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Gradients & the Paint Bucket Tools

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:08
  • The Paint Bucket Tool 0:46
    • Color & Pattern
    • Opacity, Tolerance, & Blend Mode
    • Paint Bucket Demonstration 1: Filling a Layer
    • Paint Bucket Demonstration 2: Creating a Sepia Tone
    • Paint Bucket Demonstration 3: Changing Color Using Blend Mode, Opacity, 7 Tolerance
    • Paint Bucket Demonstration 4: Adding Pattern to an Image
    • The Gradient Tool
    • The Gradient Tool
  • The Gradient Editor 12:50
    • The Gradient Editor Overview
    • Solid Gradient vs. Noise Gradient
    • Color Midpoint
    • Creating a Gradient
  • Gradient Map Feature 23:57
    • Gradient Map Feature
  • Using Gradients for Layer Masks 28:21
    • Using Gradients for Layer Masks

Transcription: Gradients & the Paint Bucket Tools

Hi, everyone--Mike Brown back with you one more time, with another lesson in Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 from!0000

In this lesson, we're going to talk about two tools that we haven't discussed prior to this, and they are the Gradient tool and the Paint Bucket tool--somewhat similar--laying down colors for various reasons.0007

Under the Drawing collection of tools, right below the Brushes tool, you will see the Paint Bucket tool, and to the right of that, the Gradient tool.0023

In previous versions of Adobe Photoshop Elements, they were grouped together under a single tool, and you would click, and they would fall, kind of like here with the Selection tools, together.0031

But now, they are separate in Photoshop Elements 11.0043

For the Bucket tool, we have these options down here; you can either work with colors (it's going to lay down colors and you have Blend modes for them), or it's going to lay down patterns (for which you have all sorts of choices of different kinds of patterns and textures).0047

Color or patterns: now, you have an opacity choice selector here; you also have a tolerance slider, and again, your Blend modes; you can sample all layers, contiguous color, and anti-aliasing to keep the edges smooth.0067

Let me show you the basic and obvious way you would work with a paintbrush, just blindly--the basic methodology.0086

You have a foreground color--that is what it's going to work with; we have the Paint Bucket; we're going to do it in a normal mode, with an opacity of 100; and you simply click, and it fills.0096

In this case, I have left it on pattern, so it filled with a pattern; if I clicked over here with the paint, it fills with a color.0108

Obviously, if we had changed the opacity and clicked, it would have been a lower opacity.0117

Just your basic filling tool; you can also do that with the Edit menu, Fill Selection--basically, you have the same thing; you have different options of colors you can fill with, Blend modes, and opacities--pretty much the same thing you can do down here.0123

All right, so that is the basic way of using it; let's take a look at some other methods of using the Paint Bucket tool.0140

First, let me go with the Golden Gate Bridge shot that I have right here.0148

Let me change the foreground color to kind of a sand tone...this is yellow...that is more like sand; we'll click OK.0154

Now, if I fill with the Paint Bucket tool again, with an opacity of 100%, I'm just going to fill it--that is what happens.0167

However (and, by the way, there will be a lesson in the Filters and Blend modes, so you will begin to understand these), these are your Blend modes; this group here starts with darken and does exactly what it says; it darkens--everything that is darker than 50% gray gets darker.0178

Over here for Lighten--everything that is lighter than 50% gray gets lighter.0201

The Overlay down to Hard mix increases contrast in various degrees; overlay is kind of your median; soft is less; and then they get rather harsh.0206

Difference and Exclusion do some weird things that I never figured out; and then you can fill with hue saturation--color, like we're going to do right here; or luminosity.0217

So, if we take this at 100% opacity and fill with color, watch what happens.0229

Surprise--another way to make a sepia-tone, if you will: we filled this entire image with this foreground color, and therefore, it turned it into a sepia-tone effect.0237

Now, you're saying, "What good was that? We have other ways of doing that."0251

Let me show you something else we can do here; let's make this just a little warmer tone--right there; now, let's just say, for example, that this beach here--I don't like the kind of dark brown; I would like to lighten it up a little bit.0255

That is going to be time-consuming, to get my perfect selection around the whole thing; so we can use the Paint Bucket, and we'll paint, just like we were doing with the retouch tools--with the Clone tool--painting skin at a lower opacity gradually builds it up.0271

