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Gradient Map Differences

Lesson 26 from: Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Khara Plicanic

Gradient Map Differences

Lesson 26 from: Learn How to Use Photoshop Elements

Khara Plicanic

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Lesson Info

26. Gradient Map Differences

Next Lesson: Options for Saving


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Understand How Elements Works


Importing Images


Workspace Basics: Organizer


Workspace Basics: Editor


Tonal Adjustments in Quick Fix


Color Adjustments in Quick Fix


Apply Black & White Filters


Sharpen an Image


Fix Red Eye & Pet Eye


Straighten an Image in Quick Fix


Explanation of Photoshop Elements


Basic Cropping in Quick Fix


Guided Edit Overview


Guided Edit: Tilt Shift


Ways to Save Files


Layers & Simple Selections


Combine Images with Layers


How to Use Layer Styles


Make Selections with Layers


Make Selection with Lasso


Compositing with Multiple Images


Refine Edge Selection on Image


Use Refine Edge on Images


Create Gradient in Image


Gradient Map Differences


Options for Saving


Brushes Overview


Creatively Use Brushes


How to Change Brush Settings


Use Shape Tool with Brushes


Work with Multiple Shape Layers


Finish Image with Custom Shape Tool


How to Load Brushes into Elements


Add Layer Style to Image


Clip Image to Shape & Use as Template


Retouching Overview


How to Use Content-Aware Fill


How to Use Content-Aware Move Tool


Spot Healing Brush on Blemishes


Remove Frown Lines with Retouching


How to Remove Tattoos


Remove a Gap in Teeth


How to Whiten Teeth


Adjust Facial Features


Working with Type Overview


Match Type for Image


How to Manipulate Type Layers


Create Postcard with Type


Add Type on a Path


Organizing Images in Elements


Add Keywords to Images


Smart Tags Overview


Using Albums in Elements


Places Workspace Overview


Use Event Tags on Images


Timeline for Image Organization


Recommended Workflow


Lesson Info

Gradient Map Differences

Let's talk about how the gradient tool works, and then I'll show you how we can make some fake skies in case you ever need one, I guess. So the gradient tool is right here on your toolbar, so it's this black to white square. And the keyboard shortcut for it is G for Gradient, so that makes sense, so that's good. And it works dynamically by using your current foreground and background colors. So right now I have black and white, so those are just the defaults. But if I pick two different colors here, let's go ahead and do that, and we'll actually spend a little time, 'cause we have some time now, to talk about colors. So let's take advantage of that. Let's pick some different colors for this, this playground we're gonna create with gradients. And I'm gonna click in this top swatch, that's called our foreground swatch. And that brings up the famous color picker. Now when you look at this, it can be a little intimidating at first, and you're like how do I pick a color in here, there's all...

