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Creating a neutral density gradient

From: Photoshop and Bridge CS5 for Photographers New Features

Video: Creating a neutral density gradient

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.

Creating a neutral density gradient

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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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop and Bridge CS5 for Photographers New Features
Photoshop and Bridge CS5 for Photographers New Features

48 video lessons · 19193 viewers

Chris Orwig
Author

 
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  1. 2m 51s
    1. Welcome
      2m 14s
    2. Using the exercise files
      37s
  2. 17m 14s
    1. Introducing PDF watermarking
      2m 9s
    2. Adding a custom watermark to a PDF
      5m 16s
    3. Using the new Export panel
      4m 45s
    4. Improved batch renaming
      3m 9s
    5. Working between Bridge and Photoshop
      1m 55s
  3. 20m 11s
    1. Getting started with Mini Bridge
      4m 17s
    2. Creating a custom Mini Bridge shortcut
      2m 1s
    3. Working with Bridge and Mini Bridge
      2m 18s
    4. Finding and reviewing photos
      4m 15s
    5. Opening documents
      4m 22s
    6. Customizing the position and display
      2m 58s
  4. 16m 54s
    1. Sharpening enhancements
      5m 1s
    2. Reducing noise
      5m 23s
    3. Using Post-Crop Vignetting
      3m 51s
    4. Adding film grain
      2m 39s
  5. 4m 58s
    1. Selecting and modifying a Photoshop workspace
      1m 52s
    2. Creating a custom workspace
      3m 6s
  6. 6m 48s
    1. Adjusting layer style effects on multiple layers at once
      2m 41s
    2. Modifying multiple layers at once
      2m 34s
    3. Dragging content into Photoshop as a Smart Object
      1m 33s
  7. 20m 56s
    1. Making better selections using Smart Radius
      6m 21s
    2. Removing a model from a background
      10m 12s
    3. Changing the colors of a shirt
      4m 23s
  8. 7m 46s
    1. Using the new brushes in a photographic workflow
      5m 52s
    2. Getting more efficient with brushes
      1m 54s
  9. 10m 17s
    1. Content-aware spot healing
      3m 17s
    2. Replacing backgrounds with Content-Aware Fill
      4m 19s
    3. Cleaning up multiple elements with Content-Aware Fill
      2m 41s
  10. 4m 24s
    1. Cropping and straightening a photograph
      2m 47s
    2. Auto-straightening a photograph
      1m 37s
  11. 12m 27s
    1. Accessing lens correction
      1m 10s
    2. Automatic lens correction
      2m 24s
    3. Working with the custom lens correction controls
      4m 53s
    4. Customizing lens distortion removal
      2m 12s
    5. Panoramic lens correction
      1m 48s
  12. 18m 58s
    1. Toning HDR photographs
      5m 21s
    2. Blending HDR toning for a more subtle effect
      4m 34s
    3. Working with HDR Pro
      4m 52s
    4. Getting creative with HDR Pro
      4m 11s
  13. 20m 43s
    1. Working with the Target Adjustment tool
      2m 26s
    2. Working with the new HUD color picker
      5m 8s
    3. Creating a neutral density gradient
      3m 25s
    4. Changing a photograph to black and white using the LAB action
      3m 15s
    5. Launching Photoshop in 32-bit mode
      3m 1s
    6. New printing settings
      3m 28s
  14. 38s
    1. Goodbye
      38s

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