Customize Gradients in Photoshop Elements 10 - dummies

Customize Gradients in Photoshop Elements 10

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

If you can’t find the exact gradient you need among the Photoshop Elements 10 presets, you can easily create your own. The Gradient Editor lets you create your own custom gradient using as many colors as you want. After you create a custom gradient, you can save it as a preset to reuse in the future.

Follow these steps to create a custom gradient:

  1. Select the Gradient tool from the Tools panel.

  2. Click the Edit button (which looks like a gradient swatch) on the Options bar.

    The Gradient Editor dialog box opens.


  3. Pick an existing preset to use as the basis for your new gradient.

  4. Choose your gradient type, either Solid or Noise, from the pop-up menu.

    A Noise gradient contains random colors. Interestingly, each time you create a Noise gradient, the result is different.

    Note that as soon as you start to edit the existing gradient, the name of the gradient changes to Custom.

  5. Choose your options for either a Solid or Noise gradient, depending on what you chose in Step 4:

    • If you chose Solid, adjust the Smoothness percentage to determine how smoothly one color blends into another.

    • If you chose Noise, you can choose which Color Model to use to set the color range. You can also adjust the Roughness, which affects how smoothly or abruptly the color transitions from one to another. Click Restrict Colors to avoid oversaturated colors.

      The Add Transparency option adds transparency to random colors. Click the Randomize button to randomly generate a new gradient. You can then skip to Step 15 to finish the gradient-making process.

  6. If you’re creating a solid gradient, begin choosing the first color of your gradient by clicking the left color stop under the gradient bar.

    The triangle on top of the stop turns black to indicate that you’re working with the starting point of the gradient.

  7. Choose the starting color by double-clicking the left color stop and selecting a color from the Color Picker that appears.

    In the Stops area, you can also click the color swatch or choose Foreground, Background, or User Color from the Color pop-up menu. If you select Color with the Foreground or Background option when you change either of those colors, the color in the gradient changes automatically for gradients you make.

    However, when you open the Gradient Editor again, you can revert to your original foreground or background color by selecting the User Color option.

  8. Select the ending color by clicking the right color stop. Repeat Step 7 to define the color.

  9. Change the percentage of one color versus the other by moving the starting or ending point’s color stop to the left or right. Drag the midpoint slider (a diamond icon) to where the colors mix equally, 50-50.

    You can also change the position of the midpoint by typing a value in the Location box.

  10. To add another color, click below the gradient bar at the position you want to add the color. Define a color in the same way you did in Steps 7 to 9.

  11. Repeat Step 10 to add colors.

  12. To add transparency to your gradient, select an opacity stop and adjust the Opacity slider to specify the amount of transparency you desire.

    By default, a gradient has colors that are 100-percent opaque. You can fade a gradient to transparency so that the portion of the image under the gradient shows through.

    You can also add opacity stops in the same way you add color stops.

  13. Adjust your color and opacity stops and their midpoint sliders to vary the percentages of each color.

  14. You can also redefine any of the colors. To delete a color stop, drag it up or down off the gradient bar.

  15. When you’re done, name your gradient and click the New button.

    Your gradient is added to the Presets menu.

After all that work, you may want to consider saving your gradients for later use. To save a gradient, click the Save button in the Gradient Editor dialog box. Save the current presets, with your new gradient, under the current library’s name or a new name altogether. You can later load that preset library. You can also manage your gradient presets with the Preset Manager.