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Deke's Techniques
Illustration by John Hersey

Deke's Techniques

with Deke McClelland

Video: 360 Transforming yourself into a Dark Elf

- Hey gang, this is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. We're coming up on Halloween, which is my favorite holiday because they both begin with holio, except only kind of and for totally different reasons. This week, we're going to take this perfectly innocent teenager, well he is a teenager, so I'm sure he's guilty of something, and turn him into this sinister, wait a second, I'm left-handed, dark elf. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. Here's the final version of the elf, just so you have a chance to see him on screen.
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  1. 47m 31s
    1. 360 Transforming yourself into a Dark Elf NEW
      16m 27s
    2. 361 Hand-masking the elf against a vivid background NEW
      15m 35s
    3. 362 Making the Dark Elf that much darker NEW
      15m 29s
  2. 15h 16m
    1. 282 Ringing in the New Year with dynamic effects in Illustrator
      12m 59s
    2. 283 Dynamically transforming fills and strokes
      13m 41s
    3. 284 Tracing an avatar from a photograph in Photoshop
      12m 24s
    4. 285 Drawing a vector-based avatar in Illustrator
      19m 44s
    5. 286 Coloring and shading your avatar
      16m 0s
    6. 287 Exporting an illustration as a universally supported PNG file
      10m 54s
    7. 288 Upsampling a layered composition with great results
      13m 43s
    8. 289 Rebuilding a pattern at a higher resolution
      7m 29s
    9. 290 Painting happy little trees
      13m 46s
    10. 291 Shading and lighting the happy forest
      15m 15s
    11. 292 Enlarging a low-res photograph in Photoshop
      12m 20s
    12. 293 Enlarging a photo by tracing it in Illustrator
      13m 10s
    13. 294 Mastering Exposure in Camera Raw
      11m 40s
    14. 295 Super smooth and unflinchingly sharp
      10m 46s
    15. 296 Deleting an inadvertent photo bomber
      8m 13s
    16. 297 Correcting a distorted panorama
      17m 23s
    17. 298 Rebuilding bad stitching in a panorama
      14m 53s
    18. 299 Nondestructive dodge and burn
      8m 54s
    19. 300 Blending a shadow into any background
      8m 37s
    20. 301 Saving a PNG image with a translucent shadow
      8m 45s
    21. 302 Cleaning up a smart phone photo
      11m 17s
    22. 303 Using Photoshop 1.0
      5m 45s
    23. 304 Creating your own Chinese seal (or chop)
      26m 4s
    24. 305 Simulating hand lettering with art brushes
      20m 8s
    25. 306 Adding texture to your hand stamp
      3m 34s
    26. 307 Creating a black chop on red paper
      5m 55s
    27. 308 Auto-hiding iconic panels in Photoshop
      3m 44s
    28. 309 Creating a custom toolbox in Illustrator CC
      4m 21s
    29. 310 Creating the perfect passport photo
      20m 18s
    30. 311 Retouching your passport photo
      13m 38s
    31. 312 Turning a photo into a giant mural
      13m 11s
    32. 313 Enhancing the reality of your mural
      11m 8s
    33. 314 Creating a 3D bump map
      12m 7s
    34. 315 UV overlay and 3D bump paint
      14m 4s
    35. 316 Using Lens Flare for good (not evil)
      10m 48s
    36. 317 Using the Perspective Crop tool
      9m 29s
    37. 318 Reducing real-world camera shake
      10m 4s
    38. 319 Reducing glare in a photograph
      15m 25s
    39. 320 Restoring repeating details
      13m 43s
    40. 321 Integrating a detail captured with a phone
      9m 6s
    41. 322 Blending two exposures of a single scene
      12m 25s
    42. 323 Masking mountains away from sky
      14m 22s
    43. 324 Creating a photographic caricature in Photoshop
      10m 7s
    44. 325 Exaggerating facial features with Liquify
      12m 48s
    45. 326 Masking a caricature against a new background
      11m 20s
    46. 327 Shading and sharpening a caricature
      10m 6s
    47. 328 Drawing a Möbius strip in Illustrator
      12m 21s
    48. 329 Shading the Möbius strip with gradients
      9m 0s
    49. 330 Adding twisting edges to the Möbius strip
      8m 9s
    50. 331 Creating an impossible Penrose triangle
      10m 37s
    51. 332 Shading the cubes in your Penrose triangle
      8m 15s
    52. 333 Selectively converting a photo to black & white
      7m 53s
    53. 334 Straightening and “uncropping” a photo
      16m 17s
    54. 335 Restoring a missing photograph detail
      11m 26s
    55. 336 Drawing a hand (clenched in a fist)
      11m 44s
    56. 337 Cleaning up a sketch captured with a phone
      6m 17s
    57. 338 Four hands united in brotherhood, solidarity, and teamwork
      12m 24s
