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Editing gradient color stops

From: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

Video: Editing gradient color stops

In this exercise I'm going to show you how to manually modify a gradient, one color stop at a time, so that it exactly suits the needs of your photograph. I've saved my changes as Sienna mountains.psd, and my Colorize layer is selected, my Adjustments panel is available, so I'll go ahead and click the down pointing arrowhead to the right of the gradient strip, and I'm going to switch from the gradient that's active right now, which I believe is Broad Sienna, I'm going to switch over to that one that grabbed my attention earlier, which is Complementary VY.

Editing gradient color stops

In this exercise I'm going to show you how to manually modify a gradient, one color stop at a time, so that it exactly suits the needs of your photograph. I've saved my changes as Sienna mountains.psd, and my Colorize layer is selected, my Adjustments panel is available, so I'll go ahead and click the down pointing arrowhead to the right of the gradient strip, and I'm going to switch from the gradient that's active right now, which I believe is Broad Sienna, I'm going to switch over to that one that grabbed my attention earlier, which is Complementary VY.

That goes ahead and darkens up the image slightly as you can see. If I turn off this layer, this is the original black and white image that is subject to this Black & White Adjustment layer, and then when I turn on the colorize layer, the Shadows stay pretty much as dark as they were before, but the Highlights are dropping down a little bit. So the image overall has a little bit of a gloomier feel. So, I might want to lift that. I'm going to go ahead and click on this gradient strip to bring up the Gradient Editor dialog box and basically what you're doing with this gradient, you're doing two things: first of all, you're infusing color into your image of course, but you're also adjusting its overall luminance, because you can think of every single one of these Color Stops as being a triangle underneath the Histogram inside of Levels, for example.

So you can actually adjust the luminance levels as you're colorizing the image. So, for purposes of this effect, I want you to think of brightness as varying not from 0 to 255 like it generally does, but rather from 0 for black 0% for black to 100% for white. So, if I click on this black Color Stop, its Location is 0%, that's the brightness that we're modifying inside the image, and we're mapping it to black. So we're mapping 0 to 0. Whereas, if I click on this white Color Stop, its location is 100%, which means we're taking the brightest pixels inside the image and we're mapping them to white.

So, we're changing white to white, so no change there. Let's go and move to the next Color Stop to left, and notice its Location is 85%, so we're taking the 85% bright pixels, which are very bright pixels inside the image and we're mapping them to this yellow, and you can actually see the yellows here inside the background image. Go ahead and double-click on that Color Stop to bring up the Color Picker dialog box, and notice that we're mapping 85% to a brightness of 85%, so we would think that the Highlights aren't getting any darker at all, but here's what you have to bear in mind, Saturation brings with it darkness.

So, notice the color field right here and remember that when Hue is selected, when the H option is selected that radio button there, then you're seeing dark on the bottom of the field and brightness at the top of the field and you're seeing low saturation on left-hand side and high saturation on the right-hand side. So, I want you to notice, if you read these colors from black to white along the left-hand side of the field, they look lighter than the same colors map from black to white on the right-hand side of the field. That's because the highly saturated colors are darker than the low saturation colors, and to see what I mean, I'll go ahead and click inside the Saturation value here.

I want you to watch these yellow colors here in the background. As I leech up the Saturation, notice how much more they glow, notice how much brighter those luminance levels become. So now, we are truly mapping what were formerly 85% bright pixels to 85% and 0 Saturation. All right, I'm going to go ahead and increase the Saturation a little bit, I'm going to take it up to 20%, because I consider this gradient to be too garish so far. So I'll click OK in order to accept that very low saturation yellow by the way, so the Hue value is set to 50 degrees, click OK.

I'm now going to select the next Color Stop over, its Location is 75%, so we're taking 75% bright pixels and mapping them too, if I double-click on this Color Stop, mapping them to 75%. So again, it would seem like they are not getting any darker, but they are, because they're infused with 50% Saturation. Anyway, I'm going to start by taking this Hue value and raising it to 45 degrees, so that it's closer to its neighbor. So its neighbor is 50 degrees, this one is going to be 45 degrees, and then I'm going to take the Saturation value down, and notice as I do, I'm taking it down to I'd say about 15%.

Notice as I do, I'm brightening up those details inside the image. All right, now I'll click OK. Now let's go way over to the other side here. So we've got these two Color Stops that are identifying the Highlights in the image, then we have these two Color Stops that are identifying the Shadows and we're just letting the midtones ride in between. So, I'll click on this guy, which is 20 %, so we're taking the 20% brightness pixels that is to say some very dark colors inside the image, and we're mapping them to what? Let's go and double-click on that Color Stop.

