How To Do Gradient Editing

This is very simple to do as you download photoshop for Mac, I thought I could make a detailed explanation that will be much easier for newbies.

  1. Open your picture, resize it, and sharpen. We always use the action called “original” from this pack.
  1. Add a gradient map, Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map. This is the best way of desaturating a picture, looks really good. You will have to change the settings in the bar of the Gradient Editor window to make it look nice and don’t stick with the default settings. For example, my bar looked like this at the end:
  1. Add a fill layer, Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color, and set it to Multiply.
  1. Type a letter (my font was Carton) by creating a type box as wide as the canvas is. Make sure you select a center alignment in the Paragraph window. To place the W exactly in the middle of the canvas, you have to resize the type box like this:

I mean around the W, exactly in its edges. The type box starts and ends exactly where the W does if you know what I mean.

Now go to the Layers panel and select the type layer plus the background one (use cmd or ctrl). Go Layer > Align > Vertical Centers and the W should move to the center of the canvas. It’s not necessary to choose Horizontal Centers too since we already centered the text in the Paragraph window.

  1. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool and right-click on the W. The following menu will appear; you must click “Load Selection” then “OK”.

The W will be selected now.

  1. Now we are going to delete the color fill layer that shows inside of the W. For this, select the Brush Tool and the color fill layer in the Layers Panel and make sure there is a border around its mask in the Layers Panel:

YES → NO → (you only have to click once on the white box to create the Layer Mask).

Also, your color picker must look like this:

Now paint the W using the brush. You won’t notice any changes in the canvas because the fill layer is selected in the Layers Panel, so we are erasing it, but the type layer is above it, so changes are not visible. When you are done, the color fill looks like this:

Delete the W layer or make it invisible (better invisible if you are following the next step) and that’s it; the effect is done!

  1. I added a grainy effect because it’s a trend lately. Select the top layer in the Layers Panel and press Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E if you are using Windows or Cmd+Option+Shift+E if you are using a Mac. A new layer must appear as if all layers had been combined into one. This is called Stamp Visible.

Now go Filter > Filter Gallery > Texture > Grain (make sure background color is white and foreground is black in the color picker).

I decreased the opacity to 30%.

Now you can make visible the W again, re-do step 5 and delete the grain inside of the W, or select inverse and delete the grain outside of the W:

There are other ways of adding grain though, for example, this one.

This effect is very simple and the color gradients are a trend right now, so I think it’ll be useful for you guys. Layer Mask and Stamp Visible techniques are very important, I hope you remember them in the future! 🙂


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Patrick is a part-time fitness trainer and pursuing his Master’s in American Literature from Stanford University. He wishes to share his fitness plan with others to help them achieve their goals in terms of fitness and education.