So, let's start with maybe 30%, just for fun, to see if it works; we can always change that by undoing.0291

If I did this, as I said, at the full tolerance, it fills the entire image--you can see that.0299

Let's up this so you can see what is going on; let's go to 57%, zoom it up a little bit, drop the tolerance down to about 135, and I click the sand.0305

You can see that it went all the way up with that contiguous color, into the sky--too much.0316

We'll bring the tolerance down to about 70, and I click, and wow--lo and behold, if you look over here, it just got a little too much in the water.0322

Let's back it out and drop that tolerance just a little lower, and click, and there we have the entire sand.0334

I'll undo it and redo it; it's pretty subtle; undo; redo; and I'll show you how I did that.0346

There is your Tool Options; we have an opacity of 57%--I'll add the opacity up so that we can see it better; a relatively low tolerance; at a Blend mode of color with contiguous check, which means it's looking for areas of color; anti-aliasing to smooth the boundary; and I clicked.0357

You can see it right there--that it just filled up the entire beach area with that tolerance; and if we drop that down to maybe 40 and do it, we just got a little bump in color without ever having to make a selection, by filling with the Paint Bucket tool at a mode of color and a low tolerance and opacity--and contiguous check; kind of cool.0376

There is another thing you can do with that.0402

Let me show you one more thing you can do: we're going to go to this beach scene; we'll switch over to the pattern, and what I'm going to do now is make a new layer, and I'm going to take this pattern that I have chosen right here--kind of a texture--colored paper--and I'm going to take my Paint Bucket tool at 100% opacity and a big tolerance--it doesn't matter, because I just want to do it--and I'm going to actually fill this normally and click.0404

You have, now, a texture fill; you can see that; and you say, "Why did you do that?"0440

Well, here is how we could have done this over here, but we're going to do it up here, instead.0445

The same Blend modes are up here on this layer; we're going to take the Blend mode and change it to Overlay, and if you take a look at the image, look what we have--a texture that has shown up.0449

Now, it did affect the color, so we're just going to lower the opacity level to maybe about 40.0463

Look--the image is pretty much the same, but as I zoom up, you can see that we have created a texture.0471

Let's bring that up just a little bit more; it actually zapped the color just a little bit in the image, which is kind of nice--warmed it up, and added a texture, like it's on textured paper.0480

There are a lot of things you can do with the Paint Bucket tool: playing with the Blend modes, textures, patterns, and color. 0494

And, using--like I said, over here where we used the Golden Gate--if you use opacity and tolerance, you can actually use it to fill with color--kind of cool.0503

All right, so there were some examples of ways to work with the Paint Bucket tool.0513

Let's get back to the title--oh, I just did; that was really good!--I clicked with the tool on, and that was that.0520

All right, so that takes care of the Paint Bucket tool; so now, let's switch and take a look at the Gradient tool.0528

There are a lot of uses for gradients.0536

This is your basic Gradient tool; let me bring up an untitled document, right here; leave our Blend mode--we still have the Blend modes; we still have opacity; we also have a transparency; Dither is something I'll talk about in a moment; and these are your five different types of gradients that we can lay down.0539

Over here, you see the current gradient; and right here, in the box, we're in defaults.0560

If you click, there are all sorts of different gradients; we'll get into that in a moment.0567

When you are in the default, the upper left corner is foreground color to background color; you see red to black--you see it shown right here.0571

If I click and drag on a linear gradient, it just makes a linear gradient from red to black.0581

The longer I drag, the more gentle the blend; the shorter, the harsher the transition.0588

That is a linear gradient.0595

A radial gradient--it doesn't matter which way I drag; it goes out in all directions from red to black, and basically makes a circle.0598

So, if I go with a really long pull, you get a very wide circle with soft edges; if I just pull really shallowly, you get a little spot that is soft.0608

That is a radial.0620

This one is called an angle gradient, and I have never used it for anything other than demonstration; you click and drag, and it starts along that line, with the foreground color, and goes in 360 degrees around, back to the line, with the background color.0621

I'm not sure what you do with it; I really don't know; it's probably for graphics.0640

The next on is reflected; if we go in the middle, and click and drag upwards, it goes from red to black and flips to the other side and does the same thing for you.0645

The last one is the diamond: click and drag, and instead of going radially in a circle, it comes out as a kind of a star diamond.0656