these numbers, I don't know what this means. We're going to boil it down to just the simple things, okay, and then I'll explain what this means, because I think it's important to know and it's helpful to know. But if this is above and beyond what you're, what you want right now, that's okay. Just let it roll off your back. But for those people out there that love details, I will share this with you. But the way that we pick colors is, one of the ways is we can dial up and down this slider, so I'm just choosing sort of a general hue zone that I wanna hit. So let's say that I wanna make a transition that goes from I don't know, this purple-y color here, so I'm gonna sort of target this zone, and then I'll select an actual color purple by clicking right here. And that shows me what I've loaded, right here. So I'm going to select that, I'll click okay, that swatch is gonna appear here. And in this background, I'll click and to pick pick a different color. And let's pick something like, I don't know, let's do maybe like red? Close to red? These are not my usual colors. I don't know why I'm feeling these today. But go ahead and pick that red. So now we get this almost like fuchsia to red gradient, and that means that by default, this gradient's gonna transition from our foreground to our background color. But it doesn't have to be that way. We can change this to be a number, any number of things, including we can totally customize it. So to do that, I'm gonna click this little arrow, and we see that these are the default gradients that just exist within Photoshop. So we've got right here, foreground to background. And the second option is foreground to transparent. So whatever our current foreground color is, this means that it would fade from that color into nothing. So this is really handy, and the good thing to know about these things is that these first two options are dynamic. So whatever colors that I have here, that's gonna change these first two options. They're gonna reflect those colors. The rest of these are then presets. So if I click over here and I get this sort of steel-looking black to white gradient, we've got a red to green, I'm not sure who decided that these gradients were the ones that are so helpful that they should be the defaults, but this is what they are. So there's all kinds of options. But let's go ahead and stick with our foreground to background. And we'll close this for now. And let's talk about the style of gradient that we have. So we have five different options. This is called linear gradient. This is a radial gradient, this is, what is this, I forget, angle gradient, reflected gradient and diamond gradient. We'll just stick with linear for right now, 'cause this makes the most sense. And the way that it works, I've got a blank layer to work with, and I'm just going to click and drag all the way across the image, and when I let go, Photoshop paints my whole layer with a gradient that transitions between my two colors right here. So you'll notice I started clicking over here on the left, and when I dragged to the right, it transitioned from this pink color on the left to the red color on the right. If I drag from the right to the left, it will reverse that. Or the top to the bottom, or the bottom to the top. Or I can drag at a diagonal. You have all kinds of options of how you use this, but it's really handy, even if you're not making a totally wild and just really out there gradient. This is really handy if you're just even creating a simple product mock up scene, or something. I do this a lot when I create invitations or designs, and maybe I want a pretty simple, not-busy background, maybe I don't want a pattern or something like that, but I want a little bit of depth and dimension to it? Then I might pick two colors that are pretty close together and still just make a gradient out of them just to create a little more visual interest. Almost like it's a highlight, you can almost create like a little bit of a highlight in your piece, so that's kind of neat. So that's just a linear gradient. You can also have it be radial in nature. So if I select this option down here, and I click and I draw outwards, maybe from the center, I'm going to get this round effect. This third one I can honestly say I've never used in my life but there's probably some amazing Photoshop artist who thinks its the greatest thing ever. I've never used it, but it's this angle gradient. So, folks at home, here's challenge for you. Create something cool with this angle gradient and then put it on Instagram and tag me, so I can see it. I would love to see what you come up with with this angle gradient. So, there's your challenge. That's the angle gradient. This is the reflected gradient. So what this does is if I draw a line up this way, it's gonna mirror the gradient on both sides. So, that can be useful for a number of things. You can also run it the other way. The neat thing about this is that when you're drawing with this tool, you don't have to get it perfect the first time. A lot of it is like oh, I'm not quite sure, let me try dragging this way. And the longer you draw the line, the farther the transition. So if I pop back over here, for example, to linear gradient, if I draw all the way across the document I get this nice smooth transition. If I come into