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  1. Photoshop Elements User Guide
  2. Introduction to Photoshop Elements
    1. What's new in Photoshop Elements
    2. System requirements | Photoshop Elements
    3. Workspace basics
    4. Guided mode
    5. Making photo projects
  3. Workspace and environment
    1. Get to know the Home screen
    2. Workspace basics
    3. Preferences
    4. Tools
    5. Panels and bins
    6. Open files
    7. Rulers, grids, and guides
    8. Enhanced Quick Mode
    9. File information
    10. Presets and libraries
    11. Multitouch support
    12. Scratch disks, plug-ins, and application updates
    13. Undo, redo, and cancel actions
    14. Viewing images
  4. Fixing and enhancing photos
    1. Resize images
    2. Cropping
    3. Process camera raw image files
    4. Add blur, replace colors, and clone image areas
    5. Adjust shadows and light
    6. Retouch and correct photos
    7. Sharpen photos
    8. Transforming
    9. Auto Smart Tone
    10. Recomposing
    11. Using actions to process photos
    12. Photomerge Compose
    13. Create a panorama
    14. Moving Overlays
    15. Moving Elements
  5. Adding shapes and text
    1. Add text
    2. Edit text
    3. Create shapes
    4. Editing shapes
    5. Painting overview
    6. Painting tools
    7. Set up brushes
    8. Patterns
    9. Fills and strokes
    10. Gradients
    11. Work with Asian type
  6. Quick Actions
  7. Guided edits, effects, and filters
    1. Guided mode
    2. Filters
    3. Guided mode Photomerge edits
    4. Guided mode Basic edits
    5. Adjustment filters
    6. Effects
    7. Guided mode Fun edits
    8. Guided mode Special edits
    9. Artistic filters
    10. Guided mode Color edits
    11. Guided mode Black & White edits
    12. Blur filters
    13. Brush Stroke filters
    14. Distort filters
    15. Other filters
    16. Noise filters
    17. Render filters
    18. Sketch filters
    19. Stylize filters
    20. Texture filters
    21. Pixelate filters
  8. Working with colors
    1. Understanding color
    2. Set up color management
    3. Color and tonal correction basics
    4. Choose colors
    5. Adjust color, saturation, and hue
    6. Fix color casts
    7. Using image modes and color tables
    8. Color and camera raw
  9. Working with selections
    1. Make selections in Photoshop Elements
    2. Saving selections
    3. Modifying selections
    4. Move and copy selections
    5. Edit and refine selections
    6. Smooth selection edges with anti-aliasing and feathering
  10. Working with layers
    1. Create layers
    2. Edit layers
    3. Copy and arrange layers
    4. Adjustment and fill layers
    5. Clipping masks
    6. Layer masks
    7. Layer styles
    8. Opacity and blending modes
  11. Creating photo projects
    1. Project basics
    2. Making photo projects
    3. Editing photo projects
    4. Creating Photo Reels
  12. Saving, printing, and sharing photos
    1. Save images
    2. Printing photos
    3. Share photos online
    4. Optimizing images
    5. Optimizing images for the JPEG format
    6. Dithering in web images
    7. Guided Edits - Share panel
    8. Previewing web images
    9. Use transparency and mattes
    10. Optimizing images for the GIF or PNG-8 format
    11. Optimizing images for the PNG-24 format
  13. Keyboard shortcuts
    1. Keys for selecting tools
    2. Keys for selecting and moving objects
    3. Keys for the Layers panel
    4. Keys for showing or hiding panels (expert mode)
    5. Keys for painting and brushes
    6. Keys for using text
    7. Keys for the Liquify filter
    8. Keys for transforming selections
    9. Keys for the Color Swatches panel
    10. Keys for the Camera Raw dialog box
    11. Keys for the Filter Gallery
    12. Keys for using blending modes
    13. Keys for viewing images (expertmode)

About gradients

You fill an area with a gradient by dragging within the image or by selecting with the Gradient tool. The distance between the starting point (where you first press the mouse button) and ending point (where you release the mouse button) affects the gradient appearance, as does the gradient type.

Using the Gradient tool and Gradient Editor, you can create a custom mix of colors in your photos.

You can choose any of the following gradient types in the Tool Options bar.

Linear gradient 

Shades from the starting point to the ending point in a straight line.

Radial gradient 

Shades from the starting point to the ending point in a circular pattern.

Angle gradient 

Shades in a counterclockwise sweep around the starting point.

Reflected gradient 

Shades using symmetric linear gradients on either side of the starting point.

Diamond gradient

Shades from the starting point outward in a diamond pattern. The ending point defines one corner of the diamond.


You can also use a Fill Layer to apply a gradient to your image. The fill layer gives you the added flexibility of changing the gradient properties and editing the fill layer’s mask to limit the gradient to a portion of your image.

Gradients are stored in libraries. You can choose a different library of gradients to display in the Gradient Picker menu by clicking the the menu and selecting a library at the bottom of the list. You can also save and load your own libraries of gradients in this menu. You can also manage gradients by using the Preset Manager.

Apply a gradient

  1. To fill part of the image, select the area with one of the selection tools. Otherwise, the gradient fill is applied to the entire active layer.
  2. Select the Gradient tool .
  3. In the Tool Options bar, click the desired gradient type.
  4. Choose a gradient fill from the Gradient Picker panel in the Tool Options bar.
  5. (Optional) Set gradient options in the Tool Options bar.


