Use gradients in Photoshop.
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Best Free Photoshop Gradient Packs for PSD, CC
We’ll learn all about the Gradient Editor in the next tutorial. When you just want to choose one of Photoshop’s preset gradients, or one that you’ve previously created on your own and saved as a custom preset again, we’ll learn how to do that in the next tutorial , click on the small arrow to the right of the gradient preview bar in the Options Bar. Quick links View all your plans Manage your plans. Let’s use it to help us learn how to actually draw a gradient, and along the way, we’ll see how easy it is to change its colors to whatever we need! This time, I’ll draw my gradient in the same direction left to right but with a much smaller gap between my starting and end points:.
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The Foreground to Transparent gradient is similar to the Foreground to Background gradient in that it gets its color from your current Foreground color , which means you can easily change it by choosing a different Foreground color. What makes it special, though, is that there is no second color. Instead, it transitions from a single color into transparency. I’ll undo my current gradient by going up to the Edit menu and choosing Undo Gradient.
Then, I’ll choose a color by clicking on the Foreground color swatch in the Tools panel. At the moment, it’s set to black:. With my Foreground color now set to purple, we see in the gradient preview bar in the Options Bar that I’ll be drawing a purple to transparent gradient the checkerboard pattern you can see behind the purple is how Photoshop represents transparency :.
When I release my mouse button, it looks like what I’ve drawn is a basic purple to white gradient. However, the white we’re seeing is actually from the Background layer below the gradient. It’s not part of the gradient itself:. To prove it, I’ll temporarily turn off my Background layer by clicking on its visibility icon the eyeball icon in the Layers panel:. This hides the white background in the document, revealing just the gradient itself, and now we can clearly see that it’s really a purple to transparent gradient.
Again, the checkerboard pattern is how Photoshop represents transparency:. Another reason why the Foreground to Transparent gradient is different from the others is that Photoshop does not overwrite the previous Foreground to Transparent gradient if we draw another one over top of it. Instead, it simply adds the new gradient to the original. I’ll draw a second Foreground to Transparent gradient, this time from near the bottom of the document up to the center:.
I’ll release my mouse button, and rather than overwriting my original gradient, Photoshop adds my second one to it. If I drew a third or fourth gradient maybe one from the left and the other from the right it would add those ones as well:.
I’ll turn my Background layer back on in the document by clicking once again on its visibility icon :. And now we’re back to seeing what looks like a purple to white to purple gradient, even though we know that the white is really just the Background layer showing through the transparency:. The Foreground to Transparent gradient in Photoshop is great for things like darkening the edges of a photo, or darkening the sky in an image to bring out more detail which we’ll see how to do in another tutorial.
But for the transparency part to work, you need to make sure the Transparency option in the Options Bar is selected:. If the Transparency option is turned off when drawing a Foreground to Transparent gradient, all you’ll end up doing is filling the layer or selection with your chosen Foreground color:.
We won’t go through every gradient that we can choose from in Photoshop since you can easily do that on your own , but if you need to draw a black to white gradient and your Foreground and Background colors are currently set to something other than black and white, just grab the Black, White gradient from the Gradient Picker third thumbnail from the left, top row.
Unlike the Foreground to Background gradient, the Black, White gradient will always draw a black to white gradient regardless of your current Foreground and Background colors:. So far, we’ve seen examples of gradients that transition in a straight line from the starting point to the end point.
This type of gradient is known as a linear gradient, but it’s actually just one of five different gradient styles we can choose from in Photoshop. If you look to the right of the gradient preview bar in the Options Bar, you’ll see the five Gradient Style icons.
Let’s see what each of these gradient styles can do. Then, I’ll switch back to the Foreground to Background gradient by selecting it in the Gradient Picker:. I’ll press the letter D on my keyboard to reset my Foreground and Background colors back to black and white. Then, just to keep things interesting, I’ll change my Background color from white to a light blue:.
The default gradient style in Photoshop is Linear , but you can select it manually if you need to by clicking the first icon on the left:. We’ve already seen several examples of the linear style, which draws the gradient from the starting point to the end point in a straight line based on the direction in which you dragged.
Selecting Reverse in the Options Bar will swap the order of the colors:. The Radial style second icon from the left will draw a circular gradient outward from your starting point:. To draw a radial gradient, I’ll click in the center of my document to set the starting point, then I’ll drag outward towards the edge:. I’ll release my mouse button, and here we see what the radial gradient looks like.