the middle and just draw a really short line, then that transition happens over a very, much smaller space, and I get a much more dramatic transition. So it's far less gradual. So you have to really just experiment, and you don't have to like, you don't have to start over, you can just draw right on that graphic over again. Last but not least, we have the diamond gradient. This is another one for you. But so you can just really experiment with the gradient tool and it's nice because you don't have to start over or really back up, you can just paint one gradient over another. Okay, so you can also come down here and click reverse. That will not affect the gradient that you've already drawn that will just reverse your colors, so you, it's the same thing, I guess, as if you just reverse the direction you draw it. So that's nice. If I was gonna create a sky, for example, I would pick a couple different shades of blue. So I'm gonna click in this box, and again we get our color picker. And if you are looking at this and thinking, I don't know, I'm not finding the color I want, it's just not enough options here, there's like 16.7 million possible colors in this box. So, you should be able to find pretty much anything that you're looking for. But one thing that I would do is if I was gonna paint a sky, so probably I'd want a couple different shades of blue. So maybe something like this, and go ahead and click okay, and then the background color I would load. And then what I want to do is actually reference the blue that I already picked, so I would put my cursor on top of this, and you'll see the eyedropper icon. I can click with that, and I'll get that same shade of blue, and then what I can do is either pick a darker color by clicking somewhere down here, or if I think I want a lighter color, I would just click over here. So let's see what that looks like. And this is all trial and error. So it's one thing when you watch an instructor who's showing you some stuff that they've prepared, over many hours at home, they come out here and they have all the answers, it seems like, or not. But the reality is that even when I'm home working on these examples that I show you, I'm experimenting to see what's gonna work, what's not gonna work. So I just want you to know that so when you're working at home, you don't feel like you're doing something wrong because you had to try drawing the gradient 10 times before you got it how you wanted. That's totally normal. So, I've got my two colors here, and I've got my gradient tool, and I've got it set to this option. So the foreground to background color. And for a sky, I'd wanna use the linear gradient, and then we have to think. Do we want the dark blue to be at the bottom, and the light at the top? Or are we thinking more like twilight where the sun would maybe be low in the horizon, so that's where it would be whiter, and the blue would be up high? I don't know. I'm gonna go with the dark at the top, so we'll start at the top, 'cause it's gonna color from dark to light. So if I want the dark at this top, I'll start up there. I would just click and drag straight down and let go, and I get this nice blue that could totally be a sky if I drag some clouds in here, or maybe if I am trying to sell a house, I wanna mock it up and make it look nice with a nice blue sky behind it. This is one way that I could do that. So this is what we're gonna be doing, we're gonna be adding a rainbow in here using our gradient tool, and if we click down on this Edit button, I just wanna show you before we go dig up the rainbow stuff, I wanna show you that you can totally customize this too. So by default, the gradient's just gonna have the two colors, your foreground and background. But if I wanted to, I could put other colors in here anywhere that I want. So if I wanted to insert pink right here, I'd just put my cursor here and click, and I get another what's called a color stop. I can change that color by coming down here, and clicking to get the swatch panel. And then maybe I want like hot pink right there. So how cool is that? And I can drag this around. Maybe I wanna move this color so it transitions more at the end or at the beginning. I can also tighten up the transition areas by dragging these little diamonds. Maybe I don't want the pink to really have a lot of space. Maybe I want it to just be a little bit, something like that. I can add in another color here, change that, and I'm just making this up right now. This is just experimentation to kind of show you. But that's actually really quite pretty, I have to say. You can really mess around with this, and do all kinds of things. And then you can add this to your presets and save it, and a number of things. So that's pretty cool. But I'm going to go ahead and cancel that for right now, because we are gonna use a rainbow that already exists. And it's not this one here that we already find. I wanna show you that from this drop-down menu, there are a ton of other gradients that we can start with. So if we went to Load Gradients, no, not Load Gradients. Oops, oh, what do we wanna do? Oh, here it is, sorry. Not this panel menu over here, just this drop-down. These are the default gradients. And from here, you can see that there are several other groupings of gradients. So we have things like color