new video this week in the Online Training Library® that discusses Exploring Gradient Feather Settings, including how to use gradient feather to enhance a shiny reflective effect, like the one seen here:

Exploring InDesign's Gradient Feather Settings

See you here again in two weeks with another InDesign effect.

Interested in more?
• The complete InDesign FX course
• All InDesign courses on
• All courses by Mike Rankin on

Suggested courses to watch next:
• InDesign CS5 Essential Training
 InDesign Secrets
InDesign Styles in Depth
• Photoshop for Designers: Color

Becoming an invaluable asset: new five-part professional development series

Published by | Thursday, January 12th, 2012

We’re excited to kick off a five-part professional development series this week designed to help you cultivate the traits of an invaluable professional. With the help of author and business coach Dave Crenshaw, we built the series around five tangible goals: developing your abilities, becoming a student of your profession, focusing on the activities that bring high value to your company, improving your professional networking, and positioning yourself as a leading expert. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a new hire, this series is designed to help you unearth your full potential to contribute, innovate, and add value to your organization—right away and in the future.

The first segment of Dave Crenshaw’s Invaluable series, Invaluable: Unlocking Your Abilities, focuses on putting together a personal action plan that allows you to harness your natural talents, match your job responsibilities to those talents, and assess your performance. With an overarching focus on self-improvement, Dave shows how to develop yourself so that you can provide genuine and ongoing value to your organization.

Why not make 2012 the year you become the asset your organization can’t live without? Leave us a comment and let us know your aspirations for the coming year.

For more on Dave Crenshaw’s 
Invaluable series, watch out for these four upcoming installments:

February: Invaluable: Developing Your Business Savvy
Invaluable: Making Yourself Irreplaceable
April: Invaluable: Building Professional Connections
May: Invaluable: Becoming a Leading Authority



Interested in more?
• The full Invaluable: Unlocking Your Abilities course on
• All business courses on
• All courses from Dave Crenshaw on

Suggested courses to watch next:
Creating an Effective Résumé
Effective Meetings
Time Management Fundamentals
LinkedIn Essential Training

Polygon modeling a simple object in CINEMA 4D

Published by | Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

It’s easy for motion graphics artists to neglect their modeling skills. Websites like Turbosquid, and the wide availability of amazing model libraries mean that a lot of artists can go for a long time without ever modeling anything from scratch. But what happens when a job or client comes along that requires a specific model that you can’t find? Don’t panic! The polygon modeling tools in CINEMA 4D are helpful and easy to use.

Points, Edges, and Polygons are the basic building blocks of all objects in the 3D world. Everything from a simple sphere to a photo-realistic model of a T-Rex are made of these elemental parts. This week on Design in Motion, I’ll show you how to build and animate a simple model of a paper airplane to use as a prop in a logo animation.

For those more advanced modelers who have mastered the CINEMA 4D Essential Training course, I recommend taking your animation skills to the next level with CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo to learn how to take a 15-second promotional video from concept to on-screen animation, and into final rendering and compositing.

Interested in more?
• The full Design in Motion series on
• The full CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo course on
• All 3D + animation courses on
• All by Rob Garrott on

Suggested courses to watch next:
CINEMA 4D R12 Essential Training
CINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After Effects
After Effects CS5 Essential Training
CINEMA 4D and After Effects Integration

Three ways to get the most out of NAMM

Published by | Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

NAMM stands for the National Association of Music Merchants, and its purpose is to promote the benefits of making music by strengthening the music product industry. Every January, they put on a huge trade show in Anaheim, California, where companies large and small come together and show off their music-related products and services. NAMM is a musician’s paradise, really, with displays of every instrument you can imagine, and all the latest technology and gadgetry available to create music. If you’re headed to NAMM this year, make sure to carpe diem with our three tips for getting the most out of NAMM, and be sure to stop by and say hello to the staff who will be at the trade show from January 19 through January 22 with demos of expanded audio training content on display.

Three ways to get the most out of NAMM

1. Expand your view

One of the main purposes of NAMM is to present what’s new in the audio industry. Nowhere else can you hold the products in your hands, ask questions to their creators, make contacts at the companies, and even potentially get great show-only discounts. As you walk the floor, you’ll expand your view of what you can do in the music industry…and you may even run into a few rock stars along your path.

2. Check out the H.O.T. Zone

The NAMM trade show is mainly known for its gear and instrument booths, however they’ve slowly over the past few years been building out the H.O.T. Zone. Short for Hands-On Training, the H.O.T. Zone is a mini-educational conference by itself, with excellent speakers, panel discussions, and clinics on extremely pertinent topics in the music industry. Check out a session or two at NAMM and learn something you can apply immediately to your musical career from industry experts.

3. Join Us for #NAMMchat Q&A on Twitter

If you can’t make it out to Anaheim, join audio experts and authors Bobby Owsinski and Brian Lee White for a no-hype debrief on the key trends, important information, and announcements coming out of NAMM. They’ll be available live on Twitter to answer your questions about NAMM, music technology, and the business in general.

The Twitterviews will be held at these times:

January 24 from 12:30-1:30 PST: Brian Lee White  @brianleewhite

January 25 from 12:30-1:30 PST: Bobby Owsinski   @bobbyowsinski

Simply tweet your questions or comments to @brianleewhite, @bobbyowsinski, or @lyndadotcom with the hashtag #NAMMchat on 1/24 and 1/25.

*Editor’s Note: On January 11th and January 20th the blog mistakenly reported the #NAMMchat dates as January 23 and January 24. The dates of the #NAMMchat will be January 24 and January 25, both at 12:30pm PST as mentioned above. Associates will be standing by to assist any audio lovers who may tune in on January 23rd. Please pardon our error!

Interested in more?
• All audio courses on
• All Logic Pro courses on
• All GarageBand courses on
• All Pro Tools courses on

Suggested courses to watch next:
Virtual Instruments in Logic Pro
Audio Mixing Bootcamp
Finale 2012 Essential Training
Foundations of Audio: Compression and Dynamic Processing
Jason Bentley’s Twilight Remix: Start to Finish

Deke’s Techniques: Masking a shadow with Photoshop

Published by | Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

It’s all well and good to use Deke’s impeccable masking techniques to meticulously isolate objects—like, say, this week’s car—and set them down on new backgrounds. But the fact is, if you don’t bring the shadow of your object along for the ride, your subject is never going to look like it really belongs there.

That’s why in this week’s free movie Deke shows you how to capture the shadow under an object—like, say, this week’s car—and prepare it for use in any new background. The technique centers around the Calculations command (don’t worry, Photoshop does all the math) and some standard masking clean-up techniques. Check out the difference in these before (plopped down without a shadow) and after (with the shadow intact) images:

Object moved without shadow

object with masked Photoshop shadow

Don’t leave your transported objects floating out in space, ground them in reality by including their shadows.

See you back next week with another Deke’s Techniques!

• The entire Deke’s Techniques collection
• Courses by Deke McClelland on
• All Photoshop courses on

Suggested courses to watch next:
• Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Fundamentals
• Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Advanced Blending
• Photoshop Masking & Compositing: Hair