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Applying a Gradient to a Layer in Adobe Photoshop CS5


  1. Applying a gradient to a layer

Article Description

This excerpt from Adobe Photoshop CS5 Classroom in a Book shows you how to apply a gradient to type to make it more colorful.

Note: This excerpt does not include the lesson files. The lesson files are available with purchase of the book.

You can apply a color gradient to all or part of a layer. In this example, you’ll apply a gradient to the HAWAII type to make it more colorful. First, you’ll select the letters, and then you’ll apply the gradient.

  1. Select the HAWAII layer in the Layers panel to make it active.
  2. Right-click or Control-click the thumbnail in the HAWAII layer, and choose Select Pixels. Everything on the HAWAII layer (the white lettering) is selected.

    Now that you’ve selected the area to fill, you’ll apply a gradient.

  3. In the Tools panel, select the Gradient tool (gradient_tool.jpg).
  4. Click the Foreground Color swatch in the Tools panel, select a bright color of orange in the Color Picker, and click OK. The Background Color should still be white.
  5. In the options bar, make sure that Linear Gradient (gradient.jpg) is selected.
  6. In the options bar, click the arrow next to the Gradient Editor box to open the gradient picker. Select the Foreground To Background swatch (it’s the first one), and then click anywhere outside the gradient picker to close it.
  7. With the selection still active, drag the Gradient tool from the bottom to the top of the letters. If you want to be sure you drag straight up, press the Shift key as you drag.

    The gradient extends across the type, starting with orange at the bottom and gradually blending to white at the top.

  8. Choose Select > Deselect to deselect the HAWAII type.
  9. Save the work you’ve done so far.