    58. 339 Swapping out colors in existing gradients in Illustrator
      4m 37s
    59. 340 Select > Focus Area and the pseudo engraving effect
      12m 26s
    60. 341 Integrating 3D art into a 2D scene in Photoshop
      13m 41s
    61. 342 Creating a 3D shark in Photoshop
      11m 16s
    62. 343 Creating a 3D doughnut in Illustrator
      15m 23s
    63. 344 Creating a golden 3D ring in Illustrator
      10m 21s
    64. 345 Mapping Elven runes (or text) onto a 3D ring
      15m 57s
    65. 346 Hand-drawing custom-made letters in Illustrator
      19m 33s
    66. 347 Drawing letters with curves and holes
      15m 56s
    67. 348 Enhancing your hand-drawn text in Photoshop
      7m 20s
    68. 349 Mixing a low-color photo with Camera Raw
      11m 2s
    69. 350 Mixing a low-color photo with adjustment layers
      10m 7s
    70. 351 Saving your effect as a color lookup table
      5m 31s
    71. 352 Extracting a classic painting from its frame
      11m 35s
    72. 353 Extracting that same painting nondestructively
      7m 59s
    73. 354 Archiving and enhancing a child’s art
      10m 47s
    74. 355 Combining a child’s art with a real classic
      11m 5s
    75. 356 Developing the perfect sunset in Camera Raw
      9m 55s
    76. 357 Lush landscapes: The real green is yellow
      9m 7s
    77. 358 Painting away Camera Raw “Clarity halos”
      17m 7s
    78. 359 Selectively sharpening a stressed photograph
      16m 12s
  3. 17h 21m
    1. 185 Creating a custom 2013 calendar in Illustrator
      11m 44s
    2. 186 Adding dates to a calendar using tables
      9m 50s
    3. 187 Branding your calendar with a field of logos
      10m 54s
    4. 188 Crafting an Infinity symbol to match a specific font
      12m 6s
    5. 189 Op art experiment 1a: Inflated checkers
      10m 49s
    6. 190 Op art experiment 1b: Rounded windows
      6m 39s
    7. 191 Building a universal ISOTYPE man with strokes
      15m 6s
    8. 192 Building a universal ISOTYPE woman with strokes
      11m 7s
    9. 193 Drawing an ISOTYPE couple in love
      12m 55s
    10. 194 Creating a Warhol-style silkscreen effect
      14m 43s
    11. 195 Creating a series of Warhol-style variations
      10m 43s
    12. 196 Adding Warhol-style background variations
      8m 20s
    13. 197 Creating opaque colored shadows
      5m 20s
    14. 198 Assembling multiple variations into a single comp
      5m 9s
    15. 199 Creating a pattern of unique inset circles
      9m 55s
    16. 200 Changing a static blended color scheme
      7m 16s
    17. 201 Op art experiment 2a: Undulating pattern
      20m 26s
    18. 202 Op art experiment 2b: Concentric rings
      9m 43s
    19. 203 Developing a dramatic castle in Camera Raw
      13m 21s
    20. 204 Artificially coloring a photo in Camera Raw
      9m 38s
    21. 205 Creating an antique photo effect in Camera Raw
      7m 53s
    22. 206 Adding a weathered old-photo frame effect
      12m 0s
    23. 207 Drawing an Angry Birds-like character
      16m 59s
    24. 208 Stroking an entire layer in Illustrator
      9m 21s
    25. 209 Drawing a classic snarling cartoon face
      11m 10s
    26. 210 Drawing a radiant, cheerful cartoon background
      18m 29s
    27. 211 Stroking any kind of type in Illustrator
      5m 0s
    28. 212 Creating synthetic water droplets
      9m 29s
    29. 213 Simulating liquid reflections with effect
      5m 19s
    30. 214 Simulating liquid refractions with a dmap
      5m 30s
    31. 215 Creating an eye-catching splatter effect
      9m 8s
    32. 216 Defringing purples and greens in Camera Raw 7
      10m 4s
    33. 217 Making a danger sign more dangerous
      15m 9s
    34. 218 Using texture and depth to add realism
      10m 22s
    35. 219 Precisely aligning artwork to the bleed
      7m 16s
    36. 220 Creating and importing a tracing template
      6m 50s
    37. 221 Drawing a distinctive 2D video game character
      18m 52s
    38. 222 Adding features to the face of a 2D character
      14m 3s
    39. 223 Creating a vivid aura around an entire character
      7m 25s
    40. 224 Adding variable-width strokes in Illustrator
      11m 23s
    41. 225 Animating bird wings with Puppet Warp
      12m 15s
    42. 226 Animating text by onion skinning in Photoshop
      8m 0s
    43. 227 Creating an animated movie in Photoshop
      9m 15s
    44. 228 Exporting an animation to QuickTime and GIF
      5m 44s
    45. 229 Correcting an underwater photograph
      10m 30s
    46. 230 Making a photo razor-sharp and porcelain-smooth
      7m 17s
    47. 231 Reducing noise in a high-ISO shot with Camera Raw
      8m 33s
    48. 232 Creating highly reflective sunglasses
      10m 43s
