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By Lauren Nilsson | Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Flirting with Geometric Genius: Illustrator & Islamic Design


Islamic artwork is often based on complex geometry: shapes and lines that align precisely.

While it’s not strictly representative, this geometry invokes stars, plants, planets, and other elements of the natural world. It’s breathtaking to behold in person at sites like the Alhambra, a Moorish palace—and the imagery inspires designers around the world.

A Tunisian stained glass window inspired the Islamic design featured in this week’s free episode of Deke’s Techniques.

Deke uses a picture of the window as a template in Illustrator, but if you follow along with his instructions, you can re-create the pattern on your own, from scratch.

By Lauren Nilsson | Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Create a Custom Smartphone Home Screen with Deke

smartphone home screen

Photos make fine wallpaper, but with the latest generation of smartphones, it’s almost as easy to add custom artwork to your home screen.

The key is to size the artwork correctly and position image elements so they don’t interfere with the phone’s interface.

In this episode of Deke’s TechniquesDeke shows how to use Photoshop to create a custom smartphone home screen, whether you have an Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone.

By Lauren Nilsson | Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Wrapping Text Around an Image in Illustrator


Wrapping text around an image in InDesign is easy. In Illustrator? Not so much.

When graphics are on a separate layer in Illustrator, text wrap just doesn’t work. Luckily, Deke McClelland is here to show us a simple but elegant solution.

By Lauren Nilsson | Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Using the Join Tool in Illustrator CC

using the join tool in illustrator cc

Illustrator CC is always evolving. It now includes the Join tool, introduced in late October of 2014, for merging paths.

How is this different than joining paths with the Pen tool? Instead of creating a straight line between two points, the Join tool extends both paths and creates a new point where they intersect.

It’s a pretty cool effect but it helps—as with most Adobe innovations—to see the tool in action before you attempt to use it on your own.

So join Deke McClelland for this brief look at Illustrator’s new Join tool.

By Lauren Nilsson | Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Wrapping a Gradient Around a Circle in Illustrator

deke's techniques

Even Adobe’s biggest fans are sometimes disappointed when a feature is left out of their favorite program. Take the angle gradient: a neat little option in Photoshop introduced way back in 1998 that allows you to “shade[s] in a counterclockwise sweep around the starting point.”

Now in 2015, Illustrator still doesn’t have an angle gradient. But when’s the last time that stopped Deke McClelland?!

In this episode of Deke’s Techniques, Deke shows how to make the impossible possible, and wrap a gradient around a circle in Illustrator.

It’s not a built-in option and it’s not magic; in fact, it’s a stroke. You just need Illustrator CS6 or later to follow along.

By Lauren Nilsson | Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Transforming Photos with Photoshop LAB Color Mode

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 12.13.43 PM

Some people think Photoshop’s Lab color mode is destructive, but nothing could be farther from the truth.

In fact, Lab color mode allows you to make the smoothest possible levels adjustments—corrections that can’t even be seen in the image’s histogram.

How? The trick, as Deke reveals in this week’s episode of Deke’s Techniques, lies in converting to Lab, applying your adjustments, and converting back to RGB.

By Lauren Nilsson | Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Be a Whiz at Blending Motion Photographs

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 3.02.20 PM

An object in motion rarely stays in motion—unless you can capture it with a camera midstride.

Photographing a fast-moving object is a great way to pin it down, and shooting a series of images tells a story about its journey. You don’t need a tripod; telltale streaks of motion blur amp up the artistic effect. And by blending the photos together with Adobe Photoshop, you can create an even more dynamic image, like this image of the London Underground.

Find out exactly how it was created in this week’s episode of Deke’s Techniques.

By Lauren Nilsson | Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Achieving Real Pointillism with the Photoshop Pointillize Filter

Photoshop Pointillize Filter

The Photoshop Pointillize filter is not considered one of its more impressive effects, usually because the results are a disappointing mesh of dots on a flat white background.

But you can achieve a more credible pointillism effect with three passes of the filter using white, black, and grey color swatches and some well-chosen blending modes. While this technique won’t make you an Impressionist master á la George Seurat, it takes just a few minutes to pull off—as Deke shows in this week’s free episode of Deke’s Techniques.

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