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Let's take a look at a small new feature or preset that we have with our Gradient tool, which is new to Photoshop CS5 and which will actually help us quite a bit when we're working on the overall tone of our photographs. Well, in order to use this new preset, the first thing that I want to do is create a New layer. Let's create a New layer by way of shortcut. Mac users press Shift+Command+N, Windows, Shift+Ctrl+N, and let's go ahead and name this New layer tone and click OK. Well now that we have this New layer, let's say that what we want to do here is darken up the sky and perhaps also darken up the foreground.
Well we can do that with our Gradient tool. Press the G key in order to select the Gradient tool, and then let's make our way up to the Options Bar. If we click on this Gradient Swatch here, you'll notice that we have a number of different gradients that we can select. Well there's a new preset which allows us to create what's called Neutral Density. In other words, it allows us to darken the sky and then not do anything to the foreground. This is incredibly helpful, especially with landscape photographs where the sky is too bright compared to the ground. Well in order to select this, we can simply click on this Gradient, and that will then select or target that one.
Let's click off of that in the Options Bar. Well another way to quickly select that Gradient is to press the shortcut to scroll or toggle through the different Gradient options. Let me show you what I mean. The shortcut is comma or period. If I press Comma, you'll notice that it goes backwards. If I press Period, you notice that this is then moving forwards through these various gradients that I have. So, if you want to use this quickly, here's how you can do this. What you're going to do is press the G key to select the Gradient tool and then period to move it one space forward to this new preset, which allows us to do this Neutral Density work. While here, all that we need to do is to simply click and drag across our image.
Now as I do that you can see it's just darkening up this area of the photograph. I can also build this up by clicking and dragging in another area to add more to this, in this case, a little bit more of an arc. Because this is on its own layer, what I want to do next then is take this to a Blending mode of Soft Light, because that's the Blending mode that works incredibly well for burning and dodging. So, now that we have this on its own layer, let's take a look at our before and after. Here we have before, and now we have after.
So, the nice thing about this is we can really darken or burn down certain areas of our photograph, for that matter, let's say we want to work with the foreground. Again, simply click and drag, and you can see how that effect is going to take place. Now in this case, in the foreground it's a little bit too strong, so I'll press Command+Z or Ctrl+Z to Undo that, and I'll start over with a New layer. Press Shift+Command+N on a Mac, Shift+Ctrl+N on a PC. We'll go ahead and name this layer tone 2 and click OK. We're now here.
We're going to go ahead and click and drag, and you want to drag a little bit further in order to have more of a transitional area, drag a little bit shorter to have less, and then what we'll do is take this to our Blending mode of Soft Light. Next step, go ahead and lower the Opacity significantly because we don't really need to darken up the foreground very much, just a subtle little adjustment down there. And now let's take a look at the overall before and after. Here we have it before and then after.
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