    49. 233 Adding drama to an outdoor portrait shot
      6m 35s
    50. 234 Creating volumetric forms with shape layers
      15m 52s
    51. 235 Creating a bloodshot eye effect
      7m 11s
    52. 236 Shading an image with shapes and layer masks
      13m 2s
    53. 237 Creating fabric textures with pattern layers
      7m 27s
    54. 238 Colorize any layer with Color Overlay
      3m 23s
    55. 239 Turning a portrait into a dot drawing
      7m 40s
    56. 240 Creating a full-color dot drawing
      3m 29s
    57. 241 Drawing an orthogonal cube with the line tool
      7m 9s
    58. 242 Creating a cube of differently colored cubes
      9m 27s
    59. 243 Recreating the Creative Cloud Logo in Illustrator
      16m 18s
    60. 244 Creating a psychedelic fabric texture
      9m 7s
    61. 245 Turning psychedelic fabric into rock letters
      5m 23s
    62. 246 Creating a more finely rendered dot drawing
      8m 29s
    63. 247 Converting from RGB to CMYK via Multichannel
      12m 31s
    64. 248 Creating printer-safe CMYK shadows
      6m 48s
    65. 249 Creating bright, golden motion trails
      12m 32s
    66. 250 Creating schematic art with grid
      12m 41s
    67. 251 Drawing precisely aligned arrowhead
      12m 8s
    68. 252 Adding arrowheads around a closed path
      6m 1s
    69. 253 Drawing the Pen tool without touching the Pen tool
      17m 13s
    70. 254 Merging frames for the best possible UAV photo
      16m 40s
    71. 255 Retouching details in an aerial landscape
      12m 13s
    72. 256 Editing a video and adding transitions in Photoshop
      10m 57s
    73. 257 Importing the quadcopter crash sequences
      9m 4s
    74. 258 Color correcting a video and adding a soundtrack
      8m 56s
    75. 259 Adding precisely timed titles to your video
      11m 43s
    76. 260 Hand-painting an image with a Wacom Cintiq
      13m 11s
    77. 261 Blending the final false-color artwork
      8m 41s
    78. 262 Creating a honeycomb pattern in Illustrator
      12m 50s
    79. 263 Building up strokes to create 3D honeycomb
      9m 8s
    80. 264 Turning yourself into a zombie
      14m 0s
    81. 265 Enhancing an ambience environment for the undead
      9m 26s
    82. 266 Creating dripping, gooey ghost letters
      16m 43s
    83. 267 Turning type into gooey green slime
      11m 19s
    84. 268 Creating heavy metal type (updated for Photoshop CS6 and CC)
      12m 27s
    85. 269 Cleaning up a crummy product shot
      11m 3s
    86. 270 Scaling and rotating photographic objects
      10m 10s
    87. 271 Tracing a line drawing with uniform strokes
      11m 18s
    88. 272 Coloring line art using Live Paint Bucket
      18m 22s
    89. 273 Creating a pigture using shapes and letters
      18m 7s
    90. 274 Integrating a cartoon into a photograph
      7m 27s
    91. 275 Converting a photo into a Lichtenstein drawing
      16m 8s
    92. 276 Adding bring Ben-Day dots and a talk balloon
      15m 31s
    93. 277 Painting an eye using a custom brush
      11m 31s
    94. 278 Painting and smoothing straight-sided brushstrokes
      12m 0s
    95. 279 Simulating pressure with path outlines
      6m 3s
    96. 280 Developing a 32-bit HDR image in Camera Raw
      14m 42s
    97. 281 Converting from 32-bit to the more flexible 8-bit mode
      11m 15s
  4. 14h 31m
    1. 091 Removing people from a photo
      10m 44s
    2. 092 Masking people back into a photo
      10m 58s
    3. 093 Hand-painting a mask
      10m 5s
    4. 094 Masking a real-life shadow
      10m 40s
    5. 095 Turning a photo into line art
      7m 44s
    6. 096 Adding a crosshatch shading pattern
      6m 46s
    7. 097 Creating type that inverts anything behind it
      5m 32s
    8. 098 Creating auto-inverting line art
      5m 7s
    9. 099 Creating movie poster credits
      8m 10s
    10. 100 Creating a dual-focus hybrid image
      6m 24s
    11. 101 Adding text to a hybrid composition
      7m 24s
    12. 102 Drawing with the reshape tool
      10m 39s
    13. 103 Hand-drawing a really great letter
      10m 6s
    14. 104 Creating a vanity frame
      5m 28s
    15. 105 Adding a frame to a photograph
      5m 3s
    16. 106 Drawing a highly graphic explosion with Illustrator
      10m 3s
    17. 107 Drawing a Ninja Turtle nose
      10m 22s
    18. 108 Mapping a dog face onto a duck
      8m 20s
    19. 109 Putting a tongue on a duck
      7m 6s
    20. 110 Making synthetic lightning in Photoshop
      11m 3s
    21. 111 Creating a driving rain effect in Photoshop
      4m 57s
    22. 112 Designing a railroad track
      12m 18s
    23. 113 Bending the railroad track around curves
      7m 46s
    24. 114 Creating a Star Wars hologram effect
      9m 23s
