Written instructions for this tutorial are below the video. Enjoy!
Layer Mask Gradient in Photoshop Elements
By Linda Sattgast
A layer mask by itself is pretty amazing, but when you add a gradient, it gets even better. In this tutorial we’ll use a gradient mask with a photo to create a fun card!
Choose a Color to Match your Photo
- Open a photo that has some empty space on one side.
- Press Ctrl J (Mac: Cmd J) to duplicate the photo layer.
- In the Layers panel, click on the Background layer.
- To choose a color that goes with your photo, click on the Foreground Color Chip to get the Color Picker. Click with your cursor on a color from your photo, or choose a new color from the Color Picker. Click OK.
- In the Menu Bar, choose Edit > Fill. When the dialog box comes up, open the Contents menu and choose Foreground Color. The Blending Mode should be Normal and the Opacity 100%. Click OK. You won’t see the color because it’s hidden by your duplicate photo layer.
Create a Mask
- In the Layers panel, click on the top photo layer to make it the active layer.
- Click on the Add Layer Mask icon to add a white layer mask to the photo layer.
Set the Gradient Options
- Get the Gradient tool.
- In Tool Options, open the Gradient Preset Picker and double click on the Foreground to Background thumbnail. If you don’t see this thumbnail, open the menu at the top of the Gradient Picker and choose Default.
- Close the Gradient Picker.
- The Mode should be Normal and the Opacity 100%. Don’t check Reverse, but do check Transparency and Dither. Select the first icon for Linear Gradient.
Blend the Color with your Photo
- Look at the Color Chips and make sure the Foreground Color is white. If it isn’t, press the letter D to reset the Color Chips to white over black, which is the default for layer masks.
- On your photo, click where you want the photo to start fading, press the Shift key, and drag toward the side where you want to hide the photo. In my case, I clicked in the center of the photo and dragged half way to the left. Adding the Shift key keeps your gradient line straight. You can draw the gradient line as many times as you need to get it just right.
- When you let go of the mouse, part of the photo will disappear.
Optional: Adjust the Color if Necessary
- In the Layers panel, click on the color layer.
- In the Menu Bar choose Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue Saturation.
- Click the Colorize box and adjust the sliders until you find a color that suits you.
- Add some type to your photo and you’re ready to send it to someone special!
If you enjoyed this tutorial check out
The Art of Blending
Transform Your Photos From Ordinary To Amazing With The Power Of Blend Modes—It’s Easy And Fun, And Will Make Your Family And Friends Say “WOW!” Learn More
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