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Photoshop Elements 4: The Missing Manual by Barbara Brundage

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Applying Gradients

You may have noticed that a few of the Layer styles fade out a color at the edges. In fact, Elements lets you fade colors in many different ways by using gradients, in which colors blend and fade in almost any way you can imagine. You can use gradients to create anything from a multicolored rainbow extravaganza to a single color that fades away into transparency. Figure 12-14 shows you a few examples of what you can do with gradients. The only limit is your imagination.

You can apply gradients directly to your image using the Gradient tool, or you can create Gradient Fill layers, which are entire layers filled with—you guessed it—gradients. You can even edit gradients and create new ones using the Gradient Editor. Finally, there's a special kind of gradient called a Gradient Map that lets you replace the colors in your image with the colors from a gradient. This section covers the basics of using all these tools and methods.

Here are three examples of gradients drawn with the Gradient tool.Top: This figure shows a gradient that creates a rainbow effect.Middle: If you play with the Gradient Editor (Section 12.3.3.1), you can create all sorts of interesting effects. Here's the gradient from the top figure again, only this time it's applied left to right instead of top to bottom. It looks so different because the noise option is used here (see Section 12.3.3). Click the Randomize button a couple of times for this effect.Bottom: This figure shows a gradient you can create if you want a landscape background for artwork.

Figure 12-14. Here are three examples of gradients drawn with the Gradient tool. Top: This figure shows a gradient that creates a rainbow effect. Middle: If you play with the Gradient Editor (Section 12.3.3.1), you can create all sorts of interesting effects. Here's the gradient from the top figure again, only this time it's applied left to right instead of top to bottom. It looks so different because the noise option is used here (see Section ...

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