photoshop creative

5 Gradient Map tips

Posted in:
Tips & Tutorials, by Mark White
January 19, 2015

One image, one adjustment layer, five different effects for your photos

1. The Lomo effect

The Lomo effect throws colours completely out of whack. After opening up the Gradient Map adjustment, in its Editor choose the Colour Harmonies 1 group (click on the small right-pointing arrow). You can choose a preset or design your own colour gradient. After hitting OK, set the adjustment’s blend mode to Soft Light.

2. Monochrome

Gradient maps are ideal for creating black and white effects. Once inside the Gradient Editor, find the option Reset Gradients. You’ll need to use the first preset you see. By pushing either the white or black swatches in, you can adapt the effect.

3. Aged photo

Aging a phot can be done quickly with a gradient map. In the adjustment’s Editor, open the Pastels preset from the drop-down list. The last preset is a mix of brown colours. Select this and then change the layer’s blend mode to Colour to only affect the hues.

4. Light leak

Okay, so we’ve cheated with this one and used the Lighting Effects filter. Create a blank white layer and go to Filter>Render>Lighting Effects. Apply a spotlight to the white layer. Now go to Image>Adjustments>Gradient Map and the colours to a white and an orange. Change the layer’s blend mode to Overlay.

5. Evening light

This one’s nice and easy, requiring an orange to solid black gradient in the Gradient Editor adjustment. Once these two colours are set, change the blend mode of the adjustment from Normal to Overlay and lower its Opacity to 60% to lessen its strength.