Gradient filter II. in Photoshop

We discussed this method earlier using Photoshop Elements. It conjures a simple color transition on a photo. The procedure is roughly the same in Photoshop, but it’ll do good to repeat what has been said, and add a few changes. Once again, layer styles will be in the focus.

Load the photo in Photoshop

If you’re bored with a picture, or the sky is bleached beyond repair, it’ time to take a color gradient filter and spice up the mood.

Layer from Background

The photo consists of a single background layer, which needs to be converted to a normal layer. Either double-click it to do so, or right-click on it, and select Layer From Background in the context menu. A small dialog is displayed. Simply click OK.

In style

The previous step was necessary in order to be able to use a layer style. Right-click the photo again, and select Blending Options to display the Layer Style dialog.

Choose Gradient Overlay, and to the right, select Reverse so that the gradient will get lighter from top to bottom.

Coloring the gradient

A black-and-white transition is not very attractive in this picture, so let’s choose something else.

Click the color box (1) and another dialog appears. It is called Gradient Editor. Click the arrow marked with 2 and the starting Color will be displayed at the bottom (3). It is black right now, but you can click the Color window (3) to change it.


After clicking the small color box, the Color Picker dialog appears. First, choose a gradient color you like on the right (1), and then select its lightness and saturation on the left (2).

We want a tobacco-colored gradient, and therefore choose a slightly reddish brown. Click OK when you’re done.


You’re back in the Gradient Editor, and you only need one color this time (of course, you can also create another gradient from the bottom, even with a different color).

So the other side of the gradient should be a nice transparent area. Click the arrow on the top right end of the gradient bar to set opacity for the selected color. Set Opacity to 0% and click OK to close this dialog.

All the rest

We still have the Layer Style dialog open for setting miscellaneous options. Set Blend Mode to Hard Light, and if you find the color too strong, use Opacity to weaken it. Scale controls the intensity of the gradient, from a very long one to a sudden change in colors. You may also want to use Angle to specify the gradient’s direction. This time the default 90-degree angle is OK, so we don’t change it.

Yellow haze all around

The gradient filter made the picture a little more colorful and interesting—even if not any better. All you still have to do is to save the photo. If you want a picture in JPG format, be sure to click Layer/Flatten Image before saving.