How to Create a Gradient in Photoshop

Gradient has many uses in Photoshop. Every Photoshop user needs to learn how to create and use gradients.  

Creating a gradient can be as simple as selecting a gradient tool, choosing colors you want, and click and drag from one side to another. 

But there are many more options and possibilities that this tool provides us. Let’s start with the basics.  

Selecting Gradient Tool

Gradient Tool is located in the side panel. You can access it by right clicking Bucket Fill Tool and selecting Gradient Tool in the menu.

Gradient types- 

Five types of gradient linear, radial, angle, reflected and diamond


  • Linear Gradient

Makes a transition between two colors from the first point to the second in a straight line. 

  • Radial Gradient

Creates a circular transition from the starting point to the ending point. 


  • Angular Gradient

Creates a gradient between the starting point and ending point with a counterclockwise sweep. The starting point acts as a center of the gradient.


  • Reflected Gradient 

Creates a mirrored gradient with the endpoint color on either side of the gradient.


  • Diamond Gradient 

Creates a diamond-shaped gradient with the starting point being the center of the diamond.


Gradient colors

Gradient Presets 

When you select a Gradient Tool (G), you may notice gradient preview manu appearing. It features a couple of default Photoshop gradient presets that you can try out.  

To select gradient color preset click the expand button right from the gradient preview.  Now you can navigate through many default color presets by Adobe and ones you saved on your own.

The expanded list features way more color mixtures such as Pastels, Color Harmonies (use more). You can replace default presets with a selected library or add them to it by clicking OK.

Custom Gradients 

Photoshop has a couple of gradients presets by default. They may be useful, but ideally, you’d probably want to create some of your own. 

To open gradient editing menu you have to click on the Gradient Preview or click Gear Icon -> New Gradient Preset in the gradient menu. This menu will pop-out. Here you can edit Name of the gradient, colors, opacity and type.

Gradient Types

Gradients can be created as a solid or noise gradient type. Solid gradients are a smooth shift among two or more colors, while noise gradients feature a more irregular distribution of colors.

Creating Solid Gradient

When you specify gradient type as Solid, a smooth gradient with Color, Opacity and Midpoint Slider comes up.

  • Smoothness: Affects how smooth is transition between colors in your gradient. The higher the value, the smoother the transition, 100% being smoothest and 0% being quite harsh.
  • Opacity Stop: Affects opacity of gradient color at a specific location. Click on Opacity Stop to adjust its value. To add more Opacity Stops click above the gradient slider.
  • Color Stop: Controls color of your gradient. To add more Color Stops click below the gradient slider.
  • Midpoint: Controls the transition point between colors in your gradient.

Creating Noise Gradient

Once you switched your type to Noise, you will instantly notice how drastically different compared to Solid Gradient it is.

  • Roughness: controls how smooth color lines in gradient are. Values below 25% will look like smooth gradient.
  • Color Model: specifies color space used to create gradient. Gray and White Value sliders define color range within hue.
  • Restrict Colors: controls saturation of colors in gradient to prevent over saturation.
  • Add Transparency: adds transparency to random gradient colors.
  • Randomize: creates a new gradient according to settings specified.

Gradient on photos

Yellow to orange radial gradient applied. (Before and after)

Photo by Farrinni on Unsplash

Another example with blue to purple gradient. (Before and after)

Photo by Yang JunJie on Unsplash

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