Well, this color is blue, so 210 degrees you may recall from our discussion, way back in the fundamentals' portion of the series, that's what I call cobalt and it's a shade of blue that's trending towards cyan. Anyway, I'm happy with the color value, I'm not going to change that. Notice I am brightening things up, because I'm going from 20% to 25% brightness. However, because of the Saturation, we're weighing the color down. I'm going to take that Saturation level down to 20%, I think works pretty well for this, maybe 25, let's just raise it slightly there and then click OK.

Now, we've got this final Color Stop, because we don't need to change black and white, they're fine. I'll go ahead and double-click on this guy, at 10%, we're mapping to 20% brightness so you would think we're elevating the luminance levels of the very darkest colors. However, we've got a ton of violet going on, 270 degrees as the Hue value is dead on Violet, and 85% Saturation is just over the top. So let's go ahead and take that Saturation level down to 20% I would say, and then click OK.

All right, now at this point, having modified your Hue values and your Saturation values and so on, you have the option if you like to adjust your luminance levels. So, there is a few ways that works: one is, let's say you want to lighten the luminance levels. Then you would drag your Color Stops to the left. So if I grab this guy for example, it's currently at 75% and I drag it way over to 40% let's say, I'll dramatically brighten the image, because I'm saying, anything that currently has a brightness of 40% associated with it which is darker than medium, so it's in the dark midtone of Shadow region, it's going to map to a brightness of 75% which is clearly a Highlight.

So, we're wiping out the midtones inside the image at this point. I'll cancel out of there; we don't want to do that of course. So again, if you want to lighten your image, you drag your Color Stops to the left, if you want to darken your image, you drag your Color Stops to the right like so, and then if you want to increase the contrast of your image, you drag your Color Stops inward, so you would move your bright Color Stops to the left to make them brighter and you would move your dark Color Stops to the right to make them darker. So anyway, everybody moves toward the center in order to increase the contrast.

So for example, I'm going to take this guy and move him to 65% there and that might be a little too far, we'll see, and then I'll move this one 10% over as well to 75% and we end up getting this effect. And that's actually looking pretty darn good where this image is concerned. Then I'll take this guy that's currently at 20% and I'll move it over to 25% in order to darken things incrementally and I'll take this guy that's at 10% and move it to 15%. As a result, we've enhanced the contrast of the image.

Now what I would suggest you do, you don't absolutely have to do this, but my recommendation is that you go ahead and save your modified gradient. If you spend any time making it, you might as well save it. Saving is kind of a weird process; you basically name the gradient first and then click the New button. You have to work in that order. If you click New first, thinking then you'd name it, which is the way it works just about everywhere else inside of Photoshop, then you create a new gradient called Custom. Anyway, I'm going to call mine, Low sat complement or something like that, and then click on the New button.

Now, if you make some mistake and you need to make some tweaks to your gradient or change its name or anything like that, you can press and hold the Alt key or the Option key on the Mac and hover your cursor over one of these gradient swatches here, and your cursor changes to a pair of scissors, and then you would click with that Alt or Option key down that deletes that gradient swatch, make whatever changes you want to make. I believe if we start moving a single Color Stop here, like I'd just moved it from 25% to 26%, that wipes out my name, which is delightful work on Photoshop's part.

Anyway, so I now have to rename it again Low-sat complement, but you know what, last time I forgot the hyphen but before I also remembered to have an E at this location. Anyway, I'll now go ahead and click New and now I've got a saved version of that gradient right ready to go, I'll click OK, like I said you don't have to do that, you can work with an unsaved gradient as a gradient map layer, but it's just a good idea in case you want to use that gradient later. Now, to get a sense of what we've done, you can turn that colorize layer off, this is what the image looked like in black and white, and this is what it looks like now infused with six different Color Stops of colors, starting with black, ending with white, a bunch of different Color Stops in between.

