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Gradients >

1 - Introduction

Gradients have many uses, such as making

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Be sure to check off as you go along.

Make a Gradient

1) Go to File > New > Blank File, or press Ctrl + n, to create a blank canvas.

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2) Select the Gradient tool.

3) Open the Gradient Picker palette, in options bar/Tool Options, by clicking the tiny white arrow.

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There are several preset gradients.

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4) Select the Foreground to Transparent gradient.

5) Click on a blank area on the screen to close the Gradient Picker palette.

6) To make the gradient, simply click, hold, and drag a line, on the blank canvas.

Here, the line was drawn from left to right.

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When you release the mouse button, the gradient appears.

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Linear Foreground to Transparent Gradient

As you can see, a Foreground to Transparent gradient starts with whatever the foreground color is, black in this example, and fades to transparent.

Gradient Tool Options Bar/Tool Options

Photoshop Elements 10 & Earlier

Here's the entire options bar for the Gradient tool.

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Photoshop Elements 10 & Earlier

Let's look at the left side of the options bar.

Left Side of the Options Bar

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Left Side

There are three items on the left side of the options bar.

Item #1 - Gradient Picker

You've used this already, above.

Item #2 - Edit

Click Edit to make changes to the gradient, such as color and opacity.

Go to Edit a Gradient.

Item #3 - Gradient Types

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There are five types of gradients.

You'll use linear gradients most of the time, the first icon above.

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Linear Radial Angle

The gradient appears along the line that's drawn.

The gradient appears as you draw the line from the center out.

You draw out a line, and the gradient moves from one side of the line to the other side.

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Reflected Diamond

The gradient is drawn twice in each direction from the point from which you drag.

Drawn from the center out, the end of the line creates a corner.

The gradient is duplicated at 90° angles around the center point.

 

Now, let's look at the right side of the options bar.

Right Side of the Options Bar

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Right Side

There are five items on the right side of the options bar.

Item #1 - Mode

You can change the blending mode from Normal to Color, Luminosity, or Overlay.

If you're using an adjustment layer, you can leave the blending mode of the gradient set to Normal.

You can change the mode of the adjustment layer.

This will be described in the next section.

Item #2 - Opacity

You can change the opacity to reduce the effect of the gradient.

If you're using an adjustment layer, you can leave the opacity of the gradient set to 100%.

You can change the opacity of the adjustment layer.

Item #3 - Reverse

Use Reverse to flip the pattern of the gradient.

If the gradient goes from red to blue, selecting Reverse will make the gradient go from blue to red.

Item #4 - Dither

Select Dither to prevent banding between color transitions.

Item #5 - Transparency

If a portion of a gradient is transparent, and this box is not selected, the transparent portion will be filled with the neighboring color.

Next.

Photoshop Elements 11 & Later

Here's the entire Tool Options for the Gradient tool.

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Item #1 - Gradient Picker

You've used this already, above.

Item #2 - Edit

Click Edit to make changes to the gradient, such as color and opacity.

Go to Edit a Gradient.

Item #3 - Mode

You can change the blending mode from Normal to Color, Luminosity, or Overlay.

If you're using an adjustment layer, you can leave the blending mode of the gradient set to Normal.

You can change the mode of the adjustment layer.

This will be described in the next section.

Item #4 - Opacity

You can change the opacity to reduce the effect of the gradient.

If you're using an adjustment layer, you can leave the opacity of the gradient set to 100%.

You can change the opacity of the adjustment layer.

Item #5 - Reverse

Use Reverse to flip the pattern of the gradient.

If the gradient goes from red to blue, selecting Reverse will make the gradient go from blue to red.

Item #6 - Dither

Select Dither to prevent banding between color transitions.

Item #7 - Transparency

If a portion of a gradient is transparent, and this box is not selected, the transparent portion will be filled with the neighboring color.

Item #8 - Gradient Types

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There are five types of gradients.

You'll use linear gradients most of the time, the first icon above.

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Linear Radial Angle

The gradient appears along the line that's drawn.

The gradient appears as you draw the line from the center out.

You draw out a line, and the gradient moves from one side of the line to the other side.

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Reflected Diamond

The gradient is drawn twice in each direction from the point from which you drag.

Drawn from the center out, the end of the line creates a corner.

The gradient is duplicated at 90° angles around the center point.

 

Gradient Facts

Where Are Gradients Used?

Gradients are usually drawn:

• On masks in adjustment layers

• On selections.

Transition: Abrupt or Smooth

The length of the line that you draw determines how abrupt or smooth a gradient will be.

A short line produces a more abrupt transition.

A longer line produces a smoother transition.

The Line Can Be Outside the Photograph

You can start or end a line outside of the photograph.

You may have to reduce the size of the photograph with the Zoom tool until you can see a gray border around it.

More than One Gradient

You can create more than one gradient.

Next

Let's make a bright sky darker by drawing a gradient on a Levels adjustment layer mask.