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Chapter 13. Gradients > To apply a gradient as a fill layer:

To apply a gradient as a fill layer:

Choose a layer. The Gradient tool can’t be used on an image in Bitmap or Indexed Color mode.

Optional: Select an area of a layer to limit the gradient fill to that area (see also the sidebar on the next page). Otherwise, the gradient will fill the entire layer.

Choose Gradient from the “Create new fill or adjustment layer” pop-up menu at the bottom of the Layers palette, .

Click the gradient arrowhead at the top of the dialog box, choose a preset gradient from the picker, then click back in the dialog box .

Choose a gradient Style: Linear, Radial, Angular, Reflected, or Diamond .


Choose gradient Style, Angle, and Scale percentages in the Gradient Fill dialog box.

The five basic gradient Styles

Choose an Angle by moving the dial or by entering a value.


Use the Scale slider to scale the gradient relative to the layer. The higher the scale value, the more gradual the transition between gradient colors.

Optional: Drag in the image window to reposition the gradient in the image. Cool!

Do any of the following:

Check/uncheck Reverse to reverse the order of colors in the gradient.

Check Dither to minimize banding (stripes) in the gradient.

Check Align with layer to have the length of the gradient fill be calculated based on visible pixels on the layer or a selection on the layer. Or uncheck this option to have the gradient stretch across the whole layer, whether or not the layer contains transparent pixels or a selection is present.

Click OK.

Optional: Use the Layers palette to change the gradient fill layer’s opacity or blending mode. You can get some beautiful effects this way. If the layer imagery has transparent edges, double-clicking a layer opens the Layer Style dialog box, which you can use to apply an effect to the layer.

Note: To adjust any of the gradient settings, double-click the gradient fill layer thumbnail—the Gradient Fill dialog box reopens. This is what we meant before when we said this method offers the most flexibility.


To hide a gradient fill layer, click the eye icon for the layer. To delete a gradient fill layer, drag it over the “Delete layer” (trash) button.



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