    25. 115 Creating leafy letters
      6m 12s
    26. 116 Creating topiary type
      6m 22s
    27. 117 Creating type in grass
      9m 0s
    28. 118 Rendering type in smoke
      7m 30s
    29. 119 Rendering type in brushed metal
      9m 57s
    30. 120 Adding brushed copper effect
      4m 14s
    31. 121 Reflecting type in water
      10m 57s
    32. 122 Reflecting water back into type
      11m 14s
    33. 123 Joining type to a circle
      7m 14s
    34. 124 Making flared type on a circle
      7m 17s
    35. 125 Making a person emerge from water
      5m 32s
    36. 126 Creating progressive water ripples
      10m 17s
    37. 127 Creating an upside-down face effect
      10m 17s
    38. 128 Achieving silky smooth skin with retouching
      6m 33s
    39. 129 Pearly white teeth
      7m 28s
    40. 130 Head-shrinking
      8m 26s
    41. 131 Getting a big head
      5m 11s
    42. 132 Adding a photographic texture to vector type
      4m 28s
    43. 133 Adding strokes in back of photo type
      5m 9s
    44. 134 Adding a border to an image in Illustrator
      4m 17s
    45. 135 Two ways to crop in Illustrator
      7m 29s
    46. 136 Inventing a 3D temple with a depth map
      10m 0s
    47. 137 Drawing a 3D object with Curves
      11m 41s
    48. 138 Creating a superhero shield in Illustrator
      16m 28s
    49. 139 Turning Illustrator paths into Photoshop shapes
      11m 42s
    50. 140 Creating a photorealistic superhero shield
      12m 39s
    51. 141 Pimping your ride in Photoshop
      9m 59s
    52. 142 Masking and blackening a car
      10m 20s
    53. 143 Drawing a multi-part vector mask
      12m 46s
    54. 144 Masking and painting a shadow
      8m 26s
    55. 145 Integrating blades of grass into tires
      5m 34s
    56. 146 Making a (ridiculously) dramatic sky
      6m 2s
    57. 147 Adding flame stripes to a car
      8m 23s
    58. 148 Creating interlocking octagons in Illustrator
      7m 44s
    59. 149 Hand-coloring line art
      13m 9s
    60. 150 Creating a custom wave pattern
      9m 56s
    61. 151 Simulating a screen print
      8m 30s
    62. 152 Drawing a perfect linear spiral in Illustrator
      9m 42s
    63. 153 Drawing a spiraling nautilus shell
      11m 4s
    64. 154 Designing a hex pattern in Illustrator CS6
      11m 10s
    65. 155 Making a hex pattern in Illustrator CS5 and earlier
      7m 4s
    66. 156 Creating a Facebook cover in Photoshop
      9m 25s
    67. 157 Matching a profile picture to your cover
      6m 37s
    68. 158 Cloning yourself in Photoshop
      11m 16s
    69. 159 Lighting the clone party
      8m 29s
    70. 160 Hand-carving letters into wood
      8m 0s
    71. 161 Creating a Spirograph-like pattern
      7m 34s
    72. 162 Tracing scalloped gear teeth around a circle
      4m 55s
    73. 163 Applying custom carve and shadow styles to type
      8m 50s
    74. 164 Turning a pencil sketch into digital ink
      12m 55s
    75. 165 Adding a graph-paper background
      13m 42s
    76. 166 Creating a continuous single-line Spirograph
      13m 2s
    77. 167 Scaling circles into complex patterns
      7m 15s
    78. 168 Creating a money-like design
      8m 43s
    79. 169 Attack of the killer pumpkin
      14m 49s
    80. 170 Simulating a glowing Jack-o-lantern
      12m 24s
    81. 171 The headless stranger in the mist
      12m 25s
    82. 172 Creating 3D punched letters
      13m 29s
    83. 173 Designing a double-wave line pattern
      11m 2s
    84. 174 Assembling a seamless pattern brush
      9m 53s
    85. 175 Creating a hand turkey in Photoshop
      18m 42s
    86. 176 Creating a depth-of-field cast shadow
      7m 29s
    87. 177 Creating a lustrous round jewel
      13m 56s
    88. 178 Cutting and brushing light on a gem
      8m 30s
    89. 179 Creating a shiny button with inset text
      11m 5s
    90. 180 Creating a jaunty six-sided star
      15m 1s
    91. 181 Interweaving star shapes and adding gradients
      8m 28s
    92. 182 Casting shadows between interwoven shapes
      9m 12s
    93. 183 Creating a Hobbit-like text effect
      15m 6s
    94. 184 Enhancing a landscape photo in Camera Raw 7
      9m 16s
  5. 13h 11m
    1. 001 Creating ice type
      8m 39s
    2. 002 Branding type on a texture
      7m 6s
    3. 003 Creating an image-branding machine
      7m 13s
    4. 004 Capturing effects with layer comps
      7m 35s
    5. 005 Rendering type in gold
      8m 9s
    6. 006 Creating a hammered metal background
      5m 48s
    7. 007 Creating heavy metal type
      8m 13s
    8. 008 Creating a molten letter effect
      6m 43s
    9. 009 Setting type on fire
      11m 20s
    10. 010 Using an anti-edge mask
      7m 20s