Again, if you click and drag short, you get a tiny one.0665

Those are your five different types; we'll go with the linear for the moment.0669

OK, the Dither check mark: I want to talk about that for a minute; we're going to come up, and I'm going to try to demonstrate this.0673

Sometimes, it doesn't work.0683

We're just going to drop a gradient, red to black.0685

You see, it's nice and smooth until we get way, way up; it's a perfectly smooth gradient.0689

If I were to uncheck the Dither and do the same thing: we zoom up--it's supposed to do the other thing; it's very hard to see; sometimes it doesn't work.0698

The whole idea of the Dither; I can't show it--it doesn't seem to want to show--and that is great; when you lay a gradient down (I'll just explain it), it lays down in lines.0710

They shift in their color, from red to black in this case, and they don't blend very well.0722

Sometimes, you can actually see the lines as you're looking at the gradient.0729

By doing Dither--it incorporates a blur and a little noise that blends all of the lines in, so that you get this perfectly smooth look.0732

In earlier versions of Photoshop Elements and Photoshop, they didn't have that, and so you had to actually take your own gradients and blur them and add noise yourself.0744

But now, you get this perfectly smooth gradient.0753

All right; leave the Dither checked.0756

Transparency allows you to see through a transparent gradient.0760

All right, that shows you the basic Gradient tool and its options; now, let's look at the Gradient Editor.0764

Let's go back to the untitled, back to the Gradient, and click on the Edit button.0774

This is the Gradient Editor, and this is how gradients are made; you can construct your own or use all of these presets.0782

The defaults are here; you have color harmonies; you have a different set of those; you also have simple, almost like filters--photo filters; special effects; and I'm going to show you one by clicking on this one, right here.0791

What you see here--the checkerboard--indicates transparency.0805

We have bars of red with transparency in between; we're going to go and click that; we're going to take this one and drop it back and click and drag.0810

You see white simply because it's transparent, and that is what is underneath.0821

If we took the Paint Bucket and filled with a pattern, and then go back to the gradient with the red and white and drag across that, you will see red with the see-through to the background, if you will, which was the texture.0827

It will show you that that, in truth of fact, was a transparent gradient.0846

All right, so let's go back to our defaults, and let's talk about this Gradient Editor and how it works.0853

Here is your gradient color shown here; there are two types of gradients: solid and noise gradients.0860

Noise gradients just do some really weird, weird things; I sometimes really don't know what they would be used for.0866

See, it's just a pattern of lines, almost like one of those scanners.0876

It might be useful for graphics.0881

90%; let's go with a greater roughness; there you can see it--it just becomes an abstract pattern of whatever the particular gradient that you have is.0883

It's kind of weird.0897

We're talking mostly about solid, regular gradients.0898

The left side to the right side; foreground to background; it is identified by location--notice, 0% is the left side, and when I click on the right-hand one, 100% is to the right.0902

These little items--these icons you see--squares with a little triangle--are called stops.0917

They are the positions where you set color or spacing.0923

At the bottom, across the entire bottom of the Gradient Editor, is color stops; notice that the left one is red; when I click on it, the little triangle goes from white to gray.0927

Notice that the other ones are white; the active stop is the one with a gray triangle.0941

You see that, also, the color is shown inside the stop; and to change the color, you just click on the color, set whatever you might want, and click OK; and now it's a purple color.0946

If we click on the right side, we see that the color is black; we could make that a gold if we wanted to; let's go right up to a gold-yellow color.0959

Now, we have a purple or a hot pink (let's make that a little darker purple...there we go); so now, we have gone from purple to gold.0972

We click OK, and there you see it in there; if we click and drag, you have a purple-gold gradient.0983

All right, back to the Editor; now, if I click on any stop at the bottom--a color stop--you see, in the center, a little diamond; this is called the color midpoint.0992

It shows you where--in this case, it's a simple gradient of two colors; between those two colors, this is the point of 50% color of this color and 50% color of this color.1006

If I drag that over to, let's say, 25%, now (and you can see it in the color range), the yellow does not go to 50% until way over here, and the purple is right here.1020

So, if we click OK and I drag this thing from top to bottom, you will notice that the gradient midpoint, right there, is now at 25%, rather than in the middle, because we changed the position of the midpoint--the color midpoint.1037

All right, we'll move that back, and you will notice that the location is changing; the location is going to go back to...I'll just type it in at 50% and click OK, go back over here, and now we have the 50% point back to normal.1061

