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In this Adobe Photoshop CS3 tutorial, learn how to add a gradient to an existing photo or new blank canvas.
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I’m here to show you how to apply a gradient using the gradient tool in Photoshop. So you can open up a picture or you can just start a new blank canvas by either selecting file and new for the blank canvas or file and open for you existing photo.
I’m going to go ahead and create a blank one. You could set the size to whatever you need. Click on OK and you get your new canvas. So what you want to do first is you want to select a gradient tool, and it’s over here on your toolbar. If you don’t see it, you may need to hold down at your space with the paint bucket tool, so just hold down your mouse and click gradient tool.
Now at this point before you actually draw the gradient, if you just draw it now on your canvas, it’s going to be applied to the entire layer that you have selected. If you’d like for it to be applied only to a portion, then go ahead and make a selection. In that way, it will be applied just to that selection. And you can add a selection by using the marquee, the lasso, or the quick selection tool.
So I’m going to apply it just to this box here. I’m going to go over and click my gradient tool again, so I have my options active up at the top. If I click on my options dropdown list, I can choose from a couple of preset gradients that I have. I also can use this button here and I can go to new gradient to name a gradient that I’ve created, or I can go through and look at all the individual gradients. So I can get there the same way by double clicking on there to open the gradient edit. Then I can make my own gradients down here or I can use the preset. I’m just going to use the preset for now. And then of course, you can edit those presets using the gradient editor down here.
So when you’re happy with your gradient, go ahead and click on OK. You want to choose the shape of the gradient. You have several different options here. You could go for linear, for radial, for angle, for reflected or for diamond, and it’s all going to change the look. Linear is the gradient that you usually see. I’m going to go ahead and stick with that one. You could choose a different mode here if you would like to apply an effect to the gradient. I’m going to go ahead and stick with normal. Opacity, if you’d like to make it a little more opaque, you could do that and it will give you a preview right here. I’m going to go ahead and make mine 100%.
If you choose jitter, that’s going to smooth the lines of color and that’s only going to work on some of the presets, so you’ll have to try that out. And then go ahead and you basically got to draw, you could draw it this way, you could draw it in an angle, and it’s all going to change the look of your gradient. And then release your mouse and it’s going to add a gradient. You can use your edit and step backward to go ahead and try it on different directions to see how it looks. You can also apply one and then apply one on top of the other one, and it’s just simply going to change it.
So that’s how you can apply a gradient in Photoshop.