    11. 011 Blending textures onto a face
      9m 28s
    12. 012 Rendering a face as a cave painting
      7m 34s
    13. 013 Creating a reflection in shattered glass
      8m 32s
    14. 014 Creating a face in a tree
      11m 20s
    15. 015 Building a synthetic star field
      8m 21s
    16. 016 Making 3D type with Repoussé
      10m 14s
    17. 017 Casting 3D shadows and reflections
      9m 35s
    18. 018 Adjusting 3D light sources
      10m 51s
    19. 019 Masking highlights and shadows
      6m 27s
    20. 020 Masking glass
      10m 39s
    21. 021 High key high contrast
      8m 33s
    22. 022 Simulating sub-pixel rendering
      10m 58s
    23. 023 Fixing chromatic aberrations in Photoshop
      9m 41s
    24. 024 Fixing chromatic aberrations in Camera Raw
      8m 51s
    25. 025 Correcting red-eye like a pro
      11m 56s
    26. 026 Turning a photo into an ink drawing
      10m 42s
    27. 027 Turning a photo into a pencil sketch
      8m 43s
    28. 028 Creating a seamlessly repeating pattern
      10m 56s
    29. 029 Repairing seams in a repeating pattern
      10m 47s
    30. 030 Creating a 3D pie chart
      11m 9s
    31. 031 Splitting and modifying 3D meshes
      11m 52s
    32. 032 Using the Ground Plane Shadow Catcher
      6m 58s
    33. 033 Creating a talk show-style curtain
      7m 57s
    34. 034 Assembling a flawless panorama
      10m 5s
    35. 035 Removing people with image stacks
      11m 44s
    36. 036 Creative stacking with Maximum and Range
      11m 44s
    37. 037 Creating synthetic wood grain
      9m 23s
    38. 038 Making slats of uniquely textured wood
      10m 52s
    39. 039 Kerning within a single character
      10m 31s
    40. 040 Creating a raised bevel effect
      11m 49s
    41. 041 Putting wings on a horse
      10m 41s
    42. 042 Creating a classic heart in Illustrator
      7m 15s
    43. 043 Glossing up a heart in Photoshop
      8m 42s
    44. 044 Shooting and assembling a stereoscopic photo
      8m 15s
    45. 045 Extending 3D beyond the screen plane
      6m 13s
    46. 046 Adding stereo 3D text and shapes
      9m 9s
    47. 047 Tilting text and shapes toward the viewer
      8m 13s
    48. 048 Creating a shooting star in Illustrator
      6m 33s
    49. 049 Using blends to draw path outlines
      8m 8s
    50. 050 Inventing custom starbursts
      7m 33s
    51. 051 Making a fictional creature
      12m 5s
    52. 052 Transforming a creature into a monster
      6m 14s
    53. 053 Capturing a monster in motion
      11m 45s
    54. 054 Changing the color of a car
      7m 12s
    55. 055 Painting a colorful car black
      8m 16s
    56. 056 Coloring the stripes on a zebra
      10m 47s
    57. 057 Drawing trendy swirls in Illustrator
      10m 59s
    58. 058 Creating variable-width and brushed swirls
      10m 46s
    59. 059 Drawing trendy ornaments in Illustrator
      8m 49s
    60. 060 Designing a magically updating pattern
      8m 40s
    61. 061 Automatically collapsing a selection
      7m 43s
    62. 062 Adding a magnifying glass into a design
      7m 5s
    63. 063 Healing one eye onto another
      7m 15s
    64. 064 Creating a giant command key
      9m 15s
    65. 065 Drawing common symbols part 1
      6m 29s
    66. 066 Drawing common symbols part 2
      9m 26s
    67. 067 Filtering images with Camera Raw
      7m 52s
    68. 068 Creating a vivid HDR effect
      5m 29s
    69. 069 Creating an ambigram in Illustrator
      10m 45s
    70. 070 Making a two-word ambigram
      7m 47s
    71. 071 Drawing a Halloween scareflake
      10m 45s
    72. 072 Creating true clones in Illustrator
      11m 7s
    73. 073 Taking your scareflakes into Photoshop
      7m 20s
    74. 074 Making a faux HDR image in Lab
      8m 38s
    75. 075 Turning a guy into a zombie
      7m 3s
    76. 076 Miniaturizing the world in Photoshop
      6m 45s
    77. 077 Creating a synthetic rainbow
      8m 53s
    78. 078 Casting an artificial shadow from a layer
      7m 2s
    79. 079 Rendering a portrait in type
      8m 58s
    80. 080 Rendering a portrait in tile patterns
      7m 43s
    81. 081 Rotating a pattern layer in Photoshop
      4m 16s
    82. 082 Tracing an image with path outlines
      7m 50s
    83. 083 Turning path outlines into a vector mask
      6m 0s
    84. 084 Drawing rays of light in Photoshop
      5m 40s
    85. 085 Drawing concentric glow rings
      7m 24s
    86. 086 Designing an Indiana Jones-style logo
      8m 50s
    87. 087 Achieving mitered corners in Photoshop
      5m 43s
    88. 088 Masking with Blunt Instruments in Photoshop
      11m 8s
    89. 089 Creating a stained-glass ornament
      8m 26s
    90. 090 Designing a stained-glass window
      10m 23s