harmony, these are some really cool, I always love this one, it is my favorite. And if you just click on it, then it will load right here, and we can see what does that look like? Beautiful. So there's all kinds of different options. What I'm looking for for this rainbow that I wanna show you is down here under Special Effects. And it's this rainbow right here, if we hover over it, it's called Russell's Rainbow. And I always thought that was Russell Brown's Rainbow, and he's like the father of Photoshop. And I asked him one time if that was his rainbow, and I was so excited that he would be like, you noticed, I feel so excited that you noticed that! But he was like, what are you talking about? He said, "I don't know the Russell who that refers to." So, the mystery is still out there. But we're gonna double-click and get this Russell's Rainbow. Not sure what Russell, but some Russell, that's his rainbow. With all that stuff set on our layers, let's go ahead and name our new blank layer Rainbow. All we have to do then is click and drag to draw this out. So I've got the rainbow selected, and I wanna make sure I have this radial option turned on. And then I'm just gonna click somewhere here, and this is trial and error, so experiment, plan to experiment. And when I let go, it gives me a rainbow that looks actually pretty darn good. The funny thing though is if I wanted to move this, like if I grab the move tool and I pull it over here, it's not like completing the rainbow out of the picture area, so I would have this funny edge. So, knowing that, if I want the rainbow to go a little further, I would just grab the gradient tool again, and I'm just gonna redraw it, and maybe pull it out a little further. And that actually didn't replace it. It actually did put it right on top. So I'm gonna undo and clean that off. That's unusual for this gradient. As we saw the others, it just repainted it. But this one, we're gonna actually have to undo it. So I'll just drag a little bit further, maybe to here, and when I let go, there we are. We have the rainbow now right about where I wanted it, under this castle. So it's coming, basically, right to the castle like this. So I'll move that over just slightly. That looks pretty great, except that it's now on top of everything, of course. So we're gonna do a little bit of, you guessed it, masking. So in the layers panel, if I wanna hide part of this rainbow, I'm gonna click the mask button right here. Again, the reason that we mask instead of erase is because if I were to pick up the eraser tool, which is right over here, it works just like the brush, only it erases. So you can still change the size and the softness and all of that, so we'll make that a little bigger here using the right bracket key. And we don't have the setting right here, the same button that we have to adjust the softness, so I'm gonna do it with my keyboard by pressing Shift + Left Bracket Key, so Left Bracket Key and Right Bracket Key make your brush small or big. And if you add Shift to those same bracket keys, then you can make the brush hard or soft. So I can see what kind of brush I have when I look here, it shows me a little bit of a preview. So, I could just erase the rainbow from the area where I don't want it, but then if I make a mistake, or now I'm like oh, I went too far, I can't bring it back unless I undo the whole thing. And maybe that was a lot of work. And maybe I like the way I did some of it, and I don't want to have to bring that, I don't want to have to redo all of it. I just wanna fix the one area. So you can see that there's not very much flexibility there. That's where the layer masks come in. So instead of erasing it, I'm going to click to add the layer mask. By default, the layer mask is blank, so it's just white. I'm gonna go back to my brush and if I wanna paint on this layer mask, I'm gonna need the black and white color, so if they don't already switch, then I'll come down here and click to make them switch. And then I will just paint, oops, got the wrong tool here. There we go. I will use a soft paint brush, and look what's happening. I'm getting actual black paint on my image. What does that tell me? That tells me that my image is selected, not my layer mask. So when this happens to you, which it will probably happen, it happens to me quite often. All you have to do is undo whatever you've done here, and then I'm gonna click away for a moment, and if I click back, I wanna be able to just mask this. And I'm not sure why it's being finicky like this. Trash it for a minute. Oh, because it made a shape layer somehow, instead of a mask. Let's see, there it went. Not sure what I did there! But I clicked the wrong, I must have clicked something or hit my keyboard funny. So I just repeated that. So I added the mask, and then I wanna make sure the mask gets selected, not the rainbow, and then I'm just gonna paint it with that black soft brush and I just wanna get it off of the cloud here. So I'll make my brush smaller if I need to. If I want this, the paint to be more gradual, in other words, I don't want to mask it at 100% with every stroke, one thing that I can do is drop the opacity down. So maybe my brush, maybe I lower it down to 30% opacity. And then as I come in and paint this, it's gonna be more subtle. So I have to actually build