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By Colleen Wheeler | Monday, January 7, 2013

Our team’s New Year’s learning resolutions

Although the New Year’s resolution lists that proliferate in late December are full of worthy goals, my favorite remains “learn something new.” This time of year, I like the theme of giving in to expansion over contraction, generosity over deprivation, and passion over willpower. The staff, authors, and members here at lynda.com know that our library is a great resource to have if learning is on your life list.

Although many of us on the Content team work in a specific segment of the library, we can’t help but notice the intriguing courses our colleagues are developing in other areas. This year I asked members of the team, acknowledged enthusiasts in their given fields, which areas outside their usual sphere of knowledge are capturing their interest. Here are their answers and some suggestions for where they might want to start (or where you might want to start if you share the same interest).

Morten Rand-Hendriksen, staff author, Web segment “Over the holidays I want to power through all the photography courses in the archive. Because it’s been a long time since I sat down and really tried to improve my photography skills. I also really want to become a more creative designer/artist, so I’ll be looking into any course that helps me in that respect.”

Recommendation: If you can’t get through the whole Photography segment in one holiday week off, you might try Foundations of Photography: Composition to start. Ben Long teaches principles that definitely go beyond photography into general artistry.

Jess Stratton, staff author, Business segment “I’d like to learn something for the sake of a hobby this year—getting back into playing the keyboard and recording it somehow, but I don’t know how to start getting it from my keyboard into the computer. I want to check out the course on recording music using an iPad.”

Recommendation: Garrick Chow’s iPad Music Production series is the place for Jess and like-minded musicians. The first course—iPad Music Production: Inputs, Mics, and MIDI—is a great place to start (although if you’re up for playing on an iOS device directly, the GarageBand installment makes making music on your iPad look really fun).

David Franz, content manager, Audio segment “Social media marketing … I want my music to rock the world! :).”

Recommendation: I’ve noticed David isn’t the only musician who knows that thriving in the music business requires a direct relationship with fans via social media. Until David develops that perfect course expressly for musicians, there’s great material for getting started in our Social Media Marketing with Facebook and Twitter course.

Mordy Golding, director of content, Design and Photography segment “I’ve been teaching myself Processing—the computer language. I’m interested in finding better ways to visualize data.”

Recommendation: A few months ago, our Developer group released Interactive Data Visualization with Processing. Processing is a tool that can literally change data into (beautiful and useful) art.

Elinor Actipis, director of content, Rich Media segmentDoug Winnie, director of content, Web and Developer segment

Both Elinor and Doug mentioned sharpening their advanced Excel skills, particularly with respect to data analysis. (Is it a coincidence that our directors are all about visualization of data?)

Recommendation: Our Excel library is vast and valuable, but for data crunching, one of my favorite courses is Cleaning Up Your Excel Data with Dennis Taylor. Dennis has great tips for efficiently wrangling all those numbers into consistent tables, making analysis both easier and more accurate.

George Maestri, content manager, 3D and Animation segmentMatt Gilbert, associate content manager, Business segmentJim Heid, content manager, Photography segment

These three content managers from three different segments all mentioned wanting to learn about ebook publishing and iOS apps as content containers.

George notes: “I had a few cartoon pitches that got lost in development when I was at the studios. I figure releasing them as books/apps would be a fun distraction.”

And Jim: “Ebook publishing is hot among photographers. And as someone who grew up with tape recorders, movie cameras, and cameras, I have a lot of “family assets” that I’d like to turn into a little interactive memoir for my family.”

Recommendation: We’ve got excellent courses on iBooks Author, iOS app creation, EPUB with InDesign, and using jQuery in your digital magazine. If you don’t know where to start, Digital Publishing Fundamentals runs down the options you have for turning your words and pictures into electronic works of art.

Links: • iBooks Author Essential TrainingiOS app creationEPUB with InDesignjQueryDigital Publishing Fundamentals

Rob Garrott, content manager, Video segment “I’m going to try to get into a bit of coding. I should probably start digging into web coding, but that’s too much broccoli, so I might start with Python. That is a core component of truly advanced 3D animation, and I’ve been afraid to touch it.”

Recommendation: (Mental note: Broccoli is the new spinach!) Many members are happy to jump into Bill Weinman’s Python 3 Essential Training course. For those who want to warm up their veggies slowly, you may try Simon Allardice’s Foundations of Programming: Object-Oriented Design course.

