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Using the gradient tool (Photoshop)

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Using the gradient tool (Photoshop)




The gradient tool creates a gradual blend between multiple colors. You can choose from preset gradient fills or create your own.

Note: The gradient tool cannot be used with images in Bitmap indexed-color or 16-bits per channel mode.

Applying a gradient fill

You fill an area with a gradient by dragging in the image. The starting point (where the mouse is pressed) and ending point (where the mouse is released) affect the gradient appearance depending on the gradient tool used.

To apply a gradient fill:

To fill part of the image select the desired area Otherwise the gradient fill is applied to the entire active layer.

Select the gradient tool .

Choose a gradient fill in the options bar:

Click the triangle next to the gradient sample to pick a preset gradient fill.

Click inside the gradient sample to view the Gradient Editor Select a preset gradient fill, or create a new gradient fill. Then click OK (See “Creating smooth gradient fills on section 245

Select an option for applying the gradient fill in the options bar:

Linear gradient   to shade from the starting point to the ending point in a straight line.

Radial gradient   to shade from the starting point to the ending point in a circular pattern.

Angle gradient   to shade in a counterclockwise sweep around the starting point.

Reflected gradient   to shade using symmetric linear gradients on either side of the starting point.

Diamond gradient   to shade from the starting point outward in a diamond pattern. The ending point defines one corner of the diamond.

Do the following in the options bar:

Specify a blending mode and opacity for the paint (See “Setting options for painting and editing tools on section 241

To reverse the order of colors in the gradient fill select Reverse.

To create a smoother blend with less banding select Dither.

To use a transparency mask for the gradient fill select Transparency (See “Specifying the gradient transparency on section 246

Position the pointer in the image where you want to set the starting point of the gradient and drag to define the ending point. To constrain the line angle to a multiple of 45° hold down Shift as you drag.

Creating smooth gradient fills

The Gradient Editor dialog box lets you define a new gradient by modifying a copy of an existing gradient. You can also add intermediate colors to a gradient creating a blend between more than two colors.

A

B

C

 
D E

Gradient Editor dialog box:

A Palette menu B Opacity stop C Color stop D Adjust values or delete the selected opacity or color stop E Midpoint

To create a smooth gradient:

Select the gradient tool .

Click inside the gradient sample in the options bar to display the Gradient Editor dialog box.

To base the new gradient on an existing gradient select a gradient in the Presets section of the dialog box.

Choose Solid from the Gradient Type pop-up menu.

To define the starting color of the gradient click the left color stop under the gradient bar. The triangle above the stop turns black indicating that the starting color is being edited.

To choose a color do one of the following:

Double-click the color stop or click the color swatch in the Stops section of the dialog box Choose a color and click OK For information on choosing a color see Using the Adobe Color Picker on section 261



Choose an option from the Color pop-up menu in the Stops section of the dialog box.

Position the pointer over the gradient bar (the pointer turns into the eyedropper) and click to sample a color or click anywhere in the image to sample a color from the image.

To define the ending color click the right color stop under the gradient bar. Then choose a color as described in step 5.

To adjust the location of the starting point or ending point do one of the following:

Drag the corresponding color stop left or right to the location you want.

Click the corresponding color stop and enter a value for Location in the Stops section of the dialog box A value of 0% places the point at the far left end of the gradient bar a value of 100% at the far right end.

To adjust the location of the midpoint (where the gradient displays an even mix of the starting and ending colors) drag the diamond below the gradient bar to the left or right, or click the diamond and enter a value for Location.

To delete the color stop you are editing click Delete.

To set the smoothness for the entire gradient enter a value in the Smoothness text box or drag the Smoothness pop-up slider.

If desired set transparency values for the gradient (See “Specifying the gradient trans- parency on section 246

Enter a name for the new gradient.

To save the gradient as a preset click New after you have finished creating the gradient.

Note: New presets are saved in a Preferences file so that they persist between editing sessions. If this file is deleted or damaged or if you reset presets to the default library, the new presets will be lost. To permanently save new presets save them in a library.