up the effects, and maybe that's gonna be a little more in line with what I want, or what would work. So maybe the rainbow is not perfectly appearing here, it's just a little, it's bleeding off a little bit into this area. I kind of like how that looks. So something, maybe, like that. That looks pretty good. And if I make a mistake, if I go to far and do something like this, I can bring that back either by pressing Undo, or if I redo the mistake, I'm gonna bring the opacity back up to 100% and change my color so that I'm painting with white, and that will just bring that back. So it's editable. And that is a good thing. I will point out, it's kind of, I mean as awful as it is to be teaching a class and have your computer act weird and have weird things happen on camera, the nice thing is that it's a teaching opportunity for me to just really remind you that that's real life, right? I mean, when I'm working at home stuff goes wrong sometimes. It's less stressful than when it acts weird and I'm on camera, but it happens all the time. Or maybe I just hit a weird key, or sometimes my son gets ahold of my computer, and who knows what he does to it? But sometimes if I step away for a minute and I step back, it's acting weird and I have to take a minute to figure out what happened. And when you're in Photoshop and weird things happen or you are expecting something to behave a certain way and it doesn't quite go the way you thought it would, there's a couple of places where I would say look first to find the problem. So those two places would be check your layers panel, because it could be that you are not on the layer that you thought you would be on, or maybe you are not on the object in the layers panel that you think that you're on. So I thought a minute ago, I thought I had my layer mask, but somehow it was a weird shape layer that I don't even know how that showed up. But it was there, so we fixed it. So you wanna check your layers panel. Just make sure you're on the layer you thought you were. Make sure your layer is visible. Sometimes if you hide a layer and then you're trying to paint, you'll get this weird message that says layer is hidden, and you're like, what are you talking about, I can see it right here! And so it can be really frustrating. But you just have to take a deep breath and slow down a little bit, and then you'll see a lot more clearly. So that's the one place to look, is the layers panel. Also check the opacity. Another thing to do is with whatever tool you have, check the Options bar, because Options change the way that tools work, and it could be that you just forgot that some weird setting was on someplace in here, and that's making the tool behave in some strange way. Another thing that I think is also common is make sure you have the tool that you think you have. This is a brush tool, and it's part of this brush family of three. So there are three different brush tools here, but there's also this brush-looking tool, and they're very different tools. And so sometimes people think they have the brush tool, but really they have this tool, this smart brush tool, or maybe they have the impressionist brush, and they think that it's the regular brush. So there's all these weird things that happen, so you just wanna double-check and look and see where you are. And almost every time that's one of those places, I guess three places, the Layers Panel, the Options Bar, and your Toolbar. One of those three places is going to be where the problem is. So just take a peek and take a breath, and you will figure it out, I really trust that you will. All right, let's make this a little more exciting by changing something, I don't think we've talked about this yet. We're gonna change the blend mode of this layer, which is really cool. So in the layers panel, up here at the top there's this little drop-down. If you've never ever messed with it, it only ever says normal. And by default, it's just normal. But normal can be boring sometimes, and we sometimes, depending on what you're doing, you might get better results with a different blend mode. So if I click on this, we see this whole long list of all these different blend modes. What a blend mode is is just a way of, like the name implies, blending one layer with the rest of the layers in your image. So each individual layer is capable of its own blend mode. So, I could change the blend mode of this rainbow to be, like, overlay, and the cloud can remain in normal blend mode. And the castle could be in some other blend mode. So they can all be controlled independently. So, overlay actually works pretty nicely for this. It helps it blend in a little bit more realistically. So you can just kind of experiment with the blend mode. They're very intimidating, that darken doesn't work very well for this example. Probably none of these would work, I would probably focus actually down here. You can see that the blend modes are grouped slightly, they have these little divider lines, and that just is loosely telling you what you can expect from those blend modes. So they're sort of like families of blend modes, and they behave in similar ways. But when you're new to this stuff, the blend modes can feel a little overwhelming, 'cause I remember thinking how am I supposed to know what the right blend mode is for this