Links: • Python 3 Essential TrainingFoundations of Programming: Object-Oriented Design

Cynthia Scott, director of content, Business segment “Top on my learning wish list is the On Camera series.”

Recommendation: The first of this series, On Camera: Develop Your Video Presence, immediately had me thinking of uses beyond straightforward video (it also had me knocking on Cynthia’s office door to share how valuable I thought it was to Business folk). In the days of Skype-based job interviews and high-stakes video conferencing, many of Rick’s suggestions prepare you for time in front of any camera, not just those destined for edited, produced video.

Ben Long, author, Photography segment Finally, since so many of my interviewee colleagues mentioned Ben Long’s photography courses, I thought it would be interesting to ask Ben himself what he might be interested in learning from the library in 2013. True to his polymathic nature, he mentioned several things from iPhone development to Maya to WordPress. But perhaps he summed up the width and breadth of the lynda.com library (and the voracious appetite of any lifelong learner) when he asked:

“And where’s that course for adding 12 hours to one’s day?”

When we release “Changing the Laws of the Universe,” Ben, we’ll be sure to let you know. In the meantime, there’s Time Management Fundamentals.

What are your New Year’s learning resolutions? Let us help you find the lynda.com courses to get you on your way.

By Colleen Wheeler | Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Deke's Techniques: How to create an optical illusion

In this week’s Deke’s Techniques video, Deke McClelland takes an Adobe Photoshop journey into the eye-bending world of op art, creating a ’60s-inspired twist and bulge of checkerboard contortion. You won’t need a sample file or unsuspecting model to follow along with this one—just Photoshop, some black and white pixels, and a love of (and visual tolerance for) optical illusion.

The project starts with a simple square document, created in the Grayscale color mode to keep the high-resolution file manageable. (You won’t need any colors, so no sense making room for them.)

How to create an optical illusion in Photoshop

Next, Deke creates a 2 x 2 checker pattern by using the Rectangular Marquee tool set to a fixed size that’s equal to one-quarter of the total image. Once the upper-left square is filled with black, you can drag a copy to the lower-right corner by pressing the Alt (Option) key while you drag.

Create the pattern in Photoshop

With the basic unit of the pattern complete, you can turn it into a reusable Photoshop pattern by choosing Edit > Define Pattern. In this case, Deke aptly named it Checkers:

Name the pattern for the Photoshop effect

Deke then applies the Checkers pattern to a new blank 4800 x 3000 document. Click the black/white icon at the bottom of the Layers panel to make a new Adjustment Layer and choose Pattern. Then choose your Checkers pattern from the available patterns and set it to 50 percent to fill the document with small squares.

Create the pattern in Photoshop

Saving the pattern layer as a Smart Object allows you to warp it nondestructively with the Transform command. Choose the Warp icon from the options bar and set it to Inflate from the Warp pop-up menu. Then set the Bend to -100. The checkerboard is pinched inward:

Warp the image in Photoshop

The pinching motion of the Inflate transformation has pulled the pattern away from the edges. Deke adds more checkers to the outer edges by opening the Smart Object and doubling its size.

Example of the pinching motion of the Inflate transformation.

Deke then creates the round, prominent part of the illusion by applying the Spherize filter to a circle selection in the middle of the image.

Apply the Spherize command

To achieve the final effect, Deke applies two more doses of the Spherize filter, and the result is a swirling, bulging, some might say hypnotizing bit of Photoshop-created op art.

The final image

For lynda.com members, Deke’s got another exclusive video called Op art experiment 1b: Rounded Windows, in which he turns a flat collection of rectangles into a curving wall of optical mystery.

Deke will be back next week with another mind-bending technique.

Suggested courses to watch next:

• The entire Deke’s Techniques collection • Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate • Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate

By Colleen Wheeler | Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Deke's Techniques: Crafting an infinity symbol to match a specific font

In this free Deke’s Techniques video, Deke McClelland gives you the infinity symbol. The best part about this technique: you don’t have to settle for a one-font-fits-all symbol that doesn’t match your typeface of choice. Rather, Deke uses the Width tool and Variable Width preset feature in Adobe Illustrator to create an infinity character that honors the slopes and rhythms of a typeface that has no symbol of its own—in this case, Adobe Caslon Pro:

Use your typeface's numbers as your base for a custom infinity symbol.

