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How to Work with Gradients in Photoshop CS6

In Photoshop CS6 a gradient is a wonderful blend of colors that you can apply to a layer or selection, gradually fading from one hue to another. Gradients can involve more than two colors, producing a veriTable rainbow of variations. You can apply gradients by using preset selections of colors, or you can create your own gradient.

You can create the following gradient effects:

  • Foreground to background: A transition from the current foreground color to the background color.

  • Foreground to transparent: A transition from the current foreground color to transparent, allowing whatever’s under the transparent portion to show.

  • Black to white: A transition from black to white.

  • An array of colorful selections: Including rainbows, coppery sheens, and other effects.

You can load other libraries of gradients from the Gradient panel menu’s libraries. They have names such as Color Harmonies, Metals, and Special Effects.

In addition to being able to control the appearance and application of a gradient, you also have the opportunity to adjust the Gradient tool’s options, all of which are on the Options bar:

  • Mode: Select any of Photoshop’s blending modes.

  • Opacity: Select how transparent the gradient is.

  • Reverse: Reverse the order in which the colors are applied.

  • Dither: Add noise, or random information, to produce a smoother gradient that prints with less banding (color stripes caused by the limitations of the printing process to reproduce a full range of colors).

  • Transparency: This option determines whether Photoshop ignores the gradient’s transparency settings when you apply a gradient. If you deselect this option, all portions of the gradient are fully opaque.

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