composite that I'm making? And the answer is, you don't. You just have to experiment. Over time, if you stick at this long enough, over time you get better and better at guessing, and you start to figure out what certain blend modes do and how they behave. So I like to think of all the blend modes as having different behaviors, and different ways that they treat other, things in your image. So some blend modes will treat highlights and shadows differently than other blend modes. Some blend modes treat color and saturation differently than other blend modes, so you just have to experiment. But there's this big old long list, and you can just play with it. So for this rainbow, if you're following along at home, the rainbow is gonna work well in something, I think, from this collection. So overlay looks nice, soft light is very similar to overlay, it's a little less intense. Hard light is very bright and intense. And you can play with this on your own, but I think I'm gonna stick with overlay, I really like that and it kind of just looks like it belongs there like that. So that is an example of changing the blend mode. That can be a really powerful tool, especially when you're creating composites and you're mixing layers together to create something new. So with that in mind, let's try another thing that we're gonna add to this image and just see where we can go with it. But I'm gonna add another blank layer here. I'm just gonna click in the layers panel, this little button right here. I call it the Sticky Notepad Button, because it kind of looks like a stack of sticky notes. And that's gonna make a new layer. And we're gonna leave it blank. I'm gonna go grab the gradient tool, and we're done with the rainbows, so we're gonna leave that behind, and I'm gonna go to one of my favorite ones is this pastels option. So I'm gonna click on Pastels, and I'm gonna click right here to select this yellow to pink to purple pastel gradient. If I double-click it, it will both select it and close this gradient window, so that's nice, get it out of the way. So I'm just gonna show you two ways. We're gonna add a gradient to this image twice, because I wanna show you the difference between just creating a blank layer and slapping a gradient onto it, which is great, and we'll change the blend mode and play with it. But then I also wanna show you how that differs from adding a gradient, but making it a gradient map, and using an adjustment layer to do it. So that's some pretty far-out stuff. Let's take a look. With that layer active, then, I'm gonna go ahead and chose the Linear Gradient. I'm gonna press Command or Control + Minus to just scooch back a little bit, so I can see better. And I'm gonna start over on this side, and maybe I'll sort of mirror this light from here. So maybe I'll have the yellow starting down here, and I'm just gonna click and drag upwards toward the castle like this, and when I let go, as I expected, the gradient is just going to cover up the whole image. And that's fine, that's exactly what I was planning. And that's what happens when this layer is in normal blend mode. It's basically like I took a roller of paint and just painted over the whole image. But here, again, is where these blend modes come into play, and they're so useful. I can click this little drop-down, and maybe now, instead of normal, maybe I wanna try multiply. Oo, look at that. Maybe I wanna try color burn. I can actually cycle through these on a PC, I think you can just use your arrow keys, once you click in here, you can just press your down arrow key and I think it'll cycle through everything for you. On a Mac, I always screw this up, but on a Mac I think it works if I get the Move tool, and then I press Shift + Plus. Oh, yes, I'm right. I'm gonna hold the Shift key and hit the Plus key over and over again, and you'll notice that it's cycling through the blend modes. So here's hard light, how beautiful is that? I love that look. Ooh, I like pin light too. That's gonna be tough to decide which I like best. Maybe pin light. So you can see some of these do really wacky things, like this is difference mode, that is like some sort of crazy psychedelic something. Again, there's some kind of good use for that, I can't say I use the different blend modes a whole ton, but somebody out there does. This is color blind mode, that's also beautiful. And now we're back at the top, to normal. So again, on a PC, you can just use your arrow keys, and once you get your selection in here, you can just arrow through it. On a Mac, you have to have the move tool active. Then you hold down the Shift key, and you hit the Plus button on your keyboard. So it's a little finagle-y on a Mac, but that makes it easy to just experiment. So, I don't know, I really liked this color overlay too. Maybe I'll just stick with that for now. I can also then come up here into the opacity slider. I feel like that's nice, but I wanna dial that back a little bit. I can fade the layer away by adjusting the opacity, and that just helps it, so it's more of a blend between the original colors, and then this gradient that's being added. All right, so that's one way to add the gradient. Let's take another look at an alternative. So I'm gonna just hide that layer for right now, and I'm gonna introduce you to another entirely new