(See “Managing gradients on section 248

To add intermediate colors to a gradient:

In the Gradient Editor dialog box click below the gradient bar to define another color stop. Specify the color and adjust the location and midpoint for the intermediate point as you would for a starting or ending point. To remove an intermediate color drag the color stop down and off the gradient bar or select the color stop and click the Delete button. Specifying the gradient transparency

Each gradient fill contains settings that control the opacity of the fill at different locations on the gradient For example you can set the starting color to 100% opacity and have the fill gradually blend into an ending color with 50% opacity. The checkerboard pattern indicates the amount of transparency in the gradient preview.

To specify the gradient transparency:

Create a gradient as described in steps 1 through 10 of “Creating smooth gradient fills

on section 245

To adjust the starting opacity click the left opacity stop above the gradient bar. The triangle below the stop turns black indicating that the starting transparency is being edited.

In the Stops section of the dialog box enter a value in the Opacity text box or drag the

Opacity pop-up slider.

To adjust the opacity of the endpoint click the right transparency stop above the gradient bar. Then set the opacity as described in step 3.

To adjust the location of the starting or ending opacity do one of the following:

Drag the corresponding opacity stop to the left or right.

Select the corresponding opacity stop and enter a value for Location.

To adjust the location of the midpoint opacity (the point midway between the starting and ending opacities) do one of the following:

Drag the diamond above the gradient bar to the left or right.

Select the diamond and enter a value for Location.

To delete the opacity stop you are editing click Delete.

To add an intermediate opacity to the mask click above the gradient bar to define a new opacity stop. You can then adjust and move this opacity as you would for a starting or ending opacity. To remove an intermediate opacity drag its transparency stop up and off the gradient bar.

To create a preset gradient enter a name in the Name text box and click New. This creates a new gradient preset with the transparency setting you specified. Creating noise gradient fills

In addition to creating smooth gradients the Gradient Editor dialog box lets you define a new noise gradient A noise gradient is a gradient that contains randomly distributed colors within the range of colors that you specify.



 
A

 
B

 
C

Gradient with different Noise values:

A 10% noise B 50% noise C 90% noise

To create a noise gradient:

Select the gradient tool .

Click in the gradient sample in the options bar to display the Gradient Editor dialog box.

To base the new gradient on an existing gradient select a gradient in the Presets section of the dialog box.

Choose Noise from the Gradient Type pop-up menu.

To set the roughness for the entire gradient enter a value in the Roughness text box, or drag the Roughness pop-up slider.

To define the color model choose a color model from the Color Model list.

To adjust the range of colors drag the sliders For each color component of the color model you ve selected you can drag the sliders to define the range of acceptable values. For example if you choose the HSB model you can restrict the gradient to blue-green hues high saturation and medium brightness.

Set the options to restrict colors or to add transparency.

To randomize a gradient that conforms to the settings click the Randomize button until you find a setting you like.

To create a preset gradient enter a name in the Name text box and click New. This creates a new preset gradient with the settings you specified.

Managing gradients

By saving and loading libraries of gradients you can customize the gradient list that appears in the options bar and the Gradient Editor dialog box. You can also rename presets delete presets and change the display of the gradient list.

Note: You can use the Preset Manager to manage gradient libraries. For more information, see “Managing libraries with the Preset Manager (Photoshop) on section 54

To save a set of preset gradients as a library:

Click Save in the Gradient Editor dialog box.

Choose a location for the gradient library enter a filename and click Save.

You can save the library anywhere However if you place the library file in the Presets/ Gradients folder inside the Photoshop program folder the library name will appear at the bottom of the palette menu after you restart Photoshop.

To load a library of preset gradients:

Do one of the following:

Click Load to add a library to the current list Select the library file you want to use and click Load.

Choose Replace Gradients from the palette menu to replace the current list with a different library Select the library file you want to use and click Load.

Choose a library file from the bottom of the palette menu Click OK to replace the current list or click Append to append the current list.

To return to the default library of preset gradients:

Choose Reset Gradients from the palette menu. You can either replace the current list or append the default library to the current list.

To change how preset gradients are displayed:

Choose a display option from the palette menu:

Text Only to view the gradients as a list.

Small or Large Thumbnail to view the gradients as thumbnails.

Small or Large List to view the gradients as a list with thumbnails.

To rename a preset gradient:

Do one of the following:

If the palette is set to display gradients as thumbnails double-click a gradient enter a new name and click OK.

If the palette is set to display gradients as a list or text only double-click a gradient, enter a new name inline and press Enter ( Windows) or Return (Mac OS).






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