Making a Gradient Selection using Quick Mask mode

A gradient selection lets you make an adjustment transition smoothly across part of the image. In my example, I want to make a selection that allows me to darken the bottom 1/3 of the red rock foreground. The gradient makes a smooth transition for this selection. For the gradient selection, just paint a gradient onto the quick mask.

Switch to Quick Mask mode (press Q). Open Quick Mask options dialog to ensure the color shows the selected areas and a useful color is selected.

Select Gradient tool on the toolbox; press the G key.

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Use foreground to Create a linear Apply the gradient at 100% opacity background colors gradient using the normal blending mode

The default options for the Gradient tool are usually the best options. These paint a gradient using the foreground and background colors, create a linear gradient in the direction you paint, and apply paint to the gradient over the top of the quick mask. To paint the gradient, just draw a line in the direction you want the gradient - not along the edge of the gradient.

Don't worry, just draw a line. There's a good chance the gradient won't be at all what you expected. Often you'll paint the gradient in the wrong direction or paint a mask where you want no mask. If you get the wrong gradient, just draw the gradient again. Maybe switch the direction of your line. Experiment with the gradient until you get the quick mask over the part of the image you want selected. This creates a selection over part of the image with a nice smooth transition to the unselected part. Switch out of Quick Mask mode to see the gradient selection.

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