concept, because I feel like you guys just haven't had quite enough yet, let me throw something else at ya. I'm gonna add something called an adjustment layer, so up until now when we've done things like this gradient, we're actually putting pixels, I mean I would say pixels to paper, but this isn't paper, it's still digital. But we're actually putting pixels into our image, and they're actually in the layer where we're working with pixels. And that's a lot of information, which my computer's been choking on today. So another alternative to that that also gives us a lot more flexibility is to take advantage of this adjustment layer option. So it looks kind of like a half, well, it's a circle, almost like a yin yang, it's a half-black half-white circle, and if I click on it, I get a few options here. I can add adjustment layers of several different kinds. Including things like solid color. I could add the gradient that we just did. I could've done that here, and just added a gradient. But we're gonna take this a step further and I'm gonna show you a gradient map. And I'm gonna explain what the difference between a gradient and a gradient map is. So let's go ahead and click gradient map. And this is the gradient that it's choosing for me, not the one that I want, so I'm gonna click this drop-down, and let's choose that same gradient that we had just a minute ago. So I'm gonna select pastels, and I'm gonna come down and click this yellow to purple gradient, and you'll see that it applies it to the image, and that's looking good. But I want to flip-flop it the other way around. The way that the gradient map works and why it's different from a regular gradient, is a regular gradient, if we, I'm gonna hide this for a minute, let's put on the other gradient that we drew. And let's put it back to 100%, and let's put, let's go back to pin light. Or we'll say color. All right, so the gradient here, this is a straight-up gradient that we added on a layer of its own. And this gradient is just linear, meaning we started on this side with yellow, we transitioned from yellow to pink, and finally to purple, and that's it. And if I put this in normal blend mode, we can see that that's what's happening. So there is no mapping that's happening, this gradient just exists the way that we drew it, and if I want it to interact with anything and I change the blend mode to something like Color, it's gonna just basically be see-through, kind of like sunglasses, like a lens on your sunglasses, you can see through it, but it's gonna color your world like a filter in that sense. So that's the way that this gradient is happening. This adjustment layer gradient, if I turn this back on, we see the same colors but wow, doesn't that look different? This is a gradient map, and the difference is that a map is going to actually map to the different tones in your image. So we see here that the shadow area in the image is being mapped with this yellow color, and the areas of the image that are lighter are brighter in their luminosity values, they get this purple color. So if you remember that histogram that we talked about earlier, I think I can bring it up quickly. Here we go. If we remember this histogram that we saw earlier, it's the same idea. So basically, we're mapping the colors to the shadows, midtones, and highlights. And that's why the shadows are on the left here, and the highlights are on the right. That's why when we look at this gradient map, the yellows are being mapped to the shadows, and the purples are being mapped to the highlights. But that looks like a negative on film, doesn't it? It's kind of like a reverse positive image. So I'm gonna reverse that. And the easiest way to do that is just click this little reverse button, ah. And now that looks something like more like what we might see, the next time we see a castle float by in a cloud, it might look more like this. I think that's much more realistic. But we get this effect now, so the shadows are darker. So this looks more correct, I guess, to our eyes, because the darker areas are getting the darker color, being the purple, and the brighter areas are now getting the yellow, which is a brighter, lighter color there. So that looks much better than the reverse, here, that sort of negative image. And then I'm gonna close this panel, and let's talk about this adjustment layer that we just made. 'Cause adjustment layers are crazy super powerful, and if you don't know how to use them, you won't be able to take advantage of them. So, the way that it works is instead of a layer that's just filled with pixels like this gradient layer down here is, instead there's this sort of virtual layer, and it's just an adjustment. So this gradient is considered an adjustment, and adjustment can be almost anything. If we click this icon again, we'll see that we can make adjustments in our gradient patterns, we can make levels adjustments, so that histogram. We can make brightness and contrast adjustments, hue saturation adjustments, et cetera. And so a number of different adjustments. But those adjustments, they're virtual. They don't exist actually in the pixels of our photos, they're just virtual right here, which is nice 'cause they take up very little space. They're not adding much to your file size, so it's good if your computer is choking along like