Applying Gradient Fills

The two previous versions of Photoshop made great strides in the gradation department. Version 4 introduced the Edit button into the Gradient Options palette. This one button made it possible to create a gradient with as many as 32 colors, name gradients and save them to disk, and adjust the transparency of colors so that they fade in and out over the course of the fill. Version 5 widened the range of gradient styles, removed the limit on colors per gradient, and enabled you to reverse the foreground and background colors from within the Gradient Options palette, a nice convenience when applying radial and diamond fills.

Version 6 adds even more gradient features. You can create and save collections of your favorite gradients as presets, just as you can patterns and brushes. In addi tion, you can create noise gradients, use the new Dynamic Fill feature to create a gradient as an adjustment layer, and use the Layer Style command to add a gradient overlay to a layer. (I explain the first layer option along with the other adjustment layer options in Chapter 17; you can read about layer styles in Chapter 12.)

Note If you're accustomed to using gradients in a drawing program — such as Illustrator or FreeHand — you'll find that Photoshop is better. Because Photoshop is a pixel editor, it lets you blur and mix colors in a gradation if they start banding— that is, if you can see a hard edge between one color and the next when you print the image; and Photoshop's gradations never choke the printer or slow it down, no matter how many colors you add. While each band of color in an object-oriented gradation is expressed as a separate shape — so that one gradation can contain hundreds, or even thousands, of objects — gradations in Photoshop are plain old colored pixels, the kind we've been editing for five and a half chapters.

Photoshop CS Mastery

Photoshop CS Mastery

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