More creative than corrective, the Gradient Map feature re-creates your image by using a gradient. The left-most color stop (the anchor points where a gradient color is assigned) in the gradient is mapped to the shadows, the right-most to the highlights, and any color stops in between are appropriately assigned to the rest of the tonal range. In Figure 6-16, you can see how a two-color gradient (upper-left) lacks detail compared with the four-color gradient being created for the lower image.

Figure 6-16: Using more colors in your gradient produces more detail.

Generally speaking, you use darker colors for the color stops on the left and lighter colors for the color stops on the right (although extremely interesting effects can be created by mixing things up). Using a black-to-white gradient produces a grayscale image.

To edit the gradient, simply click directly on the sample gradient in the Gradient Map dialog box. Click to add color stops, drag to move color stops, and click the color swatch near the bottom to change the color of the selected stop. (You can find more detailed information on creating and working with gradients in Chapter 14.)

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