Digital imaging master and modern day troubadour Deke McClelland launches his new video podcast series with a music video–“101 Photoshop Tips in 5 Minutes”–today. Watch him croon, buzz, leap, dance, and kick-box his way through dozens upon dozens of useful Photoshop tricks here. And learn more about why Deke made the video, too! (See FREE book contest below.)
The idea: “For some reason, this has long seemed like an obvious idea to me: Come up with 101 Photoshop Tips, rattle them off in precisely 5 minutes, and set it to music. When I was writing the piece, I kept coming back to Nada Surf’s ‘Popular,’ which is essentially an enlightened football hero’s advice against going steady in high school. I’ve listened to the thing like Orson Welles watched Stagecoach before making Citizen Kane. Obsessively. But I didn’t want my 101 Tips piece to come off as some kind of parody or homage, so I hooked up with this amazing band called The Jellybricks and we rewrote the tune and made it our own. The result is an authentic music video with a make-or-break story line. If there’s any humor in it, it’s because I’m taking my ridiculous task so extremely seriously,” explains Deke.
The intent: “When I pitched this idea to the guys at Flying Moose, the guys who produce dekePod, I made it clear to them that the 101 Tips idea was so out there, so in-your-face—so fragile, really—that it had to be executed exactly right or it would be an absolute disaster. And all they had to work with was me. I’m not an actor, I’m not a singer, I’m not a dancer, but they had to turn me into an acting, singing, dancing freak of nature. And, man, the thing just reeks with freak of nature!”
The execution: “I had to perform these really slow, Young Frankenstein-meets-ballet moves while listening to myself over and over again on a boom box. It was fairly hellish. We set up our first shoot across the street from a construction site, and at one point, a few workman decided to take a lunch break and watch us work. Bear in mind, I’d do an entire verse at a time, so a single performance might take 5 to 6 minutes. Every once in a while, I’d catch one workman looking at another one and shaking his head. At another shoot, a guy had parked his car in the shot, and we bribed him with a bottle of water to leave it there. Later there was a mass of pedestrian traffic as folks poured out of the nearby offices. People would walk within five feet of us and just act like we weren’t even there. It was truly surreal.”
Why do this? “There’s a massive amount of video training going on these days. It’s expanding like wildfire. Much of it is educational, but very little of it could be mistaken for entertaining. And yet, my field, computer graphics, it’s exciting stuff. Computer graphics are the backbone for every flashy magazine ad, every televised sporting event, every blockbuster action movie. I mean, Pixar for crying out loud! And yet we just take for granted that computer graphics training is so dull it puts you to sleep? That doesn’t make sense. dekePod it my way of overcompensating.”
The character: “It’s really a character-driven piece. It’s about this alter-ego me who’s over-caffeinated, impatient with the tools, often impatient with his audience, and absolutely driven by internal demons to teach you something that he seems to be under the impression only he knows. Anyone who knows me knows that isn’t me at all. But one of the themes of dekePod is that it’s more storytelling and theater than authentic training. A typical corporate training piece is produced with the intention of removing the trainer from the equation. The trainer, the narrator, is usually so emotionally absent, so robotically disciplined that no remnants of a human being remain. dekePod is precisely the opposite. This guy is so shockingly, appallingly human, he demands a visceral response. Some folks will love it, some will hate it, but hopefully no one will yawn. If we get people watching this who don’t know Photoshop from a hole in the ground, then I’ll know we succeeded.”
Tell us your favorite Photoshop tip and what you think about Deke’s new video here and you just may win a FREE book from O’Reilly.