In the next exercise, I'll show you how to modify your colorization effect, not laboriously by adjusting Color Stops, but rather fairly easily using a combination of Blend mode and Opacity.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced
Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced

247 video lessons · 32816 viewers

Deke McClelland
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 40m 2s
    1. Welcome
      2m 1s
    2. Making Photoshop your default image editor
      7m 43s
    3. Installing the dekeKeys keyboard shortcuts
      8m 10s
    4. Remapping OS shortcuts
      7m 37s
    5. Installing the Best Workflow color settings
      4m 31s
    6. The color settings explained
      6m 54s
    7. Loading the CS5 color settings in Bridge
      3m 6s
  2. 1h 5m
    1. What you can do with Photoshop
      1m 46s
    2. The mission-critical eyes
      2m 44s
    3. Copy Merged and Paste in Place
      6m 52s
    4. Sharpening details to match
      4m 34s
    5. Masking eyes
      9m 22s
    6. Working with clipping-mask layers
      9m 5s
    7. Shading with layer effects
      8m 10s
    8. Color and highlight effects
      4m 2s
    9. Refining layer masks
      5m 43s
    10. Fabricating the highlights in the pupils
      7m 33s
    11. Using a merged copy to sharpen
      5m 34s
  3. 2h 14m
    1. Highlights, shadows, and midtones
      1m 16s
    2. Introducing the Auto commands
      7m 23s
    3. Adjusting Cache Level settings
      6m 8s
    4. Reading a channel-by-channel histogram
      6m 21s
    5. How the Auto commands work
      5m 22s
    6. Auto Tone, Auto Contrast, and Auto Color
      7m 7s
    7. Blending the Auto results
      4m 4s
    8. Introducing the Levels command
      6m 15s
    9. Using Levels as an adjustment layer
      3m 12s
    10. Applying custom Levels adjustments
      6m 8s
    11. Understanding the gamma value
      7m 39s
    12. The futility of Output Levels
      2m 56s
    13. Selections and adjustment layers
      5m 48s
    14. Opening up the shadows
      3m 40s
    15. Previewing clipped pixels
      4m 51s
    16. The black, white, and gray eyedroppers
      5m 7s
    17. Gray card tips and tricks
      6m 5s
    18. Making channel-by-channel adjustments
      7m 29s
    19. Introducing the Curves command
      7m 44s
    20. Curves dialog box tricks
      7m 16s
    21. Curves adjustment layer tricks
      5m 45s
    22. Correcting an image with Curves
      5m 32s
    23. Filling in the highlights
      5m 42s
    24. Neutralizing casts and smoothing transitions
      5m 37s
  4. 1h 46m
    1. The art of enhancing edges
      1m 26s
    2. How sharpening works
      6m 2s
    3. The single-shot sharpeners
      6m 7s
    4. Introducing Unsharp Mask
      6m 19s
    5. Radius and Threshold
      6m 24s
    6. Sharpening colors vs. luminosity
      5m 56s
    7. Gauging the ideal settings
      8m 59s
    8. Unsharp Mask vs. Smart Sharpen
      7m 1s
    9. Using the Remove settings
      9m 30s
    10. The More Accurate checkbox
      6m 8s
    11. Saving your Smart Filter settings
      5m 31s
    12. The Advanced sharpening settings
      7m 52s
    13. Accounting for camera shake
      6m 18s
    14. Sharpening with the Emboss filter
      6m 43s
    15. Sharpening with High Pass
      9m 23s
    16. The new and improved Sharpen tool
      6m 22s
  5. 1h 34m
    1. Edge's evil twin: noise
      1m 12s
    2. Color vs. luminance noise
      7m 21s
    3. Reducing color noise
      7m 45s
    4. Reducing luminance noise
      4m 59s
    5. Relegating an effect to the shadows
      6m 27s
    6. Switching between layer and mask
      6m 59s
    7. The Dust & Scratches filter
      4m 56s
    8. Adjusting shadow saturation
      5m 52s
    9. Combining High Pass with Lens Blur
      6m 57s
    10. Masking a layer of Lens Blur
      7m 34s
    11. Painting away High Pass sharpening
      8m 22s
    12. Building up a noise pattern
      6m 40s
    13. Converting noise to texture
      4m 24s
    14. Bleeding colors into paper
      6m 16s
    15. Matching different noise levels
      8m 31s
  6. 1h 32m
    1. We are the stuff of light
      1m 24s
    2. Applying automatic lens correction
      5m 53s
    3. Introducing Shadows/Highlights
      3m 44s
    4. Shadows/Highlights in depth
      7m 59s
    5. Creating a "bounce" with Gaussian Blur
      4m 43s
    6. Sharpening on top of blur
      7m 3s
