Photoshop Gradient And Masking Playing A Key Role In Image Manipulation

Photoshop! It’s just cropping and pasting, is it? For an amateur – yes!  For a graphic designer – NEVER! Photoshop gradient is one of the most powerful tools armed with which a designer can do wonders to a simple image changing it into a stunning piece of art.

Photoshop is a raster graphics editing and a multi-platform graphics software. Photoshop allows you to edit and create digital images in more than 15 popular formats by using the built-in tools or download plug-ins to add special effects to your pictures. Photoshop is used by professionals and amateurs to edit graphics for websites, video, product design, architecture, photography studios and home photos.

Also Read: Create Your Own Professional Custom Logo Design

Gradient and beyond

Photoshop gradient may not be on most users’ top priorities editing options. But it should be. In combination with layer masks, the Gradient tool allows us to create a gradual blend between multiple colours. When you select the Gradient tool there are two options you need to set: the gradient’s colours and its shape.

Photoshop gradient tool can be activated from the tool bar or simply by a short key pressing ‘G’. Gradient is filled in an image or in a blank layer by dragging it in an image. The starting point (where mouse is pressed) and the end point (where the mouse is released) affect the gradient appearance depending on the type of gradient tool used.

Styles of Photoshop Gradient

There are five primary Photoshop gradient styles.

Linear Gradient: Where shades take place from the starting point to ending point in a straight line.

Photoshop Gradient Linear

Radial Gradient: Shades start from the starting point to the ending point in a circular pattern.

Photoshop Gradient Radial

Angle Gradient: Shades in a counter clockwise sweep around the starting point.

Photoshop Gradient Angle

Reflected Gradient: Shades using symmetric linear gradient on either side of the starting point.

Photoshop Gradient Reflected

Diamond Gradient: Shades from the starting point outward in a diamond pattern. The ending point defines one corner of the diamond.

Photoshop Gradient Diamond

Editing or creating new gradient

The default Photoshop gradient colour depends on the foreground and background color. The gradient can be created and edited in a gradient editor according to the requirements

1. PRESETS: The thumbnail displays all types of gradient which are available. The gradient can be added or deleted. The colour spectrum shows the merging of colour with each other.

2. Controls the opacity of the colour on the gradient

3. Add , delete or edit the colour of the gradient.

New Phototshop Gradient

Masking on the other hand is a non destructive method to hide any part of an image or to recreate an image by merging two images together. There are three types of masking (Layer mask, vector mask, clip mask) of which Layer masks allows you to help in image manipulations. They allow you to selectively modify the opacity (transparency) of the layer they belong to. This differs from the use of the layer Opacity slider as a mask has the ability to selectively modify the opacity of different areas across a single layer.

Layer mask: Click on layer mask option in layer palette to enable layer mask in selected layer

A: layer mask thumbnail

B: add layer mask icon

This option gives a thumbnail next to the layer thumbnail which when painted with black becomes transparent. When painted with white it reveals the layer and painting with grey makes it translucent depending on the shades of grey.

Photoshop Gradient And Masking

Layer masks and Photoshop gradient explained

The idea of layer masks can be tough to comprehend, even for experienced Photoshop users. So here’s a good, easy way to think about them. A mask on a pixel layer makes it possible to hide parts of that layer without destroying any pixels. By using masks instead of the Eraser or History brushes you can always change your mind about any edits because you’re never deleting pixels, only changing their visibility. Better still, you can restore the visibility of any hidden item even after the image file has been saved, closed, and reopened.

When making a Photoshop gradient inside a layer mask, the thing to remember is that a black-to-white gradient means ‘hidden-to-revealed’ or ‘invisible-to-visible’. A white-to-black gradient means exactly the opposite: ‘revealed-to-hidden’ or ‘visible-to-invisible’.

Example

Step 1

Firstly you need to take two images of your choice that will blend together smoothly. Make sure they both are of same resolution and in RGB mode. Open both the images in Photoshop

Photoshop Gradient Example Step 1Photoshop Gradient Example Step 1 (ii)

Step 2

You need to combine both images into one document. By using the ‘move tool’ drag one image into other window where a new layer will be created automatically. To place the image at the centre in the window, hold down shift key while dragging.

Photoshop Gradient Example Step 2

Step 3

To blend the two layers we will add the layer mask by using Add layer mask. This will create a new layer mask. A layer mask is transparent. When you paint black into the mask it allows the image underneath to show through. Where it is white, the underlying layer will be hidden.

Photoshop Gradient Example Step 3

Step 4

Select the gradient tool making sure that the foreground and background are set to black and white. Select a linear gradient and drag the gradient across the image.

Photoshop Gradient Example Step 4

Photoshop Gradient Example Step 4 (ii)

Step 5

You will now see the two images blend together and the mask will have a gradient in it. Experiment with different angles and start and end position because a mask is non destructive and you can experiment as much as you can.

Photoshop Gradient Example Step 5

Photoshop Gradient Example Step 5 (ii)

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