Using the Gradient Tool in a Layer Mask in Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop

When drawing with the default gradient in a mask, if the mask isn’t quite right, it’s easy to draw another gradient to replace the first one.

Dragging the Default gradient from white to black, hides the adjustment in the lower portion of the image.

Dragging the default gradient from white to black hides the adjustment in the lower portion of the image.

However dragging a second gradient replaces the first one.

By default, dragging a second gradient replaces the first one.

If, however, you want to draw a secondary gradient that will add to or subtract from the mask (instead of replacing it), change the blend mode for the Gradient tool to Multiply (to add black) or Screen (to add white) and then drag the second gradient.

Setting the Gradient to screen will add the lighter portion of the gradient while hiding black.

Setting the Gradient tool’s blend mode to screen (before dragging the second gradient) will add the lighter values to the mask. If you are hiding an area and want the darker values of the Gradient to show, then change the Gradient Tool’s blend mode to Multiply.

Note: in the example above, I selected Edit > Undo to undo the gradient that drew in the second illustration before changing the blend mode to Screen and redrawing the gradient.

Of course there are other ways to draw masks, but I find this to be straightforward. Plus if you use the radial gradient you can create a cool looking “bubble mask” by drawing multiple black to white radial gradients with the Gradient tool’s  blend mode set to Darken – although I’ve never actually used a bubble mask like this for anything useful – but I’m sure that someone has!


Adobe Photoshop

Posted on 12-10-2014


  • By Ezequiel Laprida - 6:37 AM on December 10, 2014  

    I guess you could also use a foreground to transparent gradient