    7. Sharpening the merged composition
      6m 16s
    8. Grouping and masking layers
      5m 40s
    9. Adjusting the density of a mask
      7m 14s
    10. Creating a Shadows/Highlights shortcut
      5m 47s
    11. Restoring detail with Shadows/Highlights
      6m 23s
    12. Changing the Shadows/Highlights defaults
      6m 21s
    13. Smoothing skin details with Gaussian Blur
      3m 56s
    14. Smoothing with High Pass
      5m 44s
    15. Lowering contrast with Gaussian Blur
      7m 4s
    16. Inverting a sharpening effect
      7m 5s
  7. 2h 32m
    1. Color becomes monochrome
      1m 31s
    2. Converting an image to grayscale
      6m 49s
    3. Extracting luminance information
      7m 37s
    4. Introducing the Channel Mixer
      10m 23s
    5. Aggressive channel mixing
      9m 42s
    6. Proofing CMYK colors
      7m 49s
    7. Color settings and intent
      7m 6s
    8. Practical Channel Mixer variations
      4m 30s
    9. Saving variations as layer comps
      7m 57s
    10. The default grayscale recipe
      8m 55s
    11. Creating a custom black-and-white mix
      6m 59s
    12. Shadows/Highlights in black and white
      4m 58s
    13. Introducing the Black & White command
      5m 55s
    14. Adjusting Black & White settings
      9m 39s
    15. Mixing a Black & White portrait
      6m 32s
    16. Black & White vs. Channel Mixer
      9m 21s
    17. Adding tint and color
      8m 0s
    18. Introducing the Gradient Map
      7m 10s
    19. Loading custom gradients
      4m 32s
    20. Editing gradient color stops
      9m 58s
    21. Colorizing with blend modes and Opacity
      7m 13s
  8. 2h 10m
    1. Two great commands working great together
      1m 18s
    2. Introducing the Color Range command
      5m 13s
    3. Setting key colors and Fuzziness
      5m 38s
    4. Predefined vs. sampled colors
      3m 57s
    5. The Localized Color Clusters option
      5m 41s
    6. Defining a selection with care
      4m 44s
    7. Introducing the Quick Mask mode
      5m 20s
    8. Testing edges with the Magic Wand
      5m 14s
    9. Hand-brushing a selection
      5m 39s
    10. Saving and loading an alpha channel
      4m 35s
    11. Converting a selection to a layer mask
      2m 46s
    12. Switching between an image and a layer mask
      6m 58s
    13. Protecting elements with a layer mask
      8m 5s
    14. Duplicating and editing a layer mask
      7m 34s
    15. Introducing the Refine Edge command
      4m 46s
    16. Accessing the various Refine Edge options
      5m 35s
    17. Refine Edge's preview options
      6m 21s
    18. The Adjust Edge values
      4m 11s
    19. Edge Detection and Smart Radius
      6m 5s
    20. Using the Refine Radius tool
      8m 8s
    21. Using the Decontaminate Colors option
      7m 30s
    22. Old-school masking adjustments
      7m 7s
    23. Four micro mask adjustments
      8m 33s
  9. 3h 13m
    1. Photoshop's vector exceptions
      1m 11s
    2. Making text in Photoshop
      6m 18s
    3. Creating and editing a text layer
      6m 56s
    4. Font and type style
      7m 35s
    5. Type size and color
      7m 52s
    6. Combining layer effects and type
      10m 57s
    7. Drawing a custom shape layer
      8m 34s
    8. Side bearing, kerning, and tracking
      10m 36s
    9. Point text vs. area text
      8m 26s
    10. Selecting and formatting a paragraph
      5m 19s
    11. Copying and pasting unformatted text
      7m 45s
    12. Creating text inside a custom path
      6m 26s
    13. Creating text along a path
      8m 13s
    14. Adjusting baseline shift
      6m 16s
    15. Drawing a fading arrowhead
      7m 29s
    16. Fading a shadow with a layer
      5m 32s
    17. Logo creation and Fill Opacity
      7m 44s
    18. Stretching a background element
      6m 9s
    19. Drawing with shape outlines
      6m 18s
    20. Combining vector-based shapes
      6m 42s
    21. Masking vector-based shape layers
      6m 7s
    22. Correcting spacing problems
      7m 44s
    23. Drawing the ultimate specular sparkle
      8m 45s
    24. Preparing text for commercial output
      5m 9s
    25. Saving a high-resolution PDF file
      7m 11s
    26. Inspecting the final PDF document
      7m 8s
    27. Saving large poster art
      9m 32s
  10. 2h 36m
    1. What filters ought to be
      1m 25s
    2. Layer effects vs. filters
      6m 14s
    3. Carving with an Inner Shadow effect
      7m 45s
    4. Selling an effect with Drop Shadow
