Gradient tool in Adobe Photoshop


The gradient tool is one of the most heavily used tools in Adobe Photoshop whether it is the actual gradient tool, the gradient editor or using gradient and masks. You can use gradients for so much in Photoshop which makes it one of the essential tools.

What is Gradient?

Gradient tool creates a gradual blending between two or more colours.

In the options bar, you can see a drop-down menu where there are many gradient options available.

For example, the first option is the “foreground to background colour” and much more to choose from.

There are different types of gradient modes.

Linear Gradient:

In this type of gradient, the shades from the starting point to ending point are in a straight line.

Radial Gradient:

In this type, of the gradient, the shades from starting to the endpoint are in a perfectly circular pattern.

Angular Gradient:

In this type of gradient, the shades are in a counter-clockwise sweeping pattern from its starting point.

Reflected Gradient:

Symmetric gradients are used on either side of the starting point in this type of gradient.

Diamond Gradient:

In this type of gradient, shades from starting point to the ending point form a diamond shape.

Blending Modes

There are different types of modes like darken, multiply and many others and you can apply this according to your artwork.


You can change the opacity of the gradient, before creating it, by sliding the opacity bar.

Other options

In reverse option, it will just reverse the direction of the gradient. So, if you have a linear gradient from blue to white then it will change it to white to blue.

In the dither, it creates a smoother gradient so that it will have less bending.

In transparency option, if you keep this checked then it will give a transparent effect, otherwise, the gradient will be a solid colour.

How to Create a Custom Gradient

If we click on the gradient editor window, then we can see there is the area at the lower part of the panel where we can create a custom gradient.

So, you can start on by choosing one as a preset and then adjust it by clicking on the “colour stops” (marked with blue in the image above) which is at the bottom part of the gradient editor bar. After double clicking the colour stop on the left side of the gradient bar you can choose the custom colour and in the same way, double-clicking another colour stop on the right-hand side of the slider we get a new gradient.

If you click on the “opacity stop” (marked with green in the image above) then you can change the opacity of the gradient.

In the middle area of the gradient bar, if any of the colour stop or opacity stop is selected, there is a diamond shaped “button” (marked with yellow in the image above) which is usually set at 50%. So, by sliding it you can change the location of that colour or opacity in the gradient.

We can add on more colour stops as well as opacity stop by simply clicking at the border of the slider. Click at the bottom border for colour stop and upper border for opacity stop. To delete the stop you can just click on the stop and hit delete.

In this panel, there is another gradient type apart from the solid gradient and that is “noise”.  This creates a different kind of gradient with lot more hues. If we change its roughness to 0% then it will look like our traditional gradient and if we slide it to 100% then it will have much more hues added to it. It is set to 50% default.

By clicking on the “restrict colours” option we can avoid the over-saturation of colours in certain areas. And by clicking “transparency”it can add transparency to its parts as well.

There are three colour models that we can possibly use.

The first is RGB (Red, Green, and Blue) and if we move the sliders then we can increase or decrease the hues of these colours in the gradient.

The other one is HSB (Hue, Saturation, and Brightness). And in this option, you can change the hue, saturation, and brightness of the gradient according to our need.

And the third option is the LAB (Luminance, A & B are chromatic Components). In this, if we temper the “L” slider then we can change the luminance of the gradient. A and B are chromatic channels where we can further change the colour of the gradient. By hitting “randomize” option we can change the pattern of the gradient.

Once you’ve created your custom gradient change its name and hit “new” button. Thus, you will get your custom gradient ready to use in the gradient preset.

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