Those are the color stops.1079

On the top side, we have opacity stops; if I click on this one, there is no color; the opacity is 100%; the location is at 0.1081

I click on the other one; notice that it's the gray triangle; it's at 100%, and 100% opacity.1093

If I scrub it back to 0, notice what we get; we get transparency; so now, we have a gradient that simply goes from purple to blank.1099

If I back this one out, white, and click from left to right, we have purple going to white, because that is what the bottom is; and you can see the transparency right over there.1110

Now, let's create a different gradient.1125

Oh, by the way (and I'll show you what we do to do that), let's go back to the opacity of 100%.1130

Again, you can change the stop up here for the opacity midpoint, as well as the color midpoint.1135

Let's make a 3-color gradient; all you have to do to add a stop (either top or bottom) is simply click.1142

There is a new color stop, and right now it's at 50%, and you notice that the midpoint stops--the color midpoint--are between any two stops--now there are two of them.1150

We can adjust those independently, as well, but I'm going to leave that at 50% for the moment.1162

We have purple, red, and yellow; over here, the opacity is 100; the opacity is 100 here; we really don't need to add an opacity stop, because it's just 100% anyway.1168

What I'm going to do here is click and drag, and we have created a new gradient with three colors.1182

But, they are not even; notice: this is 25%, 50, 75%--most of it is red.1191

What we really needed to do--if we wanted even colorage, you need a third and a third across here, for each one of these.1199

I'll click on the purple, and a third of the way across the entirety is actually two-thirds of the way between these two, so we'll take that point and move it to 66, OK?1207

Click over here; move this one back to 33%, because it's going from the left, and now you see even purple, red, and yellow.1220

Click OK; let's go back to white; click and drag, and notice: even bands of color.1231

All right, you see what happened; click on any stop--we just repositioned the color midpoints.1239

That shows you how to do that; and you can also click on top, put in an opacity stop--and let's drop that one down to 0--so now, we have purple, transparent, and yellow.1247

Go back to white; click; drag; purple, white (because it was transparent to the background color, which was white), and yellow.1261

That is how you set your stops and how you adjust them; we can take that stop and drop the opacity scrubby back to 100, and we have that.1270

Let's go ahead, just for fun, and create one more gradient to show you how it works.1279

I'm going to go with a full rainbow.1285

We're going to start with the color at the top--we're going to start with red; click OK there; we'll put another stop at 20% of the way; OK; and the next color down should be some purple, so we'll do that.1287

We'll put another one in at 40%, right there, and the next color should be blue; we have blue.1307

We'll move this stop over to 60%, and that one should be kind of a greenish color; we'll just go straight to green.1319

Then, we'll put a new stop in at 80%, and that color should be yellow, and that is the way it should stay.1330

We're just going to move them, just slightly, to spread it out.1344

There we have...we need a little more red, so let's just stretch it over a little bit more this way.1349

I'm doing this visually rather than mechanically; and there you go; we'll click OK; there is our gradient.1358

We're going to click and drag across and see what we have; and we have ourselves a rainbow.1364

That is how you work with the Gradient Editor.1371

Now, you can save any gradient that you do; we'll put a name in this, and we'll just call it Rainbow by Mike.1373

We'll add it to the presets; create a new gradient preset, and when I click the current presets that are up, notice: at the tail end of the list, we now have a new gradient that we have created for Rainbow.1384

Very simple--that is how you work with the Gradient Editor.1399

Oh, one other thing: if you want to remove stops--let's say we want to go back--just click on a stop and pull it away.1403

Notice, I just pulled them off, and now we're back to the two-gradient; do it on the other side, right back to the beginning...and we have created a red to yellow.1412

All right, that is how you work with the Gradient Editor.1422

We have talked about the Gradient Editor now; let's talk about the Gradient (whoa, I just put one in there--that is cool) Map feature.1427

Now, this is very cool; I'm going to pull out this particular shot, right here.1440

What the Gradient Map does is an adjustment layer right here.1447

What it will do, I'll tell you very quickly: it will convert any image (in this case, we have just this one layer) into, by default, a black-and-white, by turning...the darkest colors in the image will be black and the brightest colors in the image will be white.1454

