Thursday, March 17, 2011

Basic Tutorial: Creating an effective gradient map

Using Photoshop this tutorial will show you how to make a gradient map over an image to use mainly as a background image. Gradient maps mixes two colors together over the existing image to show contrast.

Step 1
Step 1: Find an effective photo, maybe nature or buildings. I chose this beautiful image of a tree frozen by winter. Open the file select the layer and make sure it is unlocked

layer is unlocked

Step 2: To ensure that the gradient map is only two colors I typically turn the image into a grayscale image. Go to image /mode/ grayscale. After that I suggest going back into the same menu and turning the image back into an RGB or CMYK image.

After removing the color from the image I recommend that you duplicate the layer by right clicking on the layer and select duplicate layer. Once the second layer is created it is important to show greater contrast on the image by selecting a layer option.

Duplicating the layer

For my image I selected a linear burn and set the top layer at 50% opacity so the image ends up being more pronounced.

Step 3: Now it's time to apply the gradient map. Go to your top menu and select Layer /New Adjustment Layer /Gradient map. A menu will pop up showing you options for preset gradient maps select the first one or the one that is automatically preselected. Test out various colors to see what works best for your image.

As you can see from this image I selected and dark orange by clicking on the left hand side color option. My document is preset to RGB colors. So after applying an effective gradient map below you will see the end result:

Basic gradient map applied: End result

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