Applying a Gradient to Visable Pixels in Photoshop

Photoshop gradients are a useful type of effect which can be applied to any image. These gradients affect the visible pixels in an image and can be applied very easily. A gradient is a type of effect where the color changes from one color to another by gradually changing. Applying gradients in Photoshop is very easy, and if you have the right tools, then this shouldn't be difficult.

Step 1: Choose the Type of Gradient

There are several different types of gradient which can be applied in Photoshop; these include Radial, Angle, Diamond, Reflected and Linear gradients. These gradients all look different and can be applied for different purposes.

A radial gradient spreads out from a dark center until it gets lighter. An angle gradient changes color in a circle like a clock. A diamond gradient spreads out from a diamond shaped point at the center. Choose the right gradient for your purpose.

Step 2: Use Gradient Fills

Gradient fills can be used to fill all or a section of the image with a gradient. Select the gradient fill tool from the toolbox and choose the colors that you want by setting the foreground and background colors. It's also possible to select a different type of gradient if you want, depending on what you want the finished effect to look like.

Once the correct gradient fill is selected, it is then possible for you to click where you want the gradient to begin, drag and then let go where you want it to finish. As soon as you let go, the image will be filled with a gradient which affects all of the pixels in the image.

Step 3: Create a Mask

Maybe you aren't interested in filling the entire image with a gradient fill, but instead want to create a mask in order to affect only the visible pixels in a picture. In order to do this, you need to apply a gradient mask; this will have the effect of keeping whatever is already in the picture, but coloring it with the gradient. Create a new layer on top of your image and then apply a gradient fill to the entire layer. Experiment with different types of gradient until you are able to get the best results.

Step 4: Add Content

Add the content into a new layer, which is placed on top of all of the other layers; then paste or add the content that you want. Use the text tool to type new text and position it correctly.

Step 5: Group Layers

Now, you simply need to press Control and G to group the layers together. This results in the text or whatever is in the top layer only being visible where the gradient is the darkest. This makes it one of the easiest ways of setting a gradient fill which only affects the visible pixels on top of the image.

The process is fairly simple, although it can be adjusted slightly to create different and more sophisticated types of effects.

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