For example, let's use the Golden Gate one right now; we'll go under the Adjustment Gradient Map, and I have it at the red, but let's go ahead and change that back to our Gradient Editor.1474

Again, we'll go from black to...move the stop to the end; change the color to white; click OK; click OK; and notice what happened.1488

It took the darkest colors in the image and made them black, and the lightest colors, white--basically another way to create a black-and-white or reverse it.1501

But here is where the Gradient Editor becomes kind of fun.1511

Let's open up this one that I had before (where is...there it is, right here).1516

Let's go ahead to the Gradient Map feature; and notice what happens if your gradient is different than black and white.1527

It will, again, still go from the darkest to the lightest, but you get these really strange effects sometimes.1543

Look at what we have done to this particular image here; let's go back to that one, and see what happens when we do this with our rainbow.1552

Let's reverse that; we can go in here and change the opacity and see what that does to our image.1560

Look--look at this; with a rainbow effect, and an opacity right there, of about 10%, we have taken that image and added a kind of an unearthly look to it.1568

Let's up that just a little bit more; and there you have a semi-coloration methodology.1573

That was with a rainbow, no less.1589

Let's pick some special effects ones; don't save; let's try this one, and click OK, take the opacity back to 100%; wow.1591

That is weird; so we'll just back it out at the opacity level, and what did we do?--did we worsen it?--oh, my!1605

Look at that; it toned down the colors now.1616

So, you have all sorts of things that you can do with that; and, by the way, you can use Blend modes to work with this, as well.1620

I just blended it as per color, rather than straight on the other end, and what we have done is a semi-desaturated look that makes this look much more like we're in the moon; it's not quite a black-and-white.1630

Gradient Maps: again, use your Gradient Editor to create things that take the darkest colors to replace the darkest, and the lightest to replace the lightest, and change all sorts...1645

Ooh, I like that one; let's see what happens with that; we'll drop this one back, and let's make it color; wow, look at this!1659

It's coming in, and as I drop the opacity, we have just a kind of a tonality over the whole thing.1669

Let me take a look at the Golden Gate and see what happens if we do that one.1677

Still black-and-white -- I'm starting to play.1683

Anyway, you get the idea of what the Gradient Map does--a really interesting tool to work with in applying effects--and you can do that, by the way, with a layer mask, as well--to just mask out areas.1687

Which leads me to the final point in this lesson--on gradients for layer masks.1700

Pretty simple; here is that beach shot we had; let's get rid of the other layer; we'll just have our traditional beach shot.1706

I'm looking at this, thinking, "I would really like to add some pop to the sand, and maybe a little bit to the sky, and I don't want to work too hard."1713

The first thing I'm going to do is take a Levels adjustment overall, and I'm going to darken down the sand--I'm only looking at the sand, by the way.1722

There is a little bit of snap to that, and I kind of like what I have in the sand.1741

Forget the rest of the image for a moment; watch what happens: the sand looks pretty good, and you say, "What are you doing?"1746

Well, I have a layer mask; it's blank; let's just go to the Gradients.1751

Let's set our foreground color black and white; let's go to the defaults; let's take the black-and-white; we want to be at 100%, 100% black-and-white, and all I have to do is create a gradient inside of my layer mask.1757

I'll click and drag up; it's going to go from black to white; and look (oops, I went the wrong way; go from black to white down, because we want to reveal)--all we did was affect the sand by creating a gradient on our (let me try that one more time)...1777

Just get it a little closer like that; and there it is; let's see how that looks.1801

There is a gradient right there, and if we want to darken the sky, let's just go ahead and make another Levels layer and darken the sky (just looking at the sky, by the way--don't be looking at the contrast; we'll go really crazy).1808

There goes the sky, and there we are, and now I'm going to run my gradient the other way, like that.1821

Start it a little bit up farther; there we go; and so there, we have a more powerful sky and a more powerful bottom, simply by laying down, very quickly, two simple gradients.1828

I didn't even have to make a selection on the thing, and it was done.1844

All right, so there you have a lesson in the Paint Bucket tool (oops, I just put the gradients again--I'm having a wonderful time here); the Gradient tool; the Gradient Editor, where you create your gradients and save them; the Gradient Map feature, which takes an image and turns it into whatever your foreground and background color--darkest becomes foreground, lightest becomes background; using the Blend modes; and using the gradients for layer masks--all of this in Adobe Photoshop Elements 11!1848