Deke begins with a trick many school-age kids already know, using the Type Orientation command to turn an 8 on its side:

Use the Type Orientation command to turn the number 8 sideways.

Although, that’s not quite what we’re after. Let’s face it, this looks like an 8 on its side. But Deke uses that character to create a base outline for his new infinity symbol. After turning the sideways 8 to outlines, he uses it as a guideline to draw the primitive shape. (Be sure to watch the video to see how he cleverly uses the Path > Average command to find the right position for the anchor points.)

Use the sideways 8 as a guide to draw a rough infinity shape.

Next, Deke copies the primitive path and applies a thick 24-point stroke:

Deke uses the Width tool at each of the anchor points to thin out and thicken up the shape in a pattern similar to the other numbers in Caslon Pro—making the horizontal segments mostly thinner and the vertical ones thicker.

Customize the shape by adjusting the anchor points of your path.

After roughing in the general width variations, you can double-click a point with the Width tool to edit the points to an exact measurement. In this case, Deke sets the thin areas to 10 points and the thick areas to 24 points exactly.

Further customizing the width of the points.

The results are OK, but a little lumpy. This is due in part to the Variable Width feature’s reaction to a closed path (it works more elegantly on an open path). So Deke saves this pattern as a Variable Width preset, and then he can tweak it on a line segment, which is much friendlier to work with:

Saving the pattern as a preset.

Applying the new custom preset to a line, he can make sure the widths are precisely in place and aligned with the exact divisions along the line:

Making sure the preset is applied correctly.

Then this new Variable Width preset can be saved and applied to the original primitive symbol. The result is this graceful Caslon-esque infinity:

The final customized infinity symbol.

And since Deke’s Photoshop and Illustrator knowledge is seemingly infinite, he’ll be back with more Deke’s Techniques next week!

Suggested courses to watch next: • The entire Deke’s Techniques Collection • Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate • Illustrator Insider Training: Drawing without the Pen Tool

By Colleen Wheeler | Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Deke's Techniques: Creating a 2013 hexagonal calendar

This week’s Deke’s Techniques video celebrates the New Year by showing you how to create a one-page full-year calendar in Illustrator. The idea for using hexagons in calendars was originally inspired by the 2010 oeuvre of illustrator Germán Ariel Berra, but it seems Gérman has moved on from calendars in the past few years, so it’s Deke’s Techniques and Illustrator to the rescue for 2013.

The project begins by drawing a simple hexagon in the upper-left area of the artboard by using a shape tool set to a Radius of 98 points and a Sides value of 6 (naturally.)

Creating the initial polygon shape for our calendar

By default, Illustrator draws its hexagons with a flat side up, so Deke uses the Rotate tool to turn the shape 30 degrees:

Set the rotate angle to 30 degrees

Since this particular hexagon will eventually become the month of February, Deke sets the fill to medium blue, which he’s chosen to represent that month. He thickens the stroke to 2 points and sets it to white.

Note: You can choose any color you like, as long as it says “February” to you. I’m using the colors that have been stuck in my head since my parents gave me my first cool calendar (with stickers on the back!), likely to have been created in the early ’70s. It just so happens I like medium blue for February, too:

Set the color for your first hexagon shape.

Next, Deke duplicates the first stroke and applies a Transform effect at 95 percent scale to give the hexagon a double ring.

Duplicate the stroke and apply a transform effect to give the hexagon a double ring.

With the entire hexagon selected, Deke then drags duplicates into place to complete a row of four. The trick here is to click and drag the upper-left point of the original hexagon until you sense it snap into place on the right, holding down the Alt key to create a duplicate. After that, you can use Ctrl+D (Command+D) to create duplicates in the correct places. He then sets the colors for March through May accordingly.

Four hexagons as the base of our calendar

Next, he selects three of the four hexagons, and drags a duplicate row into place. These shapes are colored for June and July 2013 respectively. (Deke and I apparently agree that July is red.)

More hexagons placed and aligned correctly with their colors set.

Next, the appropriate number of hexagons are copied into place and colored appropriately to finish the year.

We now have twelve hexagons ready to be labeled.

Next, Deke creates the February month title by first clicking inside the “February” hexagon (not on the edge).

Adding the month names to the hexagons.

Move and position the month names within the hexagons.

To align the month properly, Deke switches to the Outline view, turns on the shape centers, and then aligns the February text to the center of its hexagon and drags out copies to the next three months. After changing the text appropriately for each month, he selects all the month text and uses the Move tool to set them at a distance of –41 points. This way all the months are centered properly and equally positioned from the top of their respective hexagons.

