Type Right for a Pro Look pg 2: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at webreference.com | 2 | WebReference

Type Right for a Pro Look pg 2: Production Graphics with Wendy Peck at webreference.com | 2

Color Power with Gradient Fills: Gradient Fills in Photoshop



Photoshop has some powerful graduated fill capabilities, which are accessed through the Gradient Fill tool in the toolbar as shown here. They are, from left to right: Linear, Radial, Angle, Reflected and Diamond.

Basic Default Fills
Create the selection you wish to fill with graduated color. Choose the foreground and background color that will form the start and end colors of your fill. Choose the Linear Gradient tool.. Double click on the Gradient tool to open the gradient options window. Make sure the Gradient option is set to Foreground to Background and that the Dither option is active. Transparency and Reverse should not be checked.

Click and drag to set the range for the tool. The foreground color will start at the first mouse position, and the background color will end where you release the mouse. If you do not start or end at the edge of the selection, solid color will fill the remaining area. You can start and/or end outside the selection if you wish. You can use your SHIFT key to constrain the angle of the fill to 15 degree increments.

Note: For clear illustrations and faster downloads in this tutorial, I have elected to use GIF format at less than 256 colors, which will often create banding in the samples that I would never accept for a project.

Radial and other fills work in the same way. The background color is placed where the mouse is first clicked and the background color is placed where the mouse is released. In the radial fill example shown here, mouse was clicked at the upper right corner and dragged to the left.


Text with gradient fill
Text looks great with a gradient fill, but you must use the Type Mask tool, instead of the Type Tool, to create this effect. Select the Type Mask tool and enter your text. Select the desired gradient fill tool and click and drag across the words, using the SHIFT key to constrain the fill to a horizontal path if desired.

As with any gradient fill, you can start or end the fill outside the selected area to reduce the color effect at the beginning and/or end of the fill. I have included a sample of the same color combination as the first text sample, but with the gradient fill started and ended well outside the selection area. Note how the second sample has no bright blue or yellow, since that part of the gradient fill falls outside the selected area. (The foreground and background colors have been reversed from the first to the second sample.).






Click on the Gradient drop down to choose preset gradient fills. Although presets are rarely perfect for any job, they are good starting points and worth studying to understand how multicolored gradients are constructed.

Adding new colors is as simple as a mouse click to add an icon and a double click to choose the color. Click and drag the icon to move the color.

Change how quickly the colors blend with the diamond shapes on the top of the color slider. Click and drag to set.

A three color custom gradient filled applied with the Radial Gradient tools

Add more colors
You can also add many more colors to the gradient fills in Photoshop. A word of warning (seems to be one of these whenever we talk about fun effects): Adding more colors to the fill can make banding much more likely. The colors have less distance to blend, and of course, with GIF, 256 colors just does not give us much for interim blend color. Experiment with the colors you wish to use, and try to avoid using complicated gradient fills when you will require a transparent background.

Select the Gradient tool. Open the Gradient Options window by double clicking on the Gradient Tool in the toolbox, or by choosing Window>Show Options. We can control an unlimited number of gradient fills with this option box, including transparency (we will look at all transparency controls later). For now, we are interested only in adding more colors to our gradient fill.

There are several preset color combinations in the Gradient drop down menu, as shown circled at the left. As with most presets, however, they never seem to fit perfectly into any project. Fortunately, creating custom gradient fills is not difficult. Click on the Edit button to open the Gradient Options window to open the Gradient Editor. You will see the Background color on the left of the top color window, with the foreground color at the right. The icons below this color slider are marked with an "F" for foreground and a "B" for background.

To add a color, click on the bottom edge of the top color slider and a new icon will be added. This icon represents a new color which we can change by double clicking on the new icon. The color window will open, and you can select any color. You can also change the background and foreground colors in the same way. The active color icon has a dark triangle at the top as shown here. The green color icon is active.

You can also adjust the position of the colors and how quickly they fade into the next color. Click and drag the color icon to adjust position of that color. The small diamond shapes on the top of the color slider window adjusts how quickly the color fades into the next. When it is active, the diamond is filled with black.

To remove a color, simply select the icon of the color you wish to remove and hit the Delete key.

Since the color window gives you a real time preview of the gradient fill you are creating, you can quickly create the perfect gradient. Time experimenting with custom gradient fills is time well spent. You quickly develop an instinct for the perfect combination of colors to add depth and interest to your graphics.

But we are not finished yet ... you can make this powerful color even more versatile with transparency. Carry on to learn how much flexibility Photoshop offers with transparency.


Next page

Type Right for a Pro Look Tutorial Index

Color Power with Gradient Fills Start
Photoshop Gradient Fills
Photoshop Gradient Transparency
PaintShop Pro Gradient Fills
PaintShop Pro Gradient Transparency
Fireworks Gradient Fills
Fireworks Save Fills and Transparency

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URL: http://www.webreference.com/graphics/
Created: May 27, 2000
Revised: May 27, 2000