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Deke's Techniques
61h 8m Intermediate Jan 11, 2011 Updated Oct 21, 2014

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This course is a collection of short Photoshop and Illustrator projects and creative effects that can be completed in ten minutes or less. The series is taught by computer graphics guru Deke McClelland, and presented in his signature step-by-step style. The intent is to reveal how various Photoshop and Illustrator features can be combined and leveraged in real-world examples so that they can be applied to creative projects right away.

Design Raw Processing Design Techniques
Illustrator Photoshop
Deke McClelland

360 Transforming yourself into a Dark Elf

- Hey gang, this is Deke McClelland. Welcome to Deke's Techniques. We're coming up on Halloween, which is my favorite holiday because they both begin with holio, except only kind of and for totally different reasons. This week, we're going to take this perfectly innocent teenager, well he is a teenager, so I'm sure he's guilty of something, and turn him into this sinister, wait a second, I'm left-handed, dark elf. Here, let me show you exactly how it works. Here's the final version of the elf, just so you have a chance to see him on screen.

If you're working along with me, make sure you're running Photoshop and then go up to the file menu and choose Open as Smart Object because after all, we're working with a raw image file and that way, we can go back and modify our camera raw settings any time we like. Go ahead and choose that command and then, I'm working with a file called BoyAtPark.dng and I'll click the open button to open the image in camera raw. Now I'll zoom in just a little bit. I've already made a ton of modifications to the image inside of camera raw, but I want to point out some highlights.

First of all, notice how low the temperature value is. If I was to go to my white balance option and switch it to as shot, then you'll notice that we have these fairly electric colors going on and the image is extremely warm as well. That's why I went ahead and took this temperature value and even though this is a night shot, which means you would normally crank the temperature value up in order to compensate for the coolness of the image, instead, I went ahead and took this temperature value all the way down to produce the coolest image possible.

Then, with that temperature value still selected, I press Shift, up arrow to take it up to 2500 degrees. I also wanted to take some of the magenta out of the scene, so I took the tint value down to negative 10, like so. Also notice, if I switch over to the detail option, that I've got my luminites value cranked very high indeed. I'll go ahead and take that down for a moment so that you can see that if I went with the standard default luminites value of zero, we would have an extremely noisy shot because the ISO value is through the roof, which is why I initially took the luminites value all the way up to its maximum of plus 100.

Notice here in the shoulder. We'll go ahead and zoom in another click so that we're seeing the image at 100 percent. We're getting rid of most of the noise, so we have some of these extremely smooth areas, but we're also revealing portions of the fabric right next door so that in other words, we have this uneven look, which is why in the end, I went ahead and selected that luminites value and took it down to 90. That brings back some of that natural detail. I left both the luminites detail and the luminites contrasts values set to zero a piece.

At which point we can go ahead and click the Okay button in order to open this now extremely smooth image. Even though the subject of our photograph is very smoothly rendered, it doesn't look anything like an elf, which is, of course, where the liquify command comes in. If you subscribe to the Creative Cloud, then you can apply liquify as an editable smart filter by going up to the filter menu and choosing the liquify command. That works by virtually the fact that we've converted the image to a smart object in advance.

I'll just go ahead and choose that command to bring out the liquify window, and notice that I have my warp tool selected. I'll go ahead and increase the size of my cursor by pressing the right bracket key a few times. Then I'll just drag up on the ear. You want to take it easy. You want to do thing incrementally even though we're going for an over the top effect because if you just start dragging it like crazy, it's going to look terrible. I'll go ahead and press Control Z, Command Z on the Mac to undo that change.

