Making Your Own Textures: Gradients

There are a ton of free filters and textures you can download to add to your psd projects available on the internet, but you can make some of them on your own! In this tutorial, I’ll teach you how to make one (easy) kind, a gradient!


If you don’t know what a gradient is, it’s basically a smooth transition from different colors. If that doesn’t make any sense, just look at the Google image search for gradient and you can see what we’re going for here.

This is the starting image…
Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 1.43.25 PM

…but I think it’ll look better if it’s black and white, so go to to Image >> Adjustments >> Black & White to make it black in white. You can fool around with the color balances to change what kind of black and white it’ll be.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 1.46.52 PM

Now that it’s black and white, the image will accept the colors of the filter purely, without its original colors getting in the way. To start making the gradient, make a new layer. Then, select a small portion of the image, making sure to make it completely horizontal (or vertical, if that’s your direction of choice). Now paint a color of your choice in the entirety of the selected area. This color will be one of the ends of your gradient, so choose wisely! I picked #10e3d7.

Now, continue to select portions of the image, and painting them. Use the color bar on the top left to select your new color, moving slowly away from your original color to a new one. I made a gif to show the progress because I didn’t wanna stick too many images in this post.

(my colors change halfway through because I accidentally deleted some intermediate images and had tos tart over, sorry!)
You’ll notice that my selections get smaller as I move up the image; this is because the farther the colors are from each other on the color bar, the harder it is to make them seamlessly blend. So while the two shades of aqua at the bottom will be perfectly blended, moving from a light sea foam to a cream color is a bit more challenging.

Once you have all your colors set up, it should look like this! (Don’t forget to deselect!)

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 1.56.46 PM

Alright, now, it’s time to really make your gradient. To get the colors to blur together, use the Gaussian blur tool (I love this tool). Go to Filter >> Blur >> Gaussian, and drag the radius up until the colors seem appropriately blended.

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 1.58.16 PM

The larger your image OR the more drastic your color change, the higher your radius setting is going to be. Once it’s blurred, you can fool around with the layer setting to make some cool effects! Here I used the darken setting to make my final image:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 2.00.00 PM

But, the cool part is, you can also make other filters by messing around with the layer settings. This works in a large part because of the original image: mine was lights, so it made a good filter. Not every photo will work.

I set my gradient layer to screen, saved my final image, and then used that as a filter on color burn on this still from the movie Paris, Texas, to this result:

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 2.20.05 PM

I’m not really sure what I would do with this, but it looks cool, right?



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