• How to Customize Gradients in Photoshop and PSE

    In the previous tip, we demonstrated how to use gradients to recolor leafy Autumn brushes to give them vibrant harvest coloring. Designer Digitals is stocked full of seasonal brushes that come as ABR Photoshop brush files and individual PNG images that are designed in black on a transparent background.
    There are a good number of gradients that come pre-installed in Photoshop and PS Elements. But you can easily create your own gradient to get just the colors you want for your digital project. Using the gradient editor, you can create and save your customized gradient presets to use and reuse.
    Here's how:

    Begin by opening a digital project, paper or photo. You'll match the colors in this document to create a custom gradient.

    In Photoshop:
    • Select the Gradient tool which shares a space on the toolbar with the Paint Bucket tool.
    • In the Options bar, click the gradient (not the down-arrow next to the gradient!) This opens the Gradient Editor dialog.
    • In the Presets, choose a gradient you want to alter. You will be able to change the colors, so pick a gradient by the number and distribution of stripes, not the colors.
    • When you choose a gradient, it is displayed in a bar beneath the gradient presets. The bar has a number of "Color Stops" in boxes below the bar.
    • Click one of the color stop boxes, then you'll see that color populate in the "Color" box at the bottom left. Move the cursor over to your open document. The cursor changes into an eyedropper. Click to "pick up" a color from your document.
    • Click the next color stop box and pick up the next color from your document. Repeat with the remaining color stoppers to choose colors that will perfectly match your project.
    • You can add more colors to your gradient by clicking between two stoppers. This creates a new stopper that can be colored using the same eyedropper method as before.
    • You can delete a color by dragging a stopper downward.
    • When you click on a color, you can use the diamonds that appear on either side of the stopper to expand or reduce the band size of that color.
    • When you are satisfied with your gradient, give the gradient a name by changing the default "Custom" and click "New."


    In PSE:
    • Select the Gradient tool which is beside the Paint Bucket tool.
    • In the Options at the bottom of the screen, click the gradient (not the down-arrow next to the gradient!) or click the "Edit" button. This opens the Gradient Editor dialog.
    • In the Presets, choose a gradient you want to alter. You will be able to change the colors, so pick a gradient by the number and distribution of stripes, not the colors.
    • When you choose a gradient, it is displayed in a bar beneath the gradient presets. The bar has a number of "Color Stops" in boxes below the bar.
    • Click one of the color stop boxes, then you'll see that color populate in the "Color" box at the bottom left. Move the cursor over to your open document. The cursor changes into an eyedropper. Click to "pick up" a color from your document.
    • Click the next color stop box and pick up the next color from your document. Repeat with the remaining color stoppers to choose colors that will perfectly match your project.
    • You can add more colors to your gradient by clicking between two stoppers. This creates a new stopper that can be colored using the same eyedropper method as before.
    • You can delete a color by dragging a stopper downward.
    • When you click on a color, you can use the diamonds that appear on either side of the stopper to expand or reduce the band size of that color.
    • When you are satisfied with your gradient, click the “add to presets” button. Your new gradient will appear at the bottom of the gradient preset box. Click OK to close out of the editor.


    Now you can use your custom gradient to recolor PNG images as described in the previous tip. Your recolored item will be a perfect match for your project using the gradient customization technique.