Chapter 17: Using a Gradient Mask

The Gradient Mask Tool is useful for creating a gradual blend between two states.  It can be used with an image layer to add ramping transparency.  For an Adjustment Layer, it’s useful to create a blend between the modified and original state. The Gradient Mask is a favorite tool of landscape photographers that allows you to enhance images smoothly with effects applied to the Gradient.

  1. Create a Layer or Adjustment Layer mask as previously discussed in this chapter.  
  2. Apply an effect or Luminar Look to the adjustment layer.
  3. Click the Edit Mask button on the layer.
  4. Select the Gradient Mask option from the dropdown.
  5. Click and drag to create a linear gradient.  
  6. Click the Visibility button in the top toolbar to make it easier to visualize the gradient.
  7. The tool offers simple controls to refine the gradient.
    • Drag the top bar or bottom bar to expand or contract the gradient.
    • Drag the middle dot to position the gradient.
    • Drag the bottom bar to move the end of the gradient
    • Click and drag just outside the center point to rotate the gradient mask.
    • Drag a handle on the outside circle to adjust the aspect ratio to create an ellipse shape.
    • Drag the inside handle to rotate the gradient mask.

  8. When satisfied with the mask, click the Done button.  
  9. If using an Adjustment Layer, adjust the Filter controls as needed.  The mask will control how its results are applied. If using an image layer, you can control the opacity and blending mode of the layer.

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TIP

You can edit the results of a Linear mask by clicking the Edit Mask button.  This lets you add or subtract from the mask using the Brush tool for greater control over the mask.

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