Recoloring with Custom Gradients
by Nannette Dalton
The Gradient tool is something that I don’t get to play with very much. If I do, I usually use the predefined gradient sets that come with Adobe Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, some of which are a little strange in my opinion.
Knowing how to change a gradient’s colors can come in handy. It can be confusing at first, but once you make your first custom gradient, you’ll start having lots of gradient fun. Here’s how.
Step One: Prepare the Workspace
- Open a scrapbook page (File > Open) with which you wish to work. Or, create a new 12 x 12 inch document (File > New > Blank File) at 300 ppi with a white background. (Photoshop: Choose File > New.)
- Press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to the default of black and white.
Step Two: Open an Element
- Open an element that you would like to recolor. I am using the ‘celebrate’ word art from A New Year Celebration by Just Jaimee.
- Get the Move tool.
- Click and drag the element onto the scrapbook page. You can see my white celebrate word art on my scrapbook page below.
Step Three: Add Gradient Stops
- Get the Gradient tool.
- In the Tool Options, set the Mode to Normal and the Opacity to 100%. Uncheck Reverse. Check both Transparency and Dither. Click on the Linear Gradient icon.
- In the Tool Options, open the Gradient Picker and choose Foreground to Background. If you don’t see Foreground to Background, open the menu and choose Default. (Photoshop: Open the fly-out menu, choose Reset Gradients, and click OK.)
- In Tool Options, click on the Edit button to open the Gradient Editor. (Photoshop: In the Options bar, click on the gradient window to open the Gradient Editor.)
Note: The Foreground to Background gradient already has two color stops—a black one at 0% and a white one at 100%. Because I want five colors in my gradient I need to add 3 more color stops.
- In the Gradient Editor, click in the blank space below the Gradient bar to make a new Color Stop. Change the Location to 50%.
- Repeat this step adding a color stop at 25% and 75%.
Step Four: Change the Color Stop Color
- Double click on the 0% Color Stop (far left) to open the Color Picker.
- In the Color Picker, choose a color for your first stop, or click on your layout to sample a color. Click OK to accept the change and close the Color Picker.
- Repeat Step Four to change the color of the 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% stops.
- Click OK to accept the change and close the Gradient Editor.
Note: If you need to remove a Color Stop, click and drag it straight down, and off the bar before you close the Gradient Editor.
Step Five: Recolor the Element
- In the Layers panel, click on the element you want to recolor to activate it.
- Click on the Create a New Layer icon.
- In the Menu bar, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask.
- On the document, click and drag from the left of the element to the right to create a gradient. If you don’t like how it turned out have another go at it. You could also try dragging in a different direction for additional effects.
- Press Ctrl E (Mac: Cmd E) to merge the gradient and element layers.
This technic works well with many elements and custom shapes. Here are some examples from A New Year Celebration by Just Jaimee to give you an idea of the type of elements that will work well.
OK, it is your turn to give it a try. I think you will love being able to make your own custom gradient colored elements to coordinate with your kits.
Layout & Photo: Nannette Dalton
Kit: A New Year Celebration by Just Jaimee
Font: Bebas, American Typewriter, Chris Hmk
Software: Photoshop CC, Photoshop Elements 14
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