Deke’s Techniques - Post archive

Dynamic Effects in Adobe Illustrator: Deke’s Techniques

Published by | Friday, January 3rd, 2014
Deke's Techniques on lynda.com

Explore Deke’s Techniques at lynda.com.

Happy New Year! The parties may be over, but it’s not too late to celebrate the arrival of 2014 with another brand-new Adobe Illustrator tutorial from Deke McClelland and lynda.com. This episode of Deke’s Techniques transforms four simple path outlines into a cheerful and ornamental New Year’s design—without any drawing. Deke never picks up the Pen tool. How does he do it? This technique uses dynamic effects in Adobe Illustrator- in particular a combination of the Transform and Zig Zag effects, a seamlessly repeating tile pattern, and an opacity mask. Watch the free video below to get started.

Developing a 32-bit HDR image in Camera Raw: Deke’s Techniques

Published by | Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Develop a 32-bit HDR Image in Camera Raw

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Today’s Deke’s Techniques video shows how to merge multiple exposures inside of Adobe Photoshop CC and Camera Raw, creating a high dynamic range (HDR) image. For those not in the know, HDR imaging reproduces a wider exposure range, capturing both the faintest and most direct light in a single image. The classic example is a dark ground plane against a bright sky. However, without a special HDR-equipped camera, you don’t have much of a choice when you’re shooting. You can capture the sky and let the foreground recede into shadow, or capture the foreground and blow out the sky. By combining these images in post, you get the best of both worlds: a bright sky with detailed shadows.

In this technique, Deke uses Photoshop to perform the Merge to HDR Pro, resulting in a 32-bit image with lots of visual information but not a lot of life. He then takes advantage of the seamless Creative Cloud workflow to send the 32-bit HDR image to Camera Raw for further refinement, using the Camera Raw filter. Get started with the free video below, which includes bonus tips on getting multiple exposures with your camera’s bracketed shooting mode.

Painting an eye with Photoshop: Deke’s Techniques

Published by | Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Paint an eye using a custom brush

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Howdy, Deke geeks! Are you staying warm? Because it’s minus 2 degrees in Boulder, Colorado, home base of Deke’s Techniques. But neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night keeps Deke from the swift completion of his appointed rounds. This week, he’ll show you how to use a custom Adobe Photoshop brush to paint an eye from scratch. This technique teaches you so much. Learn how to align two layers while keeping one layer stationary. Adjust roundness and angle of a brush. Paint with dynamic layer effects, lock the transparency of a layer, and select, scale, and rotate a custom brush—all in order to produce the final “eye-catching” effect: a beautiful flecked iris.

Converting a photo into a Lichtenstein drawing: Deke’s Techniques

Published by | Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Convert a photo into a Lichtenstein drawing

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Roy Lichtenstein was a pop artist known for parodying pulp comic strips—transforming them into oversized original artwork featuring bold color and Ben-Day dots, a tonal treatment used in commercial printing. His images, like Oh, Jeff … I Love You, Too … But… and Whaam!, are instantly recognizable and frequently the object of parody themselves. This week Deke returns to show you how to transform any photograph into a Lichtenstein-style comic panel with Adobe Photoshop.

Instead of faking it with the Color Halftone filter, Deke shows you how to overlay uniform Ben-Day-like dots using a Basic Graphics Dots swatch. This technique also uses the Photocopy filter and some hand-painting techniques to create the final effect. Click on the free video below to get started.

Creating a “pig-ture” with shapes and letters: Deke’s Techniques

Published by | Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Creating a holiday "pig-ture" in Photoshop

As members in the US are aware, Thanksgiving is almost here. And what is Thanksgiving, aka Turkey Day, without the turkey—the bird so iconic that it launched a million children’s handprint drawings? In this episode of Deke’s Techniques, Deke McClelland provides an alternative way to illustrate the holiday. Less gobble, more oink. He shows you how to use simple shapes and letters to draw a “pig-ture” of a Thanksgiving ham with Adobe Photoshop.

This technique is perfect to share with your littlest family members, because it uses the letter shapes M, E, W, and a cursive e, along with the Ellipse tool, to create the basic drawing. Deke then shows you how to use the Gradient Fill tool to create a pastoral background for your pig. Because while turkeys may be in trouble, the pig has been pardoned just for this one special day.

Trace a line drawing with uniform strokes: Deke’s Techniques

Published by | Tuesday, November 19th, 2013


Kids can be the most innovative artists of all, but their greatest work is lost to history when it ends up tattered on the fridge or at the bottom of a school cubby. You can save their drawings by digitizing them with Adobe Illustrator—the tool professional artists rely on to refine, colorize, and prep their artwork for digital distribution and print publications. The process starts by converting your sketch into a vector-based line drawing. Deke’s Techniques is back this week to show you how.

Deke takes a whimsical sketch that he and his son collaborated on and turns it into a piece of colorful, high-gloss artwork. He traces it with open path outlines—an innovative approach that creates vector-based artwork with uniform strokes. And like all of Deke’s techniques, this tutorial walks you through the process step-by-step so you can replicate the results on your own.

Cleaning up a crummy product shot: Deke’s Techniques

Published by | Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

Cleaning up a poor product shot

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If you’re selling something on Craigslist or eBay or even documenting possessions for insurance purposes, you want to make your stuff looks its best. But if your camera or lighting isn’t up to snuff, the images can be a little grainy and distorted. What to do? Deke McClelland faced this same challenge recently, and he’s here to share the solution with you.

Inspiration for this technique struck during the tutorial Deke was making on attaching a GoPro camera to a bicycle’s rear wheel. He took a photo of the necessary equipment with a camera he had on hand, but was disappointed with the results. Then he realized he could clean the image up in Adobe Photoshop. Watch today’s free Deke’s Techniques video to learn how to use the Reduce Noise, Camera Raw filter, and Magic Wand in Photoshop CC to make your product shot look more professional.

Creating metal type in Photoshop: Deke’s Techniques

Published by | Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

Creating metal type in Photoshop

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They say you can’t improve on the classics but this week Deke dives into his archives and revisits a tutorial from the very early days of Deke’s Techniques, “Creating heavy metal type.” This is a technique his fans have asked him again and again to update, since the technique has changed so much since Adobe Photoshop CS6 and CC were released. Watch the new video and learn how to build a custom pattern for “stamping out” your type and use layer styles to really make it pop out from a metallic background.