If you’re creating this project on your own, rather than using Deke’s files, you can drag copies of the months out to the other cells, position them using the same commands, and retype each of the names. (A year of Februaries would be short and cold and full of too many Valentine’s Days.)

To make the days of the week and the days, Deke has a very smart and efficient approach that he demonstrates in the second video of the week. (It’s like having two Tuesdays in one week; only it’s Wednesday!) In this video, you’ll see how creating a table of text allows you to quickly adjust each month for its appropriate number of days and starting day of the week. Here’s my completed calendar with my own type choices and color connotations.

The final hexagon calendar.

For members of lynda.com, there’s yet another exclusive movie this week called Branding your calendar with a field of logos, in which Deke shows you how to create a pattern of your logo to fill out the rest of the calendar.

The 2013 Hexagonal calendar as a desktop wallpaper.

Deke will be back with another technique next week. Happy Hexagonal New Year!

Suggested courses to watch next: • Entire Deke’s Techniques Collection • Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate • Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate

By Colleen Wheeler | Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Deke's Techniques: Hobbit-inspired text

In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques video—inspired by the movie poster for The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey—Deke McClelland starts with the unsuspecting, decidedly unheroic text and takes it on a Middle Earth–inspired adventure into the lands of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

The result is that this ordinary-ish text in the before image below ends up looking as though it’s been chiseled and chewed all the way there and back again, with all the seasoned character one would expect, and as you can see in the after image:

Before and after of the final Hobbit inspired text effect.

Deke starts his project in Illustrator, where it’s easier to manipulate the shapes and sizes of the letterforms. The first step is to turn the text into outlines with editable paths that can be manipulated by Deke’s wizardry. He stretches the T, shrinks and adds an embellishment to the E, and adjusts the Q’s swash:

Using Adobe Illustrator to manipulate the shapes and sizes of the letter forms.

After swapping the stroke and fill colors and reducing the stroke width, Deke roughs up the edges with the aptly named Roughen effect. Choosing Effect > Distort and Transform > Roughen, he sets the Size set to an Absolute 1.2 points and the Detail (i.e., the number of roughening wiggles) to 17 per inch:

Using the Roughen effect in Illustrator.

Having suitably stylized the text shapes, Deke copies the outlines and pastes them into Photoshop. Note that when you bring this path in from Illustrator and use the Paste command, Photoshop gives you four choices for the type of Paste you want to perform. For this project, picking the Shape Layer option means you will retain the path outlines.

Bringing the text shapes into Photoshop.

If the task of Illustrator is to help create the shapes, then the destiny of Photoshop is to provide the texture. After changing the fill to white to improve visibility, Deke applies a layer effect, Gradient Overlay, using a couple of orangish shades for the gradient:

Using Photoshop Layer Styles to add texture.

To give the letterforms some volume, the next step is to add a Bevel & Emboss layer effect using the Chisel Soft technique option and appropriately adjusting the blend modes of the highlights and shadows (to Linear Burn and Linear Dodge, respectively.)

Using Layer Styles and the Chisel Soft technique.

The chiseling effect is a good start, but to really sell effect, Deke adds a texture layer (created from a photograph) and clips it inside the letters. Then he duplicates the texture, flips it around, and creates another clipping mask. After supplying a Color Overlay effect and dose of the Noise filter, along with some blend mode tweaking, the result is letters that look like they’ve survived a battle or two:

Adding a texture layer and a color overlay.

To really distress the text, Deke uses the Pen tool to draw some paths that look like proper battle scarred, dwarf-bitten divots, then uses the Subtract Front Shape command in the options bar to remove those areas from the shape layer.

Using the Subtract Front Shape command.

To keep the larger holes from boring all the way through the letters, Deke fills in the backs of the letters with a perfectly registered layer of colored texture, masked to take care of the letters’ more violent wounds:

Making the final touches to the text including colored texture and masking.

Finally, Deke adds in some supplementary, self-deprecating text, and voila:

The final poster in the style of The Hobbit.

The background of this image, by the way, is not Middle Earth or even the stand-in for Middle Earth known as New Zealand. It’s actually the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland (which stood in for the Cliffs of Insanity in the movie The Princess Bride, so it’s still a motion picture worthy locale).

