Photoshop – Color to Transparent Gradient Secrets

Photoshop – Color to Transparent Gradient Secrets

October 24, 2019 4 By Peter Engel


Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this
video tutorial. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can work with some transparent
gradients in Photoshop to get effects that you may not otherwise believe that you can
achieve. Before we get started with this tutorial let’s
have a look and see what it is that we’re trying to achieve. This is an image of a tram
in San Francisco along the Embarcadero and this is the original and this is the edited
image. And what I’ve done is added a vignette to the image using a Gray to Transparent gradient
and I’m going to show you why those sorts of gradients are particularly handy. There’s
also another effect that we’re going to create here with a Difference Cloud effect and what
I’ve done is built up the layers here again using color to transparent gradient. So we’ll
see how to create that effect as well. But let’s start with our image of San Francisco
tram. I’m going to just trash that layer and now let’s see how we would achieve that effect.
I’m going to right click on the background layer and duplicate this layer so I’ve two
versions of the image. And I’m going to set the Blend mode for this topmost layer to Multiply
because that darkens the image. So that’s effectively the darkening that I’m going to
use for my vignette. But I don’t want it in the middle of the image so I’m going to add
a mask to this top layer by clicking on the top layer and click the Add Layer Mask icon
at the foot of the Layers palette. That adds a white filled mask. I’m going to set black
as my foreground color, make sure my mask is selected and press Alt Backspace on the
PC, Option Delete on the Mac. And that fills the mask with black effectively removing the
effect of adding that duplicate layer in Multiply Blend mode. So we’re sort of back to square
one. But what I want to do is to use gray or a
sort of white color here to build back in the vignette and I’m going to do that using
a gradient. So I’m going to click on the Gradient tool here and up here in the top corner of
the Tool options bar I get a selector for my gradient. Now there’s always a Foreground
to Background gradient and there’s always a Black and White one and there’s always here
a Foreground to Transparent one. And you might be tempted to use the Black to White gradient.
I’m going to select it now and show you why you wouldn’t use it. This is a Black to White
gradient so if for example I set it to Radial it will do as it says and drop in a Black
to White gradient. But whenever I add another one of these gradients you can see that it’s
replacing the existing one. So I’m not getting them adding to each other. They’re doing a
straight out replacement. Let’s just go back to filling that with black
and let’s see how different it is if I use the Black or Foreground to Transparent gradient.
I’m going to click on that and this time let’s make the foreground color white so I’m just
going to press D to reset the default colors. So this gradient is still Foreground to Transparent.
It’s just that foreground is now white so it’s working White to Transparent. Now let’s
see what happens with the mask selected when I drop in these Radial gradients. See what’s
happening here in the mask preview here you can see that we’re actually adding multiple
gradients. These gradients are sort of accumulative because what we’re doing is we’re dropping
in White to Transparent instead of White to Black so they’re only filling up in the area
that is white through to where the transparency starts and then nothing else is being added.
So we can add this gradient in in ways that we can’t do if we’re using a Black to White
gradient. Ok, let’s go back and refill this gradient
here with black and I’m going to this time use the Linear gradient. I’m going to make
sure that white is my color and now I can just come in and start building in the gradient
where I want it to be. And you can see that because this layer is a Multiply Blend mode
layer this is adding the vignette back in. But I can be really careful about where I
want this vignette to be and I can put it exactly where I want it and nowhere that I
don’t want it because we’re building this mask up using a White to Transparent gradient
instead of a White to Black gradient. So you can see how that would work. Now let’s go to a new file. So I’m just going
to choose File, New. We’re just going to have a look at this effect where we’re actually
painting on layers this way. So now I’m going to add a Difference Cloud. Now I just wanted
to show you something about the Difference Cloud filter that I discovered this morning
that I didn’t know before and it really makes sense. I’m going to go to Filter, Render and
Difference Clouds and you’ll see that these are yellow. Now the reason why they’re yellow
is because blue is the foreground color. If we made the foreground color for example green
and then go back and add Difference Clouds in, I’m just pressing Alt Command Z to undo
that, let’s just go back and add Difference Clouds this time they’re going to be a sort
of magenta color. And the reason is because they’re a Difference Cloud. They’re going
to be the color opposite of the color that you have selected here. So now if we set it
to black and white, again I’m going to undo this and now if we do Difference Clouds they’re
going to be black and white clouds because black and white are the opposite of each other. So now let’s add a brand new layer and I’m
going to start painting in color. So let’s just go and get some color. Let’s go and get
a blue here as our foreground color. I’m going to set the Blend mode of this new layer to
Color. I’m going to select my Gradient tool and this time I’m going to use the Radial
gradient and again it will be preset to the option that I chose last time which is this
Foreground to Transparent. Now when I start adding color you’ll see that because this
is a Color blend layer we’re just colorizing the layer underneath. So let’s add another
layer, again with Color. Again let’s go and get a color to use. So I’m going to choose
a sort of dark purple here. And I’m still painting with this gradient so what we’re
doing is colorizing the layer underneath but we’re building it up with mini gradients.
Because we’re using a Foreground to Transparent color anywhere where the gradient is not applied
will be transparent. Now the difference would be let’s go and get a Foreground to White
gradient and let’s apply that. And that would just slop a gradient right in the middle of
it. Anytime I go to drag another gradient out it’s totally replaced. This is not the
kind of tools that we want in this situation. What I want to do to color this background
in an attractive way is to be using this Foreground to Transparent gradient so that I can get
an interesting effect in the work that I’m doing. So I’m Helen Bradley. Thank you for joining
me for this video tutorial. Look out for more of my video tutorials on this channel. Consider
subscribing to the channel so that you’ll be alerted when new videos are released. Visit
my website at Projectwoman.com for more tips, tricks and tutorials on Photoshop, Lightroom,
Illustrator and a whole lot more.