mine has been lately. It's gonna reduce the file size and the memory intensity of your images. But it's also flexible. So if I decide you know what, maybe I want a different gradient, I can just double-click this little thumbnail, and I could try, like what does this one look like? What does that one look like? What does this look like? I mean, you can just play with things, oo, that's pretty. Maybe we reverse it back, interesting. I still think this one's my favorite, so I'm gonna stick with that. But the point is that this is infinitely editable. So you're not damaging your pixels, you are not having to do any of your work over again, it's just gonna stay editable forever, for as long as you have that file and those layers, then you can edit it any time. It comes with the bonus of a layer mask, so any time you create an adjustment layer, it comes with this layer mask. And of course, you can mask anything that you want, or not. Just to help you understand a little bit more, let's add one more adjustment layer just so you can see another example. I'm gonna come back to this adjustment layer button, and let's add, let's add hue saturation, I guess. This'll be simple. So I'll just take the saturation and just drag it all the way to the left, just so you can see how that looks. And I have sucked all the color out, and now we realize this image doesn't have much. It doesn't have color, it doesn't have much as long as that gradient map is on here. So, what is happening is we see a different icon here. This icon looks different than this icon. This is the icon for a gradient map adjustment. This is the icon for a hue saturation adjustment. So either one, if we wanna access the settings for that adjustment, we just double-click, and we get the popup window that corresponds to that adjustment. So if I wanna change my gradient map, I can. If I decide oo, I don't wanna desaturate that so much, I can pop this back up and tug the slider back. Maybe I only want it to be there, for whatever reason. Okay, so that is permanently adjustable. That's how you get in there. And of course, we can hide, or turn off, or throw away, or reduce the opacity of any one of these. I'm not gonna keep this hue adjustment layer, because let's face it, the whole reason of doing this is the colors are so pretty, so why would I desaturate them? I'm gonna throw that away by just dragging it to the trash can, and let's take a peek now at this gradient map. So we can really see the difference, if I turn this other gradient on, and then I toggle the map layer on and off, those are the same gradient, the exact same gradient applied to the exact same image. But you can see the difference between just a straight linear gradient, just being overlaid on top of our file, just from left to right, wherever the gradient falls, that's where it falls. Or this mapped gradient, where the colors in the gradient are actually mapping to the different brightness levels in the image. So there's just two very different effects, which is pretty cool. So this creates basically like a, what would you call that, a tricolor image I guess? Not a duo-tone but a trio-tone, is that a word? But to get this neat effect, and we can again play with blend mode, and change things if we want to, but ultimately the choice is gonna be up to you. I think what I would end up doing, I like multiply, oo, multiply is nice. I think I might keep that in normal, and if I wanted to just fade it out, maybe I just drag it a little bit down here, drag the opacity down so I have a little bit of a blend between the map layer and the regular gradient, and then I just get a really nice color effect, and that's kind of cool. I'm looking at this now and thinking, why'd I bother putting a rainbow? Because it's being overridden by these adjustments. So if I wanted my rainbow to not be subject to the gradient or this adjustment layer, all I would have to do is drag it up above, and then it would be on its own. So the way that these adjustment layers work is they're kind of like rain clouds, and their influence falls down. It runs downstream. So anything that I don't want affected by this, I can just drag it upwards and then it won't be subject to it. So maybe now I lower that opacity, and look at that, that's kind of a fun, pretty little castle in the clouds. Who doesn't love that?

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Ratings and Reviews


Just watching this class live. It's my first class with Khara; she is a wonderful teacher, moving at a steady speed but always being careful to let us know what she's doing in the moment. I would classify myself as intermediate in terms of PSE but I've learned lots of little things that will make further use even easier and more fun. I really appreciated her descriptions of the difference between PS and PSE and her encouragement in using Photoshop Elements and all that it can do.


I have only been able to watch portions of this class but every single part that I have watched has been technically clear and inspiring to me. Based on this experience and the thorough, 58 item list of lessons, I will surely be buying this class soon! Thank you Khara and Creativelive for making a class on this topic and making it be super!!

Ven S

Great course. You can tell she knows the programme inside out.

Student Work