Deke has a lynda.com member-exclusive video called Enhancing a landscape photo in Camera Raw 7 that demonstrates how he enhanced a regular vacation photo to make this cinematic background.

Deke will be back in the new year with another Deke’s Techniques episode.

Suggested courses to watch next: • The entire Deke’s Techniques collection • Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate • Illustrator CS6 One-on-One: Intermediate

By Colleen Wheeler | Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Deke's Techniques: Making a glowing panic button in Photoshop

In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques, Deke McClelland takes the beautiful glowing jewel he created in last week’s technique, and turns it into a beautiful glowing panic button. Because this time of year, if you’re going to freak out, you want it to be pretty and decorative.

Deke begins the project where we left off last week, with the glowing cabochon he created out of pure Photoshop pixels. Since few people wear panic buttons around their necks (although that would be handy), the first step is to turn off the gold necklace layer. The result is that the glimmering jewel becomes a glowing button.

From glowing jewel to panic button

Next, Deke selects the original ellipse that represents the amber part of the button and gives it a white-to-transparent gradient fill.

Use a gradient fill

Using the Transform command, he moves the new gradient-filled elipse up to create a highlight on the top side of the button, which starts to distinguish it from its jewel predecessor.

Transform the gradient

Deke blends in the highlight by increasing the ellipse’s Feather value to 5 pixels and reducing the Opacity of the adjustment layer to 80 percent.

Feather the selection

The text begins life as a simple text layer, to which Deke first applies a Radial Blur so that the edges of the outer letters start to distort.

Add a radial blur

Then, Deke increases the effect by adjusting the black and white points of the Underlying Layer style. The result is a full-fledged Panic button.

Adjusting the black and white points

But really, is that what we want to think about this time of year? Panicking? The beauty of this effect is that everything is editable, including the text. So a simple change of letters, hue adjustment, and layer style fine-tuning gives us a button that immediately makes any day a holiday. Now that’s a cure for the holiday panic!

Because the technique is non-destructive, changes are easy to make.

Deke will be back next week with another free technique.

Interested in more?

• The entire Deke’s Techniques weekly series on lynda.com • Courses by Deke McClelland on lynda.com • All Photoshop courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:

• Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals• Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: IntermediatePhotoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

By Colleen Wheeler | Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Deke's Techniques: Creating a glowing cabochon jewel in Photoshop

This week’s free Deke’s Techniques video is one of those delightful projects where Deke manages to create something precious entirely within Adobe Photoshop. In this case it’s a rounded shimmering jewel.

Deke starts with nothing more than the plain black ellipse you see on the left, and builds the glowing amber cabochon on the right using little more than Photoshop layer effects (and a suitable background of marble and gold chain, of course).

The before and after images of the jewel effect

First, he applies a red fill with a subtle gradient to the ellipse.

An elipse with a red gradient fill in Adobe Photoshop

Then the layer styles begin. The first layer style creates a 20-pixel-thick brown stroke that will eventually serve as the gold ridge around the jewel:

The stroked ellipse with the Layer Style dialog box

Next, Deke applies a substantial Inner Shadow effect that uses the Cone Inverted contour setting to really establish a rich, round glow:

The ellipse with an inner shadow effect

Applying a dark red Inner Glow effect adds volume:

The ellipse with an added inner glow effect

Deke then employs the Bevel & Emboss layer style and chooses a Pillow Emboss style effect with a Depth value of 400% to shape the edges of his gemstone. For the Pillow Emboss shading, he chooses a very pale orange as the Highlight mode and dark reddish brown for the Shadow mode. (Note at this point how much the preview swatch in the dialog box looks like a faceted gem itself!)

The ellipse with the Bevel and Emboss effect

Before he closes the Layer Style dialog box, there’s one more effect to apply; a Drop Shadow where the jewel as a three-dimensional object would reflect against the marble.

The ellipse with a drop shadow effect

The final polishing comes from a few shape layers made into crescent shapes with the ellipse tool. With the right blend modes applied and an unorthodox use of the Drop Shadow effect, the elliptical shapes become glossy highlights, and, voila, Deke has created a precious jewel from nothing but pixels!

The final cabochon effect and the Layers panel

For members of lynda.com, Deke also has another video this week called Cutting and brushing light on a gem that further refines this jewel effect. Here’s what cutting and brushing light on a gem looks like in beautiful picture form:

The finished jewel effect in Adobe Photoshop

Deke the Photoshop Alchemist, turning black pixels into glowing amber. He’ll be back with another free technique next week.

