Backgrounds in Adobe Photoshop come in a variety of shapes and sizes. These range from a simple semi-opaque faded image to a simple gradient between two or more colours. Alternatively an image could be blended into a repeat pattern, or special effects like the cinematic bokeh effect can be added via the Filters drop-down menu. Like many of Photoshop's features, when the basic tools and workflow is understood the rest is up to the creativity and imagination of the user.
The easiest background image to create is a simple fade. An image is opened and copied into the new file whereupon it creates as a new layer. On the top right of the layer properties is the Opacity slider for. Here we can adjust the slider or enter a percentage value into the field to see the background fade. A white layer may be required under all layers in order to view the effect better.
Another background option is to add a simple gradient blend between two or more colours, for example blue and white. Gradient blends come into fashion every five years or so. They are often found on TV ads and promos, as well as magazines and flyers.
To create a simple gradient blend a new layer should first be created, followed by two colours loaded into the colour icons at the bottom of the Toolbox. This can be done by double-clicking on the icon to open up the Colour Picker dialog box, and either choosing a colour from the slider and colour-field, or by entering the RGB or CMYK numbers into the appropriate fields. Alternatively, colours may be added via the Swatches or the Colour panel.
We would then select the Gradient tool and click and drag across the document. Clicking and dragging a small amount will result a small transition between the two colours. If you click and drag right across the page you'll get a gentler, more subtle blend. The default blend is a Linear gradient which creates a linear transition between the colours. But there are various other options on the Control panel at the top of the screen: Radial, Angle, Reflected and Diamond. Probably the Linear and the Radial are the most commonly used.
Further manipulation of the colour blend can be achieved by clicking on the small gradient swatch at the top left of the screen. This will open up the Gradient Editor, where we find some Preset gradients. The most useful part of this editor is the gradient slider at the bottom of the dialog box, where there are located some stops for colour settings just below the slider, and stops for opacity settings above the slider. You may click below to add a stop, then click on a swatch from the Swatches panel to add a colour to the gradient. You may pull the stop up or down to delete any extra stops. Note also the midpoint stops to create further adjustments in the blend. And to save this gradient as a Preset for future click the New button.
A quote from science-fiction writer Kurt Vonnegut: To practiced any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.
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Tom Gillan has been training Photoshop to corporate clients in Sydney for seven years. Visit Design Workshop Sydney to know more information about Photoshop .
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