    Specifies how the gradient blends with the existing pixels in the image.


    Sets the opacity of the gradient. A low opacity setting allows pixels under the gradient to show through. Drag the slider or enter an opacity value.


    Switches the order of the colors in the gradient fill.


    Uses the gradient’s transparency (instead of any transparent areas in the image) if the gradient has transparent areas.


    Creates a smoother blend with less obvious bands of color.

  6. In the image, position the pointer where you want to set the starting point of the gradient, and drag to define the ending point. To constrain the gradient angle to a multiple of 45°, hold down Shift as you drag.

Apply gradient fill to text

  1. Select the text you want to fill.
  2. Choose Layer > Simplify Layer to convert the vector text to a bitmap image. You won’t be able to edit the text after you simplify the layer.
  3. Control-click (Command-click in Mac OS) the thumbnail for the text layer in the Layers panel to select the text.
  4. Select the Gradient tool.
  5. In the Tool Options bar, click the desired gradient type.
  6. Choose a gradient fill from the Gradient Picker panel.
  7. Position the pointer on the text where you want to set the starting point of the gradient, and drag to define the ending point.

Define a gradient

You can define your own gradients in the Gradient Editor dialog box. A gradient can include two or more colors, or one or more colors that fade to transparency.

Gradient Editor dialog box.

A. Color Stop B. Color Midpoint C. Opacity Stop 

To define a gradient, you add a color stop to add a color to the gradient, drag the color stop and the midpoint icon to define the range between two colors, and adjust the Opacity stops to specify the transparency that you want in the gradient.

  1. From the Draw section in the toolbox, select the Gradient tool.
  2. To display the Gradient Editor dialog box, click the Edit button below the gradient sample.
  3. In the Preset section of the Gradient Editor dialog box, select a gradient on which to base your new gradient.
  4. To choose colors for your gradient, double-click the color stop, or click the Color swatch to display the Color Picker. Choose a color, and click OK.
  5. To adjust the color stop location of a color, drag the stop left or right.
  6. To add a color to the gradient, click below the gradient bar to define another color stop.
  7. To adjust the location of the transition midpoint between colors, drag the diamond below the gradient bar to the left or right.
  8. To delete the color stop you are editing, click Delete.
  9. To set the color transition’s smoothness, enter a percentage in the Smoothness text box, or drag the slider.
  10. If desired, set transparency values for the gradient by dragging the Opacity stops.
  11. To save the gradient in the gradient presets, enter a name for the new gradient, and then click Add to preset.
  12. Click OK. The newly created gradient is selected and ready to use.

Specify gradient transparency

Each gradient fill contains settings (opacity stops) that control the opacity of the fill at different locations in the gradient. The checkerboard pattern indicates the amount of transparency in the gradient preview. Gradients need at least two opacity stops.

  1. Create a gradient.
  2. To adjust the starting opacity in the Gradient Editor, click the left opacity stop above the gradient bar. The triangle below the stop turns black, indicating that you’re editing the starting transparency.
  3. Set the Opacity by doing one of the following:
    • Enter a value between 0 (fully transparent) and 100% (fully opaque).

    • Drag the arrow on the Opacity slider.

  4. To adjust the opacity of the endpoint, click the right transparency stop above the gradient bar. Then set the opacity as described in step 3.
  5. To adjust the location of the starting or ending opacity, do one of the following:
    • Drag the corresponding opacity stop to the left or right.

    • Select the corresponding opacity stop, and enter a value for Location.

  6. To adjust the location of the midpoint opacity (the point midway between the starting and ending opacities), do one of the following:
    • Drag the diamond above the gradient bar to the left or right.

    • Select the diamond, and enter a value for Location.

  7. To delete the opacity stop you are editing, click Delete, or drag the stop away from the gradient bar.
  8. To add an intermediate opacity, click above the gradient bar to define a new opacity stop. You can then adjust and move this opacity as you would a starting or ending opacity.

    To remove an intermediate opacity, drag its transparency stop up and off the gradient bar, or select the stop and click the Delete button.

  9. To save the gradient to the gradient presets, enter a new name in the Name text box, and then click New. This creates a new gradient preset with the transparency setting you specified.
  10. Click OK to exit the dialog box and select the newly created gradient. Make sure that Transparency is selected in the Tool Options bar.

Create a noise gradient

A noise gradient is a gradient that contains randomly distributed colors within a range of colors that you specify.

Noise gradients with different noise values.

A. 10% noise B. 50% noise C. 90% noise 

  1. Select the Gradient tool.
  2. To display the Gradient Editor dialog box, click the Edit button in the Tool Options bar.
  3. Choose Noise from the Gradient Type menu.
  4. Set options for the gradient.


    Sets the amount of softness in the transition between colors in the pattern.

    Color Model

    Specifies the color model to use to set the color range to include in the gradient. To define the range of colors, drag the sliders for each color component.

    Restrict Colors

    Prevents oversaturated colors.

    Add Transparency

    Adds transparency to random colors.

  5. To randomly mix the colors, click the Randomize button until you find a gradient you like.
  6. Enter a name for the new gradient.
  7. To add your gradient preset, click New.
  8. Click OK to exit the dialog box, and then select the newly created gradient.


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