This is possibly the most important detail, although the eyes, and you'll see the expression come in to play as well. We want to spend a fair amount of time. Do your best while you're modifying the shape of the ear to leave the background alone. You don't want to do this number, where you end up denting the background or stretching some portion of it because that's going to be a dead giveaway that you liquified the image in Photoshop. I'll press Control Z, or Command Z on the Mac, in order to to undo that change, and I'll reduce the size of my cursor in order to bring some portions of the ear out slightly.

You can move the details inside the hair with the fair amount of reckless abandon because there's not much hair detail going on. Now, notice that the edges of the ear, the fold right here have gotten pretty skinny. If you want to fatten them up a little bit, you want to switch to the bloat tool. Then, make sure that your cursor is pretty small. Notice that my brush size is 70, for what that's worth, and then you just want to kind of click inside these details. You don't want to drag because that's going to do too much too quickly and you want to make sure that you have your cursor centered on the fold of that ear or you're going to actually make the fold skinnier instead of thicker.

This is going to take a little bit of work, by the way. You're going to spend a little bit of time and energy in order to get the exact effect you're looking for. Now I'm going to switch back to the warp tool. Of course, at this point, I would need to do a better job than this. I would reduce the size of my cursor and spend a little time just dragging these guys out like so. Again, I'm working as carefully and painstakingly as possible because there's nothing like a bad liquify job to totally give away the fact that you've edited the image inside of Photoshop.

While I don't think anybody's going to think this is a real elf, you might as well do the best job possible. Now what we want to do is work on the eyes because we want to give this guy a sinister expression. Right now, I would dare say he has basically no expression at all. We could get a lot of great get work done by increasing the size of the cursor, like so, and dragging up on the eye if you want to. What I really want to do is increase the size of the eye, for starters. I'll press Control Z, or Command Z on the Mac, to undo that change and I'll switch to my bloat tool once again and I'll increase the size of my cursor like crazy, like so, and then I'll click a few times in order to increase the size of the eye.

Then I'll reduce the size of my cursor a little bit for the other eye, but I do want to increase it as well. Go ahead and switch back to that warp tool, reduce the size of my cursor actually and drag on the eyebrow. Drag up on the eyebrow. You don't want to tug at the eye like that, so make sure you don't drag too far down. Keep your cursor high when you start the drag, that is to say, and then we want to move this guy down a little bit. We want an arched eyebrow of course. Why not? After all, any character it seems to me that has a pointy ear needs an arched eyebrow as well, whether he's an elf or a vulcan.

Right now I'll go ahead and drag this up. You can see I stretched the eye. That's not good. I'll go ahead and press Control Z, or Command Z on the Mac in order to undo that change. You can stretch the shadow of the eye if you want to. You just don't want to stretch that iris. I might take the forehead up a little farther. I also want to give this guy a little bit of a snear. I'll increase the size of my cursor and drag the mouth out a little bit. Decrease the size of my cursor. Take the edge of that mouth down. The best way to create a snear, that I've found, is to take part of the lip up a little bit like so.

I'm kind of doing an exaggerated job, but you want the lip to come up over here at the end and then bend back down before you get to the middle of the lip. You want to do a smoother job than this of course. You don't want too much of a snear because that would be a giveaway. It's supposed to be a sinister elf. He doesn't want everybody noticing that he's up to no good, here. Let's take this area up a little bit, the area of the nose, that is to say, so that we're highlighting the snear so that we have a little bit of a crease going.

I also made the nose a little longer. I took this area in and this area out just a little bit. I'm changing the shape of the nose. I want to flare the nostril because he's getting pretty angry at whatever it is that he's looking at. Then, I decided I wanted his irises to look up a little bit so I'll increase the size of my cursor and I'll drag this area of the eye up. I'm dragging the iris up and I'm pushing it up a little bit. I want to avoid any kind of crinkles in the eye.

You can see I'm changing the size of my cursor back and forth, here. I want to lift this guy up as well so that we're really steering those eyes up. I love the fact, by the way, that we can see one iris and the other iris is lost to the pupil. That way, it looks like we have different colored eyes, which I think is really awesome. Let's say you really want to lift that iris. You need to create more white space here underneath the iris. That's another great use for the bloat tool. I'll go ahead and switch to it. Reduce the size of the cursor, of course, like crazy by pressing the left bracket key.

Then, just click underneath there. You can see then, I'm stretching the white portion of the iris. Anytime you stretch any area with liquefy, especially using the bloat tool, then it comes with the expense of another area. You're constricting the iris as you stretch the white area like so and I would do the same thing presumably over here as well, although I would probably try to do a better job than this, which is to say, by the way, that I would just spend more time because the entire time you're working in liquefy, you're creating a mesh, an editable mesh.