Interested in more?• The entire Deke’s Techniques weekly series on lynda.com • Courses by Deke McClelland on lynda.com • All Photoshop courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:• Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals• Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: IntermediatePhotoshop CS6 One-on-One: Advanced

By Colleen Wheeler | Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Deke's Techniques: How to make a hand turkey in Photoshop

Here in America we have a long-standing tradition of giving thanks every November by tracing around our hands and decorating the drawing like a turkey. In this free video, Deke shows you how to release your inner artistic child by creating a hand turkey in Adobe Photoshop.

Although many of us learn this technique in kindergarten, the Internet provides galleries of evidence that the practice is not limited to youngsters. In fact, since many of us learned this skill when we were fearless children, the act of decorating a hand tracing for Thanksgiving can be quite liberating!

The first step is to trace your hand. Since this will be a Photoshop project, it’s preferable that your tracing yields a result that looks like an electronic outline. There are as many options for accomplishing this as there are recipes for Thanksgiving turkey. Deke traces around his hand on a Wacom tablet. I shot a picture of my hand with Photo Booth, opened it in Photoshop, and used the Pen tool to trace a path around it. Because wiggly lines add to the nostalgia of the project, my ineptitude with the Pen tool has a benefit for once! Regardless of which method you choose, you’ll need to end up with the outline on an otherwise transparent layer and a white background layer:

An outline of a hand

Deke notes that you should be sure to trace your wrist as well, since those lines are great for establishing the feet. (They didn’t teach me that in kindergarten!) On separate layers, he adds some feathers, a handsome face with beak and waddle, and feet:

The hand outline with turkey-like features

After setting up a layer-based barrier to ensure the colors stay within their respective coloring book–style lines, it’s safe to fill in the feathers, beak, and waddle with the Paint Bucket tool. To ensure that the colors fill their entire areas, Deke uses the Minimize filter to expand the colors just past the inner edge of the outline. (The Minimize filter reduces transparent areas, so the colored areas actually grow.)

Different color fills in Adobe Photoshop

After coloring the body a decidedly human flesh color, Deke adds an Inner Shadow effect to the hand area to give it some volume. He duplicates and adjusts the Inner Shadow for each area of the hand:

The colored turkey drawing with an inner shadow effect

After inexplicably deciding his turkey needed underwear (except that it’s a chance to show you how to paint carefully, erase judiciously, and tweak the inner shadow to the appropriate color so that it looks correct against white), it’s time to give the “flesh” some texture. By applying several filters to a smart Smart Object layer filled with nothing but black, Deke sets that layer blend mode to Overlay and clips it to the Body layer below.

Drawing with texture added

Aside from letting you recall the joys of one of your earliest art projects, much of the whimsy of this technique comes from the fact that there is a lot of room for personal expression. I mean, you’re beginning with your own distinct handprint, and then you can modify the colors, embellishments, and textures as you wish. Here are my observations from creating my own hand turkey (as seen on the left below):

  1. Unlike Deke, I’m right-handed, which of course means my turkey is facing the other way. While this may seem trivial, it actually means I had to flip my Inner Shadow effect to the mirror image of Deke’s. So Deke used an angle of -125 degrees, and I had to change mine to -55 degrees to give volume to the analogous areas of my turkey.
  2. Tracing an image of your hand with the Pen tool is great practice for learning how it works since there are lots of subtle curves required to create a hand outline. Plus, if you mess up it just adds to the homespun nature of your turkey.

  3. I made different decisions on colors, textures (I actually used the Stained Glass filter instead of Grain), wrinkles, and of course wardrobe.

Two final Turkey hand drawings made using Adobe Photoshop

But clearly, Jenny and Jake—as I’ve affectionately named our turkey friends—are personal expressions of the same general approach. It’s a great way to have nostalgic fun while learning useful features of Photoshop.

Meanwhile, lynda.com members can give thanks for an exclusive movie this week called Creating a depth-of-field cast shadow, in which Deke gives his turkey a realistic shadow.

Deke will be back with another technique next week. Happy Hand Turkey Day!

• The entire Deke’s Techniques weekly series on lynda.com • Courses by Deke McClelland on lynda.com • All Photoshop courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:• Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: Fundamentals• Photoshop CS6 One-on-One: IntermediateEd Emberly, Children’s Book Illustrator

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