Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Getting to grips with Editing gradients in Photoshop

Unleash the power of the Gradient Editor to customise Photoshop's default gradients. The key to using the Gradient Tool effectively is to be able to master its editing options. Select the Gradient Tool and click on the gradient preview in the options bar to open the Gradient Editor.

You'll see a variety of preset gradients displayed, from the default Foreground to Background gradient to the more complex Chrome gradient.

All these preset gradients can be edited to create new gradients. You'll notice that some gradients have more colour 'stops' than others; the Foreground to Background gradient has two colour stops – black and white while the Spectrum gradient has seven colour stops.

You can modify a gradient by changing the colour of the stops – simply click on one and choose a new colour from the Color Picker. Alternatively, click on an image and sample a colour for your customised gradient using the Eyedropper Tool.

You can also add new colour stops to an existing gradient by clicking anywhere along the bottom edge of the preview bar.

As well as editing colour stops for the gradient to blend between, you can also add different opacity settings to make it fade from solid to transparency.

Strike a balance The Gradient Editor automatically places a midpoint between each colour stop to create a smooth linear blend between colours.

You can tweak the effect of this blend by moving the midpoint to offset the mix between the colours. Using this technique you can create tight, dramatic blends between colours instead of gradual ones.

The opacity stops run along the top of the preview bar. A black opacity stop indicates 100% solid, a white opacity stop indicates that that part of the gradient is 100% transparent and grey stops indicate values in between.

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