Friday 13 April 2012

Gradients are a great way to add that little something extra to a background or image. According to Adobe, “The Gradient tool creates a gradual blend between multiple colors.” Pretty straightforward, right?
Like many of the other tools, the Gradient Tool (G) will not work if your document is in Bitmap or Indexed mode. So, you will have to change the mode of the image if you are opening an existing .gif or .bmp file. To determine what mode your file is in:
  1. Click the IMAGE menu.
  2. Choose MODE from the menu.
From here you will be able to differentiate between grayscale, indexed color, RGB, or lab. For all web and mobile images we are going to want to make sure we select RGB.
Photoshop Mode
Like anything else in Photoshop, there are multiple ways to apply a gradient. This article simply covers the Gradient Tool (G). Gradients are applied by dragging the tool across the image. The starting point is defined by where the mouse is initially clicked and the ending point is where the mouse is released.
Gradients can be applied to the whole active layer or just select portions of an active layer.
  1. Select the Gradient tool Gradient Icon from the toolbar or press the letter G on the keyboard.
  2. In the Option bar, there are multiple different types of gradients you can apply:
Gradient Option Bar
  • Gradient presets give you the options to create a gradient from templates or customize your own.
  • Linear Gradient Icon Linear gradient – Shades from the start point to the end point in a straight line.
  • Radial Gradient Icon Radial gradient – Shades from the start point to the end point in a circular pattern.
  • Angle Gradient Icon Angle gradient – Shades in a counterclockwise sweep around the start point.
  • Reflective Gradient Icon Reflective gradient – Shades using symmetric linear gradients on either side of the start point.
  • Diamond Gradient Icon Diamond gradient – Shades from the start point outward in a diamond pattern. The end point defines one corner of the diamond.
  • Specify a blending mode and opacity for the gradient.
  • Reverse – swaps the selected colors of the gradient.
  • Dither – creates a smoother gradient.
  • Transparency creates a transparency mask for the gradient fill.
With all the options configured, we can now apply the gradient.
  1. Position the pointer in the image where you want. Click to set the starting point of the gradient, drag and release to define the ending point. To constrain the line angle to a multiple of 45°, hold down SHIFT as you drag.
  2. To adjust the look of the Gradient, try adjusting your start point and endpoint and that is that.
It’s about as simple as Adobe made it sound. Here are some more examples of what you can do with Gradients:
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Photoshop - Gradient Tool Option Bar

The option bar for this tool is loaded with features to customize gradients. Everything from presets to the opacity of the fill can be found along the top of the screen while the gradient tool is selected.

Gradient Tool Options Bar:

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Gradient Tool Options Bar
Be sure to remember to save gradient tools as presets if you find a combination of features you enjoy.

Photoshop - Gradient Tool Editor

We mentioned above that gradients can be fully customized. A throng of options can be accessed via the gradient editor located along the gradient options bar.

Gradient Tool Editor:

  1. Click the drop down list located next to the gradient tool icon in the options bar.

  2. Gradient Tool Editor
The editor brings up a listing of each of Photoshop's built-in presets and lists more specific details about each preset. These details are customizable, lets run through some of the details to aid you in your gradient customization.
The first two fields allow you to change the name of the gradient and to select the type of gradient. Two types are available: solid and noise. The next field adjusts the smoothness of the transition between each gradient color. Run through these options just to see what changes take place, the smoothness adjustment is very subtle.

Name, Type, and Smoothness:

Name, Type, and Smoothness
Pressing the New button creates officially creates the gradient and saves it to the presets with the name you specified.
At the bottom of the editor lies an image of the gradient that acts as a preview of the changes you made to your gradient. The sliders at the top and bottom of the gradient serve as points where fine tuning your gradient is done.
The top sliders are called opacity stoppers can be moved around by either clicking and dragging them or changing the location input field to a setting between 1 and 100. The top sliders adjust the opacity setting of that point of the gradient. This allows you to soften the transition of the gradient or simply allow the gradient to overlay another image. Additional top sliders can be added by clicking along the top border of the image.

Top Sliders: Opacity:

Top Sliders:Opacity
The bottom sliders work similarly to the top ones as fas as adding additional bottom sliders and adjusting the location of each slider. The different between the two is that the bottom sliders are called Color Stopps and allow you to change the color of the gradient at that selected point.

Bottom Sliders: Color:

Bottom Sliders: Color
Additionally, the points located between each stopper can be adjusted or slid from side to side altering the gradient slightly. As you may deduce, there are limitless options available to the gradient tool, toy with the settings and develop an understanding of how this editor works. This tool proves very useful in the world of web development and design.

Artzz Luv


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