How to Customize and Edit Gradient in Photoshop Elements 11 - dummies

How to Customize and Edit Gradient in Photoshop Elements 11

By Barbara Obermeier, Ted Padova

Although Photoshop Elements 11 includes dozens of gradient presets, you may want to create your own. The Gradient Editor makes that task an easy one by letting you create a custom gradient with as many colors as you want, which you can then save as a preset and reuse at any time.

The Gradient Editor has many options, but it’s easy to use when you know what the controls and options do. Follow these steps to create a simple, smooth gradient:

1Select the Gradient tool from the Tools panel or press the G key. Click the Edit button on the Tool Options.

The Gradient Editor dialog box opens.

2Pick an existing gradient preset from the Presets area to use as the basis for your new gradient. Choose Solid or Noise from the Type drop-down menu.

As soon as you start to edit the existing gradient, the name of the gradient changes to Custom. A noise gradient is one containing random colors. Because the colors are random, each time you create a noise gradient, the result is different.

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

3If you chose a Noise gradient, specify the options that follow and then skip to the last step to finish the gradient.

Roughness: Adjust this slider to determine how smoothly or abruptly the colors transition from one stop to another.

Color Model: Select the color model to set the range of color and get the corresponding color sliders to adjust, if desired.

Restrict Colors: Select this option to avoid oversaturated colors.

Add Transparency: Select this option to include transparency in your gradient, if desired.

Randomize: Use this option to change the colors in the gradient. Each time you click Randomize, you see a new set of colors.

4If you’re creating a solid gradient, define the color of the starting point for your gradient; click the left color stop under the gradient bar.

The triangle above the stop turns black to indicate you’re working with the starting point of the gradient. Because Noise gradients are random, you can’t define the colors.

5Select the starting color by using one of these methods:

Click the down-pointing arrow to access the Color menu. You can also access other color libraries from the Color Swatches menu at the top of the panel.

Double-click the left color stop and select a color from the Color Picker that appears.

Click the Color swatch in the Stops area of the dialog box and choose a color from the Select Stop Color dialog box that opens.

Position the cursor (it appears as an eyedropper icon) anywhere on the gradient bar to select a start color from the bar, or position the cursor anywhere within an image on your screen and then click to select the color under the cursor.

6Click the end point color stop at the right side of the gradient bar and use any of the methods described to choose the end color of the gradient.

Change the percentage of the amount of one color versus the other by moving the starting and ending points to the left or right; drag the midpoint slider (a diamond icon that appears when you click an adjacent color stop) to adjust where the colors mix equally, 50–50.

You can also change the position of the midpoint by selecting it and typing a value into the Location box. The position of the color stops can also be changed this way.

7(Optional) To add another color, click below the gradient bar at the position you want to add the color and define a color using the new color stop.

(Optional) Repeat for additional colors.

8For additional color stops, move the stops to the left or right to adjust the location of the start and end points for each color; adjust the midpoint sliders between the colors.

If you change your mind, redefine the color of the color stop or remove a color stop altogether by dragging it down or up from its position on the gradient bar.

9After your edits are complete, enter a name for your gradient in the Name field and then click the New button.

Your gradient is added to the Presets menu. Here is an example of a unique gradient created in the Gradient Editor.