Building a Gradient
Photoshop CS6 Tutorial
How to Add a Gradient in Photoshop
Gradients are much more interesting than a simple flat color. Building a gradient starts in the Gradient panel. The colors, opacity and gradient type are specified to meet your needs.
In Photoshop open a new blank document (File > New). Set the image size to 500 pixels by 500 pixels.
Choose the Gradient tool and click the Gradient sample swatch in the title bar.
The Gradient panel appears with the sample swatches and gradient parameter settings.
The gradient sample bar has Opacity Stops on the top and Color Stops on the bottom.
Click a Color Stop to change the color. Click an Opacity Stop to change the transparency.
To add a new Opacity Stop or Color Stop, simply click in the upper or lower area of the gradient sample.
To remove a stop, select it and press the Delete button. Name your gradient and click the New button.
To apply your gradient, select the Gradient tool and click the gradient triangle in the title bar.
Click a gradient swatch, then click and drag in the document to apply the new gradient.
Saved gradients may be removed by Option (PC-Alt) clicking the gradient swatch in the Gradient palette.
Gradients Simulate Light
To effectively use gradients, start with a single hue and varying the lightness/darkness (value) as you build your gradient. Most default gradients go from a single color to black. By replacing the black with a lighter or darker value of the original hue, you'll create a color that emulates the way that light illuminates a surface.
Photoshop includes other gradient choices besides the stock gradients you see when you open the Gradient panel.
To access the gradients, open the panel as in Step Seven. Choose your gradient library from the panel's pull-down menu in the upper right corner of the panel.