February 11, 2016
One of the lesser understood features in Photoshop is the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. This is unfortunate because it is really useful for creating richly colored, yet subtly toned image effects including mimicking traditional cross processed looks. In the following examples, I converted the original image to black and white using Lightroom’s Develop module, then opened the file into Photoshop and added a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer from the bottom of the Layers panel. Instead of using the default gradients, I clicked on the downward pointing triangle to the right of the gradient swatch in the Properties panel, and then clicked the gear icon and selected Photographic Toning. Although most of the presets appeared overly saturated when applied at 100%, that was easily solved by lowering the opacity of the Gradient Map Adjustment Layer. In the final example, I decided not to convert the image to black and white and instead use a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer to shift the colors in an RGB image.
Original black and white conversion.
Photographic Toning Preset – Gold Blue applied as a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer at 30%.
Photographic Toning Preset – Gold Copper applied as a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer at 50%.
Photographic Toning Preset – Gold Sepia applied as a Gradient Map Adjustment Layer at 45%.
Original RGB image with Photographic Toning Preset – Sepia Selenium 3 Gradient Map Adjustment Layer applied at 75%.
Note: although you may achieve similar results for some effects using the Split Tone or Tone Curve panels in Lightroom’s Develop module or ACR, I prefer the level of control over both color and tone achieved using Photoshop’s gradients.
December 10, 2014
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.
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 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!
September 12, 2012
When adding a Solid Color stroke to a shape layer in Photoshop, I achieved the results that I expected. However when I added a Gradient stroke to a shape layer, I was surprised at the results. Photoshop is drawing a gradient and then clipping it to appear within the width of the stroke. Of course you can change the look of the gradient by changing the style (Linear, Radial etc) but if you want a gradient to be applied either along a stroke or across a stroke, then you might need to step into Illustrator. The following graphic shows the different ways that Photoshop and Illustrator can apply strokes to shapes.
July 9, 2012
The Gradient Map Adjustment layer has over 35 new presets to emulate traditional darkroom techniques for toning and split-toning photographs. In this video, you will learn how to load and apply gradient maps to a single image as well as how to download and use Julieanne’s template to quickly see what each preset would look like on your own photograph through the magic of Smart Objects.
June 6, 2012
The Gradient Map Adjustment layer has new presets for toning and split‐toning photographs, however they are not loaded by default. To load this set, add a Gradient Map Adjustment layer and, on the Properties panel, click on the downward facing triangle to the right of the gradient. Click the gear icon and choose Photographic Toning from the list. To add these gradients to the default gradient set, choose Append. To replace the default set, choose OK. Note: you can always reset the Default gradients by clicking the gear icon and selecting Reset Gradients.
Click here to download the ColorToninGMAL.psd template to quickly preview your image with each of the Color Toning presets applied. To replace the lighthouse image with your own photograph, double click on the layer thumbnail for the Lighthouse layer so that it displays in it’s own window (Layer 1.psb). Then, copy and paste your own photograph into that document. You will most likely need to resize your image by choosing Edit > Transform > Scale so that it fits (centered) within the canvas area. Then, hide the lighthouse layer (Layer 1) or delete it. Save and Close the Layer 1.psb file. and the multiple instances of the original “lighthouse” smart object will be automatically updated.
After selecting the gradient that you prefer for your image, you will want to apply that gradient map to your original. You can do this in a variety of ways including:
• Opening your original, adding a new Gradient Map adjustment layer selecting the gradient that you prefer.
• Selecting the adjustment layer in the template and dragging and dropping that layer to your original file.
Note: the last 3 gradients, I added just for fun. Click here to download these gradients. Double click on the jkost_3ToningGradients.grd.zip file to unzip it and then double click again on the jkost_3ToningGradients.grd to install them.
January 19, 2011
To add a color wash to multiple layers, create a new layer and fill it with any color (we will hide the color in a minute but you need the layer to be filled with something in order for this to work). Click the “Add a Layer Style” icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and choose “Blending Options” from the list. In the Layer Style dialog, in the Advanced Blending area set the Fill opacity slider to 0 (zero). Click Gradient Overlay to display it’s options, Set the Blend Mode to Color and choose a gradient preset (by clicking on the small downward facing triangle to the right of the gradient) or create your own (by clicking in the gradient area and using the Gradient Editor). Of course you can always experiment with other blend modes such as Soft Light, Hue and Multiply, Color is simply a starting point.
January 18, 2011
To add a color wash (or color overlay) to a layer using a Gradient Layer Style, simply select the layer and click the “Add a Layer Style” icon at the bottom of the Layers panel and select Gradient Overlay from the list. (Note: the Layer Style must be applied to a layer, not the Background, to turn the background into a layer, double click the word Background.) In the Layer Style dialog, in the Gradient Overlay area, set the Blend Mode to Color and choose a gradient preset by clicking on the small downward facing triangle to the right of the gradient or create your own (by clicking in the gradient area and using the Gradient Editor). The advantage of using a gradient Layer Style over a Gradient Layer, is that this “effect” can be saved as a style (by clicking the New Style button in the Layer Style dialog) and then applied to any other image with a single click (using the Styles panel).
December 14, 2010
When burning down edges in a traditional darkroom, the corners were often affected more than the sides (due to overlap). To achieve this effect in Photoshop, create a new layer and set it’s blend mode to Multiply on the Layers panel. Then, select the Gradient tool and select the “foreground to transparent” gradient from the gradient picker (in the Options bar). Select a light to medium gray as your foreground color (or select black and lower the opacity of the Gradient tool) and set the blend mode for the Gradient tool to Multiply. Position the gradient tool at the outside edge of the image and click-drag the gradient into the image as far as the burned edge is desired. Repeat for each edge.
The first illustration is of the original image. The second and third illustrations both show the darkening (burning) of the edges (both use a separate layer with their blend mode set to Multiply in the Layers panel and 50% gray as the foreground color). However, in the center illustration the blend mode for the Gradient tool is also set to Multiply - notice how the corners are darker than the sides. In the third illustration the blend mode of the Gradient tool was set to Normal - as a result, the corners and sides are all the same value. Obviously the edges are exaggerated here for demonstration purposes - to reduce the effect, you would simply decrease the opacity of the layer on the Layers palette.
March 26, 2010
Double clicking on a gradient stop in the Gradient Editor will bring up the color picker.
March 25, 2010
Option (Mac) / Alt (Win) -drag on a gradient stop to duplicate it.
February 19, 2010
‘,’ (comma) or ‘.’ (period) goes to previous or next gradient swatch in the gradient picker
”,’ (comma) or ‘.’ (period) + Shift goes to first or last gradient swatch in list
February 18, 2010
The Gradient tool has multiple styles to choose from (Linear, Radial, Angle, Reflected and Diamond). ‘[‘ or ‘]’ will move you quickly from one to the next gradient style.
February 17, 2010
When using the Gradient tool, be sure to check “Dither” on in the Options bar if you want to minimize banding over long gradients.