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The Gradient Map adjustment is a creative tool that you can use to apply a gradient by mapping it to the light and dark tones in an underlying image, and that makes for some really great looking gradients. One of the things that you can use the Gradient Map adjustment for is to remap the colors in an image to black and white. So I'm going to show you how to do that first and then I'll show you how to apply a color gradient on top of it. I am going to use an adjustment layer so, I'll go to the Adjustments panel and here is my Gradient Map adjustment icon, which I'm going to click to add a Gradient Map adjustment layer in the Layers panel. You can see that the document has been changed to black and white. That's because I have just applied this black to white gradient, this is the default gradient in the Gradient Map adjustment layer.
The default gradient is okay, but I can customize it to make an even better black to white conversion. To do that I'll click inside the gradient in the Adjustments panel and that opens the Gradient Editor. In the Gradient Editor there are some Presets and the first of those is black to white. That's the one that's currently being used. You can see that's gradient down here, in the bar in the Gradient Editor. I am going to edit this gradient just a bit, by clicking on the white color stop down here that represents the white in the gradient. That lets me see this mid point of the gradient. So I'm going to take that midpoint and I'm going to drag it over to the left, to add more white to the gradient and less black and that will lighten things up just a bit.
The next thing I'm going to do is take that white stop and move it over to the left just a bit, so that the widest parts of the gradient are a little bit wider. And then I'll click OK. So that's the first part of the lesson and I could stop here, but what's really fun is adding a color gradient that maps itself to the tones in the image. You could do that right on top of a color image, but it tends to work a little better when you have a good black and white conversion first. So, I'm going to go back to the Adjustments panel and click this green arrow to go back to Icon view, and then I'm going to go to the Gradient Map icon again and click there to add a second Gradient Map adjustment layer and this one also is set to black and white, but I'm going to change that by clicking in the middle of the Gradient bar in the Adjustments panel to open the Gradient Editor again for this second Gradient Map adjustment layer.
I could choose another one of the Presets and I'll just show you some of those, most of these are kind of bright, but they can all be tweaked. However, I'm going to stick with the first one, the black to white. And I'm going to make one change and that is that I'm going to move down to the bottom of the Gradient bar here and I'm going to add another color stop by clicking. By default that color stop is black, but I'm going to change a color to a light brown. So, to do that I'm going to click inside of that color stop twice and that opens the Color Picker. My Color Picker is set to only web colors and that's okay. I'm sure I'll find a color among those that I like. I'll move the bar in the middle up into the orange brown tones. Right away I see there is a kind of a coffee color here that I think will do. So I'm going to click that and then I'll click OK.
Now let's see what's happened, the Gradient that used to go from just black to white, now moves from black through light brown over to white. If I don't like that brown, I can Double-click that stop and change the color or I can click the stop and move it to redistribute the black, brown and white in the gradient and I can just play with it with an interactive preview in the image until I get things just the way I want them. I think that looks pretty good. Before I close this dialog box, I want to tell you that I think that this is one of the best ways that you can add a sepia tone or any other monochromatic tone to an image. And the reason is this; some of the other methods like colorizing in the Hue/Saturation dialog box or adding a tint in the Black & White dialog box apply one color across the entire image to the highlights, shadows and midtones.
But as you can see here, when you use a Gradient Map adjustment through using a whole range of tones in the gradient and those tones are mapped differently to the highlights, shadows and midtones in the image. So I'm going to click OK and that's my resulting image. So those are a couple of ways that you can put a Gradient Map adjustment layer to work for you, when you are looking for some creative effects in your images.
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