      7m 17s
    5. Creating blurry shadow type
      5m 30s
    6. Saving custom default settings
      6m 22s
    7. Creating a custom contour
      7m 3s
    8. Introducing Bevel and Emboss
      7m 35s
    9. Adjusting Angle and Altitude
      7m 8s
    10. Exploiting global light
      8m 11s
    11. Gloss and edge contour
      5m 8s
    12. Applying and creating layer styles
      6m 45s
    13. Loading, saving, and merging styles
      6m 17s
    14. Creating a textured bevel effect
      6m 56s
    15. Using shadows as highlights
      7m 39s
    16. Combining filters and effects
      6m 58s
    17. Working with random effects
      6m 55s
    18. Smoothing with Gaussian Blur and Levels
      6m 13s
    19. Masking blacks from whites
      4m 37s
    20. Applying liquid styles
      4m 36s
    21. Simulating liquid reflections
      8m 12s
    22. Finessing and cropping a liquid effect
      7m 25s
    23. Initiating a displacement map
      6m 17s
    24. Applying a displacement map
      7m 37s
  11. 1h 12m
    1. Two words: Free Transform
      34s
    2. Scale, rotate, and constrain
      6m 30s
    3. Using the transformation origin
      7m 42s
    4. Applying a slant (aka skew)
      3m 37s
    5. The four-point "perspective" distortion
      7m 51s
    6. Two ways to make gradient text
      5m 59s
    7. Building complexity from a simple shape
      4m 42s
    8. Duplicating a series of transformations
      6m 3s
    9. Rasterizing a layer with its effects
      6m 41s
    10. Applying a custom warp
      7m 24s
    11. Blending and softening a warped layer
      4m 39s
    12. Creating spherical highlights
      6m 30s
    13. Using a center-source inner glow
      3m 51s
  12. 2h 42m
    1. Distorting reality
      1m 33s
    2. Extracting a foreground element
      6m 45s
    3. Introducing the Puppet Warp command
      7m 20s
    4. Setting and manipulating pins
      7m 48s
    5. Rotating pins and switching warp modes
      6m 41s
    6. Expanding and contracting the mesh
      6m 11s
    7. Changing the Density setting
      8m 0s
    8. Adjusting the pin depth
      5m 18s
    9. Winding an image into a pretzel
      6m 2s
    10. Applying Puppet Warp to type
      6m 30s
    11. Warping single characters
      6m 25s
    12. Editing puppet-warped text
      8m 24s
    13. Extending an image with Free Transform
      8m 46s
    14. Extracting from a white background
      10m 5s
    15. Tracing a shape with Puppet Warp
      9m 1s
    16. Introducing the Liquify command
      5m 4s
    17. Warp, Twirl, Pucker, and Bloat
      8m 53s
    18. Saving and loading a mesh
      5m 59s
    19. Push, Mirror, and Turbulence
      11m 49s
    20. Lifting and slimming details
      8m 22s
    21. Warping fabric, arms, and legs
      7m 1s
    22. Masking and finessing the results
      10m 8s
  13. 3h 3m
    1. Welcome to the digital darkroom
      1m 44s
    2. Introducing Camera Raw
      7m 40s
    3. Adjusting white balance
      7m 0s
    4. Selecting and synchronizing images
      6m 9s
    5. Making automatic adjustments and saving changes
      7m 19s
    6. Creating and managing snapshots
      8m 23s
    7. Adjusting the Exposure value
      6m 24s
    8. Working with clipping warnings
      5m 5s
    9. Adjusting Brightness and Contrast
      7m 35s
    10. Vibrance, Saturation, and Clarity
      9m 25s
    11. Recovery and Fill Light
      6m 57s
    12. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      7m 2s
    13. Painting edits with the Adjustment Brush
      9m 44s
    14. Straighten, crop, and geometric distortions
      7m 49s
    15. Applying manual lens corrections
      7m 19s
    16. Vignette and chromatic aberrations
      6m 21s
    17. Introducing the Tone Curves
      6m 9s
    18. Parametric curves and targeted adjustments
      6m 26s
    19. Correcting a low-noise photograph
      7m 35s
    20. Sharpening and high-noise photos
      8m 25s
    21. Selective Hue/Saturation adjustments
      5m 34s
    22. Selective Luminance adjustments
      5m 39s
    23. Adding grain and vignetting effects
      5m 23s
    24. Mixing a subjective black-and-white image
      7m 53s
    25. Colorizing with the Split Toning options
      4m 29s
    26. Opening a raw image as a Smart Object
      5m 39s
    27. Camera Raw wrap-up
      8m 38s
  14. 55s
    1. Until next time
      55s

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