You can always go back and forth, non-destructively. That's very important. I'll go ahead and switch back to the warp tool, here. I'll reduce the size of my cursor and drag down here on the eye a little bit and drag down on this portion of the eye as well and continue working until I think I've got it right. The great thing about making modifications to a smart object inside of Photoshop CC is that you can always click the Okay button and then come back and modify your results.

I think I will that because that gives me a chance to see things inside of Photoshop. I'll just make a few more modifications here. Might take this cheek in a little, let's say, and then I'll click the Okay button to apply the effect. That's quite the difference, by the way, if I press Control Z, or Command Z on the Mac. You can see this is what the young man looked like before, and if I press Control or Command Z again to reapply the filter, this is what he looks like now. It's a big difference, but is it the difference I'm looking for? The answer is, of course, not quite.

What I would is finesse the effect by double clicking on the word liquify here inside the layers panel. As I say, we are working on a mesh. To see that mesh, I'll go ahead and turn on the advance mode check box right there, so we can see a bunch more options. Then I turn on the Show Mesh check box. You can see that we've stretched the mesh here inside the face. I'll go ahead and drag him over a little bit so we can see that better. Anywhere where the mesh isn't entirely rectilinear is where we have modifications going on.

You can always change those modifications just by dragging them back or you can even restore things using the reconstruct tool, which allows you to just basically increase the size of the cursor as I'm doing here and just click and hold in order to incrementally undo your modifications. No pixels are permanently being harmed here inside Photoshop CC. Of course, I've gone ahead and saved my mesh in advance which means I can load it up by clicking on the load mesh button, here, which is only available when the advance mode is turned on.

I'll click Load Mesh. Those of you working in previous versions of Photoshop can take advantage of this as well if you have access to my sample files. You can go ahead and find this file ElfishMesh.msh and then just click Open in order to apply my exact modifications, which look like this, here. Now, you don't necessarily need the show mesh check box be turned on, incidentally. It sometimes helps to turn it off so you can see what in the world you are doing. At which point, assuming we like the modifications, which I do, we'll go ahead and click Okay in order to apply that change.

We need a couple of more filters to finish off the effect. I'm going to go ahead and zoom in here so that you can see that even though things look pretty darn good, the details are soft. I do want to sharpen them up. The best way to sharpen a portrait shot is to go up to the filter menu, choose Other and then choose High Pass. I'm going to set my radius value to five pixels for this image and that's going to give these dark and bright halos around all of the edges. All of the non-edges turn gray. That's a function of the high pass filter.

I'll go ahead and click Okay to apply that effect. Naturally, that looks horrible, which is to say we need to drop out the grays by double clicking on the slider icon to the right of the words High Pass, the top of these two little slider icons here inside the layers panel to bring up the blending options dialog box. For a maximum sharpening effect, you want to set the blend mode to linear light. That's going to burn in those dark and bright halos around the edges. A little much here, however, so I'll go ahead and take the opacity value down to 66 percent just because it's easy to enter two sixes in a row.

Now, click Okay in order to apply that change. The final problem you'll notice if you go ahead and zoom on in, we've got some inconsistent noise. Look at this region above the eye, right here. It's obviously been stretched like crazy because I've actually stretched the noise inside the image. The best way to remedy that is to apply camera raw. Once again, a separate pass of camera raw as a smart filter. You do that in Photoshop CC by going up to the filter menu and choosing camera raw filter.

That'll go ahead and heap another smart filter onto that smart object. Now, I'll go ahead and zoom in on this eye so we can see it up close, here. The first thing that we want to do is reduce the noise by clicking on the detail icon and then I'll crank that luminites value once again, not all the way to 100, and I'll leave the luminites detail value set to 50 and I'll leave luminites contrast set to zero. That does a good job of alleviating some of the problem, but it doesn't entirely take care of things, which is why we now need to add some digital noise.

That way, we'll have a consistent amount of noise throughout the image. You do that inside of camera raw. It's the best feature for this purpose as opposed to the add noise command by clicking on the FX icon right there. Then I'm going to take the grain value up to 33. I left the size value set to 25 and the roughness set to 50. Now notice that we now have this uniform noise all over the surface of this image, whether that area has been stretched, as in the case of the ear, or has not been stretched as in the case or the neighboring sky.

In other words, we get a more homogenous photographic effect. At which point I'll go ahead and click Okay in order to apply that filter. Now I'll go ahead and press the F key a couple of times in order to fill the screen with the image. Of course, I need to zoom out a little bit as well. Just for the sake of comparison, here's the photograph as it appeared when we first opened it inside of Photoshop and here are our elfish modifications. Thanks largely to our ability to modify facial features and expressions inside of liquify.

Don't forget the fact that we can also create uniform noise across the image using camera raw. If you're a member of the online training library, then I have a follow up movie, in which we take our ominous dark elf and we make a more menacing still by masking him against some rooms and tattooing his face. Seriously, what is wrong with me? If you're waiting for next week's free movie, we're going to take another innocent. This child dressed as the joker and turn him into the real thing.

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