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Photoshop is the world’s most powerful image editor, and it’s arguably the most complex, as well. Fortunately, nobody knows the program like award-winning book and video author Deke McClelland. Join Deke as he explores such indispensable Photoshop features as resolution, cropping, color correction, retouching, and layers. Gain expertise with real-world projects that make sense. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download Deke's free dekeKeys and color settings from the Exercise Files tab.
In this exercise we're going to add a couple of gradients, one is going to be a gradient layer that casts a shadow down at the bottom portion of the image so that the special guest is entirely legible. And the other is going to be a gradient stroke that's going to come in from the right-hand side, and you can see these ingredients in the final composition Martini Hour banner.psd. I've gone ahead and saved my progress so far as Glasses in space.psd found inside the 10_layers folder, and I'm going to bring up my Layers panel by pressing F7.
I'll click on the purplish layer to make it active, and I'm going to drop down to this black-white icon, press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac. Click and hold on this black-white icon and choose one of the top commands Gradient from the menu. And because I have all Alt or Option down it brings up the New Layer dialog box and I'll call this dark gradient just so that I know what its purpose is and in this checkbox Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask, I'll keep that off, we don't want to clip this layer and click OK because we want it to affect everything inside the image.
This is absolutely the wrong gradient right there, we need something dark, so I'm going to click on this Gradient bar to bring up the Gradient Editor and notice that it's based on the foreground color which is white right now and it goes from opaque to transparent. In order to make an Opaque to Transparent gradient work out properly, you typically want to involve a single color. So both the color stops this guy right here and this guy right here would have to be the same color, meaning that you'd have to double-click on one and change its values and then double-click on the other and change its values.
Now the time it's taking me to say that I could have already done it, but I want to show you a better way to work that's going to save your time. Before you visit that dialog box, make sure to set the foreground color to the color you actually want to use. So I'm going to press the D key to reestablish the default colors, and I'm going to press Shift+Tab to bring in my right-side panels. There is my Color panel, and I'm going to set the HSB values as follows. I want 285 for H for the Hue, I want 30 for the Saturation value, and I want 15 for Brightness, and that's a sort of very dark violet color as you can see.
Now let's put it to use, I'll press and hold Alt or Option, click that black-white icon, choose the Gradient command, up comes the New Layer dialog box, I call it dark gradient and then I click OK, and now it's using the proper colors you can see. If I click on that Gradient bar, it starts with that dark violet, it ends with that dark violet, it goes from opaque as indicated by this Opacity Stop, see, it says 100% to transparent as indicated by that final Opacity Stop which has an Opacity value of 0.
So cancel out, that works out beautifully. The one thing I'm going to do here is I'm going to change the value to 91, I just wanted to come in slightly from the right, and then press the Tab key because 90 degrees would be straight up. It tilts just slightly to the left and therefore comes in from the right, if we angle it just slightly counter- click wise, and then I'm going to click OK in order to accept that modification and I'm going to change the Blend mode from Normal to Multiply. Now that's too dark in my opinion and I could go ahead and reduce the Opacity value, but I have a better trick in my sleeve for you.
I'm going to press Shift+Tab in order to hide those right-side panels and then press F7 to bring back the Layers panel, and I'm going to double-click on the thumbnail right here for this Gradient layer. And now I'm going to move the dialog box over so I can see what I'm doing and I'm going to drag directly inside the Image window, like so, in order to move that gradient in space. So you can actually drag the gradient to a different location if you want to, that looks better to me. Now I'll click OK and be done with it. So that's our first gradient.
Our second gradient is going to be a Gradient Stroke, and it's just going to be a line that goes across, a horizontal line that goes across the image and what we're going to do is paint inside of a selection, and back when we were discussing Selections I showed you how there's the Single Row and Single Column Marquee tools, so you might figure, well, let's use a Single Row Marquee Tool and then just click inside of the image and we've got ourselves aligned, and yeah that's great, except it's a one-pixel line. And I'm trying to build my composition at 4x, right, it's four times the scale that I will ultimately shrink it down to, and the whole reason I'm doing that is just so that I could repurpose this image elsewhere if I want it to.
If you build your web graphics small on the first place then you could never repurpose them as print graphics. So it's better to build them high- resolution and then scale them down. Well, this guy is always one pixel tall, which is nuts, so Ctrl+D, Command+D on the Mac. Instead what we're going to have to do is get the Rectangular Marquee Tool and I'm going to have to press Shift+Tab. In order to bring back my right-side panels, I'll press the F7 key for a moment, just so I can conserve some space here to hide the Layers panel and I'll click on the i or press F8 to bring up the Info panel.
Now I'll move this guy over here and hopefully we'll get some decent auto-scrolling going here, you never know. I'm going to start dragging, like so, with this tool and I'll press the Spacebar and move it down a little bit. And what I want to see? See that H value in the Info panel, I want it to be 4, and let's get all the way over to the other side of the window here, and then see my H value is 4 at this point. So Width is 2360, Height is 4, release. Now that's one way to work and it didn't work. Notice that, it's only a height of two pixels so something went wrong, but you know what? The width is 2360.
Alright, I'll take that into account, I'll press Ctrl+D, Command+Do on the Mac. You can turn the Marquee Tool into any size Marquee drawing device you want to. All you got to do is go over to Style and change it from Normal to Fixed Size. And then I'll say that I want the Width to be 2360, and I'm working in pixels so it will automatically convert to pixels there, and I want the Height to be 4, the end. Press the Return key, the Enter key on the Mac, now I just click inside the image and I have a 4-pixel tall horizontal line.
Then because I'll presumably not want to be drawing those over-and-over again I will switch Style back to Normal so that I have a usable Marquee Tool in the future. Alright, now I've got some guidelines setup, Ctrl+Semicolon, Command+Semicolon on the Mac, and a pretty much on the guide it looks like, but I'm going to go ahead and zoom in a little bit. I want it to be slightly below the guide so that the top of this selection snaps to this lower horizontal guideline. Alright, that's it now you can press Ctrl+Semicolon or Command+ Semicolon again to get rid of that guideline and I'm going to press the F7 key to bring back my Layers panel and I'm going to press Ctrl+Shift+N, Command+Shift+N on the Mac to bring up New Layer and call it stroke or something along those lines, click OK, and I'm going to press the X key in order to make my foreground color white because I want this to be a White to Transparent gradient.
I will switch to the Gradient Tool right there which you get by pressing the G key. Make sure that you're drawing a Linear gradient, and click this down pointing arrowhead and choose this second swatch right there, Foreground to Transparent, that's what we want. And otherwise you should be seeing the default settings that you se on my screen. Alright, let's go ahead and zoom out and click, so I can see what the heck I'm doing and you know what? Let's just Shift+Tab everybody away, get out of here, and press Ctrl+H, Command+H on the Mac, so I hide that selection outline, and now I'm going to drag from above -- some place within the word Einstein and I'm Shift+Dragging by the way so that I'm constraining the angle of my gradient to exactly horizontal, and then I'll release and I end up getting this effect right there, which looks pretty good, I like it.
And there is my Gradient Stroke, so we have a combination of two gradients working together. One that's darkening this bottom area of the composition and another that's helping us distinguish some of the design elements. Thanks to a couple of differently styled gradient layers, one of which by the way is the layer that I can double-click on and change its values, and the other is a static pixel layer working together here inside Photoshop.
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