Fading an Image – Gradient Masks

Below I will describe the few steps needed to create both color fade and fade to solid color effects in Photoshop.

Let’s start with the color fade:

Step 1:

Open your image. In this example, I have an image of wisteria flowers. I have processed this image to my liking, so I consider it “done” and a good starting point for my color fade effect. So, your first step is to process your original image to achieve your overall “color” result.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2:

Create a New Adjustment Layer by clicking the half black/half white icon at the bottom of the Layers panel. From the pop-up menu, select Black and White. Proceed to adjust the sliders to create an image that you like.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3:

Select the Gradient tool. You can do this by either clicking the letter “G” on your keyboard, or clicking on the tool button, or choosing Gradient Map in the Adjustments Panel.

 

Once the tool is selected, in the Options bar (top of Photoshop workspace), click the Gradient Picker (dropdown that has shading) and choose the Black/White gradient. Lastly, to the right of the Gradient Picker, click on the Linear Gradient icon.

 

 

 

 

Step 4:

With the Gradient tool selected, hold Shift and click and drag the tool’s crosshair from left to right (or right to left) depending on your preference. You will see a temporary guideline appear (if you are holding shift, then the line will be held horizontal creating a vertical mask). The gradient mask will appear automatically when you unclick. You can re-draw the line as many times as you like to experiment with the depth of fade and the mask will update automatically. You can also fade top to bottom or bottom to top, depending on your preferences and the image in question.

 

Don’t forget to save your final image!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can also use this technique to fade to a solid color, such as white, to create a customized postcard:

Same as Step 1 above

Step 2:

Instead of selecting Black and White, choose Solid Color from the New Adjustment Layer menu. Photoshop will open up a “color picking” dialogue box, select the color of your choice and click OK. A colored layer will appear and you will no longer see your image. No worries.

 

Step 3:

Select the Gradient tool, same as Step 3 above.

Step 4:

Make sure the Color Fill layer is active, then click near the middle of the color layer and drag the crosshair while holding the shift key (left or right) about 1” to start. You can experiment until you get the proper width for your needs.

Step 5:

If you need to move your image around, so that you can see the content you want, just double click the Background Layer in the Layers panel, rename it to Layer 0, click OK (this makes it editable). Then choose the Move tool (V), or click the icon in the toolbar. With the Move tool, you can drag the image around until the content you want to show is seen. Click enter to accept the move change.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 6:

Add text. To do this, click the Text tool from the toolbar. Click within the image on the workspace and add text. You can manipulate the font characteristics to your liking, as well as move the text box around to suit your needs.

 

Don’t forget to save your image!

Happy Creating!!

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