Article written using Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 with Windows 7
If you are wondering how I could use “fun” and “gradient” in the same sentence, keep reading. I’d like to show you a couple of my favorite ways of using gradient maps in digital scrapbooking layouts, and, for good measure, I’ll throw in a fun filter trick, too.
Gradient maps contain two colors (more colors can be added, but let’s keep it simple for now). The colors affect whatever layer is beneath them. For example, if you apply a black-and-white gradient map to a photo or digital scrapbook embellishment, the photo or embellishment will turn black and white. Why use gradient maps? Simply, they add a depth of color that “colorize” does not.
Tip 1: Changing the color of an embellishment
I opened a yellow flower from the 1 Scrap Girls Exuberance Collection. Using the Color Picker Tool, I chose red and white as my foreground and background colors. To add a gradient map, I went to Layer> New Adjustment Layer> Gradient map. My yellow flower turned a light red.
I used “Normal” blending mode on the yellow flower, but if you want to play a bit, change your blending mode from “Normal” to something else. You’ll see all sorts of interesting results! For my layout, I added the same gradient map to a dotted flower in the Exuberance Collection, this time with a “Pin Light” blending mode for a different look.
Tip 2: Adding a gradient map to grayscale ScrapSimple papers or embellishments will produce a richer effect than one color alone.
To demonstrate the effect, I used the fence paper from the ScrapSimple Paper Templates: City Slick kit as a single-layer JPG rather than coloring each layer of the paper separately. I picked sage and blue for my colors and used a “Hard Light” blending mode. I admit I got so carried away trying out different color combinations that I had to force myself to choose one and finish the layout! I believe that once you try gradient maps, you’ll see what I mean. They are not only fun, they can become addictive! So remember, you’ve been warned!
Fun Filter Tip: A quick way to add a bit of grunge to your layout
Here I used it on the alpha from the Under the Boardwalk Collection Biggie, but you can use it on anything. Duplicate the alpha. Clip the duplicate layer to the original by using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+G or by going to Layer > Create Clipping Mask. Choose two colors with the Color Picker Tool. For the grunge look, I like black and white. Next, go toFilters> Render> Clouds. The duplicate alpha will look like black-and-white clouds. Change the blending mode from “Normal” to “Overlay,” however, and your alpha now has a bit of grunge. Try other blending modes (“Color Burn” is one of my favorites) or other colors for a different look, too. Remember, you can always lower the opacity of the clouds layer if you want a more subtle look.
I hope you will give gradient maps – or even the clouds filter – a try. When you do, upload your digital scrapbook layout to the Scrap Girls Gallery and show us what you created!
Commercial license versions of ScrapSimple Paper Templates: City Slick and ScrapSimple Digital Layout Templates: digiDoer Cover 01 Miniare also available.