It begins with my Foreground color black at my starting point in the center and moves outward in all directions as it transitions into my Background color blue :. If I had selected the Reverse option in the Options Bar, the colors would be reversed, starting with blue in the center and transitioning outward in a circular fashion into black:.
The Angle style middle icon is where things start to get interesting although maybe not quite as useful :. Much like the Radial style, the Angle style also uses your starting point as the center of the gradient. But rather than transitioning outward in all directions, it wraps itself around the starting point in a counterclockwise fashion.
Then, I’ll draw the angle-style gradient the same way as the radial gradient by clicking in the center of the document to set the starting point, then dragging away from it:. Here’s what the angle style looks like when I release my mouse button. For this tutorial I’m going to keep the smoothness to percent, but if you want a “choppier” look pull that slider to a smaller percentage. Next, click OK to exit the Gradient Editor. Then go to your gradient style buttons, found in the top left-hand corner of your workspace next to your color bar.
There are five different styles you can use, but they all work in the same way. To apply them to your image, click on the gradient type of your choice, then click and drag across your page. When you release, Photoshop will apply the gradient in the direction you’ve indicated. We’ve talked about this technique before in our look at how to create a podcast cover using Photoshop.
The first type of gradient we’re going to try is the Linear Gradient , which looks pretty standard. You can also try a Radial Gradient , which looks like the glow from a spotlight. I personally use this type of a gradient to create the “glow” that you see around a star in space. Diamond Gradients are kind of funky, but they can be used as a spotlight glare or the reflective edge on a gemstone.
This is all you have to do to create a customized, solid gradient in Photoshop. It’s both incredibly simple and easy to remember. Before we wrap up this tutorial, however, there’s one more gradient you can create. It’s called a Noise gradient and we’re going to briefly touch on it. To create a Noise gradient, double-click on your color bar to access your Gradient Editor. Next to Gradient Type , click the dropdown menu to select Noise. Now it is up to you to decide which one to select from the Options bar.
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Here are some of the gradients that you can use for the floral brushes. Play with the Alignments and Angles to get different effects. Free to use commercially or for personal projects. To fill part of the image, select the desired area. Otherwise, the gradient fill is applied to the entire active layer. In the options bar, choose a fill from the wide gradient sample:. Click the triangle next to the sample to pick a preset gradient fill. Select an option to determine how the starting point where the mouse is pressed and ending point where the mouse is released affect gradient appearance.
Shades from the starting point to the ending point in a straight line. Shades from the starting point to the ending point in a circular pattern. Shades in a counterclockwise sweep around the starting point. Mirrors the same linear gradient on either side of the starting point. Shades from the middle to the outer corners of a diamond pattern. Do the following in the options bar:. Specify a blending mode and opacity for the paint.
See Blending modes. 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 Specify the gradient transparency. To select a method for the gradient fill, choose from the method options: Perceptual , Linear , or Classic. See Gradient interpolation in Photoshop. Position the pointer in the image where you want to set the starting point of the gradient, and drag to define the ending point.
Select a gradient in the Gradients panel Updated in Photoshop How to use new Presets in Photoshop. Learn all about applying Photoshop’s new and improved Presets panels. Julieanne Kost explores everything from swatches to patterns, from gradients to styles and shapes. Julieanne Kost. Apply gradients to layers. To apply a gradient to text layers as a layer effect , do any of the following: Select one or more text layers in the Layers panel and then click any gradient in the Gradients panel to apply it.
Drag a gradient from the Gradients panel onto the text content on the canvas area. Drag a gradient from the Gradients panel onto a layer in the Layers panel.
To apply a gradient to a shape layer as shape fill , do any of the following: Select one or more text layers in the Layers panel and then click any gradient in the Gradients panel to apply it. To apply a gradient to pixel layers , do the following: Drag a gradient from the Gradients panel onto a pixel layer in the Layers panel.
Photoshop automatically creates a fill layer on top of the pixel layer. Organize gradient presets into groups. Specify a group name and click OK. Drag a gradient or use the Shift key to select multiple gradients to drag them inside the Group.
To create nested groups: Select a group in the Gradients panel. Now, drag and drop that group under another group. Show legacy gradients. From the Gradients panel menu, choose Legacy Gradients. Return to the default gradient presets.