Apply a Preset Gradient to Selections in Photoshop Elements 11 - dummies

Apply a Preset Gradient to Selections in Photoshop Elements 11

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

Photoshop Elements 11 provides numerous preset gradients. If one color just doesn’t get you fired up, you’ll be happy to know that Elements enables you to fill a selection or layer with a gradient, a blend of one or more colors that gradually dissolves from one into another.

Here’s how to apply a preset gradient:

1Select the layer from the Layers panel.

If you want the gradient to fill only a portion of that layer, make your selection.

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.

2Select the Gradient tool from the Tools panel or press the G key. Select one of the preset gradients from the Gradient Picker drop-down menu in the Tool Options.

Remember that you can find other preset libraries by clicking the Gradient menu at the top of the Gradient Picker panel. Libraries, such as Color Harmonies and Metals, contain interesting presets.

3Select the gradient type by clicking an icon on the Tool Options.

Linear: Blends the colors of the gradient in a straight line

Radial: Blends the colors outward in a circular pattern

Angle: Creates a counterclockwise sweep around the starting point, resembling a radar screen

Reflected: Blends the colors by using symmetrical linear gradients on either side of the starting point

Diamond: Blends the colors outward in a diamond pattern

4Choose any other options you want from the Tool Options.

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

Opacity: Select how opaque or transparent the gradient is.

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

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

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).

5Place the cursor at the position in the layer or selection where you want to place the starting color of the gradient. Drag in any direction to the end point for the gradient.

Longer drags result in a more subtle transition between colors, whereas shorter drags result in a more abrupt transition. Hold down the Shift key while dragging to constrain the direction of the gradient so that it’s perfectly horizontal or vertical or at an exact 45-degree angle.

6Release the mouse button to apply the gradient.

A pastel radial gradient is applied to a selection of an abstract symbol.