Apply a Preset Gradient in Photoshop Elements 10 - dummies

Apply a Preset Gradient in Photoshop Elements 10

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

Similar to colors, patterns, and brushes, gradients in Photoshop Elements 10 have a whole group of presets that you can apply to your selection and layers. You can also load other libraries of gradients from the Gradient panel pop-up menu.

Here’s how to apply a preset gradient:

  1. Make the selection you want to fill with a gradient.

    Make the selection on a new layer so that you can edit the gradient later without harming the underlying image.

    If you don’t make a selection, the gradient is applied to the entire layer or background.

  2. Select the Gradient tool from the Tools panel or press the G key.

  3. On the Options bar, click the down-pointing arrow on the gradient swatch.

    The Gradient Picker drop-down panel appears.

  4. Choose a preset gradient.

    Remember that you can choose other preset libraries from the panel menu. Libraries, such as Color Harmonies and Metals, contain interesting presets.

  5. Choose your desired gradient type by clicking one of the icons.


  6. Choose from the following options on the Options bar:

    • Mode. Select a blending mode to change how the color of the gradient interacts with the colors below it.

    • Opacity. Specify how opaque or 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 (weird stripes caused by printing limitations).

    • Transparency. Deselect this option to make Elements ignore any transparent areas in the gradient, making them opaque instead.

  7. Position your gradient cursor at your desired starting point within your selection or layer.

  8. Drag in any direction to your desired end point for the gradient.

    Longer drags result in a subtler transition between colors, whereas shorter drags result in a more abrupt transition. Hold down the Shift key to restrain the direction of the gradient to multiples of a 45-degree angle.

  9. Release the mouse button to apply the gradient.

    An Orange Yellow radial gradient from the Color Harmonies 2 preset library is applied to a selection of a sun in this figure. The Reverse option was selected and dragged from the center of the sun to the tip of the top ray.